Sir Peter Crane to give Convocation address January 20

peter crane

The University of the South’s Winter Convocation will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in All Saints' Chapel. Honorary degrees will be presented and approximately 100 new members will be inducted into the Order of Gownsmen. Sir Peter Crane, until recently the dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, will give the Convocation address and will receive an honorary doctor of science degree.

During the Convocation, Paul Farmer, medical anthropologist, physician, and founding director of Partners in Health, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law; journalist and poet Eliza Griswold will receive an honorary doctor of letters; and S. Zachry Young, former headmaster at Wesleyan School in Atlanta, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law.

Convocation will be streamed live for those who are unable to attend.

Peter Crane became the inaugural president of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia in July 2016. The foundation is a legacy of Rachel Lambert Mellon and is dedicated to inspiring and facilitating scholarship and public dialogue on the uses, history and future of plants, including their importance for human well-being, and in the culture of gardens and landscapes. Crane is known internationally for his work on the diversity of plant life—its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use. From 1982 to 1999 he was at the Field Museum in Chicago, and from 1999 to 2006 he was director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of the largest and most influential botanical gardens in the world. He joined Yale in 2009 as dean of Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Crane was elected to the Royal Society—the UK academy of sciences—in 1998 and was knighted in the UK for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004.

Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to improving health care for the world's poorest people. He is co-founder and chief strategist of Partners In Health, an international nonprofit organization that since 1987 has provided direct health care services and undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Farmer and his colleagues have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of quality health care in resource-poor settings. He holds an M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he is the Kolokotrones University Professor and the chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; he is also chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston. Farmer serves as the U.N. Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Community Based Medicine and Lessons from Haiti. He has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality.

Journalist and poet Eliza Griswold currently serves as a Distinguished Writer in residence at New York University. Her poetry and reportage have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among many others. She has held fellowships at Harvard University and at the New America Foundation. She won the first Robert I. Friedman Prize in Investigative Journalism in 2004, and has written widely about the war on terror. Her first nonfiction book, The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Isla, was awarded the Anthony J. Lukas prize and was a New York Times bestseller. In 2011, Griswold published an investigative report in The New York Times Magazine that investigated the impacts of fracking in Appalachia; it served as the basis for her forthcoming book, Amity and Prosperity, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012. She is currently at work on her second volume of poems.

S. Zachry Young is the retired headmaster of Wesleyan School in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. Before joining Wesleyan, Young had a career at SunTrust Bank and served as director of development at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where he played a critical role in growing the schools’ endowment. During Young’s 18 years at Wesleyan, he led Wesleyan’s transition from a small K-8 school to an 85-acre K-12 campus with five academic buildings and first-class athletic facilities. As headmaster, he worked to make Wesleyan a full-activity school, and during his tenure, over 85 percent of students in grades 7 through 12 participated in some after-school activity. Young’s legacy for fundraising and building is eclipsed only by his reputation as a caring educator who made an effort to know the name of every student at the school.