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Boyer Colloquium

Picture of Dr. Boyer and his dog

In 1994, Dr. M. E. Boyer, local retired veterinarian, approached Highland Community College with a challenging proposal. He wanted to provide seed money to create a program that would help students understand the inter-relationship between ethics, economics, and ecology.

The long-time Freeport, Illinois veterinarian didn’t believe that technology would solve the earth’s pressing environmental problems – but that “unless we start recovering natural things more, it will damage us.”

Concerned about the increasing specialization of science, Earl funded the colloquium series to bring awareness to citizens of the interaction and importance of ethics and economics to environmental concerns.

The College convened a committee consisting of faculty and administrators to come up with an idea for a program that could be presented to Dr. Boyer for his approval. After several meetings, the committee agreed on a combination of lectures by outside speakers, a class, and an essay contest. This proposal was submitted to Dr. Boyer who provided whole-hearted monetary support.

Each year, the committee chooses a slightly different theme. A prominent speaker is chosen to address the College and community in the spring. The first year’s theme was “Creating A Sustainable Society” and Gordon Durnil, author of “The Making of a Conservative Environmentalist” was chosen to be the speaker. Successive years have brought numerous speakers to campus, including the esteemed environmental poet Gary Snyder and the Chairman of the Maine Public Utility Commission.

2021 Boyer Colloquium

Water, Water Everywhere: Farming and Local Community
Resilience in the Face of Climate Challenges

Tuesday, April 20
7 p.m.

Highland Community College will host speakers Margaret Krome and Dr. Eric Booth for discussions about the impacts of climate on local agriculture and our communities. Krome is the Policy Program Director for Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in East Troy, Wisconsin working to develop programs and policies which support an ethical and responsible agricultural system. Booth is an Assistant Research Scientist for Hyrdroecology at the University of Wisconsin studying the interactions between water, land, climate, and humans.

Impacts of climate challenges to farmers and the broader society will be shared. Possible solutions such as soil health practices, regenerative agriculture, and agricultural policy will be discussed.

Get the Zoom™ link here.
Meeting ID: 973 1640 6555
Passcode: 900143
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Click here for the student presentation at 9:30 a.m. on April 20.

Past Boyer Colloquium Topics and Speakers

1996 – Creating a Sustainable Society
Gordon Durnil – Author, ”The Making of an Environmental Conservative”

1997 – Ethics of Capitalism
Gary Snyder – Environmental Poet and Speaker

1998 – Ethics of Governmental Regulation of the Environment
Thomas Welch – Chairman of the Maine Public Utility Commission

1999 – Education and Environmental Protection
Gary Gardner – Worldwatch Institute

2000 – A Tale of Two Chickens: Why Buying Locally-grown Food is Essential
Dr. Kamyar Enshayan – adjunct environmental studies professor at the University of Northern Iowa

2001 – Land Use and Development
Gerald Estes and Jeff Mikkelsen

2002 – Local Food Systems: The Load Less Traveled
John Hendrickson and Richard Pirog – Education Coordinator, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture (Ames, IA)

2003 -All You Can Eat for a $1.99 What do Consumers Want/Expect from Agriculture
Dr. Michael Duffy – Associate Director and Professor of Economics, Iowa State University Agricultural Extension

2004 –  Chemical and Cancer Risks: Challenges for Communities
Dr. Jack Herrmann – DVM, MPH, Diplomate, American College of Theriogenologists; Wendy Parker – Congressional Science Fellow, Environment and Public Works Committee, U.S. Senate; Terry Feinberg –  Extension Educator, Community and Economic Development, University of Illinois Extension

2005: Ethical, Legal, and Environmental Dimensions of Land Use
Dr. Eric Freyfogle – the Max L. Rowe Professor of Law at the University of Illinois

2006: Planting Seeds for a Positive Future
Keith Blackmore – Biology and Ecology Instructor, Highland Community College

2007: Local Solutions to Global Problems
Wilson Rickerson – Policy Advisor, Center for Sustainable Energy, Bronx Community College

Flying after Oil
Dr. Alex Kuhlman

2008: Pain or Progress
Dr. Richard Shaten – Ph.D. in Land Resources from the University of Wisconsin , Masters degrees in Agriculture and Applied Economics, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Energy Analysis and Policy

2009: The Frugal Citizen’s Guide to Global Warming: How We Can Save Money, Rescue the Economy and Save the Planet, Too
Jay Butera

2010: A Conservationist Manifesto
Dr. Scott Russell Sanders – Author and Professor Emeritus, Indiana University

2011: Immigration: America’s Past, Present, and Future
Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas – Federal Interpreter; Donald Haystad – Cayton County, IA Deputy Sheriff; Dr. Daryl Watson – former Galena Historical Society Director & City Administrator; Sara Dady – Immigration Attorney

2012: Endgame: an Evening with Derek Jensen
Derek Jensen – Award-winning Author and Enviornmental Activist

2013: Wildland Fire in a Changing Environment
Kelly Martin – Chief of Fire and Aviation for Yosemite National Park

2014: Sustainability and Agriculture
Panel of local farmers

2015: GMOs:  Threat or Promise? What’s a Consumer to think?
Dr. Travis Frey – Monsanto; Dr. Stephen Moose, Plant Geneticist, University of Illinois; Chuck Noble and Pat Trask – farmers/activists

2016: Climate Change, Polar Canaries, and the Upper Midwest
Dr. Ross Powell and Dr. Reed Sherer – Northern Illinois University

2017: Understanding and Improving Renewable Energy Materials – From Atoms and Up; Advancing Science to Meet Community Needs
Dr. Maria KY Chan – Argonne National Laboratory

2018: Climate Change is Real – The 4th National Climate Assessment:  This is Important and Not Fake News
Dr. Donald J. Wuebbles – professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

2019: Research Reactors: at the Intersection of Science, Technology and Society
Dr. Julia Phillips – Member of the National Science Board, retired Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Sandia National Laboratories

Questions, comments, or other inquiries about the Boyer Colloquium are welcome at or 815-599-3493.

Highland Campus

2998 W. Pearl City Rd. Freeport, IL 61032


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