TSRI Holds Tenth Commencement
By Mika Ono
use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all,
and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these
winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance,
1841, quoted by Professor Paul Schimmel in TSRI's 2002 commencement
For students receiving their doctoral degrees, The Scripps Research Institute's
(TSRI) commencement on May 17 provided moments to rememberthe handshake
with their advisor, the donning of the ceremonial blue and black hood,
the grasp of the diploma in their hand. These were small acts that symbolized
the culmination of years of work and as well as the new opportunities
that lay ahead.
For others, the commencement marked an important moment in the institute's
historyTSRI's tenth commencement, the first class to graduate from
the newly named Kellogg School of Science and Technology, and the conferral
of honorary degrees to philanthropists Janet ("Jean") Kellogg and W. Keith
Kellogg II. With this commencement, the institute also celebrated past
accomplishments and looked toward a promising future.
The commencement ceremony officially began at 10 AM with the march east
from The Skaggs Institute, through the tunnel under North Torrey Pines
Road, to the Neurosciences Institute auditorium. Led by TSRI President
Richard Lerner, faculty, graduating students, and current students processed
solemnly along the walkway.
Once in the auditorium, Lerner welcomed the group. Jeffery Kelly, vice
president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies, also gave
"In ways that the founders of this program could not have anticipated,
the graduate program has brought a spirit of vitality, inquisitiveness,
and innovation to the institute that is apparent to everybody who works
in this environment," said Kelly. "The students continue to fine-tune
the senses of those of us who, in principal, have more experience. They
frame new and challenging questions about issues that we thought were
fully clarified. They allow us to see science through their own eyes.
And they remind us why we choose to make education and research our life's
He continued, "It is important to note that many of the scientific discoveries
that are made at The Scripps Research Institute involve work of graduate
studentssomething that makes us feel enormously proud."
Later is his address, Kelly officially announced the naming of the TSRI
graduate college the Kellogg School of Science and Technology in "recognition
of Jean and Keith Kellogg's commitment to education and science and their
generous support of science education at The Scripps Research Institute,
in California, and in the state of Illinois... Their endowment of the
graduate program provides us with the resources to continuously innovatesomething
that is absolutely essential in the fast-moving environment in which we
find ourselves today."
Paul Schimmel, Ernest and Jean Hahn Professor of Molecular Biology and
Chemistry at TSRI, took up this theme in the commencement address.
"The graduate program at The Scripps will probably go down as one of
the all-time success stories in American graduate education," he said.
"The achievement I'm talking about is not the achievement of numbers.
It's the achievement of quality, acclaim, and recognition."
However, Schimmel advised TSRI, its graduate program, and its 2002 graduates
to continually reinvent themselves to remain successful over the long-term.
"You've got to go 'back to the future', over and over, throughout your
lifeas an individual as well as an institutionif you are going
to maintain success," he said. "You're not going to win by leaving things
to chance and just extrapolating to the future what you did in the past."
After Schimmel's speech, the graduating students' thesis advisors said
a few words about the students and their contributions to science, and
students accepted their diplomas. K.C. Nicolaou, chair of the Department
of Chemistry, set a TSRI record by graduating four Ph.D. candidates this
year, the most ever from one lab.
Honorary degrees were then conferred on Jean Kellogg and W. Keith Kellogg
II. Carolyn McGunn, the daughter of Jean Kellogg, accepted the honorary
degree on behalf of her mother. General Packaging Products President William
Keith Kellogg III, the son of W. Keith Kellogg II, accepted an honorary
degree on behalf of his father.
"This is a great achievement for the Kellogg familyto be honored
by such an outstanding scientific academy," said William Keith Kellogg
III, upon accepting the degree. "It emphasizes our family's consistent
commitment to science and education."
Jean Kellogg is a philanthropist and friend of both science and higher
education. She is a current member of the TSRI Board of Trustees and an
emeritus member of the Foundation Board for The Scripps Institutions for
Medicine and Science. She has been involved with California State University,
San Marcos, from its beginning stages a decade ago, and the Kelloggs have
been long-time benefactors of Cal Poly Pomona, providing funding for its
4,000-square-foot W. Keith and Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery. Jean
Kellogg is also an active community volunteer in local organizations,
such as the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild.
Keith Kellogg is the retired chairman of General Packaging Products,
a small, Chicago-based company founded by his father, John Kellogg, who
pioneered the use of waxed paper in 1915. General Packaging prints protective
packaging materials, like candy and frozen food wrappers. Keith Kellogg
spent many of his formative years in a cereal factory, working for his
grandfather, Will Keith Kellogg, inventor of the corn flake and founder
of Kellogg Company, today the world's leading cereal producer.
In the past 10 years, TSRI's Ph.D. program has produced 140 graduates,
21 of whom graduated this year. The institute's first commencement in
1993 graduated a single student. Since then, the program has grown rapidly
in both size and reputation. U.S. News & World Report recently
ranked TSRI's graduate program ninth in the biological sciences, sixth
in chemistry, and second in the specialty of organic chemistry.
TSRI alumni hold positions in both academia and industry. Some of this
year's graduates will work at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, Uppsala University (Sweden), University of Minnesota, University
of California at San Diego, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research
Foundation (GNF), Pharmacia Corporation, and Attenuon, L.L.C.
As TSRI's tenth commencement ceremony came to a close, the students,
faculty, honored guests, and new alumni filed out of the auditorium to
the future that lay waiting.
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TSRI Professor Paul Schimmel gave a commencement
address entitled "Back to the Future" in which he emphasized that responding
to change is key for long-term success. Photo by Kevin
Twenty-one students received Ph.D. degrees from
The Scripps Research Institute on May 17. Photo by Jason