2017 Commencement Speaker Announced

Alumna and Leading Conservationist Sandra Postel to Give 2017 Keynote Address

The Wittenberg University Honors Committee has selected Sandra Postel, a 1978 alumna and director of the independent Global Water Policy Project, to present the keynote address at the university's 167thCommencement Exercises, May 13.

Co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration initiative pioneered by National Geographic and its partners to restore billions of gallons of water to depleted rivers and wetlands, Postel stated in a recent article in National Geographic that "the extinction of life pains me. I just want to do my part to be sure we humans conserve water and share it with all of life."

Postel's career reflects her commitment and passion for nature. In 2010, the native of Franklin Square, N.Y., was appointed Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society. From 2000-2008, she served as a visiting senior lecturer in environmental studies at Mount Holyoke College and directed the college's Center for the Environment. From 1988 until 1994, she was vice president for research at the Worldwatch Institute. A Pew Scholar in conservation and the environment, Postel was also named one of the Scientific American 50 for her contributions to science and technology.

A leading authority and prolific writer on international water issues, Postel has authored more than 100 articles for popular and scholarly publications, as well as 20 op-ed features, which have appeared in more than 30 newspapers in the United States and abroad, including The New York TimesThe L.A. Times and the Washington Post.

Her book, Last Oasis: Facing Water Scarcity, was chosen by Choice Magazine as a 1993 Outstanding Academic Book. Last Oasis appears in eight languages and was the basis for a 1997 PBS documentary. Her article, "Troubled Waters," was selected for inclusion in the 2001 edition of Best American Science and Nature Writing.

A frequent conference speaker and lecturer, she has also served as a commentator on CNN's Futurewatch, addressed the European Parliament on environmental issues, and appeared on CBS Sunday MorningABC's Nightline, and NPR's Science Friday. In addition, she appears on the BBC's Planet EarthLeonardo DiCaprio's The 11th Hour and the National Geographic Channel's Breakthrough series.

A Water Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, Postel received a B.A. (summa cum laude) in geology and political science at Wittenberg University and an M.E.M. with emphasis on resource economics and policy at Duke University. She has been awarded several honorary doctorates of science, as well as the Duke University School of Environment's Distinguished Alumni Award. After college, one of her first assignments was to help write a handbook for communities across the country to use in designing water conservation programs.

Postel will be awarded an honorary doctorate of science during the Commencement ceremony, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Commencement Hollow. In the event of inclement weather, the program will be held in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center. Tickets are required for an indoor ceremony.

For additional information on Wittenberg's 2017 Commencement Exercises, click here.

Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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