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Introduction of Commencement Speaker
Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III, President of Eckerd College
We are honored to welcome as the last speaker of our academic year the woman named TIME magazine's first "Hero for the Planet," in 1998, Sylvia Earle. She has been called "Her Deepness" by The New Yorker and The New York Times and "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. She has pioneered research on marine ecosystems; led more than 100 expeditions totaling more than 7,000 hours underwater; authored more than 150 scientific, technical and popular publications; lectured in more than 60 countries; and appeared in hundreds of television productions. She is the author of many books on the ocean, including Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans and, most recently, Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas, with Linda K. Glover.
An oceanographer-explorer, Dr. Earle is the former chief scientist of NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She earned a B.S. from Florida State University, an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Duke University, and has received 15 honorary degrees. She is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, and chair of the Advisory Councils of the Harte Research Institute and the Ocean in Google Earth. She has been an explorer-in-residence at National Geographic since 1998, and she serves on the boards of a variety of corporate and nonprofit organizations, including the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Conservancy.
The holder of numerous diving records, including the women's depth record for solo diving at a thousand meters (3,300 feet), Dr. Earle received the 2009 TED Prize. Other honors include the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark; inclusion in the National Women's Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Achievement; and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, the Lindbergh Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, the New England Aquarium, the Seattle Aquarium, the Society of Women Geographers, and the National Parks Conservation Association.
As we celebrate the Class of 2012 and close the academic year's Presidential Events Series, "Environmental Challenges, Sustainable Solutions," it is a privilege and an honor to ask you to join me in extending a very warm welcome to Dr. Sylvia Earle.