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2008 News Releases

Effects of global warming detailed at Convocation

September 12, 2008

L. Preston Bryant Jr., Virginia secretary of natural resources, gave a sobering overview of the effects of global warming at the 2008 Convocation ceremony. L. Preston Bryant Jr., Virginia secretary of natural resources, gave a sobering overview of the effects of global warming at the 2008 Convocation ceremony.

Longwood University seniors at Convocation were given a sobering overview of the effects of global warming by the state’s principal environmental adviser.

L. Preston Bryant Jr., Virginia secretary of natural resources, cited some of the tentative findings of a climate change commission he chairs that was created by Gov. Tim Kaine in December 2007. Among the findings: the sea level in Virginia is expected to rise by 2.3 feet to 5.2 feet over the next 100 years; the Hampton Roads area is the 10th largest coastal city in the world in its exposure to increased flooding from sea level rise and storm surges; and the Chesapeake Bay’s "foundation species," such as blue crabs, eel grasses and oysters, could decline or disappear over time from increased water temperatures and salinity.

"As our nation warms, we will likely see impacts to our environment, economy and public health," he said. "As the oceans’ waters expand from warmer temperatures, causing sea level to rise, the world’s coastal regions will be impacted. Marine life, as we know it, will be impacted. Wildlife and plant species will be impacted, with many migrating to higher altitudes and latitudes. The means the food chain will be altered. Local, national and world economies will be affected as our built infrastructure is impacted, especially in coastal regions, by an increased frequency and severity of storms. Our economy also will be impacted as energy supply and consumption changes, and as human health is impacted, especially among the aged and infirmed, by the warmer temperatures."

Faculty members who received awards at convocation, who are, from left, Dr. Michelle Parry, Dr. Pam Tracy and Dr. Leigh Lunsford.
Faculty members who received awards at convocation are, from left, Dr. Michelle Parry, Dr. Pam Tracy and Dr. Leigh Lunsford.
The panel will recommend strategies to meet the governor’s goal of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by 30 percent from its projected growth by 2025, Bryant said. The panel has received testimony from nearly 40 experts and is expected to issue its report to the governor by mid-December, he said.

Bryant praised Longwood’s sustainability initiative. "The university is coloring itself a deeper shade of green as it increasingly builds upon its record of environmental education and stewardship," he said. "Launching your new sustainability initiative is but your next step, and it is an important one. It embodies your efforts to think globally as you act so very locally.

"What the university is doing to reduce its use of now-renewable fuel sources – whether from heating and cooling buildings or from having a Prius-driving president – is very much in keeping with Governor Kaine’s recent instructions to state government. More than a year ago, he instructed all state agencies – including colleges and universities – to reduce the purchase of non-renewable fuel by 20 percent by 2010. We are tracking progress, and I am pleased to say that we are on track to meet that goal."

Bryant, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, was introduced by John W. Daniel II, a member of the Longwood Board of Visitors who once held the position now occupied by Bryant. 

Amanda Mason is being capped by Dr. Wayne McWee and Emily Kennedy
The senior class president, Amanda Mason, is capped by Dr. Wayne McWee, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and her "little sister," Emily Kennedy.
Also at Convocation, three faculty awards previously announced at Commencement were presented. Dr. Pam Tracy, associate professor of communication studies and director of the Longwood Seminar, received the Maria Bristow Starke Award for Faculty Excellence; Dr. Michelle Parry, associate professor of physics and physics area coordinator, received the Maude Glenn Raiford Award for Excellence in Teaching; and Dr. Leigh Lunsford, associate professor of mathematics, received the Junior Faculty Award. Each award includes a medallion and a cash award.

The ceremony concluded with the longstanding Longwood tradition in which seniors are presented colorfully decorated mortarboards by their "little sister" or "little brother." The first person to be capped, as always, was this year’s senior class president Amanda Mason. She was capped on the Jarman stage by Dr. Wayne McWee, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and by her little sister, Emily Kennedy.