Closing Lunch, Friday June 26
Peter H. Raven, a leading botanist and advocate of conservation and biodiversity, is president emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany Emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, Dr. Raven is a Trustee of the National Geographic Society and Chairman of the Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. He also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Center for Plant Conservation, a national organization. For more than 39 years, Dr. Raven headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured to become a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticultural display. During this period, the Garden became a leader in botanical research and conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and North America.
Dr. Raven first realized in the mid 1960s that the rapid growth of the human population, consumption, and the spread of polluting technologies were threatening biological diversity to a degree that had not been realized earlier. He soon became an outspoken advocate of the need for conservation throughout the world based on efforts to attain sustainability and social justice everywhere, and has received numerous prizes and awards in recognition of these activities.
In 2001, Dr. Raven received the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States. He has been president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and a number of other organizations. He served for 12 years as Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1977. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, of the academies of science in a number of other countries, including China, Russia, the U.K., Brazil, and Australia.
For 25 years, Dr. Raven served as co-editor of the Flora of China, a joint Chinese-American international project that resulted in the production of a contemporary, 49-volume account on all the plants of China, 31,500 species, that was completed early this year, 2014. He has written numerous books and publications, both popular and scientific, including Biology of Plants (co-authored with Ray Evert and Susan Eichhorn, W. H. Freeman and Company/Worth Publishers, New York), the internationally best-selling textbook in botany, of which the eighth edition appeared in 2011; and Environment (co authored with Linda Berg, Wiley & Sons, New York), a leading textbook on the environment, now in its eighth edition (2011).
Dr. Raven received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1960 after completing his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He has held both Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellowships during the course of his career.