TSRI Holds Ninth Commencement
By Mika Ono
On Friday, May 18, a line of graduate students and faculty
processed from The Skaggs Institute, through the tunnel under
North Torrey Pines Road, to The Neurosciences Institute in
the ninth commencement ceremony at The Scripps Research Institute
(TSRI). Once in the auditorium, the graduating students and
TSRI faculty were joined on stage by Gray Davis, governor
of California who was to receive an honorary degree.
TSRI President Richard A. Lerner welcomed the audience and
introduced the governor, praising him as "a great friend to
the scientific community," citing among many accomplishments
his work with Lerner and others founding the Institutes for
Science and Innovation at three University of California campuses.
In receiving his degree, Davis gave a warm and often humorous
speech expressing an appreciation for the contributions of
science and scientists. "I know full well our future is in
your hands," he said. "There are an awful lot of bright people
in the audience and we are better off for it. As a matter
of fact, I should have you all commandeered to Sacramento
to help me solve the electricity problem."
To the graduates, he said, "Your best years are ahead of
you. The discoveries that you will makeand I know you
will make themwill enrich the lives of Americans and
people around the entire world. You will push back the frontiers
of knowledge. You will develop antidotes or cures to diseases
that have troubled humankind for centuries and we will be
richer for having you amongst us."
Joseph Graham Davis, Jr. (nicknamed "Gray" by his mother),
a cum laude graduate of Stanford University with a Columbia
University Law School degree, served as a U.S. army captain
in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
From 1983 to 1987, Davis served in the State Assembly from
Los Angeles County and was chief of staff to Governor Edmund
G. Brown, Jr. from 1975 to 1981. He was state controller for
eight years, before being elected as the states lieutenant
governor. During this time, he also held the positions of
president of the State Senate, chair of the Commission for
Economic Development, chair of the State Lands Commission,
regent of the University of California, and trustee of the
California State University. In November 1998, he was elected
governor of California.
After the governor was awarded his honorary doctor of science,
Jeffery Kelly, vice president for academic affairs and dean
of graduate studies, introduced the next part of the program,
the conferral of degrees on the graduating students.
In ways that the founders of this program had not
anticipated, the graduate program has brought a spirit of
vitality, inquisitiveness, and innovation to the institute,
Kelly said. "The students continually fine-tune the senses
of those of us who have more experience, they frame new and
challenging questions about issues that we thought were fully
clarified, and they allow us to see science through their
eyes. Most importantly, they remind us why we chose to make
this our lifes venture."
He continued, "It is important to note that many of the
major scientific discoveries that are made at this institute
have graduate student participation. This is something that
makes us feel enormously proud."
The graduating students advisors then stepped up to
the podium to speak about each student and his or her scientific
accomplishments. Stephen Mayfield, associate dean of graduate
studies, helped Kelly place the ceremonial blue and black
hood over each graduates head and hand each his or her
As the ceremony ended and recessional played, TSRI was 21
alumni, one honoris causa, and many memories richer.
California Governor Gray Davis receives
an honorary degree from TSRI for his accomplishments supporting
education and science.
Graduate students and their advisors take their places
The Governors Prepared Remarks
The Graduating Students