Colorado State University will confer an honorary doctoral degree on Sen. Timothy E. Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund, at the spring 2009 commencement ceremonies Friday, May 15.
Colorado State University Interim President Anthony A. Frank will award the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, to Wirth in recognition of his public service contributions to the state of Colorado and the United States related to the environment, health, human rights and peace around the world. He will receive his degree at Colorado State’s Graduate School commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. in Moby Arena.
"Tim’s remarkable dedication to both public service and the environment make him a well-deserving recipient of this recognition," said Colorado State Interim President Frank. "His work at the UN Foundation toward helping populations worldwide address issues pertaining to children’s health, the environment, women and population, peace, security and human rights has helped to advance our ultimate collective goal of improving the health and safety for all."
"As a lifelong Coloradan, educator and participant in public service, it is my honor and privilege to receive an honorary degree from Colorado State University," said Wirth. "Over my lifetime, CSU has evolved from its rich educational traditions in agriculture and natural resource management. Today, CSU is a dynamic hub for health, environmental and energy research that contributes so much to Colorado, the nation and the world. CSU is preparing today’s young people to be capable, creative stewards of the future. I am proud to be associated with this remarkable institution."
Wirth began his political career as a White House fellow under President Lyndon Johnson and was deputy assistant secretary for Education in the Nixon Administration. In 1970, Wirth returned to his home state of Colorado and ran successfully for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974. After 12 years in Congress, Wirth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986 where he served for six years and promoted Colorado’s economic progress, education and environmental issues. He worked with Sen. Hank Brown on wilderness legislation for Colorado and became a leader on global environmental issues such as climate change and population stabilization.
Following two decades of elected politics, Wirth was national co-chair of the Clinton-Gore campaign, and served in the U.S. Department of State as the first undersecretary for Global Affairs from 1993-1997. He helped organize U.S. foreign policy in the areas of refugees, population, environment, science, human rights and narcotics. He chaired the United States Delegation at the 1994 Cairo Conference on Population and Development, and was the lead U.S. negotiator for the Kyoto Climate Conference until he resigned from the administration in late 1997 to accept Ted Turner’s invitation to be president of the newly created United Nations Foundation.
As president of the UN Foundation since its inception in early 1998, Wirth has organized and led the formulation of the foundation’s mission and program priorities, which include the environment, women and population, children’s health, and peace, security and human rights. The foundation also engages in extensive public advocacy, fundraising and institutional strengthening efforts on behalf of the United Nations. By mobilizing these diverse resources, the UN Foundation works with many public and private partners and manages a variety of campaigns to help solve major problems facing the UN and the world community.
The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, Wirth also served as a member of the Harvard Board of Overseers. He was recently honored as a Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program.
Wirth and his wife Wren maintain a residence in Colorado, as do their children, Christopher and Kelsey.