Diana Wall of Colorado State University elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Note to Reporters: A photo of Diana Wall is available with this release at news.colostate.edu

Diana H. Wall, University Distinguished Professor; director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability; Senior Research Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; and professor of Biology at Colorado State University, is among the world’s most accomplished leaders who have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

The Academy today announced its Class of 2014, including extraordinary individuals from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities, and the arts. The current membership of more than 4,600 individuals includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.

Wall is the first woman on the CSU faculty to become a member of the Academy, and only the second so honored; chemist Marshall Fixman was elected in 1970.

“I am truly honored to be selected in this prestigious group of scholars and practitioners who provide useful knowledge for all of us,” Wall said on learning of her election. “I look forward to working with my fellow members as we respond to the challenges facing our nation and our planet.”

New Academy members are nominated and chosen by the existing membership.

Members of this year’s class include winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. Last year, Wall received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, on the 40th anniversary of the prize, for her pioneering work in understanding the role of soil biodiversity in climate change.

“Professor Wall continues to garner national and international recognition for her outstanding scientific contributions over decades of activity,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president of Colorado State. “It’s wonderful to have her on our faculty, leading our School of Global Environmental Sustainability, and having such a positive impact on all sectors of our community and our campus.”

One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts, and education.

Wall co-chaired the committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that recently released “What We Know: The Reality, Risks and Response to Climate Change,” a review of current scientific knowledge on global climate change. She recently led a delegation of CSU scientists to hold a workshop with their counterparts at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in Richmond, Australia, on the ecological effects of increased carbon dioxide on the ecosystem. She has received the highest honor bestowed by the Soil Science Society of America for her studies of nematodes in the dry valleys of Antarctica – one of which is named in her honor – and in March was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

The Fort Collins community can learn more about Wall and her work when she  presents the President’s Community Lecture on April 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lory Student Center on the CSU campus. Her topic: “Lessons from an Antarctic Desert: The Hidden World and Response to Climate Change.” A few tickets are still available online at https://advancing.colostate.edu/PRESLECTURESERIESAPR14.

Since its founding in 1780, the Academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Margaret Meade and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 20th.

The complete list of the new Academy members is located at https://www.amacad.org/members.aspx.

For more information about Diana Wall and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University, go to www.sustainability.colostate.edu

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 11, 2014, at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.