Berry Award Recipients
Brian Edward Brown, January 24, 2016
James Gustave Speth, November 8, 2014
James Conlon, July 18, 2013
Stephen Dunn, November 1, 2012
Martin S. Kaplan, September 26, 2009
Fritz and Vivienne Hull, October 15, 2007
Miriam Therese MacGillis, October 1, 2005
Reverend James Parks Morton, 2004
Steven C. Rockefeller, May 17, 2002
Tu Weiming, August 30, 2000
Brian Thomas Swimme, October 8, 1999
Mary Evelyn Tucker, November 10, 1998
Brian Edward Brown
2016 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Brian Edward Brown was an undergraduate and graduate student of Thomas Berry at Fordham University where he earned his doctorate in the History of Religions, specializing in Buddhist thought. He subsequently earned his doctorate in law from New York University. Currently he is Full Professor of Religious Studies at Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y. He is the co-founder of The Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona as well as being one of the founding faculty of the Integral Environmental Studies major at Iona, a joint venture of the departments of biology, political science and religious studies. He teaches classes in Buddhism; the Religions of China; Religion and the Constitution; Religion and Cosmology; and Religion and the Natural World. He is the author of two principal texts: The Buddha Nature: A Study of the Tathagatagarbha and Alayavijnana (Motilal Banarsidass,1991, reprinted 1994, 2003, 2010), and Religion, Law and the Land: Native Americans and the Judicial Determination of Sacred Land (Westport, Greenwood Press, 1999). He is co-editor of Augustine and World Religions (Lexington Books, 2008). Among his other publications are articles which have addressed the ecological implications of the Buddhist and Native American tribal traditions, as well as the Earth jurisprudence of Thomas Berry.
James Gustave Speth
2014 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Gus Speth was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1942. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale University in 1964, attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and graduated from Yale Law School, where he was a member of the Yale Law Journal, in 1969. He served in 1969 and 1970 as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black.
Speth was a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, where he served as senior attorney from 1970 to 1977.
He served from 1977 to 1981, as a Member and then for two years as Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality in the Executive Office of the President. As Jimmy Carter's Council on Environmental Quality Chairman, he was a principal adviser on matters affecting the environment and had overall responsibility for developing and coordinating the President's environmental program. In 1981 and 1982 he was Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching environmental and con
In 1982, he founded the World Resources Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based environmental think tank; served as its president until January 1993. He was a senior adviser to President-elect Bill Clinton's transition team, heading the group that examined the U.S.'s role in natural resources, energy and the environment.
In 1991, he chaired a U.S. task force on international development and environmental security which produced the report Partnership for Sustainable Development: A New U.S. Agenda.
In 1990 he led the Western Hemisphere Dialogue on Environment and Development which produced the report Compact for a New World.
From 1993 to 1999, he served as Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; he served as Special Coordinator for Economic and Social Affairs under Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and also served as Chair of the United Nations Development Group.
In 1999, he became the dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. He served the school as the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean and Sara Shallenberger Brown Professor in the Practice of Environmental Policy when he retired from Yale in 2009 to assume a professorship at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont. Speth was succeeded as Dean at Yale by Sir Peter Crane.
Speth is author of a number of books, including: Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment; Global Environmental Governance: Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies; The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability; America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy; and Angels by the River: A Memoir. He serves as a board member of the New Economy Coalition and as co-chair of the Next System Project.
2013 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
James Conlon served as the director of the Sophia Center at Holy Names University and has taught, written, and lectured on spirituality and culture, theological education, social and ecological justice, and community organization and development for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including Sacred Butterflies: Poems, Prayers and Practices (Wyndham Hall Press, 2013), which urges readers to create a dynamic integration of their interior life and everyday world.
