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NRDC President Frances Beinecke and CLI Director Burns Weston to Speak During Commencement Week

May 5, 2009

Photo of Frances Beinecke.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), will speak at Vermont Law School's 34th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16. The public is invited to attend the event, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the South Royalton town green.

Beinecke's keynote speech, "From Corner Offices to Capitol Hill: The Changing Role of the Environmental Advocate," will address the many ways today's graduate can help protect the Earth, from working at a clean tech start up to shaping state regulations to helping distribute federal stimulus money.

Under Beinecke's leadership, the NRDC has focused its efforts on curbing global warming, moving America beyond oil, reviving the world's oceans, saving endangered wild places, stemming the tide of toxic chemicals, and accelerating the greening of China. During her 30 years at NRDC, she has worked as a member of the water and coastal program, served as the organization's executive director for eight years, and in 2006 was named president. In addition to her work at NRDC, Beinecke serves on the boards of the World Resources Institute, the Energy Future Coalition, and Conservation International's Center for Environmental Leadership in Business, and is on the steering committee of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership.

VLS commencement week events will also feature a guest lecture by human rights scholar Burns H. Weston, director of the school's Climate Legacy Initiative and the Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at The University of Iowa Law School. His talk, "The Human Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment: To Create or To Enforce?" will be presented Friday, May 15, at 3:30 p.m. in Oakes Hall 007. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Both Beinecke and Weston will be awarded honorary degrees during Saturday's graduation ceremony.

The student speaker for graduation will be John Miller, currently of Bethel, Vermont. In addition to his studies at Vermont Law School, Miller has been an active leader with student groups including the Alliance and the Class of '09 Gift Committee. Miller also served as a student clinician at the South Royalton Legal Clinic and was recently awarded the 2009 Law Student Ethics Award from the Association of Corporate Counsel-Northeast, which grants the award to students who have demonstrated exemplary ethical conduct in the course of a clinical program.

For more details on the week's activities at VLS, please visit our Commencement pages.

CONTACT: Jennie Clarke, Communications Coordinator

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