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Harder lecture title: "Climate Frenzy and the Constitution"

March 16, 2014

Harder lecture title: "Climate Frenzy and the Constitution"

March 16, 2014

Catherine Hill, Harder Professor
Catherine Hill

“Climate Frenzy and the Constitution” is the title of Skidmore College’s F. William Harder Endowed Lecture, to be delivered Thursday, March 20, by Catherine Hill, the F. William Harder Professor of Business Administration at the college. Free and open to the public, the talk begins at 5:30 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall. A reception will follow the lecture.

Hill will discuss the U.S. government's inability to address climate change. She explains, “The government cannot address climate change because our system of laws (including our constitution) is built on the basis of allocating property rights, rather than recognizing the rights of future generations or the rights of the earth itself. Other cultures have recognized these rights and as a result have come to very different decisions regarding development and use of the earth's natural resources.”

Hill continued, “The irony of all of this is that ultimately climate change will have significant impacts on property rights, through more severe storms, rising sea level, increased drought and forest fires. Our lens for measuring impacts needs to widen to include the externalities of our energy, development and consumption decisions, to assure that we mitigate the future cost of these decisions on future generations and the earth itself. The constitution was not designed to shield policy makers from difficult decisions, but rather to be used to embolden sacrifice and action for the collective good.”

Appointed the eighth F. William Harder Professor in Skidmore's Department of Management and Business in 2012, Hill is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in creating and advising businesses.

She owns and manages CooperHill, a strategic consulting practice. CooperHill advises progressive, visionary businesses and institutions on economic development, sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The firm’s clients include colleges, universities, national laboratories, and startup businesses.

Prior to starting CooperHill, Hill was an attorney at WilmerHale 
and then at Whiteman, Osterman & Hanna, where she started the CleanTech practice group, helping to develop a significant portion of the wind-power generation in New York State; leading the series of transactions that helped to create Plug Power, the first fuel-cell manufacturer in the United States to go public; and mentoring numerous small companies from startup to success. Hill was also general counsel and vice president of corporate strategy at Mechanical Technology Inc., where she helped to create MIT MicroFuel Cells, a direct methanol fuel-cell developer.

Hill earned bachelor of science degrees in business and theater from the University at Albany and a J.D. degree from Albany Law School. She has published several articles on sustainability and climate change and routinely speaks on the impact of regulation on renewable energy.

Established in 1984, the F. William Harder Chair of Business Administration is designed to make possible the appointment of a distinguished executive at the senior level, who will teach a variety of courses, participate in the development of the College’s program in business and in the interactions between the Management and Business Department and the liberal arts program, and energetically enhance Skidmore’s contacts with the leaders of both the Saratoga and the national business communities.

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