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UW honorary degrees celebrate alumni achievement

April 30, 2001 By Barbara Wolff

An educator and sociologist from India and a world-renowned environmental activist will receive honorary degrees from the university this spring.

The honorees, who both received advanced degrees from the university, are:

Pratima Kale, who earned her Ph.D. and M.S. at UW–Madison, currently presides over the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in the Philippines. Prior to assuming that position in 1999, she supervised the Asia and Pacific regions of UNICEF between 1984-1998. At the Save the Children Foundation she was instrumental in developing new programs in Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other places.

Her current duties at IIRR give Kale oversight for such projects as the promotion of resources, training for women, participatory research in agriculture, educational enhancement, HIV/AIDS prevention and more in India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Ecuador and other countries as well as the Philippines.

Early in her career, Kale evaluated family planning training programs in India for the Ford Foundation. There, she made the acquaintance of former UW President Fred Harvey Harrington, then retired and a senior advisor to the foundation. Kale regards Harrington as one of her most valued mentors.

George B. Schaller, winner of the 1997 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, has had a long, distinguished, multidisciplinary career as an ecologist, conservationist, ethnologist and field biologist. The mountain gorilla, snow leopard, tiger, lion, Himalayan sheep and goat, and panda are among the mammals that have come under his scholarly scrutiny. His many books about these and other species are universally praised for their ability to communicate scientific knowledge to an increasingly general public, as well as the use of research as a basis for conservation advocacy. In many cases, his work has led to more effective wildlife management programs around the world.

Currently the director for science at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Schaller has held research positions at Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University and more. Other affiliations include Rockefeller University and the American Museum of Natural History. Born in Berlin, Germany, Schaller earned his Ph.D. from UW in 1962.

The 2001 honorary degree recipients will be honored at the commencement ceremony Friday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Kohl Center. They also will speak at ceremonies Sunday, May 20. No tickets will be required to attend commencement exercises. No alcohol is allowed at any of the five events. Parking is available on a first-come basis in adjoining university lots and on the street.

For more information, call the UW–Madison Commencement hotline, (608) 262-9076.

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