2012 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto
Stephen Dunn is the founder and former director of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology & Ecology and continues directing the Centre for Ecology and Spirituality. Before starting the Institute, he was a director at the Passionists' Holy Cross Retreat Centre in Port Burwell, Ontario, Canada. In the late 1970s, the retreat centre focussed on the work of Thomas Berry and the emerging voices in eco-theology, eco-feminism, eco-justice and the new cosmology as it brought religion and ecology into dialogue. This collaborative and cross-disciplinary work was gradually introduced into the curriculum at the faculty of theology at the University of St. Michael's College, resulting in the formation of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology. Although Dr. Dunn has retired from his full-time professor position at St. Michael's College in spring of 2002, he continues to assist doctoral students with their thesis work and welcomes the participation of the EAITE in the work of the Passionist Centre for Ecology and Spirituality. He and the new director of the EAITE, Dr. Dennis O’Hara, continue to collaborate on the monthly Eco-Sabbath gatherings and the annual Advent Solstice retreat and the annual Triduum Retreat held at St. Gabriel’s Parish in Toronto.
Martin S. Kaplan
2009 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Martin S. Kaplan has been a guiding force in developing the field of Religion and Ecology through his energy, intellect and passionate commitment to a better world for all people and all species. He played a leading role in arranging the grants for the ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology held at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions (1996-98), and the culminating conferences at the United Nations and the American Museum of Natural History. He helped enable the two conferences at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences which led to the Fall 2001 issue of Daedalus entitled “Religion and Ecology: Can the Climate Change?”
As Trustee and Managing Director of the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation and Trustee of the Germeshausen Foundation, he was instrumental in promoting their progressive grantmaking relating to the environment and other causes. Mr. Kaplan was also a key participant in organizing the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Wildlife Trust Alliance, the South Carolina Sustainable Universities Initiative, the Associated Colleges of the South Environmental Initiative, and Grist Magazine, the largest on-line environmental news service. He has provided leadership in supporting environmental programs at Harvard, Columbia, MIT and Yale.
As Chairman of the Interreligious Affairs Commission of the American Jewish Committee, Mr. Kaplan was active in that institution’s continuing dialogue with Roman Catholic Church leaders. In addition, he has served as a member of the Dean’s Council of Harvard Divinity School and on the Board of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard.
As Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Education (1992-96), appointed by Governor William F. Weld, he was a leader in the Education Reform Movement, and served as a member of the Education Commission of the States and a director of the National Association of State Boards of Education.
Mr. Kaplan is a graduate of Columbia College and Harvard Law School. Following a clerkship with Chief Judge Bailey Aldrich of the United States Court of Appeals, Mr. Kaplan has spent his entire legal career at Hale and Dorr and its successor, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, recently retiring as a partner. His practice included the representation of public and private corporations, and the development of philanthropic strategies for families and foundations. He has been a frequent speaker on interreligious affairs, environmental issues, education reform, family businesses, and foundations.
Mr. Kaplan was for ten years a member of the Board of the Boston Foundation, one of the largest community foundations, and chaired its Program Committee. He has also served on the boards of many charitable organizations in the fields of education and youth, and arts and culture, including the Board of Overseers of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has held a number of leadership positions at Columbia University, including president of the Columbia College Alumni Association, and was honored by Columbia with the University Alumni Medal (1993) and the John Jay Award (2000).
Mr. Kaplan is married to Wendy Tarlow Kaplan, an independent art curator. Together they share five children and ten grandchildren.
Fritz and Vivienne Hull
2007 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Fritz Hull and Vivienne Hull have been leading programs together since 1972 when they founded the Chinook Learning Center on Whidbey Island.
Fritz is a native of Seattle and Whidbey Island. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and Princeton Theological Seminary. He received his Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister. Fritz is former director of the Chinook Learning Center and has led numerous programs over twenty years. He is editor of Earth & Spirit – The Spiritual Dimension of the Environmental Crisis. Fritz founded the Whidbey Institute and has served as its director. Fritz is now associated with the Whidbey Institute as its Founding Director, is a member of Board of Directors and leads several Institute programs including Integral Spirit.
Vivienne Hull is a native of Northern Ireland. She is a graduate of the University of Washington. She holds a masters degree in Educational Psychology and is a Lindisfarne Fellow. She was co-director with Fritz of the Chinook Learning Center and led numerous programs over twenty years. She was instrumental in the creation of the Whidbey Institute, and today is an Associate Director of the Institute. Vivienne is a writer, speaker, and teacher of Celtic culture and spirituality. For over twenty five years she has been leading several retreats each year to the Island of Iona in Scotland. She participates in leadership in numerous Institute programs.
