Sustainability expert Anthony Cortese to speak at Luther convocation Feb. 4

Jan. 20, 2009

Anthony D. Cortese, Sc.D., co-founder with U.S. Senator John Kerry and Teresa Heinz and president of the nonprofit organization Second Nature, will be the featured speaker at the Luther College spring convocation, Thursday, Feb. 4, at 9:40 a.m. in the Center for Faith and Life.

Cortese will speak on "Mobilizing Higher Education for a Healthy, Just and Sustainable Society." The convocation, which celebrates the start of the college’s spring semester, is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Founded in 1993, Second Nature’s mission is to accelerate movement toward a sustainable future by serving and supporting senior college and university leaders in making healthy, just and sustainable living the foundation of all learning and practice in higher education.

Cortese has been actively engaged in climate change and other large system sustainability challenges for 25 years.  He is the co-organizer of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, co-founder of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, and co-founder and co-coordinator of the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium.

Cortese was the first dean of environmental programs at Tufts University, where he founded the award-winning Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute that helped integrate environmental and sustainability perspectives in over 175 courses.

In 1990, Cortese organized the effort that resulted in the internationally acclaimed Talloires Declaration of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, a declaration now signed by over 365 presidents and chancellors in over 50 countries. 

Cortese has served as a founding member of the board of directors of the Natural Step US and the Environmental Business Council of New England.

He currently serves as a trustee of Green Mountain College, Woodrow Wilson Fellow for Higher Education, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in addition to his role as professor of medicine and neurology at the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

His essays on Education for Sustainability serve as foundational reading for transforming the process and content of higher education.

For more information on Cortese’s publications or on Second Nature, visit

Anthony D. Cortese