OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU honorary degrees highlight environment, sustainabililty

06/03/1999

CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will bestow four honorary doctorates at its June 13 commencement ceremony.

All of the recipients have made major contributions and provided important leadership relating to environmental protection and sustainability, said OSU's Roy Arnold, provost and executive vice president.

The recipients are: Paul G. Hawken, founder of the U.S. version of The Natural Step, an organization created to share understanding about sustainable development among corporations; Admiral James D. Watkins, former Chief of Naval Operations and Secretary of Energy; and Anne and Paul Erhlich of Stanford University, who have been called the "nation's first couple of environmental research."

Hawken has created a growing revolution in the corporate world - a movement that combines successful, dynamic business practices with environmental awareness and responsibility. His book, "The Ecology of Commerce," was a national best-seller that was translated into more than a dozen languages.

His 17-part PBS television series, "Growing a Business," illustrated how a growing number of companies are thriving while being good citizens, including LL Bean, Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream, Esprit, and others.

In 1966, at the age of 20, Hawken created Erewhon Trading Company, the first natural foods company in the United States. Erewhon introduced many foods which have become staple items today, including whole grain breads and pastas, organic fruits and vegetables, and soy products.

Watkins has been a successful military leader, public servant, educator and advocate for research during his long, illustrious career. While in the U.S. Navy, Watkins became a four-star admiral and reached the Navy's highest position - Chief of Naval Operations.

In 1989, President Bush appointed Watkins as the sixth Secretary of Energy. During his four-year tenure, he led the development of the first comprehensive National Energy Strategy, implemented policies based on conservation and renewable energy sources, restructured the Department of Energy to emphasize environmental protection, safety and health, and spearheaded a move to fund a five-fold increase in appropriations for environmental cleanup.

Most recently, Watkins has been an advocate for research and education in the marine sciences. He is president of both the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., an organization of the 10 leading oceanographic institutions in the world, and the Consortium of Oceanographic Research and Education, Inc., a historic partnership of public and private organizations united to advance knowledge and learning in ocean sciences.

The Ehrlichs were honored last year with the 25th annual Tyler Prize for environmental achievement for their significant scientific contributions - collectively and individually - on population biology, ecology and evolution. In receiving the prestigious international award, they also were cited for raising public awareness about the environment, and helping to shape public opinion on resource declines.

Anne Ehrlich is the associate director of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University. Paul Ehrlich is the Bing Professor of Population Studies and a professor of biological sciences at Stanford. They have worked together since the 1950s, producing an enormous body of important work and taking public stands on diverse issues critical to the quality of human life, including the preservation of biodiversity and endangered species, the hazards of chemical pollution, the search for racial justice, and the horrible dangers of nuclear winter.

Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book, "The Population Bomb," was labeled a wake-up call for an entire generation on the issue of overpopulation. The Ehrlichs have written more than 30 other books, among them, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment" in 1977, which has been called a template for environmental education. More recently, they have been publishing a series of newsletters using science to debunk myths about humans' relationships with the environment.