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05-08-2005

Clarkson University Grants Honoray Degree To Head Of World Wildlife Fund

[A photograph of Kathryn S. Fuller is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/fuller2.jpg]

Potsdam, New York - Kathryn S. Fuller, president and chief executive officer of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), received an honorary doctor of science degree at Clarkson University’s 112th Commencement on Sunday, May 8.

Fuller was honored for her enormous contribution to the protection of wildlife and wildlands throughout the world. She brought her message of environmental responsibility to the nearly 700 Clarkson students receiving bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. fuller2

Fuller told the graduates “Stepping back to see the interconnectedness of all life is one of the great gifts of sight that nature conservation can give you. Humans for all our politics and preoccupation with ourselves are not quite as an important a species as we may think. Remove us from the picture and we would not be much missed. Remove bees and other pollinators and most of the fruits and vegetables we eat would disappear. Take away the microorganisms from the sea or soil and whole ecosystems would collapse. Fuller emphasized that of she was not trying to sound apocalyptic, but trying to make the point that one of the lessons that the observation of nature teaches you is that all life on earth, all life, including ours depends diversity. On the myriad ways that all species, small and large, simple and complex, interact in the grand biotic enterprise we call the web of life.”

In 1989 Fuller became the first woman to lead a major international environmental membership group. During her 16 years as president and chief executive officer of the WWF, she has received acclaim for aggressively advancing the organization’s wildlife and habitat conservation initiatives and encouraging inclusion of women in grassroots conservation programs. Under her leadership the WWF has more than doubled its membership, tripled its revenue, and expanded its presence around the globe.

A lawyer who has done field work studying Tanzanian wildebeests and Caribbean coral reefs, Fuller is the prototype of the modern environmentalist: part activist, part scientist, and part lawyer. Fuller received a bachelor of arts degree from Brown University and juris doctor degree from the University of Texas. She pursued graduate studies in marine, estuarine and environmental science at the University of Maryland. She has received several honorary doctorates and awards, including the U.N. Environment Programme’s Global 500.

Under Fuller’s direction the WWF launched the Living Planet Campaign, an ambitious blueprint for global environmental triage.  The WWF identified 200 key habitats, or ecoregions, which are critical to the planet’s biodiversity. One of the Campaigns’ successes is the 2000 decision by Brazil to allocate $270 million in a 10-year effort aimed at saving 100 million acres of the Amazon from development.

Fuller serves on the boards of several nonprofit and academic institutions, including Brown University, Resources for the Future, and the Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, and is chair of the board of directors of the Ford Foundation, and a member of the board of directors of Alcoa Inc.
[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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