Members of the 2016 graduating class at Emory & Henry College should go into the future with an understanding that the world and its people often hold more meaning and value than what is immediately understood, according to the Woodrow M. Strickler Executive in Residence at the university of Louisville.
Speaking to 236 E&H graduates Saturday, May 7, Dr. Nat Irvin II advised listeners to consider that “what you see is not all there is.”
A futurist and a professor of management practice at the University of Louisville College of Business, said the future holds many possibilities, but many may not be immediately apparent. He asked students to contemplate always what the future may portend and in the meantime “remain true to the principles of faith, learning, service, honesty, community and a willingness to serve others in the world of the future.”
From 1996 to 2007, Irvin created and led Future Focus 2020, an urban futurist think tank at the Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University, the mission of which was to introduce futurist thinking to urban communities. He previously served as vice chancellor for development and university relations for Winston-Salem State University.
Throughout his career, Irvin has engaged the leadership and management teams of groups and organizations, including Fortune 100 companies, in strategic conversations focused on the significant social, political, economic, technological and environmental trends and events that will drive the mid-to-long-term future.
Also addressing graduating E&H students was Katherine Elizabeth Bordwine, a sociology and political science major from Saltville, Va., who delivered the senior oration and spoke of her “forever family” at Emory & Henry who has helped transform her both through love and challenge. “Emory & Henry brought us all each other,” she said.
Delivering the master’s oration, Annie Cay Harvey Zorn of Max Meadows, who received a master’s degree in education, spoke of perspective, purpose and perseverance. “Gritty people are driven by purpose and have endless hope,” she told graduates.
In addition to commencement addresses, the E&H graduation ceremony was marked by the awarding of the William and Martha DeFriece Award to Dr. Edward H. Davis, a an E&H professor of geography. Davis is a proud conservationist who has been a tireless advocate in raising awareness and educating both students and colleagues at Emory & Henry about protecting the environment and preserving scarce natural resources. He has also led efforts to help the college reduce its carbon footprint while saving energy and reducing utility expenses. His efforts have saved the College thousands of dollars annually and helped educate an entire generation of E&H students and employees about the need to do more with less.
Special awards were also bestowed upon six undergraduates. They include Bordwine, who received the Outstanding Senior Award and the Senior Service Award; Taequan Deshawn Kates of Dewitt, Va., who received the Outstanding Senior Award; Stephanie Lynn Edwards of Cleveland, Va., who received the Byars Medal in Science; Maria Christine Byrd of Weber City, Va., who received the Eleanor Gibson Via Science Award for Women; and Rachel Elizabeth Sharp of Williamsburg, Va., who won the Snavely Senior Scholarship Prize for having the highest academic average.