Environmentalist Bill McKibben addressed grads at 61st commencement - 2008-05-11
278 members of Class of '08 honored
CONTACT: Kenneth Aaron, director of communications, (518) 327-6297
PAUL SMITHS – Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben told Paul Smith's College graduates that they face great opportunities - and great challenges - in the world they are entering.
McKibben spoke at the college's 61st commencement exercises, which honored the 278 members of the Class of 2008.
"You are graduating in what is not an easy moment in the history of our country, or the history of our world," he said at the Sunday, May 11, celebration.
But he has faith that the turnaround is coming, because he has faith that this generation is ready to forge closer ties to their communities - something lost as Americans have pursued other measures of happiness, such as big homes and pricey toys.
The college also presented honorary degrees to McKibben and architect Ronald De Lair, who recently retired after a 40-year career at Wareham De Lair Architects. That Saranac Lake firm and its predecessors designed many of the Great Camps that have become synonymous with Adirondack style.
McKibben is one of the nation's leading voices on climate change. His first book, "The End of Nature," was published in 1989 and is considered the first book for a general audience about the issue. It has been translated into more than 20 languages.
In all, McKibben has written a dozen books and hundreds of articles in publications as diverse as the New Yorker, Mother Jones and The Atlantic, covering topics such as alternative energy and the risks associated with human genetic engineering in addition to global warming. Last year, he spearheaded a pair of events dubbed Step It Up!, which brought together activists in all 50 states urging Congress to enact laws that would curtail pollution that produces global warming.
McKibben, who served on the Paul Smith's College board of trustees from 1996 to 2004, is now a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Paul Smith's College is the only four-year institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs, in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences, draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere.