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President Jill Tiefenthaler's Blog

Commencement and Baccalaureate Speakers

Yesterday, I announced that alumna Jane Lubchenco will be this year’s Commencement speaker and that Professor Kristi Erdal will give the Baccalaureate address (see below).  In addition, Jerri Marr, Ed Robson, and Robert Schock will receive honorary degrees. All of these individuals are extremely accomplished and I look forward to honoring them – and, of course our graduates – in May.

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

I am pleased to announce that our Commencement and Timothy C. Linnemann Lecture on the Environment speaker this year will be Colorado College alumna and former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco ’69. Currently the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology at Oregon State University, Professor Lubchenco was appointed head of NOAA by President Barack Obama in December 2008 and left her post at the end of February 2013.

After graduating from Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Lubchenco went on to earn her M.S. in zoology at the University of Washington and her Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University. She began her teaching career in 1975 at Harvard University, where she taught for two years before teaching at Oregon State University from 1977-2009.

Lubchenco has served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Council for Science, and the Ecological Society of America, and was a board member for 10 years of the National Science Board. She also served on the National Academy of Sciences’ study on “Policy Implications of Global Warming” under the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Lubchenco is the recipient of a number of awards, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. We are delighted to have an alumna who so thoroughly represents the spirit of Colorado College as our Commencement speaker this year.

I am also pleased to inform the community that Professor of Psychology Kristi Erdal will serve as the Baccalaureate speaker this year. Erdal has conducted clinical research on depression and anxiety in Parkinson’s disease and experimental research on sport superstition and head injury. After receiving her Ph.D. from Arizona State University, Erdal began teaching at Colorado College in 1995.

At the recommendation of the Academic Events Committee and with the approval of the Board of Trustees, we will also award honorary degrees to three outstanding leaders: Jerri Marr, Ed Robson, and Robert Schock.  As forest supervisor of the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, and the Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, Marr has been credited as a hero for her actions during the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire. Her reassuring and empathetic leadership comforted the residents of our region during one of its most destructive and trying times.

Alumnus Ed Robson ’54, an Arizona business leader and developer of active adult communities, served on the Colorado College Board of Trustees and is the parent of 1979 graduate Steve Robson. He has received a number of awards for his work, including the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations. As an advocate for increasing access to higher education, he has provided crucial support for financial aid at Colorado College through the Robson Endowed Scholarship Fund and the Robson Scholars Fund.

Alumnus Robert Schock ’61 is a member of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an entity that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He is now a senior scientific advisor for the Center for Global Security Research, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the World Energy Council. Schock has, on several occasions, given expert testimony to investigation subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

I look forward to honoring all of these individuals, along with our graduates, at Commencement on May 19.

Best regards,

Jill

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