David Haskell, professor of biology at the University of the South (known familiarly as Sewanee) in Sewanee, Tennessee, will address 80 Berea College seniors participating in the mid-year commencement ceremony on Sunday, December 8, 2013, at 3 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel.
Students participating in the service are expected to complete degree requirements by January 2014.
The service is open to the public and will be streamed live at https://new.livestream.com/accounts/5135608/midyear.
A teacher, writer and scientist, Haskell is an innovative instructor who was recognized as the Carnegie-CASE Professor of the Year for Tennessee in 2009. The Oxford American featured Haskell as one of the most creative teachers in the South in 2011. His classes have received national attention for the innovative ways they combine science, contemplation and action in the community.
Described by James Gorman, science reporter for The New York Times, as one who “… thinks like a biologist, writes like a poet, and gives the natural world the kind of open-minded attention one expects from a Zen monk rather than a hypothesis-driven scientist,” Haskell is the author of “The Forest Unseen” (Viking Penguin, 2012) a book that “reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest.”
The book has earned several prestigious awards, including the 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies, as well as the 2013 Reed Environmental Writing Award and the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature. It also was a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction.
His other projects include Darwin's Garden- a plot that features a walkway divided into the periods of life's history with fossil stamps and evolutionarily significant plants; Bio-Bikes- a program utilizing a fleet of bicycles for students in field labs to use for transportation; Food Working Group- a consortium facilitating sustainability of the university's food system; and Cudzoo Farm- a small dairy-goat farm in Sewanee that produces food and goat milk soaps.
Haskell earned a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Oxford.
He is a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies and was granted elective membership in the American Ornithologists’ Union. His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the World Wildlife Fund, among others.