Dr. Peter Raven

President Emeritus, Missouri Botanical Garden

Peter Raven is a nationally and internationally renowned conservationist who holds the position of Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Raven is also President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, where he has transformed the Garden into one of the world’s leading plant conservation centers. Prior to arriving in St. Louis, Dr. Raven completed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, secured a Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles, and taught for nine years at Stanford University.

A prolific writer, Dr. Raven has authored more than 400 articles and 16 books. He holds numerous prestigious positions, including Trustee of the National Geographic Society; member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); member of the Pontifical Academy of Scientists; Home Secretary of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences; member of the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology; and Chairman of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. Dr. Raven has also been the recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. Time magazine, in its 1999 Earth Day issue, declared that Dr. Raven is one of its “Heros of the Planet” who is “doing extraordinary things to preserve and protect the environment.” Dr. Raven was recently awarded a 2010 China Friendship Award.

Today Dr. Raven focuses much of his attention to what he considers the menace of a “sixth extinction” – a potential mass extinction of living organisms that would be brought about by the mushrooming human population and by human carelessness and commerce. In the new millennium, Dr. Raven is calling for an “age of biology,” within which humans strive to fully understand the diversity of the worlds living organisms and use the properties of those organisms as a means to develop sustainability and conserve biodiversity.

Missouri Botanical Gardens webpage >