The guest speaker, Rick Steves, is the author of more than 50 European travel guidebooks and host of the popular public television series, “Rick Steves’ Europe.” A syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, as well as a radio and television personality, Steves is a noted advocate for thoughtful travel as a means to expand perspectives and to shape how we address the challenges confronting our world.
A native of Edmonds, Washington, Steves studied at the University of Washington where he received degrees in business administration and European history. Since 1973, he has spent 120 days per year—one third of his adult life—living out of a suitcase in Europe. This experience has shaped his thinking and sparked his commitment to social activism, a topic he reflects on in his most recent book, Travel as a Political Act.
Steves is outspoken on the need for Americans to fit better into our planet, and is also committed to his own neighborhood. He lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, where his office window overlooks his old junior high school. He is an advocate for the homeless, purchasing a 24-unit apartment complex in Lynnwood, Wash., to house homeless mothers and their children. He raises funds for the hunger advocacy group Bread for the World, and has been a generous donor to the Edmonds Center for the Arts and the Cascade Symphony Orchestra.
The faculty speaker is Tom Womeldorff who joined the Evergreen family in 1979 as a sophomore transfer student. He graduated from Evergreen in 1981 with an emphasis in political economy, Latin American studies and education. He went on to complete his Ph.D. in Political Economy at The American University in Washington, D.C.
Tom returned as a member of the faculty in 1989. His teaching has spanned environmental studies, political economy, economics, business, and Latin American studies. Recently, he developed and taught a two-quarter program on Caribbean tourism. He served for five years as Academic Dean of Curriculum. As a student, alumnus, parent of an Evergreen grad, member of the faculty and administrator, he says he is green all the way through.
The undergraduate student speaker, Cari Pendergrass, is a first-generation college student who transferred to Evergreen Fall of 2009 after receiving her Associate of Arts from Edmonds Community College. In her three years at Evergreen, she has been published in a scientific journal, completed 900 hours in Student in Service scholarship, coordinated The Womyn’s Resource Center and Greeners for Choice, acted in and directed the Vagina Monologues and taught in both Spain and Kenya. She is graduating with an emphasis in reproductive health and education and hopes to help increase the opportunities of disadvantaged populations.
The graduate student speaker, Jason Cornell, received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture, with a minor in Landscape Architecture from Washington State University in 1999. Prior to entering Evergreen’s Master in Environmental Studies program in the fall of 2010, Jason’s career path afforded him a diverse working experience in positions encompassing landscape design, business development, management, and entrepreneurship. While at Evergreen, his studies focused on environmental policy, education, ecology, and he completed a rigorous five month internship at Islandwood: A School in the Woods. He continues to own and operate his own landscape design/build firm and looks forward to the opportunities his MES degree will provide in the future.