IES@50: Video Transcript

Srinivas Krishnan [Miami MEn, 1988]: Congratulations, congratulations IES. Fantastic to hear that it's the 50th anniversary of the program. Congratulations. I am so humbled to be a graduate of this extremely powerful spirit. IES has created so many entrepreneurs. IES has produced people who look beyond themselves.

IES has produced people who have loved, who have that ability to trust people from other cultures. So, to me you can define IES in so many ways. You can view IES as an institution that is seeking out ways and means to look at water, to look at air, to look at people, to look at pollution.

But in all of this it's making you look within you, it's making you look at the journey within which is the most important thing for human beings. And I think that word is transformation. And I can speak for myself and feel that all of my gurus: Dr. Gene Willeke, Dr. Sandra Woy-Hazelton, Chris Ingham, Ruth McLeod, Dr. Don Kaufman, Betty Haven, Dr. Dwight Baldwin and Dr. Dick Smith, Dr. Chris Webber, Dr. Jon Levy, and my best friend Jeff Harmon.

Each of these people and the countless students, each student were like a star, you know. Each one of them was so different. Each one of them allowed you to be yourself. Each one of them gave me unconditional love, and I particularly remember that moment when I got my first "C."

I was never used to that, and the students took me Uptown and got me a Bruno's pizza and got me a whole tub of chocolate chip cookie ice cream. So those things will always stay with me, and each of those little dots have morphed into this Srini who firmly believes in continuing that beauty by way of a project that I have now called the Boundary Breakers.

[Traditional forms of music]

Srinivas Krishnan: So I've dedicated my life to teaching young children. I'm very proud to say that my students performed at Columbia University last year as well as MIT and Berkley. And I sincerely hope that we'll always stay optimistic and positive that each of these students who I groom will first learn to be a friend. They will first learn how to trust someone from another world. Put others first. Put others first and then look at themselves.

I am extremely grateful to Dr. Jonathan Levy for giving me this opportunity to enlighten myself once again in sharing this greeting with all my great colleagues. I use the word great simply because the admissions committee then did an extraordinary job in bringing people from all around the world and continue to do so year after year.

So, we have Dr. Chris Bartel who was there before, and I had the opportunity to study under him as well and every one of them, every teacher was so different from one another. I firmly believe that those lessons, even though I don't necessarily work in areas of toxicology over the last couple of decades, but every success, every achievement, the roots of all that came right out of IES.

[Dancing and traditional music]

Dr. Gene Willeke [late former Director of IES]: The aspects of the way Srini puts on a program is that he rehearses very few times, once or twice. But, if everybody has the finished product in mind, that could work.

Srinivas Krishnan: The way we structure everything, the way we are organized, in subtle ways without becoming too hung up on being "this is my way of doing it." And I think this umbrella concept was shared by our teachers. I'm very proud to say I have implemented it at every opportunity, especially in projects all around the U.S. I have multiple chapters of Global Rhythms at the University of Vermont, Mary Baldwin University, and several other programs across the U.S.

But notably, at Miami University all those successes came, I must say, because of Dr. Gene Willeke, who was instrumental as the silent catalyst in nudging me forward to make changes all the time. He said, "You cannot afford to stay here, you need to adapt and bring in more energy from around the world to make a more powerful spirit."

[Orchestra music]

Srinivas Krishnan: And I think there is one word in India which we call bhakthi. Bhakthi means devotion. And there is a very deep sense of devotion that percolates in the heart of both Patricia and Dr. Gene Willeke. It allowed them to see life in a myriad of ways. It allowed them to celebrate life every day.

They have taught me the meaning of the word gratitude. Gratitude, gratitude. They have taught me what it is to be always grateful every day for everything we have. That we are not entitled for anything.

Dr. Gene Willeke: Global Rhythms has been the major musical production at Miami for most of, most of, I guess all of the years it has been given.

Srinivas Krishnan: Towards the last few years, every production had 600 to 700 people. We were never afraid of taking risks. We did it in the best interests of students. We did it in the best interest of the community, and the beauty that the United States of America symbolizes to people like me from faraway worlds. That is a great nation. It will always be a great nation. Thank you, God bless you all. Happy 50th IES!

[bird sounds]

[September 2019]