2018-2019 Distinguished Lecturer in Environmental Studies
Dr. Jonathan Foley is a world-renowned environmental scientist, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on.
Foley’s groundbreaking research and insights have led him to become a trusted advisor to governments, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and business leaders around the world. He and his colleagues have made major contributions to our understanding of global ecosystems, food security and the environment, climate change, and the sustainability of the world’s resources. He has published over 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including many highly cited works in Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2014, Thomson Reuters named him a Highly Cited Researcher in ecology and environmental science, placing him among the top 1 percent most cited global scientists.
A noted science communicator, his presentations have been featured at hundreds of international venues, including the Aspen Institute, the World Bank, the National Geographic Society, the Chautauqua Institution, the Commonwealth Club, the National Science March in Washington, D.C., and TED.com. He has taught at several major universities on topics ranging from climate change, global sustainability solutions, the future of the global food system, and addressing the world’s “grand challenges”. He has also written many popular articles, op-eds, and essays in publications like National Geographic, the New York Times, the Guardian, and Scientific American. His writing has been featured on the covers of National Geographic, Nature, and Scientific American. He is also frequently interviewed by documentary filmmakers and international media outlets, and has appeared on National Public Radio, PBS NewsHour, the BBC, CNN, and in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Salon, WIRED, and the HBO documentary on climate change “Too Hot Not to Handle”.
Foley has won numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, awarded by President Clinton; the J.S. McDonnell Foundation’s 21st Century Science Award; an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship; the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America; and the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award. In 2014, he was also named as the winner of the prestigious Heinz Award for the Environment.
Foley is currently Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences. In this role, he leads the greenest museum on the planet and one of the most future- focused scientific institutions in the world. Previously, he was the founding director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota, where he was McKnight Presidential Chair of Global Environment and Sustainability. Prior to that, he was Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, where he founded the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE).
Originally from Maine, Foley enjoys nature photography, hiking, kayaking, and exploring new places. He lives in San Francisco.
2017-2018 Distinguished Lecturer in Environmental Studies
Dr. Sylvia Earle, legendary oceanographer, acclaimed environmental scientist, and champion for ocean conservation, has been named the inaugural F. Russell Cole Distinguished Lecturer in Environmental Studies at Colby College for the academic year 2017-2018.
Dr. Earle, National Geographic’s Rosemary and Roger Enrico Chair for Ocean Exploration, is an oceanographer, founder of Mission Blue, SEAlliance and Deep Ocean Exploration and Research. She is also the Council Chair of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, former chief scientist of NOAA and a founding Ocean Elder. Earle has been called “Her Deepness” by The New York Times and “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress and was Time magazine’s first “Hero for the Planet.” She has led over 100 expeditions and logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. She has authored more than 200 publications and lectured in 90 countries. A graduate of Florida State University with an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Duke University and 29 honorary doctorates, she serves on various boards and commissions. Her more than 100 honors include the 2013 National Geographic Hubbard Medal, 2009 TED Prize, Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark and medals from the Explorers Club, the Royal Geographical Society, the Lindbergh Foundation and the Dominican Republic. Earle is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence.
Her public lecture, The Quest for Sustainable Seas, demonstrated how the ocean provides the underpinning of our economy, health, security, and the existence of life itself. Once thought to be infinitely resilient, the ocean is in trouble, and therefore, so are we. With equal parts warning and hope, she showed us how actions we take in the next ten years will matter more than what we do in the next one hundred years.