GRINNELL, IA—Grinnell College Commencement speaker and Earth Institute director Jeffrey Sachs charged the college’s 380 graduates with being the “generation that can end poverty on this planet . . . with the ideals of social purpose, community, skill and scientific knowledge you have learned here.”
Throughout his Grinnell address, Sachs referred to the importance of “decency, science, and management capability” in solving the world’s growing challenges of poverty, sustainability, and conflict. Sachs attributed the qualities of decency, science, and management capability to Grinnell alumni Joseph Welch, a 1914 graduate who was legal counsel for the Army during the Army-McCarthy hearings; Robert N. Noyce, a 1949 graduate, co-inventor of the integrated circuit and co-founder of Intel Corp.; and Harry Hopkins, a 1912 graduate and architect of FDR’s New Deal.
At The Earth Institute, Sachs leads large-scale efforts to mitigate human-induced climate change. For more than 20 years, he has been in the forefront of international challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and enlightened globalization. Considered to be the leading international economic advisor of his generation, Sachs also serves as special advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General. He is also the author of bestsellers “Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet” and “The End of Poverty.”
Sachs received an honorary doctorate from Grinnell, along with two alumni: Lonabelle “Kappie” Kaplan Spencer, activist and founder of the National Gender Balance Project; and Sam Tanenhaus, author and editor of The New York Times Book Review.
Video highlights from the day's ceremonies will be posted on the Grinnell College YouTube channel.