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First female NOAA chief receives honorary doctorate from Loyola

April 29, 2011

Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Loyola University New Orleans during its commencement ceremony on May 14.

She is one of the nation's most prominent marine biologists and was tapped by President Barack Obama in 2009 to lead NOAA. She is the ninth administrator and first woman to hold this position and led the organization during the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

Lubchenco is a conservationist who has devoted much of her career to encouraging scientists to become more engaged in public policy debates, and she herself has been a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gases linked to global warming. She has studied marine ecosystems around the world and championed the importance of science and its relevance to policy making and human well-being.

Lubchenco has provided scientific input to multiple presidential administrations and Congress on climate, fisheries, marine ecosystems and biodiversity. She served on the first National Academy of Sciences study on ‘Policy Implications of Global Warming,’ providing advice to the George H.W. Bush administration and Congress. In 1997, she briefed President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and members of Congress on climate change.

Her scientific contributions are widely recognized and she is one of the most highly referenced ecologists in the world. She is a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Council for Science and the Ecological Society of America. She also served 10 years on the board of directors for the National Science Foundation. Lubchenco is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and four international academies of science: the Royal Society, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Europe, and Chile.

Raised in Denver, she received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Colorado College, a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Washington and a doctorate in ecology from Harvard University. She holds 12 honorary degrees.

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