Contact: Allison Benner, College Relations Associate - Media, 610.740.3790


Allentown, PA (August 16, 2004) - Dr. Rita Colwell, champion of education and scientific inquiry and ardent supporter of women in science, will receive an honorary degree from Cedar Crest College on Monday, September 13, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. in the Samuels Theatre of the Tompkins College Center. Following the degree presentation, Dr. Colwell will address the audience.

For six years, beginning in 1998, Dr. Colwell was the director of the National Science Foundation - the first woman to hold this position. As director, she spearheaded the agency's emphasis on science and mathematics education among grades K 12, on training graduate students in engineering fields and on increasing the number of women and minorities entering science and engineering fields. Under her leadership, the foundation received significant budget increases that allowed it not only to strengthen its core activities, but also to establish major new initiatives in fields such as nanotechnology and the 21st Century Workforce.

Throughout her career, Colwell has held a number of positions within the U.S. Government, non profit science policy organizations and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. As both a nationally respected scientist and educator, she has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 600 scientific publications and is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions from the global science community.

Presently, Dr. Colwell serves as chairperson of Canon U.S. Life Sciences, Inc., a company dedicated to applying technology to the field of life sciences. She is also a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland at College Park as well as Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is currently working to develop an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.

In addition, Dr. Colwell is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences. Colwell Massif, a geological site in Antarctica, has been named in recognition of her work in the Polar Regions.

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr. Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Marine Microbiology and Oceanography from the University of Washington

The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. For more information, please contact the Cedar Crest College Special Events Hotline at 610-740-3791.



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