Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bidding farewell to the SAIS Europe Class of 2014 and passing the baton

"The most practical education is the one that prepares you for tomorrow rather than today."

With those words, outgoing SAIS Director Kenneth Keller bid farewell last week to 212 members of the Bologna Center Class of 2014.

The end-of-year ceremony mixed recognition of academic achievement with good humor, as conveyed in a video that Student Government President Kristo Kentala showed to the students, faculty, staff and visiting family members.

Francesco Cenedese, Shawn Finlen, Andreas Glossner and Lauren Hartel won C. Grove Haines Awards, named after the Bologna Center founder, for outstanding academic work. Twenty students earned master's degrees and crowns of laurel leaves -- the tradition among graduates in Italy -- while most of the other students will conclude their studies at SAIS DC next year.

Prof. Arntraud Hartmann, an adjunct professor of International Development, won the excellence in teaching award, attributed by student vote. Prof. Michael Plummer offered the closing remarks in a symbolic passing of the baton before he takes over as SAIS Director on August 1.

Prof. Plummer, who teaches economics, praised this year's class for its academic curiosity, esprit de corps and "happy equilibrium", which, tongue firmly in cheek, he said suggests that "your endogenous variables form a stable system."

Director Keller's speech can be read here, while Kristo Kentala's is here. You can view the two sides of the ceremony's program here and here.

If your are reading this via email, you can see the video here.

Nelson Graves

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