Pioneer in sustainable living education to address UMPI commencement

Posted May 03, 2011, at 1:51 p.m.
Last modified May 03, 2011, at 2:33 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The co-founder of a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to making sustainable living the foundation of learning will deliver the commencement address at the University of Maine at Presque Isle on Saturday, May 14.

Dr. Anthony D. Cortese also will be presented with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree during the event, according to UMPI President Don Zillman.

“We are honored to have one of our nation’s longtime and well-known advocates for environmental sustainability address our graduating class this year,” Zillman said in a press release announcing the commencement speaker. “Dr. Cortese’s unwavering commitment to and passion for this critical issue is a strong model for our graduates as they enter their chosen careers. We are also very pleased to be honoring Dr. Cortese for his outstanding example of the importance of public service.”

The university’s commencement exercises are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 14, in Wieden Gymnasium.

Anthony D. Cortese is president of Second Nature, a nonprofit organization

he co-founded in 1993 in Boston with U.S. Sen. John Kerry and Teresa Heinz. Its mission is “to develop the national capacity to make healthy, just, and sustainable action a foundation of all learning and practice in higher education,” according to the press release.

Cortese graduated from Tufts University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering, and earned a doctoral degree in environmental health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Before co-founding Second Nature, he served in the U.S. Public Health Services, the original Environmental Protection Agency, followed by five years as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Cortese returned to his alma mater, Tufts University, where he was dean of environmental programs. In 1989, he founded the award-winning Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute, the first effort in the U.S. to incorporate environmental and sustainability perspectives into a broad spectrum and

number of courses.

Cortese also is co-organizer of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate

Commitment, an organization which was launched in 2007 to engage college and university

leadership in addressing climate issues. ACUPCC has 677 signatories, including UMPI, in its network of educational institutions. All 50 states and the District of Columbia are represented among the signatories.

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