Student environmental initiatives helped by Luce

A grant from The Henry Luce Foundation will boost the experiential learning opportunities provided by the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic (IEC).

In the clinic, students work in interdisciplinary teams, supervised jointly by environmental attorneys and engineers, and provide pro bono legal and technical services to environmental and community organizations. The clinic offers students a unique educational experience, applying their classroom learning to actual cases and addressing cutting-edge legal and technical issues.

In announcing the gift of $450,000, to be distributed over four years, Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said its enhancing effects will be felt throughout the University and beyond.

“The Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic involves not only law students, but draws student participation from throughout the University’s schools, so this grant will affect graduate students in engineering, environmental studies, medicine, social work and business, in addition to law,” Wrighton said.

“Drawing in our talented students to address challenging environmental problems is vital, and their work has already resulted in positive changes in the communities in which we live,” he added. “It is a testament to their dedication and good work that The Luce Foundation recognizes and supports them.”

Housed in the School of Law, the IEC has about 36 students throughout the academic year and as many as eight students during the summer actively engaged in legal and technical cases on behalf of non-profit organizations.

Some of the clinic’s most recent cases include the Missouri Coalition for the Environment’s initiative to address lead contamination in Herculaneum, Mo.; a Sierra Club challenge against the construction and expansion of coal-fired power plants in Kansas City, Mo., which resulted in a precedent-setting settlement addressing global warming; and a victory for the American Bottom Conservancy in an important Clean Water Act case in East St. Louis, Ill.

“The Henry Luce Foundation grant will support strategic expansion of the clinic, enhancing and expanding its experiential learning opportunities,” said Maxine Lipeles, J.D., clinic director and senior lecturer in law. “This grant will enable us to establish a Summer Internship Program and an Engineering and Science Fellowship and otherwise to enrich the educational benefits offered by the clinic.”

At the University, The Luce Foundation also supports undergraduate research for female students in the School of Engineering. A recent grant for $225,000 from the Clare Boothe Luce Program, a component of the foundation, will provide female undergraduates stipends to participate in research projects with faculty mentors in the summer.

Prior to this gift, The Luce Foundation supported the Henry Luce Professor of Individual and Collective Memory in Arts & Sciences, a faculty distinction held by Pascal R. Boyer, Ph.D., professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences.

Before that, the foundation provided funds for the Henry R. Luce Professor of Law and Liberty, held by Douglass C. North, Ph.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts & Sciences.

The Henry Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc. Its assets of approximately $800 million support the foundation’s interests in the interdisciplinary exploration of higher education, increased understanding between Asia and the United States, religion and theology, American art, opportunities for women in science and engineering, and environmental and public policy programs.