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John Cronin  

Resident Scholar in Environmental Studies and Author

When the Wall Street Journal praised John Cronin as "a unique presence on America's major waterways," it forecasted the international reputation he would establish for his groundbreaking work over the course of a 38-year career. People Magazine soon followed suit, labeling John "equal parts detective, scientist and public advocate" in a three-page profile.

A Time Magazine "Hero for the Planet," John first came to worldwide attention as the nation's only Riverkeeper, on New York's Hudson River. His investigation of the illegal activities of Exxon oil tankers and his continued citizen enforcement work led to cases against more than 100 environmental lawbreakers, and later inspired the creation of more than 200 Water Keepers in six nations.

John began his career at the urging of folksinger Pete Seeger, as a pollution investigator for Seeger's "Clearwater" organization. He later became an aide to Republican Congressman Hamiltion Fish, Jr. and then to Democratic State Assemblyman (now Congressman) Maurice Hinchey, for whom he was part of a special investigative team on Love Canal. He has worked as a commercial fisherman, author and filmmaker, always turning his attention to national and global water issues.

He co-founded the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace School of Law, considered a national model for professional courtroom advocacy, and is founding director of Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, where he partnered with IBM to create a program of technological innovation to advance protection of waterways worldwide.

He now serves as senior fellow for environmental affairs at Pace, and Beacon Institute fellow at Clarkson University, teaching environmental history, policy and advocacy, and advocating for water policy reform.

In 2011, he was awarded a Jefferson Gold Award, founded as the "Nobel Prize for public service" by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. His many honors include an Honorary Juris Doctor from Pace Law School, Vanity Fair Hall of Fame, Thomas Berry Environmental Award, and the William A. Ricker Award from the American Fisheries Society.

He is the co-author of The Riverkeepers with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., recognized as a leading handbook on environmental activism, and has contributed numerous op eds on environmental policy to The New York Times.

He has been the subject of three books, and many profiles, interviews and documentaries including: the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Time Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, The New Yorker, Today Show, Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt, Charlie Rose, America's First River with Bill Moyers, NBC Nightly News, The History Channel.

The Knight-Ridder Newspapers called John Cronin a "hero in one of the great success stories of the modern environmental movement."


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