Section Links

Other Links

For Immediate Release

Leslie Weddell
(719) 389-6038


Career spy and diplomat; champion of evolution in schools
also to receive honorary degree

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – May 5, 2010 – Wade Davis, anthropologist, ethnobotanist and Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic, will address the Colorado College Class of 2010 at its commencement at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 17. In addition to Davis, Donald Phinney Gregg, a career spy and diplomat, and Eugenie Scott, a champion of the teaching of evolution, will receive honorary degrees at Colorado College’s 129th commencement ceremony.

The ceremony will take place on Armstrong Quad, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., directly north of the intersection of Tejon and Cache La Poudre streets. Cascade Avenue will be closed from Uintah to Cache La Poudre streets from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the commencement ceremony.

Wade Davis holds the distinction of being one of seven Explorers for the Millennium designated by the National Geographic Society. In this role, he documents the traditional cultural practices that have helped humans establish a stable existence in such extreme environments as the arctic tundra of Nunavut and the equatorial deserts of Mali. He chronicles life in these locales using his skills as a photographer, filmmaker, writer and ethnographer to draw attention to Earth’s ethnodiversity and its value as a gauge of global change.
Davis has been described as "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity." He holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Davis has spent more than three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among 15 indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations while making some 6,000 botanical collections. His work later took him to Haiti to investigate folk preparations implicated in the creation of zombies, an assignment that led to his writing “Passage of Darkness” and “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” an international best seller that appeared in 10 languages and was later released by Universal as a motion picture.

His new ethnographic documentary film series for the National Geographic Channel, “Ancient Voices/Modern World,” features the peoples of Australia, Mongolia, and Colombia. It follows upon a successful 2008 documentary series, “Light at the Edge of the World,” that transported audiences to the far flung archipelagoes of the west Pacific and to the roofs of the world in the Himalayas/Tibet and the Andes. He is a citizen of the United States, Canada and Ireland.

Donald Phinney Gregg worked for the CIA for 31 years, from 1951 to1982. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the military and received training as a cryptanalyst. He then attended Williams College, and joined the CIA immediately after graduation. Over the next quarter center, he was assigned to Japan, Burma, Vietnam and Korea. He was special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador in Korea from 1973 to 1975, and decorated by the Korean government.

After serving in the agency for 31 years, Gregg was National Security Advisor to Vice-President George H. W. Bush, U.S. ambassador to South Korea from 1989 to 1993 and the chairman of the board of the Korea Society, where he called for greater engagement with North Korea. Prior to his departure from Korea in February 1993, Gregg received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

The third recipient of an honorary degree, Eugenie Scott, is executive director of the National Center for Science Education, a physical anthropologist and a vocal critic of creationism and intelligent design. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. She has taught at the University of Kentucky, the University of Colorado and California State University, Hayward, focusing her research on medical anthropology and skeletal biology.

In 1994 she was elected to the California Academy of Sciences, and in 2002 she was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2009, Scott became the first-ever recipient of the Stephen Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution for having devoted “her life to advancing public understanding of evolution.”

In the event of inclement weather on Monday, the commencement exercises will take place in the Colorado Springs World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd., in Colorado Springs. If weather is a concern, listen to Colorado College’s radio station, KRCC-FM 91.5, for announcements. As space is not an issue at the World Arena, admission will not be limited there.

For information, directions or disability accommodation at the event, members of the public may call (719) 389-6607.

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,975 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week blocks. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit <>