Endowment fund created for Beahrs environmental leadership program

The Rausser College of Natural Resources has announced a new endowment dedicated to the late Professor Malcolm Kerr for the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, or ELP.

The endowment, which provides scholarships to environmental activists in the Middle East and North Africa, enables skilled professionals whose work is focused on environmental justice and natural resources to complete a three-week educational program hosted by the campus.

According to a press release, the first recipient of the endowment was Rasha Abu Dayyeh, a water engineer from the West Bank. Abu Dayyeh said that she is currently running an organization that provides education services on wasting water.

The program, which was held virtually this year in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a training course for around 30 environmental activists around the world to make them more effective in the work they do, noted David Zilberman, ELP. program director and on-campus professor of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Resources.

“I was really hesitant to take the program online because I wasn’t sure it would be as effective as participating in person, so I was positively surprised that the program went very well,” said Dayyeh. “I have built very good relationships with people. The whole program was structured in a very nice way which went smoothly and you feel comfortable.

Zilberman noted that the ELP program was created 20 years ago, with over 700 alumni participating.

He hopes the endowment will enable the ELP program to recruit more students from the Middle East and others from the developing world.

“It’s a fantastic program,” Zilberman said. “There is no program in the world that is better for people with a background in environmental science education. “

The endowment, secured through funding from campus alumni Richard Beahrs and his wife Carolyn Beahrs, was named in honor of Kerr, who was a professor at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

Throughout the 1980s, during the country’s bloody civil war, the university was a frequent subject of political kidnappings and bombings. In 1984, Kerr, then president of the university, was assassinated by members of an anti-American Shiite militia.

Kerr is survived by his wife Ann and four children: Susan, John, Steve and Andrew. Steve Kerr is known for his prominent career in the NBA and his role as head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

“Mr. Bearhs was on the board of a foundation with my son John, and he heard about my late husband and the American University of Beirut,” Ann Kerr said. “He thought it would be a great way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their founding. ”

Contact David Villani at [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @ DavidVillani7.



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Kevin E. Boling

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