Journal Archive > 2001 > November

Anthony D. Cortese

Former environmental dean receives Columbus medal

Anthony D. Cortese, Tufts' first dean of environmental programs, received the fifth annual Christopher Columbus Celebrate Discovery Legacy Award October 18 at Gifford House on the Medford/Somerville campus.

The award was established in 1992 as part of Massachusetts' commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' historic voyages. It honors a Massachusetts resident whose achievements reflect the spirit of discovery of Christopher Columbus.

Cortese, the son of Italian immigrants, is now the president and co-founder of Second Nature, a nonprofit organization that seeks to catalyze a worldwide effort to make healthy, just and environmentally sustainable action a foundation of learning and practice in higher education.

President Lawrence S. Bacow and Sol Gittleman, senior vice president and provost, hosted the awards ceremony. Others attending included former State Senator Lou Bertonazzi, A55, the driving force behind Boston's quincentennial celebration of Christopher Columbus' historic voyages; Elaine Ullian, J69, CEO and president of Boston Medical Center and board chair of Celebrate Discovery Inc., a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Massachusetts Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Commission.

Cortese received his undergraduate and master's degrees in civil and environmental engineering from Tufts and a doctoral degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. While at Tufts, he founded the Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute and authored the internationally renowned Talloires Declaration of University Leaders that has galvanized higher education for sustainability worldwide. He also has served as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Public Health Service.

Cortese is among a distinguished group of people who have received the Celebrate Discovery Award, including Fran Sussner Rodgers, president of Work Family Directions; former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, Tufts classics professor Gregory Crane and Harvard professor Amartya Sen.

Presentation of the annual Christopher Columbus medal is made possible by a gift from the Massachusetts Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Commission and Celebrate Discovery Inc.