Erik Curren '87 Chief Marketing Officer, Secure Futures Solar Since his days at W&L hiking the Blue Ridge and swimming at Goshen Pass, Erik has been inspired by the natural environment and has been interested in how humans can relate with the physical world in a healthy way.
Michael Thompson '09 Working Together It wasn't until he came to Virginia from La Jolla, Calif., that Michael Thompson truly became an environmentalist. Through his studies as a geology major with a concentration in environmental studies, Thompson has discovered interests that are steering him toward a career in renewable energy.
Peter Agelasto '62 Chairman, Rockfish Valley Foundation, Nellysford, Va. Agelasto, a retired attorney who majored in commerce, chairs the public Rockfish Valley Foundation, dedicated to the preservation of natural, historical, ecological and agricultural resources of the area in Nelson County, Va. The organization, which has already done a study of the Rockfish River and has requested a grant to study the Tye River, also promotes rural and agricultural tourism.
Earle Bates '54 Providing Incentive and Knowledge When Earle Bates was a student at W&L in the 1950s, the environmental movement was virtually non-existent. But since retiring to Lexington in 2000, Bates has learned as much as he can about the topic, auditing courses at the University, attending on-campus lectures and participating in Alumni College seminars.
Lee Brading '89 A Driving Force As managing director and head of credit research for Wachovia Capital Markets L.L.C., in Charlotte, N.C., Lee Brading is accustomed to crunching numbers. But working on special projects with the company’s integrated research team gives him deeper insights into the environmental trends affecting American businesses.
Mackenzie Brown '09 Leader and Volunteer With the skills Mackenzie Brown acquired during her summer internship, she could run a restaurant after she graduates next spring. It is more likely, however, that the environmental studies major will pursue a job in the field of sustainable development or with a non-profit.
Taylor Cole '75 and Jim McLaughlin '86 Co-founders, Conservation Partners L.L.C., Lexington Cole and McLaughlin, both Lexington natives, established Conservation Partners L.L.C. in 2002 to help landowners in Virginia navigate the donation of conservation easements. These legal measures protect the land from abuse and development, preserving acres of private farmland and forests for wildlife habitat and the enjoyment of future generations.
Laurence M. Eaton '05 Graduate Student, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Eaton, who received a master’s in economics from UT, said his interest in environmental issues emerged from courses in the Environmental Studies Program, particularly the exchange with Brazil. It was there, he said, “I saw amazing places and some really unique environments.”
Jenny Elmes '91 Nourishing the Earth When Jenny Elmes and her classmates return to campus for their 20th reunion in 2011, she hopes they have the distinction of the first all-green alumni reunion in the University’s history. In her vision, it’ll come complete with locally produced food and beverages, biodegradable utensils, energy-efficient lighting and composting at the end of the party.
David Keeling '73 Artist, Lexington and Claremont, St. Ann, Jamaica Keeling, who majored in European history, was born and raised on a farm in the forested hills of Jamaica, “near crystal-clear rivers that cascade in waterfalls onto reef-fringed, yellow-sand beaches,” he said. “I was surrounded by a beautiful, natural, tropical environment whose abundant human, animal and botanical life I loved, and today I want to preserve.”
Chad Lewis '05 Associate, Lincoln International, London Lewis, a business administration and accounting major, is assisting Lincoln International’s efforts to implement green practices in the investment bank’s London office. Though the company already had in place recycling, reducing the use of air conditioners and turning off lights in unused rooms, its London and Chicago offices have collaborated to implement additional policies.
Eric Lundquist '94 Scientists All As a student, Eric Lundquist couldn’t have imagined that the unlikely combination of an English major and a work-study job as lab assistant for the Biology Department would be excellent career preparation.
Porter McNeil '77 Happy with Less Though Porter McNeil admits that he’s been a "closet tree hugger" for most of his life, it was at W&L, as a biology major, that he began to really think about conservation issues.
Robyn O'Brien '93 Seeking New Answers For Robyn McCord O'Brien, of Boulder, Colo., living green has meant rethinking her family's food choices. On Mother’s Day 2006, the mother of four launched www.AllergyKids.com to spread awareness about the staggering increases in children’s food allergies (and autism, ADHD and asthma) in the United States.
Lewis Perkins '93 Social Consciousness Before Lewis Perkins, of Atlanta, joined the Mohawk Group in March, the carpet manufacturing giant was one of the best-kept secrets of the environmental movement. These days, Perkins is the face of the organization, charged with creating a brand identity for Mohawk and showcasing the company’s best sustainable initiatives, which they have practiced for years.
Herb Rubenstein '74 Changing the World Herb Rubenstein predicts that Colorado will experience a “green rush” during the next decade. As the lead author of the first-ever master energy plan for Mesa County, the resident of Golden, Colo., already is a key player in that movement.
Thomas R. Shepherd '52 Managing Partner, TSG Equity Partners, Stow, Mass. A former executive for GTE Lighting Products Group (GTE Sylvania), Shepherd is an investor in SolarOne Solutions, a company that manufactures efficient solar-powered lighting. Shepherd, who majored in economics, also serves on the boards of the Stow Conservation Trust and the Sudbury Valley Trust—non-profit organizations that protect and preserve natural resources near his hometown of Stow.
Matthew Wallace '06 Senior Associate, Project Performance Corp., McLean, Va. Wallace was one of W&L’s first graduates to earn an environmental studies major. The Roanoke native now works for Project Performance Corp., which develops technology and strategic solutions for environmental issues, such as hazardous waste management, water pollution reduction and radiation protection.
Felix K. Yeboah Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. A Gunn Scholar on campus during the 2006-2007 academic year, Yeboah is pursuing a master’s degree in natural resource and environmental policy from Michigan State University. The Ghana native is particularly interested in deforestation; in his homeland, he said, forests are disappearing at an alarming rate of about 22,000 to 55,000 hectares each year.