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Esteemed Ocean Advocate Sylvia Earle is Eckerd College's 2012 Commencement Speaker

posted on 03/13/2012

Sylvia Earle
ęKipEvansPhotography.com

Dr. Sylvia Earle, former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), oceanographer, explorer and author, will be the speaker for the 49th Commencement of Eckerd College on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

Named TIME magazine's first "Hero for the Planet," in 1998, Earle 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. Earle 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.

Born in Gibbstown, N.J., the former Clearwater, Fla., resident earned a B.S. from Florida State University, an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Duke University, and 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), Earle received the 2009 TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) 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, Barnard College, the New England Aquarium, the Seattle Aquarium, the Society of Women Geographers, and the National Parks Conservation Association.

Dr. Earle's selection as the 2012 Commencement speaker is a fitting close to this academic year's Presidential Events Series, "Environmental Challenges, Sustainable Solutions."

Previous Eckerd College Commencement speakers include: Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel, civil rights icon John Hope Franklin, journalist Eugene Patterson, novelist Dennis Lehane '88, Florida Congressman C.W. Bill Young, Poynter Institute President Karen Brown Dunlap, St. Petersburg Poet Laureate Peter Meinke, Florida Congresswoman Kathy Castor, businessman Steve Forbes, General David Petraeus, and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

Eckerd College's 49th Commencement will be held on Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. on Eckerd's South Beach Field. Click here for more information about Commencement 2012.

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