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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Joel Lang
When James “Gus” Speth came back to Yale in 1999 to take over as dean at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, he already could claim to have won what might be considered a triple crown for Earth advocacy.
In 1969 as a Yale law student, he helped launch the Natural Resources Defense Council and then acted as its chief attorney while it grew into one of the nation’s leading environmental groups.
In 1982, after serving as head of President Jimmy Carter’s Council on Environmental Quality, he founded the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., now regarded as a premier environmental think tank.
Then for most of the 1990s, he led the United Nations Development Programme, which had a $2 billion budget and offices in 132 countries at the end of his tenure.
With such a distinguished career behind him—spanning the modern environmental movement—it was fair to wonder what Speth, who graduated from Yale College in 1964, could do to top himself.
It turns out that he had ambitions for F&ES that were as large as those that he’d had for the other institutions he had nurtured. In fact, he set the bar for measuring his deanship early.
“I will tell you what I am going to do, and I will do it,” he wrote in a memo to faculty on August 13, 1999, a month after his arrival. His goal, he said, was “to build…
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