Academic Ceremonies - December Commencement

Honorary Degree Recipient

Carl H. Reidel
Doctor of Laws

Carl ReidelCarl H. Reidel was a groundbreaking environmentalist and a revolutionary force at the University of Vermont. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Forestry and Wildlife Science, Reidel became a District Forest Ranger with the U.S. Forest Service and later became Chief of Public Information for the Intermountain Region. From 1959 to 1966, he served as a 2nd Lt. in the Army National Guard in Nevada and Utah. Reidel received the honor of two Bullard Forestry Fellowships to Harvard and completed a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1964. The following year he returned to the Midwest where he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Natural Resources Policy and Administration. This marked the beginning of Reidel’s long and influential career as a professor and nationally recognized environmental policy advocate on the faculties of Minnesota, Williams, Harvard, Yale and the University of Vermont.

At UVM, Reidel launched the nation's first university-wide interdisciplinary Environmental Program in 1972. He placed the university at the forefront of the environmental movement by advocating innovative environmental policies that are now standard practice. With the support of UVM President Edward Andrews, Reidel created a program that would engage scholars from across the disciplines and challenge them to work together to solve environmental problems. Under his visionary leadership, environmental studies advanced considerably and became a core aspect of UVM’s academic identity. His prescient interdisciplinary program expanded exponentially between 1988 and 1992 and continues to grow and serve as a talent magnet for faculty and students from around the world.

For Reidel, environmental activism grew naturally out of UVM’s commitment to liberal education. He wrote, “the liberal arts tradition is basically a commitment to enlightened life for all, through the search for truth and education. And the Land Grant tradition, to which we hold special claim, through the efforts of Vermont’s Senator Justin Smith Morrill, has a rich heritage of community action. UVM is a creative merger of the two.” One of the most influential aspects of Reidel’s legacy is the intertwining of all aspects of the environment with UVM’s educational mission.

Reidel also employed his considerable diplomatic abilities to advance the environmental movement through policy change. In addition to his academic career, Reidel served in the House of Representatives in the Vermont State Legislature from 1995-96; he was President of the American Forestry Association, Vice President of the National Wildlife Federation, Director of the National Parks Association, and the first Chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee on the Future of Lake Champlain. On the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, Reidel was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Master Award along with U.S. Senator Robert Stafford.

The University is proud to continue Reidel’s work and to celebrate his extraordinary service to our institution, our state, and our nation with an honorary degree.

Last modified December 07 2012 01:42 PM

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