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Mr. David Orr

David W. Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Oberlin College. He is also a James Marsh Professor at large at the University of Vermont.

Born in Des Moines, IA, and raised in New Wilmington, PA, he holds a B.A. from Westminster College (1965), an M.A. from Michigan State University (1966), and a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania (1973).

Orr is best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy inigher education and his recent work in ecological design. He raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College, a building described by the New York Times  as “the most remarkable” of a new generation of college buildings and by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of thirty “milestone buildings” of the 20th century.

David Orr is “Counselor to the President” at Oberlin College, and Steven A. Minter fellow at the Cleveland Foundation. He is the author of seven books, including Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse (Oxford, 2009), and co-editor of three others. He has authored over 200 articles, reviews, book chapters, and professional publications.

In the past twenty-five years he has served as a board member or adviser to ten foundations and on the Boards of many organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Currently he is a Trustee of the Bioneers, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, and the WorldWatch Institute.

He has been awarded eight honorary degrees and a dozen other awards, including a Lyndhurst Prize, a National Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation, a “Visionary Leadership Award” from Second Nature, and most recently an award for leadership from the U.S. Green Building Council. He has lectured at hundreds of colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Orr headed the effort to design, fund, and build the Adam Joseph Lewis Center, which was named by an AIA panel in 2010 as “the most important green building of the past thirty years,” and as “one of thirty milestone buildings of the twentieth century” by the U.S. Department of Energy.

He is founder and Chair of the Board of the Oberlin project and a founding editor of the journal Solutions.