Skip to main content
Honors Colloquium

Fall 2008 Honors Colloquium

California Air Resources Board chairman to discuss efforts to curb greenhouse gases in lecture at URI, Nov. 12

Mary NicholsMary D. Nichols, one of the country’s leading environmental lawyers and the chairman of the California Air Resources Board, will discuss how the state of California is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the University of Rhode Island’s annual fall Honors Colloquium.

Free and open to the public, the lecture will be held Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Edwards Auditorium on URI’s Kingston Campus.

The 2008 Honors Colloquium, “People and Planet: Global Environmental Change,” explores human-caused global change, its consequences and potential responses through a series of lectures, films, exhibits and a cabaret. Weekly events run through Dec. 9.

As chairman of the California Air Resources Board – a post she first held from 1979 to 1983 and to which she was reappointed in 2007 -- Nichols is responsible for setting air pollution standards for motor vehicles and fuels, as well as for implementing the state’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions legislation. That legislation led to a lawsuit filed by the state of California against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to act on a request for authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks sold in the state. Rhode Island and 13 other states have joined in the lawsuit.

Nichols lectureAfter graduating from Cornell University and Yale Law School, Nichols practiced environmental law in Los Angeles, bringing cases on behalf of environmental and public health organizations to enforce state and federal clean air legislation. President Bill Clinton appointed her to head the Office of Air and Radiation at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she was responsible for the acid rain trading program and setting the first air quality standard for fine particles.

She served as California's Secretary for Natural Resources from 1999 to 2003 and was professor of law and director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California at Los Angeles.


Major Sponsor:

The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation

Sustaining Sponsors:

URI Office of the President; URI Honors Program; The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment; The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment.

Leadership Sponsors:

URI Graduate School of Oceanography and URI College of Arts and Sciences.


Environmental Data Center, URI Department of Natural Resources Science; R.I. Center for the Book at Providence Public Library; R.I. Office of Library and Information Services; R.I. Sea Grant College Program; U.S. E.P.A. Office of Research and Development, Atlantic Ecology Division; URI Classroom Media Services; URI Coastal Institute; URI College of Business Administration; URI College of Engineering; URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences; URI College of Human Science and Services; URI College of Nursing; URI College of Pharmacy; URI Division of Student Affairs; URI Division of University Advancement and the URI Alumni Association; URI Foundation; URI Office of the Provost; URI Office of the Vice President for Administration; URI Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology Services; URI University College.

Colloquium Coordinators:

Professor Steven D'Hondt, Graduate School of Oceanography;
Professor Arthur Spivack, Graduate School of Oceanography;
Professor Judith Swift, Theatre and Communication Studies.

For information about ways to support the Honors Colloquium, contact Tom Zorabedian at 401-874-2853 or