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March 21, 2014
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

Jonathan Lash is Green Mountain College’s 2014 Benson Lecturer

POULTNEY-- Green Mountain College will host Jonathan Lash as speaker at the eighth annual Thomas L. Benson Lecture Friday, April 25, at 1 p.m. in Ackley Hall.

Currently president of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., Lash is an environmental and educational leader with deep ties to Vermont.

Among initiatives launched at Hampshire College since Lash became president in 2011 is the Healthy Food Transition, which includes sourcing nearly all food served on the campus from within 150 miles and the establishment of a Center for New England Food and Agriculture. Hampshire is a member of the Five College consortium, and is known for educating innovative thinkers, particularly in the areas of sustainability, creativity, social change, and entrepreneurship.

Lash is an internationally recognized expert on practical solutions to global sustainability, climate change, and development challenges. From 1993 to 2011, he was president of World Resources Institute (WRI), a Washington-based environmental think tank focusing on issues ranging from low carbon development to sustainable transportation. Under Lash's leadership, WRI quadrupled its budget and globalized its work to over 50 countries. He also co-chaired the President's Council on Sustainable Development, a group of government, business, labor, civil rights, and environmental leaders appointed by Bill Clinton that developed visionary recommendations for strategies to promote sustainable development.

Prior to WRI, Lash was Vermont Secretary of Natural Resources. In that capacity he helped implement innovative statutes pertaining to pollution prevention, solid waste management, and protection of pristine streams. He also served as director of the Environmental Law Center at Vermont Law School, rated the best program of its kind in the United States.

Lash began his legal career as a federal prosecutor and then became senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he litigated on issues related to pollution control, federal coal leasing, strip mining and energy conservation. He has also served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer and trainer.

Lash holds an A.B. from Harvard College, and M.Ed. and J.D. from Catholic University. He attended The Putney School in Vermont. He has been named among the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics (“Ethisphere” magazine, 2007), Top 100 Most Influential People in Finance (“Treasury and Risk Management” magazine, 2005), and 25 Climate Warriors “fighting to stave off the planet-wide catastrophe” (“Rolling Stone,” 2005).

The Benson Lecture Series was inaugurated eight years ago in honor of former Green Mountain College President Thomas L. Benson. The Benson Lecture Series brings visionary speakers of national and international significance to the College campus. Benson was president from 1994- 2002 and was the architect of the College's environmental liberal arts mission.

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