The Junior Distinguished Faculty Award is given to an assistant or associate professor. If this year’s winner had her choice, we would not be conducting graduation indoors this morning. Neither would we be sitting on the quad in the rain. Most likely, her ideal of a graduation would be for all of us to remove our shoes and wade into Coy Pond—or perhaps the pond that has taken over the Frost Hall parking lot—where we would listen to the pomp and circumstance of the frogs. In seeking advice about our future, we would study the sediment and organic materials under our feet, and examine the biodiversity and interdependence of life in the wetland, all the while considering our own interdependence and responsibilities within God’s Creation.
During the last three and a half years at Gordon she has brought an irrepressible energy to the classroom, awakening in students far greater alertness to issues of ecology and Christian service. In her classes, as well as in a recent chapel address, she has been articulating a biblical perspective on environmental stewardship. I have been especially impressed by her analysis of the biblical ideals of Sabbath as a model for environmental care. Her own recent research has explored the health of species in various wetland habitats known as prairie potholes. And she has been a leader and collaborator among her colleagues—helping organize an extensive review of the biology curriculum, planning sessions for the Gordon College Symposium with her students, working diligently on faculty search committees, and bringing creativity and discernment to the deliberations of the AJ Gordon Scholarship Committee.
Few colleagues have such a contagious love of learning and a commitment to her students. This year’s recipient had an especially large number of nominations from students and from faculty. I suppose that if the frogs, geese, and skunks on this campus could vote too, they would also grant this year’s Junior Distinguished Faculty Award to assistant professor of biology Dr. Dorothy Boorse.