Professor Dame Alison Richard is a senior research scientist in the Department of Anthropology and the Franklin Muzzy Crosby Professor Emerita of the Human Environment at Yale University. She received her undergraduate degree in anthropology at Cambridge University and her doctorate from the University of London. She joined Yale University as a faculty member in anthropology in 1972, and served as director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History from 1991 to 1994 and as university provost from 1994 until 2002. Professor Richard was vice chancellor of the University of Cambridge from 2003 to 2010, a position carrying the responsibilities of university president. In recognition of her contributions to higher education, she was appointed a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) in 2010.
"Madagascar: Journeys Through Time"
Madagascar has always been a place of change, as even a brief glimpse at its long history makes clear. A widely held view is that human activities alone have driven recent environmental changes, and the island is a poster child for human destructiveness: forest cover has declined sharply, and all the largest-bodied animal species have gone extinct within the past thousand years. Evidence bearing on the decline and disappearance of the island’s giant elephant birds raises many questions about this simple story of human-driven change. A more nuanced understanding of the past is a vital foundation for efforts to ensure the continued survival of the many unique plants and animals to which Madagascar is still home.
The William T. Patten Foundation
The William T. Patten Foundation provides funds to bring distinguished scholars or practitioners in the sciences, the humanities and the arts to the Bloomington campus for a week. The foundation has brought over 150 scholars of extraordinary national and international distinction since 1937, making it the oldest lecture series at Indiana University. Lecturers are chosen by a campus-wide faculty committee.
William T. Patten graduated in 1893 with a Bachelor of Arts in history from IU. He then moved to Indianapolis and led a successful career in real estate and politics. He created an endowment for the university in 1931, with the purpose of bringing renowned leaders to the Bloomington campus.
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