Fritz and Vivienne have now created the Story House on land they own that is part of the 100 acres called Chinook.
Miriam Therese MacGillis
2005 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Miriam Therese MacGillis is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey. She lives and works at Genesis Farm, which she co-founded in 1980 with the sponsorship of her Dominican congregation.
Miriam received her Masters in Art from the University of Notre Dame and has taught art at the high school and college levels. In 1973, she became coordinator of Peace and Justice Education for the Newark Archdiocese. In1976 she joined the staff of Global Education Associates as program coordinator and art editor of their publication, "The Whole Earth Papers.
Miriam describes Genesis Farm as a learning center where people of good will are welcome to search for more authentic ways to live in harmony with the natural world and each other. The farm practices Biodynamic methods of agriculture, which are in tune with the natural rhythms of Earth. It was one of the early pioneers in converting to Community-Supported Agriculture, (CSA) is a movement which has expanded across the country. Presently, nearly 300 families from the region are shareholders in its economic support. Miriam also coordinates programs exploring the work of Thomas Berry as he has interpreted the New Cosmology. An Earth Literacy program at Genesis Farms offers accreditation for both graduate and undergraduate students.
Miriam describes herself as having been formed by the three rivers which have shaped the regions of New Jersey where she has lived her life. She was born and lived her first 17 years in Bayonne, a small industrial city, separated from Manhattan by the Hudson River as it moves through its estuaries across the sweep of the New York Harbor. When she was 7 years old, her family began to clear a home-site in a heavily wooded area along the Musconetcong River in what was then a rural and sparsely settled region of northwestern New Jersey. On weekends and throughout the summer, they worked together to build a small cabin, and Miriam's childhood was deeply influenced by summers spent in the forests and fields of that watershed and the challenges of living for years without water nor electricity. Since 1980, she has lived along the Paulinskill River as it flows through the same watershed on its way to the upper Delaware River. Genesis Farm takes its place within a community of people and organizations working to preserve the wildlife, farms and rural communities of this highly threatened region.
Miriam lectures extensively and has conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.
She invites us to see ourselves as a living part of a living cosmos, alive with love and connection. Her message is timely and timeless, spirited and inclusive.
"The universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old and earth hasn't seen devastation on this scale since an asteroid hit the planet 35 million years ago. Wasteful technology, industry, and human activity are destroying our life systems." Sister MacGillis said to ask ourselves as individuals "What am I putting my energy into? Is it for the better of all? "This is something we all need to consider while making individual choices. Let's begin to make choices that will collectively benefit the entire planet - including insects, animals, plants, as well as humans."
"We're at a moment where there are no guarantees as to the Earth's future. It's a question of our own critical choices. And I think what we're deeply in need of is a transforming vision....A vision that opens the future up to hope." Miriam MacGillis,OP, co-founder of Genesis Farm, from "Fate of the Earth"
Reverend James Parks Morton
2004 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
The Very Reverend James Parks Morton founded the Interfaith Center of New York after retiring from his service as Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, the Seat of the Episcopal Diocese of New York in 1997 and has been its president since.
Already a national force in urban ministry when he became dean of the Cathedral in 1972, in 25 years Dean Morton achieved recognition throughout the world as one of the most energetic and accomplished religious leaders of our time. Even a partial list of his accomplishments is astonishing. In 1973, he conceived the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) dedicated to helping people rebuild, occupy and own their own apartments - the first of many outreach projects that have become national models. Others include the youth self-help organization, The Valley, which annually assists over 5000 youths from challenged backgrounds in job training, counseling and interpersonal survival and life-enrichment tools; Homes for the Homeless, a program serving the poorest families in the community by helping them to find housing and to attain the life-skills needed to maintain their homes; the Stoneyard Apprentice Program which trained local unemployed youth to become skilled stonecarvers and stone masons. He opened the Cathedral to the arts through artist-in-residence programs, free concerts of great music, art exhibitions and apprentice programs. Artists-in-residence include saxophonist Paul Winter, high wire artist Philippe Petit, Early Music conductor Fred Renz, the African-American "Forces of Nature Dance Company," Renaissance Italian Street Theatre, I Giullari di Piazza, and the American Poets Corner.
