Remembering Bob Kates
I am very sorry to share the news that Bob Kates died on Saturday at the age of 89*. As many of you know, we were incredibly fortunate that Bob agreed to chair our Science Advisory Board during the 5-year, $20 million Sustainability Solutions Initiative grant that led to the creation of the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. Indeed, it’s quite possible we never would have received that first grant had it not been for Bob.
Bob’s life and work are far too important and rich to adequately summarize here. Suffice to say that he helped found the field of sustainability science, was a MacArthur Fellow, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and recipient of the National Medal of Science from President George H.W. Bush. Bob was also the Presidential Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Maine.
In addition to being an extraordinary scholar, Bob also became a generous colleague and dear friend to many of us.
If you didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know Bob, here are a few links that will help you learn a bit more about his remarkable story:
- My favorite short biography, written by Kim Ridley
- A wonderful interview by Bridie McGreavy in Maine Policy Review
- A fascinating episode of Maine Public’s “Sustainable Maine” series about a Sustainability Solutions Initiative project focused on culverts and climate change, which features interviews with Bob and Shaleen Jain
- Bob’s personal website
Bob did far more than his share to forge an inspiring vision for, and map a pathway toward, a sustainable world – now it’s up to us!
*An obituary for Bob can be found in the Bangor Daily News. We are grateful to his family for setting up the Robert W. Kates Fund for Creative Graduate Studies to benefit the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. This fund will foster continuing work regarding Bob’s quest, “What is, and ought to be, the human use of the earth?”