University of Vermont

Scholarship Fund Established for Founder of UVM Environmental Studies Program

Friends and family of the late Carl H. Reidel, founder of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Vermont and nationally recognized environmental policy advocate, have established an endowed scholarship fund in his name to benefit students in the Honors College who are pursuing an interdisciplinary education.

The Carl Reidel Scholarship Fund was established to provide support for off-campus internships, research projects, general support for supplies and travel, or other expenses for undergraduate students in the Honors College who demonstrate the interdisciplinary, experiential and collaborative attributes exemplified by Reidel as determined by the dean of the Honors College.

“The Environmental Studies Program was envisaged by Carl as a university-wide, interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary Honors Program,” said Jean Richardson, UVM professor emerita of environmental studies and Reidel’s wife of 22 years, who is helping spearhead fundraising efforts with the UVM Foundation. “Indeed, Carl proposed establishing an Honors College many years ago and was delighted when the idea gathered impetus in 2003, resulting in the present Honors College. Carl loved teaching and interacting with students during his 35 years as a professor, encouraging them to ‘ask the right questions’ and be creative in seeking solutions to complex environmental problems. He wanted to set up this scholarship fund to support students with a passion to make the world a better place.”

Reidel, who died on Nov. 3, 2011, of pancreatic cancer, started the nation’s first university-wide interdisciplinary Environmental Program at UVM in 1972 and led it to national prominence until his retirement in 2000 as university professor emeritus of environmental policy. He began his career as a district forest ranger in Nevada, Utah and California for the U.S. Forest Service before receiving two Bullard Forestry Fellowships to Harvard and a master of public administration degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. After receiving his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in natural resources policy and administration in 1969, Reidel served on the faculties of Minnesota, Williams, Harvard, Yale and UVM. 

During his tenure, Reidel also served as president of the American Forestry Association; vice president of the National Wildlife Federation; director of the National Parks Association; sat on the Governor’s Council of Environmental Advisors; and served a term in the Vermont House of Representatives. He was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Master Award along with U.S. Senator Robert Stafford on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day.

In keeping with Reidel’s desire to involve every academic discipline, the scholarship fund will be open to all students in the Honors College regardless of major, provided they include an experiential component in their thesis or internship as they work towards an undergraduate degree.

“Carl Reidel was an academic innovator of national importance, and it is fitting that his legacy will be remembered with a fund to help students incorporate environmental themes into their work no matter their primary field of study,” said Abu Rizvi, dean of the Honors College. “Since students in the Honors College are simultaneously pursuing degrees in one of the seven undergraduate colleges and schools at UVM, this scholarship will have institution-wide impact. The ideas that Carl thought were important – the environment, interdisciplinary problem solving, experiential learning – are now hallmarks of UVM.  We are excited for our students and are happy to help celebrate Carl’s many accomplishments as an educator.”

Reidel’s contributions to the university will be recognized Oct. 5-6 as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Environmental Studies Program.

Contributions to the Carl Reidel Scholarship Fund may be sent to the UVM Foundation, University of Vermont, Grasse Mount Building, 411 Main Street, Burlington, VT, 05401.