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E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation moving to Duke

DURHAM, N.C. -- Under a landmark agreement signed this week, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation will be based as an independent foundation at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University with offices in the school's new home, Duke Environment Hall.

Research collaborations, graduate student projects, and a graduate-level course taught by legendary scientist E.O. Wilson are among the initiatives that will stem from the new partnership. The foundation will work closely with the school's faculty and students to advance the cause of biodiversity through education, research and outreach.

Under the agreement, Wilson will teach one course a year at the Nicholas School, beginning with the one-credit course "Environment 590: Biodiversity and the Meaning of Human Existence" in Spring 2014. Plans are in the works to make the course available to a worldwide audience on ITunes U.

"By pooling the school's strengths in environmental research and teaching with the foundation's expertise on biodiversity -- and the extraordinary leadership and vision of E.O. Wilson -- we will create a unique and powerful force for the enlightened stewardship of the planet," said William L. Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School. "And, for our students and faculty: what an incredible opportunity."

"(This) is an extraordinary advance for the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation's mission," Wilson said. "Given the school's national leadership in environmental science, (it is) an opportunity to bring biodiversity studies to the level of capability in research and education they deserve."

The E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation was founded in 2006 and is inspired by E.O. Wilson's lifelong work to foster a knowing stewardship of our world through biodiversity research and education initiatives that promote and inform worldwide preservation of our biological heritage.

"Dr. Wilson grew up in the South and has a warm affection for the Duke community," said Paula Ehrlich, president and chief executive officer of the Wilson Foundation. "He received an honorary doctoral degree from Duke in 1978 and has tremendous respect for the biodiversity research leadership of his colleagues at the Nicholas School."

E.O. Wilson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has been awarded a U.S. National Medal of Science, the Carl Sagan Award for Public Understanding of Science, a TED Prize, and two Pulitzer Prizes for general nonfiction, among more than 100 other high honors. In addition to authoring more than 430 peer-reviewed scientific papers, he has written numerous best-selling books on science and society, including Letters to a Young Scientist, On Human Nature, and The Social Conquest of Earth. He is University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University.


Contact: Tim Lucas
Duke University

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