June 27, 2022 • ISSUE 629

Ash Pachauri, Global Sustainability and Public Health Advocate, Gives Commencement Address

MIU graduated its largest class ever, 699 students, at its 45th commencement on June 18th. The class includes on-campus and online students as well as students at MIU’s sister institutions in South Africa and Ethiopia. Graduates come from 55 countries, including 245 from the US, 90 from Ethiopia, 62 from South Africa, 49 from Egypt, and 47 from Mongolia.
This year’s commencement speaker was Ash Pachauri, PhD, senior mentor of Protect the Planet (POP), a movement he co-founded with his late father Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, trailblazing climate change researcher. The mission of POP is to organize youth around the world to address the challenges of climate change through training, mentorship, project-based learning, and activism.

Dr. Pachauri giving the commencement address

Dr. Pachauri is a consultant for international organizations and collaborates with educational institutions. He has worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the UN, and the CDC and is currently a technical adviser to the World Health Organization on self-care global guidelines.
In his commencement address, Dr. Pachauri encouraged students to embrace the values of service, environmental stewardship, compassion, and inclusivity. He emphasized the interconnectedness of all humanity around the world and the importance of adopting new attitudes, values, and behaviors in order to solve the multitude of crises the planet faces.

President Hagelin presenting Dr. Pachauri his honorary degree

“We all live behind a legacy, and what your legacy will be is your choice,” he said. “A legacy is a part and a piece of yourself which you sow in the hearts, the minds, and the eternal souls of those who cross your path physically, virtually, spiritually, and in any way. What you give of yourself is what grows, never goes, and is eternal; it’s never replaced.”

Valedictorian Marie Greive leading the processional at the start of commencement

During the graduation ceremony, MIU awarded Dr. Pachauri an honorary doctoral degree in world peace for his lifelong dedication to serving his fellow human beings and for his goal of creating a healthy, regenerative world for all generations to come. During his stay in Fairfield, Dr. Pachauri also participated in the inauguration of the second phase of the MIU Solar MEG’Array.

Salutatorian Katherine Eid Wild presenting the class gift—a contribution to the renovation of the MIU swimming pool (photos by Ken West)