Nobel Prize winner and NC State alumnus Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, a worldwide leader in the study of climate change, will deliver NC State‘s commencement address on Saturday, Dec. 19, at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.
During the ceremony, Chancellor James Woodward will confer honorary degrees on behalf of NC State to Pachauri and two other distinguished recipients: Dr. Jack Ward Thomas, former head of the U.S. Forest Service and career conservationist, and G. Smedes York, Raleigh’s former mayor and NC State alumnus.
Pachauri currently serves as director-general of The Energy and Resources Institute – which performs original research and disseminates knowledge in the areas of energy, environment, forestry, biotechnology and natural resource conservation – and as director of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. In 2002, Pachauri was elected chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC, along with former Vice President Al Gore, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.
Pachauri has taught at NC State, the Administrative Staff College of India, West Virginia University and Yale University. He has also served as visiting fellow at The East-West Center’s Resource Systems Institute and The World Bank, and adviser of energy and sustainable management of natural resources with the United Nations Development Programme.
Pachauri was conferred with the “Padma Vibhushan,” India’s second highest civilian award, for his services in the field of science and engineering in January 2008, after being acknowledged for his immense contributions to the field of environment with the “Padma Bhushan” award in 2001. He was also bestowed the “Officier De La Légion D’Honneur” by the Government of France in 2006. Pachauri was educated at the La Martiniere College in Lucknow and the Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Jamalpur, Bihar. He received his master’s degree in industrial engineering, and later Ph.Ds. in industrial engineering and economics, at NC State. Pachauri will receive an honorary Doctor of Sciences Degree.
Dr. Jack Ward Thomas is a consultant, speaker and writer in the field of conservation, and has spent 53 years as a professional conservationist, wildlife biologist and administrator. During the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Thomas was recognized as having made the most significant contributions to Forest Service research in the agency’s first century. He joined the U.S. Forest Service in 1966 and ended his career as a research scientist in 1993 as chief research wildlife biologist. In 1993, Thomas was appointed CEO of the Forest Service and served in that role until 1996. After his career with the Forest Service, he joined the faculty of the University of Montana in 1997 as the Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation. He retired in 2006 and was named Professor Emeritus. Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in wildlife ecology from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in forestry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
G. Smedes York, a Raleigh native, has spent many years serving the needs of Raleigh and its citizens. York has been instrumental in helping the Triangle area become one of the most desirable places to live in the United States. From 1964 to 1966, York served as First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, receiving an Army Commendation Medal for his service in South Korea. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he served the Raleigh community in the political arena – serving as Raleigh city councilman from 1977 to 1979, and mayor of the city of Raleigh from 1979 to 1983. York spent his professional career in real estate and construction, and is Chairman of York Properties, Inc. and related companies Prudential York Simpson Underwood and McDonald York Building Company. York received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from NC State and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.