Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron ’74 have given $4.5 million to the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) to support work at the intersection of environmental studies and the humanities.
“We are very grateful to the Barrons for their confidence in the University and its mission and for their deep commitment to the environmental well-being of our planet,” said President Tilghman.
The gift will create the Thomas A. and Currie C. Barron Professorship in Humanities and the Environment; the Barron Family Fund for Innovations in Environmental Studies, which will support efforts by students and faculty that make connections between humanities and the environment; and the T. A. Barron Prize for Environmental Leadership, awarded annually to a student who exhibits exceptional devotion to environmental issues in any field.
“The key concept here is leadership,” Barron said. “This planet of ours needs people who can inspire others in all areas of environmental concern, both in academics and in the wider world.”
A charter trustee and former alumni trustee, Barron serves on PEI’s advisory board. The Barrons previously created the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professorship in the Environment and Humanities, and the Henry David Thoreau Freshman Seminar in Environmental Studies. He is also a long-time supporter of Annual Giving.
Barron credits the blossoming of environmental studies at Princeton to the leadership of President Tilghman; her predecessor, President Harold T. Shapiro *64; and PEI Director Stephen W. Pacala, the Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
“They are taking Princeton’s longstanding commitment to excellence and applying it to environmental issues,” Barron said. “PEI has already become a world-class leader in this area, and we’ve only seen the beginning of what Princeton can accomplish.”
A history and politics major at Princeton, Barron received the Pyne Prize and was named a Rhodes Scholar. After earning JD and MBA degrees at Harvard and building a successful business in New York, he became a writer and conservationist. His novels and nonfiction writing, which display a passion for nature and a deep concern for the Earth, have won many honors, and he has received the Wilderness Society’s highest citizen award for conservation work.