EARTH opened its doors for the first time in 1990 to 51 new students from seven countries. Full of dreams and goals, they began their advancement at our University and left a legacy that today’s students continue with pride and conviction. Over the years, numerous faculty, staff members, and students have left a path to follow.
On March 26, we celebrated the 32nd anniversary of our alma mater by honoring the stories of many of these unforgettable people for their efforts, dedication, and commitment to EARTH’s mission. At the virtual event held on March 23, special recognition was given to staff and faculty members who have worked at EARTH for five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty five and thirty years. Students, graduates, and retired staff participated and reflected on the foundations planted to develop the entire community.
“If I compare when I arrived in August 2018 with now, I can see a significant improvement in my life. Thanks to EARTH, I now view myself as a problem solver and believe I have solutions to challenging issues facing humanity today. As ambitious as I was before I came, I never predicted how much this place would transform me. I honestly cannot remember a specific day or moment when my life irreversibly changed in the past few years. The transformation into whom I have become was not a one-time event or something that happened overnight but rather a multi-step process. And by process, I don’t just mean academics or even learning a new language – all of which are important factors. It’s also the people whom I’ve met here, the examples they have set, extracurricular activities, discipline, things I have observed that no one taught me, and so many other little moments that have drawn a permanent line in my life marking a ‘before’ and ‘after EARTH,’” shared student Victoria Akwamaa (‘22, Ghana).
Kate Flores, who has done important work for five years in the Development Office in the United States, also shared her story about a person who has left an unforgettable impact on her life.
“I am here at EARTH because of Victor Sánchez (Senior Philanthropy Advisor). He sought me out and helped bring me to this great Institution. Victor has supported me in all my professional fields for almost 15 years. When I was running a community organization in Battle Creek, Michigan, he was a member of my board of directors and always supported me. He is a person who sees potential in someone and boosts the leadership of young professionals. He did that for me, first in that organization for seven years, then when I ran for an elected position in our city, and then at EARTH. Victor has a contagious passion and a love for this institution . Completely contagious! He even has it tattooed on his arm! If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you look for him the next time he’s on campus,” Kate recounted fondly.
We celebrate as a family one more day of “Hijos de la Tierra.” Like Victoria and Kate, we will forever remember the legacy of all the people who embody our community.
During the presentations, Rolando Pérez León, a retired field worker in the Sciences and Soils Laboratory known for his kindness, and recent graduate Fidel López (‘21, Ecuador) shared anecdotes and memories of their time at EARTH.
“EARTH University, I dedicate to you my verses, emotional hope, and my Ecuadorian voice with the beautiful expression of all present; I leave my heartfelt gratitude and eternal satisfaction.” (Excerpt from a poem written by Fidel.)
Let’s continue leading the way to a better world!