We always know when Graduation Week has arrived. Although the campus corridors seem quieter, this is when the entire EARTH community’s emotions are the most visible. Sometimes it’s nostalgia – seeing 91 students proudly graduate from our University, pack their bags, and begin a new phase of their professional and personal lives. In their minds are memories stored over four hectic years, including weathering a global pandemic with remarkable resilience and unforgettable stories. Sometimes sadness wins. Although graduates look forward to receiving their degree, they know that this comes with goodbyes, long hugs, and promises of meeting again in, hopefully, the near future.
Meanwhile, there is the joy that comes from crossed paths and people influencing one another as the Class of 2022 closes one of the most significant stages in their lives. There is also joy from successfully defending a Graduation Project, completing an internship, and optimistically facing the realities of the world. Moreover, there is gratitude for having had the opportunity to become part of EARTH’s community, settle down a place that will always be their home, no matter the distance.
In the year we finally got to see smiling faces, give hugs, and receive our graduates’ loved ones, the Graduation Week 2022 saw 45 women and 46 men from 22 countries graduate as Agronomic Engineers with a degree in Agricultural Sciences. The Class of 2022 increases EARTH’s total number of graduates to 2,747, all determined to generate positive changes in hundreds of communities worldwide. This year, we also welcomed the graduating classes of 1997, 2002, 2007, 2012, and 2017, who celebrated their five-year anniversaries at our long-awaited Class Reunion. Graduates came from all over to exchange experiences and memories, strengthen bonds of affection and friendship, and reaffirm their identity as EARTH alumni.
A week to remember
As is our tradition, Graduation Week began with one of the most solemn moments: the Flag Raising Ceremony which celebrates EARTH’s multiculturalism and kicked off the graduation activities. On the morning of December 6, we raised the flags of our graduates’ 22 countries, along with 14 more representing the nationalities of our present student body – 36 flags in total.
That same day, the graduates attended their Farewell Dinner at EARTH’s President’s house, where they remembered the many adventures they had during their time at the University. During the event, the 2022 Sustainability Award was presented by The Sustainability Laboratory, an organization that advances global sustainability and has been a strategic ally of our University for 13 years. Carmelina Martinez (Mexico) won first place with her project Women Cultivating Life, and Eric Murwanashyaka (Rwanda) won second place for his project Eco-Farming Training Center.
The annual Heliconia Award was presented on December 7th during a night full of colors, music, and traditional dances from Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. To the rhythm of marimbas, guitars, and drums, Heylin Calvo Vargas (Costa Rica) and Lesly Durango (Colombia) received the Heliconia Award, honoring the two students for their leadership, values, constant participation, and social commitment. Litzy Torres (Honduras), Zaria Morales (Costa Rica), and Osvin Aldana (Guatemala) each received a special mention for being exemplary EARTH graduates and for having a large number of Heliconia Award nominations. In addition, this year’s EARTH Entrepreneurs Awards were presented to graduates Yahaya Alhassan (‘21, Ghana), Victoria Akwamaa (’22, Ghana), and Yorky Gil Rodríguez (’22, Dominican Republic).
On December 9, the graduates paraded into the gymnasium caps and gowns and overflowing with emotion. They received their degrees and sang the anthem of EARTH with pride and nostalgia. This time-honored celebration was attended by members of the University President’s Advisory Council of Graduates, keynote speaker Gustavo Manrique Miranda (‘96, Ecuador), who is the Minister of Environment, Water, and Ecological Transition in Ecuador, José Zaglul, President Emeritus of EARTH University, and Victor Hugo Carvajal, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica.
Other highlights included Moisés Gaitán,chosen by his class as the Best Classmate for his dedication and solidarity.
Also, Heilyn Calvo received the EARTH Award, the highest distinction that recognizes academic excellence, social commitment, and human values.
In this emotional ceremony, accompanied by the Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Class of 2022 transformed into leaders ready to go out into the world to make positive change.
We thank all the people who made an unforgettable Graduation Week possible. We are especially grateful to the Class of 2022 for their dedication, commitment, and affection shared in these four wonderful years that will live on forever.