It was December 2007 and I was sitting in a restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming talking to Blake Troxel ’05. We were both spending the week there skiing with family. These were the early days of Facebook (before it chronicled our every step), so I’m not totally sure how we knew we were both going to be there at the same time. I hadn’t seen Blake in two years because he had been working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps. There was the occasional update from Blake during his time in the remote South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, but this was the first time we had the chance to meet up.
After hearing about his life-changing experiences during the course of the last two years, I asked Blake what he was going to do when his time ended in the Corps. and his response was, “go back for another year.” This came as no surprise to me. If there is one word I think of when I hear the name Blake Troxel it’s “commitment”. From Blake’s swimming years I remember him being one of the hardest working guys in the pool. He was committed to being the best that he could and to making the team the best it could be. Blake led the team not only in the pool, but also in the classroom. He is the type of student-athlete that I tell stories about to recruits when they come for their campus visit.
When I got a call this summer from a colleague telling me that the University had received word that Blake was awarded a Fulbright scholarship, I was elated. Blake is pursuing a masters degree in Environmental Science at Yale and this scholarship provides him the opportunity to return to Vanuatu to assist its department of forestry with local ecological conservation and resource management. While I haven’t had the chance to talk to Blake, I can only imagine how excited he must be to return to a place that I know he loves, with people he considers to be his family, and pursue an opportunity to make a lasting impact on their environment.
We wish Blake the best of luck in his pursuits! Read the official University news release….
Story By: Bob Rafferty ’02