Third Graduation at the American Museum of Natural History
It’s hard to imagine graduating underneath the giant blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History but for 18 accomplished graduate students, this scene was a reality. The commencement of the Richard Gilder Graduate School was held in the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life where four students received a Doctor of Philosophy in Comparative Biology and fourteen students received their Masters of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Earth Science.
The first of its kind in the Western Hemisphere to grant Ph.Ds., the American Museum of Natural History specializes in the preparation of students to bring a greater understanding of science to the community at large. Enabled by a generous benefactor, Richard Gilder, the museum provided doctoral degrees to students interested in a myriad of subjects, from the evolution of ants to topics focused on birds, lizards, and wasps.
The ceremony also conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree to established paleontologist, geologist and evolutionary biologist, Dr. Mee-Mann Chang. Research Professor at the Institute of Paleontology and Paleoanthropology and Professor at Peking University, Dr. Chang is a preeminent figure in the field of paleontology. Dr. Chang urged students as they looked towards their futures: “I encourage you to go places where the devil fears to tread, and to make great discoveries there.”
The leadership of President Ellen Futter at the American Museum of Natural History has enabled the degree programs to flourish, a first in academia and a tradition to influence other museums. #