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Host: Scott LaMar

Penn State Harrisburg Chancellor and a national climate lawsuit has local connection

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Feb 15, 2019 4:18 AM

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Dr. John M. Mason Jr., Ph.D.

What to look for on Smart Talk Friday, February 15, 2019:

Penn State's literal and virtual influence extends far beyond State College, Pennsylvania. There are 24 campuses across the Commonwealth; a campus within practical commuting distance for virtually every resident. In the Capitol area, Penn State Harrisburg fills that role. 

The Capitol Campus, as it was first named, was purchased by the University more than 50 years ago on the former site of Olmsted Air Force Base. At the time, it was the first upper division and graduate center in Pennsylvania and one of only three in the nation. 

Since its founding in 1966, Penn State Harrisburg has grown from only 18 students to a comprehensive four-year college and graduate school with an enrollment of nearly 5,000.

A former undergraduate of PSU Harrisburg is now the Chancellor of the institution. 

Dr. John M. Mason Jr., Ph.D., was appointed chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg in August 2018. A civil engineer, Dr. Mason earned his bachelor's degree at PSU Harrisburg and served in higher education at both Auburn University and the Penn State College of Engineering

Dr. Mason appears on Smart Talk Friday to discuss the role of PSU Harrisburg in the Capitol area and to Penn State University. 

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Dr. John M. Mason Jr., Ph.D., Chancellor of Penn State Harrisburg.

Also, in 2015 Our Children's Trust filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against the U.S. government in a U.S. District Court in Oregon. The Obama administration was in office when Juliana v. U.S. stated that the government's actions "cause climate change and violates the youngest generation's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources."

Our Children's Trust was recently recognized by Dickinson College with an award for Global Environmental Activism. The 2018 Rose-Walters prize was presented to them for "elevating the voice of youth--those with most at stake in the climate crisis." 

One of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit is a current Dickinson College student. Sophie Kivlehan, a sophomore from Allentown, Pennsylvania, grew up engaged in the climate debate. Her Grandfather, James Hanson, is a professor who directs the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

Joining Smart Talk to discuss the national climate lawsuit and the local connection is Dickinson College sophomore Sophie Kivlehan, Dr. Neil Leary, Ph.D., Director of Dickinson's Center for Sustainability Education, and Eowyn Soran, Our Children's Trust trial outreach coordinator. 

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Sophie Kivlehan, sophomore at Dickinson College, Dr. Neil Leary, Ph.D., Director of Dickinson's Center for Sustainability Education, and Eowyn Soran, Our Children's Trust trial outreach coordinator.

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