Convocation 2007
Convocation 2007

Faculty Response
Return to Program and Remarks

Elizabeth A. ForysElizabeth A. Forys
Professor of Environmental Sciences
Chair, Faculty Coordinating Committee
September 5, 2007


On behalf of the faculty of Eckerd College, I'd like to … give you a test. (I'll be honest, this is the real reason I think most of us teach at Eckerd, a small liberal arts college - it is not just the close student-faculty interactions we have or the exciting class discussions and labs - but it is being able to give some really hard detailed tests)

Actually, this is more of a diagnostic quiz that will indicate to all of you (even the people behind me) the amount of studying you will need to do before Eckerd College turns 50. 

I have 3 extremely important questions on the test about our college - of course, this is from the perspective of an environmental biologist.

I shall read aloud each question and the answer choices, please mentally chose the best answer. 

Question 1: Triton is a mythological Greek God, the messenger of the deep and our mascot, but a triton is also a marine invertebrate.  What type of marine invertebrate is a triton?

  1. a hermaphroditic bivalve
  2. a gastropod that has 2 genders
  3. a giant from Greek mythology who carried the earth on his back
  4. the spear that Poseidon used to win back Atlantis

Please mentally choose an answer

Correct answer:
B.  a gastropod that has 2 genders

So our mascot is related to a marine snail, but a really big beautiful snail.  Also an unusual snail in that there are both females snails and males snails (most snails are hermaphroditic and have both male and female organs).  Just remember "it takes 2 tritons to tango."

Question 2.  How many poisonous snakes currently occur on Eckerd College's campus.

  1. None
  2. Two species (cottonmouth, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake)
  3. Five species (cottonmouth, diamondback rattle snake, pygmy rattlesnake, indigo snake, and coral snake)
  4. 7 species (all of the previous, plus the coastal taipan, and the Florida pit viper)

Please mentally choose an answer

Correct answer
A.  None

  1. There have been no poisonous snakes seen in 15 years on Eckerd College's campus, and only 1 verified one before that since 1962. (although people claim to see poisonous snakes all the time - but they are usually water snakes, rat snakes or black racers).
  2. Most of the snakes left on our campus eat roaches and rats and are performing valuable services to us.  So be kind to the snakes.

Question 3.  Which of the following institutions first signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment to address global warming?

  1. Harvard University
  2. Duke University
  3. Eckerd College

Please mentally choose an answer

Correct answer: 
C.  Eckerd College.

Eckerd College signed earlier this year, before Duke University.  Harvard is still getting its act together.  This just shows you that Eckerd College is continuing its tradition to be an innovative, value-oriented institution (and one that doesn't want sea level to rise)

Did anyone get a 100%?

If not, you've got a lot of work to do over the next year.  But please enjoy it!

Thank you!

Eckerd College Eckerd College's 50th Anniversary
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