In the first four months of this year, we found ourselves mourning the loss of three significant contributors to EARTH: Mr. Jorge Manuel Dengo, EARTH founder and emeritus Board member; Mr. Freddy Burgoa, member of the EARTH University Board of Directors; and most recently Mr. Martin Gatins, member of the EARTH University Foundation Board of Trustees. These men, along with our two Emeriti board members who died in 2011—Mr. Hernán Fonseca and Mr. Rodolfo Cortés—were never paid for their service and yet they gave so much of themselves to EARTH. Their passing gives us cause to take a moment to recognize this great loss and the legacy that these men have left. How fortunate we are to have had these brilliant people who made EARTH possible! Truly the greatest honor we can pay them is to strive to make EARTH the best it can be, and to expand our impact around the world.
I recently participated in a discussion group at the second annual Forum on Sustainability and Happiness, a conference that reflects a growing movement to include happiness as a metric for assessing the progress and sustainability of nations. At the core of this movement is a well-researched conclusion that happiness has much more to do with the quality of our human relationships than with our income or material possessions.
With this in mind, I invite us all to reflect on what is important in life—on our human relationships and connections with one another—and how these great men have left an immense legacy that is beyond material value and beyond material value. The passing of these gentlemen, in addition to that of our alumnus Juan Guillermo Porras (’96, Costa Rica), who also recently died in a car accident in front of his alma mater´s gates, are overwhelming to us. We can however honor their memory by striving to be better human beings—to care for each other, to love one another and to strive for a world where we all live in peace, harmony and with justice.