The Chafee Memorial Lecture is dedicated in the memory of the Honorable Senator John H. Chafee who, in his 23 years representing Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate, was a leader in promoting a bipartisan, science-based approach to environmental issues.
The first-ever panel-style Chafee Lecture was held in 2020 to recognize the work and acknowledge the longstanding leadership of federal agencies at the intersection of the environment, policy, and decision-making.
Alex Beehler, Assistant Secretary of the United States Army Installations, Energy and Environment, U.S. Army
|2019||Gary Geernaert, Ph.D., Director, Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, in the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy|
|2018||U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)|
|2017||Governor Bill Ritter Jr., Former Governor of Colorado (2007–2011)|
|2016||Simran Sethi, Author, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love|
|2015||Amory Lovins, Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute|
|2014||James Hansen, Earth Institute, Columbia University and Former Head, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies|
|2013||Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator, NOAA|
|2012||Gro Harlem Brundtland, Former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General, World Health Organization|
|2011||Jean-Michel Cousteau, President, Chairman, Ocean Futures Society|
|2010||James Gustave Speth, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Demos, New York City; Professor of Law, Vermont Law School; and Dean Emeritus, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies|
|2009||J. Craig Venter, Founder, Chairman, and President, J. Craig Venter Institute|
|2008||John P. Holdren, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University; Director, the Woods Hole Research Center|
|2007||Larry Brilliant, Founder, Seva Foundation; Executive Director, Google.org|
Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences
William D. Ruckelshaus, First and Fifth Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
|2004||Jared M. Diamond, Pulitzer Prize Recipient, University of California, Los Angeles|
Rita R. Colwell, Director, National Science Foundation
Edward O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize Recipient, Harvard University
Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Laureate; University of California, Irvine
About Senator Chafee
Senator John. H. Chafee (1922–1999) earned degrees from Yale University and Harvard Law School. After six years in the Rhode Island House of Representatives, Chafee was elected Governor in 1962 and re-elected in 1964 and 1966. In January 1969, he was appointed Secretary of the Navy and served that post until we was elected to the United States Senate in 1976. As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, the Senator was a leading voice in crafting the Clean Air Act of 1990. He led successful efforts to enact oil spill prevention and response legislation and a bill to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act. Senator Chafee was a long-time advocate for wetlands conservation and open space preservation and was the recipient of every major environmental award. John Chafee was a Republican, committed conservationist, and a political leader who worked across party lines to advance environmental protection.