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UC Santa Cruz college renamed for writer who inspired the environmental movement

Rachel Carson with forest insert 2


College Eight at UC Santa Cruz was born embracing environmentalism. On Sept. 15, it received a name befitting that passion: Rachel Carson College.

Rachel Carson, writer and conservationist, is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Her 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” dramatically chronicled the damage caused by indiscriminate application of chemicals in an attempt to control pests. Her larger theme: humans are a part of nature—not its masters.

The naming gift from the Helen and Will Webster Foundation recognizes Carson for her courage and pivotal role in awakening the public to environmental issues.

It establishes an endowment to ensure the college can provide research and educational opportunities for students in perpetuity and establishes a chair in ecology and environmental justice. Concurrently, citing the impact of Carson’s writings, a chair in science communication is also being created. The gift package totals $7 million.

“We could not think of anyone who would better embody the core values of UC Santa Cruz than this environmental pioneer,” Alec and Claudia Webster wrote in a letter to Chancellor George Blumenthal on their proposal to recognize Rachel Carson. “Rachel Carson challenged authority, risked everything and changed the world for the better. In doing so, she provided a model that students need and deserve, and that we, as a society, require.”

President Napolitano is among those who share the sentiment. “It is wonderful to see Rachel Carson honored in this way. She exemplifies so much of what is right in life. She has long been one of my personal heroes: a champion for the environment, a woman excelling in science, a person of dignity.”

Read full article and watch a short video about Carson on the UCSC website.

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