Dean Morton early perceived the centrality of the environment in religion. He began the first Recycling Center on Manhattan's Upper West Side; conceived St. Francis Day, The Native American Thanksgiving, and helped found the Joint Appeal of Science and Religion and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, a group which has instilled over 50,000 congregations of every faith across America with the idea of sacred ecology and environmental responsibility.
Another salient element of his ministry is the promotion of tolerance and understanding through a respect for all faith traditions. Among his interfaith activities, Dean Morton served as president of the Temple of Understanding (1985-1997), and as co-chair of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders (1985-1993).
Steven C. Rockefeller
2002 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Steven C. Rockefeller is professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, where he also served as dean of the College. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Princeton University, his master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and his Ph.D. in the philosophy of religion from Columbia University. He is the author of John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (Columbia, 1991) and the co-editor of two books of essays, The Christ and the Bodhisattva (SUNY, 1987) and Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment is a Religious Issue (Beacon, 1992). His essays appear in many books and journals. In recent years much of his research and writing has focused on global ethics, sustainable development, and the interrelation of democracy, ecology, and spirituality.
Professor Rockefeller has served as a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from 1977 to 1980, from 1986 to 1995, and from 1996 to the present. He was chair of the RBF board of trustees from 1998 to 2006.
Over the past twelve years, he has been actively involved in the Earth Charter Initiative, which in and through extensive worldwide, cross cultural dialogue has endeavored to identify and articulate shared values that provide an ethical foundation for the emerging global community. He chaired the Earth Charter International Drafting Committee. A final version of the Earth Charter—a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful world—was approved by the Earth Charter Commission in 2000. For the past eight years Professor Rockefeller has been a member of the Earth Charter Commission and since 2006 co-chair of the Earth Charter International Council.
In the early 1990s, Professor Rockefeller served as a member of the National Commission on the Environment organized by the World Wildlife Fund. He has been a member of the board of trustees of the National Audubon Society, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and the Zen Center, Rochester, New York. He served as a trustee of the Asian Cultural Council from 1991 to 2006 and as a member of the Council of the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica from 1999 to 2003. From 1987 to 1997 Professor Rockefeller chaired the Rockefeller Family Philanthropy Committee. From 1991 to 1998 he chaired the board of The Philanthropic Collaborative (TPC), a public charity based in New York City that is now affiliated with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. TPC offers a variety of services to individuals and groups seeking a nonprofit vehicle for their grantmaking.
Professor Rockefeller is a founder and former president of the Wendell Gilley Museum of Bird Carving in Southwest Harbor, Maine, of the Demeter Fund, which established a new park in Vermont's Champlain Valley in 1999, and of the Otter Creek Child Care Center in Middlebury, Vermont. During the 1990s he was a member of the Governor's Council of Environmental Advisors in Vermont.
Professor Rockefeller, a son of Nelson A. Rockefeller, has four children and nine grandchildren. He lives with his wife, Barbara Bellows Rockefeller, in Pound Ridge, New York.
2000 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Tu Weiming, Harvard-Yenching Professor of Chinese History and Philosophy and of Confucian Studies at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute, was born in February 1940 in Kunming, China. He grew up in Taiwan and obtained a B.A. in Chinese Studies at Tunghai University (1961). He received his M.A. (1963) and Ph.D. (1968) both at Harvard. He taught Chinese intellectual history, philosophies of China, and Confucian studies at Princeton University (1967-71) and University of California at Berkeley (1971-81). He also taught at Peking University, Taiwan University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Ecole des Haute E’tuies.
He has been on the Harvard faculty since 1981. He holds honorary professorships from Zhejing and Renming Universities and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and has been awarded honorary degrees by Lehigh, Michigan State (Grand Valley), and Shandong Universities. He is on the board of the Chinese Heritage Center in Singapore, an international advisor of Rahman University in Malaysia, a member of the “Group of Eminent Persons” appointed by Kofi Annan to facilitate the Dialogue among Civilizations, a participant of the World Economic Forum, a moderator of the Aspen Institute, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has published six books in English five in Chinese, and more than a hundred articles primarily focusing on the modern transformation of Confucian humanism. A five-volume anthology of his works was published in Chinese in 2001.
