North Central College - Naperville, IL

Keynote Speaker

William Cronon, PhD.Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History,
Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison

William Cronon is the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. He studies American environmental historyand the history of the American West. His research seeks to understand the history of human interactions with the natural world and how our ideas of nature shape our relationships with the world around us.

Cronon holds five degrees including a doctor of philosophy (D.Phil.) from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in American history from Yale, where he was a member of the faculty for more than a decade.

His first book, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists,and the Ecology of New England, is a study of the different ways that Native Americans and European colonistsi nteracted with New England’s landscape. His book Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West analyzes Chicago’s relationship to its rural hinterland. It wonthe Bancroft Prize for American history and was one of three nominees for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

Cronon has edited two influential essay collections, Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Pastand Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. He is currently working on a history of Portage, Wisconsin, and completing a book titled Saving Nature in Time: The Past and the Future of Environmentalism.

Cronon has been a Rhodes Scholar, Danforth Fellow, Guggenheim Fellow and MacArthur Fellow. The Vilas Research Professor is the most distinguished chair at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences. He serves on the Governing Council of The Wilderness Society, the National Board of the Trust for Public Land and serves as general editor of the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series for the University of Washington Press.