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March 1, 2010
Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Carol Browner to Deliver GMC's Class of 2010 Commencement Address

POULTNEY, VT—Carol M. Browner, President Barack Obama’s Director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, will deliver the commencement address at Green Mountain College’s 173rd graduation ceremony on May 15 at 10 a.m. on the Griswold Library lawn. She will also receive an honorary doctor of laws degree. Also receiving an honorary degree at commencement will be artist Mel Chin.

“Carol Browner has been a stalwart champion for environmental protection and public health for over 30 years,” said Green Mountain College President Paul Fonteyn. “Now she’s in the forefront of policymaking at the highest levels. She’s a great role model for our students and our graduating seniors are really looking forward to her address.”

Throughout her career, Carol Browner has been guided by the philosophy that the environment and the economy go hand in hand, supporting tough standards to protect the environment in ways that promote innovation and American competitiveness.

Born in Miami in 1955, she spent much of her youth hiking in Florida's Everglades, an experience that helped her develop an appreciation of the natural world. After earning her BA and law degrees from the University of Florida at Gainesville, Browner went to work for Citizen Action, a grassroots organization that advocates for environmental causes. She served as Senator Al Gore's senior legislative aide from 1989 to 1991 before heading up the Department of Environmental Regulation in Florida.

Browner was appointed director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served until 2001—it is the longest tenure of any EPA head. In 1996 Browner led the campaign to reauthorize the Safe Drinking Water Act, and spearheaded the Food Quality Protection Act which modernized standards governing use of pesticides. It was one of the first environmental laws to specifically protect children's health. In her current role in the Obama administration, Browner helps coordinate energy and climate policy for the White House.

Mel Chin is a classically trained artist who has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and 1990. His artwork often combines elements of botany and ecology, and his creations are motivated largely by political, cultural, and social concerns. In his piece “Revival Field,” Chin worked with scientists to create sculpted gardens of plants that draw heavy metals from some of the most polluted areas in the world. The piece was featured in Art: 21–Art in the Twenty-First Century, the acclaimed PBS television series on contemporary visual art. He will be presented with an honorary doctorate of arts degree.

Green Mountain College is a four year liberal arts college that takes the environment as a unifying theme for undergraduates in 22 major programs of study.


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