Cortese to receive honorary degree at Shineman Center’s dedication

OSWEGO — One highlight of the dedication ceremony for SUNY Oswego’s Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation on Oct. 4, will be awarding an honorary doctorate to a seminal figure in the advancement of sustainability in higher education.

Anthony Cortese, who is internationally known for his work in this field, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from the State University of New York during the afternoon ceremony and will deliver brief remarks.

Anthony Cortese
Anthony Cortese

“It is most fitting that Dr. Cortese receive this distinctive honor from SUNY at a ceremony dedicating a science complex that we envisioned and built according to rigorous standards of environmental design and that will serve in educating new generations of students to advance the principles of sustainability,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley.

“Dr. Cortese has contributed greatly to the world’s awareness not only of the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also of the many technologies we possess or can develop to address this urgent issue, once we put our minds to it,” she said. “Dr. Cortese is an inspiration to our faculty and students to develop innovative ways of advancing economic, social and environmental solutions that will enrich the lives of our citizens and the world.”

Cortese has been actively engaged in researching climate change and other large system sustainability challenges for more than 30 years. He is currently a senior fellow of Second Nature, the Boston-based advocacy organization committed to promoting sustainability through higher education, an organization he co-founded and headed as president for two decades. He was the organizer of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, of which SUNY Oswego was a charter signatory in 2007.

Environmental scholar

The son of Italian immigrants, he received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Tufts University and a doctoral degree in environmental health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

He served as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and went on to become the first dean of environmental programs at Tufts University. In 1990 at an international conference in Talloires, France, he organized the effort producing the internationally acclaimed Talloires Declaration of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future that galvanized higher education for sustainability worldwide. He co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has been a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, President Bill Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development’s Education Task Force and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow for Higher Education.

LEED Gold science complex

The Shineman Center where he will receive the honor is built to achieve LEED Gold certification. The new science complex, which opened for classes Aug. 26, features the largest ground source geothermal system for heating and cooling in the state, banks of solar photovoltaic panels and sections of green roof, where plants grow to collect and filter rainwater and help insulate the building.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of environmentally friendly buildings.

The Shineman Center joins the college’s LEED Gold-certified complex of student townhouses, The Village, and the newly opened Rice Creek Field Station facility, also built to achieve LEED Gold certification.