CSU, Chico News

Environmental Leader Denis Hayes To Deliver Rawlins Lecture; Jack Rawlins to Receive Honorary Doctorate at Event

Date: 03-27-2007

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Jim Pushnik
Rawlins Endowed Professor

An important event during Earth Month will bring one of the foremost environmentalists of our times to Chico to deliver the annual Rawlins Lecture and will also be the occasion for the presentation of an honorary doctorate to Jack Rawlins, an environmental advocate who has done much to advance environmental literacy at California State University, Chico.

Denis Hayes, an organizer of the original Earth Day in 1970, former director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and one of Time Magazine’s "100 Heroes of the Planet," is coming to Chico to speak on Wednesday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Laxson Auditorium.

The title of Hayes’ lecture is "Sunpower: How to Make Modern Industrial Civilization Sustainable." The lecture is free and open to the public.

"We are very fortunate to get Denis to give this talk, as he is in very high demand," said James Pushnik, who currently holds the Rawlins’ Professorship in Environmental Literacy. "He is a visionary and a strong proponent of sustainability. In part, he was willing to make this visit as a tribute to the work our campus is involved in and to recognize the contribution of Jack Rawlins to that work."

Rawlins will be honored at the beginning of the evening, before the lecture. He believes that the world needs young people with vision and dedication to ecology and conservation. To that end, he has established the Jack Rawlins Endowed Professorship in Environmental Literacy, the Rawlins Ecology and Conservation Awards and the Rawlins Environmental Award to a student or group of students who propose a resolution to an environmental problem.

Hayes has had a lifelong career devoted to the environment. He left his graduate studies at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government to coordinate the first Earth Day in 1970, an event often credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Twenty years later, he headed the first International Earth Day, with 200 million participants in 141 countries. Hayes still serves as chair of Earth Day Network, the group that coordinates Earth Day activities worldwide.

Today, Hayes is president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, a $100 million environmental philanthropy group located in Seattle. An environmental lawyer by training, Hayes has published more than 100 articles, books and papers about energy and the environment.

During the Carter administration, Hayes headed the federal Solar Energy Research Institute (now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory). From 1983 to 1988, he was an adjunct professor of engineering at Stanford University. He also served as director of the Illinois State Energy Office, Senior Fellow at the Worldwatch Institute and Visiting Scholar at the Smithsonian Institution. He is a Fellow of the American Solar Energy Society and co-chairs Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels’ Green Ribbon Commission on Climate Protection, exploring non-nuclear climate solutions.

Hayes has received numerous awards. He was selected by Look Magazine as one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century and by the National Audubon Society as one of 100 Environmental Heroes of the 20th Century.