He is on the editorial boards of the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Asian Thought and Society, Philosophy East and West, Chinese Cultural Quarterly, The Twenty-First Century and Cultural China. He has served as chair of the Committee on the study of Religion and chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.
He is currently chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the International Confucian Association in Beijing, co-moderator of the Aspen Seminar on the Chinese in the Global Community, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and president of Contemporary, an intellectual journal published in Taiwan.
Brian Thomas Swimme
1999 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Brian Thomas Swimme is a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Oregon in 1978 for work in gravitational dynamics. He brings the context of story to our understanding of the 13.7 billion year trajectory of cosmogenesis. Such a story, he feels, will assist in the emergence of a flourishing Earth community.
Swimme is the author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos and The Universe is a Green Dragon. He is co-author of The Universe Story, which is the result of a 10 year collaboration with the cultural historian, Thomas Berry. Swimme is also the creator of three educational video series: Canticle to the Cosmos (1990), Earth’s Imagination (1998), and The Powers of the Universe (2006).
He lectures widely and has presented at conferences sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The World Bank, UNESCO, The United Nations Millennium Peace Summit, and the American Museum of Natural History.
Mary Evelyn Tucker
1999 Thomas Berry Award Recipient
Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. She teaches in the joint MA program in religion and ecology and directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale with her husband, John Grim.
Her special area of study is Asian religions. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Japanese Confucianism. Since 1997 she has been a Research Associate at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard. Her Confucian publications include: Moral and Spiritual Cultivation in Japanese Neo-Confucianism (SUNY, 1989) and The Philosophy of Qi (Columbia University Press, 2007). With Tu Weiming she edited two volumes on Confucian Spirituality (Crossroad, 2003, 2004).
Her concern for the growing environmental crisis, especially in Asia, led her to organize with John Grim a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard (1995-1998). Together they are series editors for the ten volumes from the conferences distributed by Harvard University Press. In this series she co-edited Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard, 1997), Confucianism and Ecology (Harvard, 1998), and Hinduism and Ecology (Harvard, 2000).
After the conference series she and Grim founded the Forum on Religion and Ecology at a culminating conference at the United Nations in 1998. They now direct the Forum at Yale where they also teach religion and ecology. To help shape this new interdisciplinary field they edited Worldviews and Ecology (Orbis, 1994) and a Daedalus volume titled Religion and Ecology: Can the Climate Change? (2001). Tucker also wrote: Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase (Open Court Press, 2003). Together they completed a new overview of the field titled, Ecology and Religion, which was published by Island Press in 2014.
Tucker and Grim studied world religions with Thomas Berry in graduate school and worked closely with him for 30 years. They are the managing trustees of the Thomas Berry Foundation. Tucker edited several of Berry's books: The Great Work (Random House, 1999), Evening Thoughts (Sierra Club Books and University of California Press, 2006), The Sacred Universe (Columbia University Press, 2009), and with Grim, The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth (Orbis, 2009), and Thomas Berry: Essential Writings on the Earth Community (Orbis, 2014).
To bring Berry's work forward she has also worked closely with evolutionary philosopher, Brian Swimme, for some 25 years. Together they have created a multi-media project called Journey of the Universe which includes an Emmy award winning film, which was broadcast on PBS and is now on Netflix. The companion book which Swimme and Tucker authored is published by Yale University Press (2011). There is also a DVD series of 20 interviews that Tucker did with leading scientists, educative, and environmentalists, titled Journey Conversations. (For the website see: www.journeyoftheuniverse.org) She is also a co-editor of another volume bringing science and religion together, When Worlds Converge (Open Court, 2002).
Tucker has been involved with the Earth Charter since its inception. She served on the International Earth Charter Drafting Committee from 1997-2000 and was a member of the Earth Charter International Council.
She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Orion Magazine, the Garrison Institute, and Climate Central.