Chafee Lecture

John H. Chafee Memorial Lecture on Science, Policy, and the Environment

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.


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,
2006 Ralph J. Cicerone, President, National Academy of Sciences
2005 William D. Ruckelshaus, First and Fifth Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
2004 Jared M. Diamond, Pulitzer Prize Recipient, University of California, Los Angeles
2003 Rita R. Colwell, Director, National Science Foundation
2001 Edward O. Wilson, Pulitzer Prize Recipient, Harvard University
2000 Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Laureate; University of California, Irvine
Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate; Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Senator John H. ChafeeAbout 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.