On June 11, a total of 189 students joined in the Jackson School spring Convocation 2015 celebration, held this year at the Center for Spiritual Living.
The two-hour ceremony marked the granting of academic degrees for undergraduate and graduate students. Over 900 family and friends of the students witnessed the event, along with Jackson School faculty and staff.
Shannon Ansbaugh, a Jackson School alumna who is a senior business analyst at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gave the keynote address.
“Be bold, find joy, have a guide and be a guide for someone else,” she told the packed auditorium. “You are the best and brightest, and you offer these fresh ideas to solve complex world issues. Think about the causes and issues you care about, and get involved.”
Jackson School Director Reşat Kasaba led the event. He also announced and presented a number of student awards, including the annual Jackson School Leadership Award.
This year, two students, Simon Fox and Simon Walker, each won a Jackson Leadership Award for their leadership and scholarship.
“Our position in this world has given us the luxury of cynicism,” said Fox to the audience when he received his award onstage. “But cyniscim alone, as well-educated as it may be, doesn’t do anything good for anybody. We can, rather, use it like a fire.”
Simon Walker spoke about his personal journey as a high school drop-out to Audi mechanic to graduating from the Jackson School. “[When I came to the Jackson School] I was delighted to find I was surrounded by the brightest, kindest and most selfless people I will ever know – people who have an immense passion for what the world is shaping up to be, and what they think it could be,” he said.
Other students honored during the ceremony included: Graduate Book Award Winner Alison Wohlers; Undergraduate Book Award Winner Benjamin Lee; and, High Honors Award Winners Chonlawit Sirikupt and Nikolina Stoykova.
Jackson School Undergraduate Adviser Joni Marts received the annual Jackson School Student Association Student Service Award in recognition of outstanding service to students.