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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

October 22, 2012
Cheryl Reitan | Associate Director of External Affairs | 218 726-8996 |
Lucy Kragness | Office of the Chancellor | 218 726-6176 |

"Our Environmental Destiny” with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

Friday, November 9, 7 pm, UMD Marshall Performing Arts Center

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., vice chair and chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, will speak on "Our Environmental Destiny" on Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 pm in the Marshall Performing Arts Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Kennedy was named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" for his success helping Riverkeeper, a member-supported watchdog organization, lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. Kennedy is also chairman of Waterkeeper Alliance, an advocacy organization dedicated to preserving and protecting water from polluters.

Kennedy said he developed an interest in rivers because his father was an environmentalist as was his uncle, President Kennedy. In an interview in 2012, Kennedy said, "We have very good environmental laws in this country. If we enforced them, we probably wouldn't have environmental problems." Kennedy has been fighting for water and fisheries and working for fisherman for over two decades. One of his concerns is the mercury contamination in fish found in nearly every state in the U.S. He has worked on environmental issues across the Americas and has assisted several indigenous tribes in Latin America and Canada in successfully negotiating treaties protecting traditional homelands.

Tickets are required, $8 general admission, UMD student tickets free. Contact MPAC Box Office at 218-726-8561, 218-726-8877 or (see UMD School of Fine Arts ticket box).

Community members may park for free in the pay lot, any maroon lot, or the meters after 6:30 pm.


Among Kennedy's published books are the New York Times' bestseller Crimes Against Nature (2004), American Heroes: Joshua Chamberlain and the American Civil War and Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief (2008). His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, The Nation, Outside Magazine, The Village Voice, and many other publications.

Kennedy is clinical professor and supervising attorney at Pace University School of Law's Environmental Litigation Clinic, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, and co-host of Ring of Fire on Air America Radio. Earlier in his career he served as Assistant District Attorney in New York City. He is a graduate of Harvard University. He studied at the London School of Economics and received his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. He received a a Masters Degree in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law.


In the midst of our nation's civil war, President Abraham Lincoln had the foresight to create an entirely new educational system. He believed that in order for the United States to become a great power, its industries needed an educated workforce. Introduced by Vermont Representative Justin Smith Morrill, the Morrill Act was signed into law by Lincoln in 1862. The act created land-grant universities, provided higher education to a wider range of social classes, and emphasized more applied studies to prepare students for the world.

Over the years, land-grant universities produced research that taught practical agriculture, built local economies, improved lives and created entirely new technologies. America's land-grant universities continue to fulfill their democratic mandate for openness, accessibility, and service to people. Many of these institutions, like UMD, have joined the ranks of the nation's most accomplished public research universities. Through the land-grant university heritage, UMD students study a wide range of academic disciplines and explore fields of inquiry far beyond the scope envisioned in the original land-grant mission.

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