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Honorary Degree Recipient Has Early Connection To ESF

Dan Reicher, leading figure in clean energy, honored by College
5/14/2012

ESF's honorary degree recipients don't always arrive to pick up their citation with an entourage of family and friends. But Dan Reicher, this year's honoree, has deep ties to Syracuse - and an early connection to ESF.

At Saturday's Convocation, Reicher recalled his early interest in conservation and energy issues, and his introduction (via the mother of childhood friend Steven Galson, former Acting Surgeon General of the U.S.) to the college in Syracuse. He remembered riding his bike to ESF from Nottingham High School and slipping into the back of classrooms and lecture halls.

"Today, they would call me a nerd,'' Reicher said.

He went on to earn a bachelor's degree in biology from Dartmouth College, a law degree from Stanford Law School and to become one of the country's leading figures in clean energy.

Reicher now serves as executive director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, a joint center of the Stanford Law School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, and previously served as Google's point man on climate change and energy issues. Before that, he founded a venture capital firm to invest in clean energy projects and spent eight years at the Department of Energy during the Clinton administration, several of them as assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

"Clearly, Dan Reicher is, in his heart and soul, one of us,'' said Dr. Cornelius B. Murphy, Jr., College president, in his introduction of Reicher at the College's annual Convocation.

Reicher's advice to the Class of 2012: "Keep your mind open to a broad array of work possibilities. … We need individuals who can connect the dots and move across multiple platforms. … Each stop along the way, I have added to my toolbox to address critical energy challenges.''

He also encouraged the graduates to embrace the uncertain, to learn from mistakes, to make time for recreation and fun - in addition to "saving the planet'' - and to cherish family and friends.

"When all is said and done,'' Reicher said, "your friends will keep your spirit alive and your ego in check.''

Saturday's Convocation at the John H. Mulroy Civic Center was attended by a full house of ESF faculty, graduates, families and friends. Departmental honors were bestowed on top students in each of the College's discipline areas.

Dr. Bruce C. Bongarten, provost and vice president for academic affairs, welcomed the gathering.

Murphy told the graduates that in addition to going forth to find satisfying jobs and research, they have critical custodial work to do.

"The tremendous growth in population has created an increasing burden on our planet,'' Murphy said. "We must ask you to be better stewards than we have been.''

--By Margaret McCormick

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