Edward O. Wilson to Address President’s Convocation at Illinois Wesleyan
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Edward O. Wilson, internationally acclaimed entomologist, biologist,
and author, will be the featured speaker at the President’s Convocation at Illinois
Wesleyan University Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 11 a.m. in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser
The event is free and open to the public. In addition to the convocation, Wilson will
hold a question-and-answer session and a book signing at the Hansen Student Center
on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m.
Wilson is Pellegrino University Research Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University
where he also serves as honorary curator in entomology for the Museum of Comparative
A native of Alabama, Wilson earned the B.S. and M.S. from the University of Alabama
and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He joined the faculty at Harvard in 1956. A leading
voice for the preservation of biodiversity, he is the founder of a field of study
relating social behavior to genetic advantage. His 1975 publication, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis renewed the debate of nature vs. nurture and made him one of the most controversial
scientists at that time.
In 1996, TIME Magazine named Wilson one of “America’s 25 Most Influential People,” and Tom Wolfe, writing
in Forbes magazine, hailed him as “a new Darwin.” He has won the Pulitzer Prize for general
non-fiction twice — in 1979 for On Human Nature and again in 1991 for The Ants, which he wrote with Harvard colleague Bert Holldobler.
Wilson’s 1992 volume, The Diversity of Life, brought together knowledge of the magnitude of biodiversity and the threats to it
and had a major public impact.
Published in 1998, Wilson’s Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge draws together the sciences, humanities, and the arts into a broad study of human
knowledge. Most recently, he wrote The Future of Life (2002), which offers a plan for saving Earth’s biological heritage.
Wilson has won countless awards, including the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement,
the Craaford Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the National Medal
of Science for his research on pheromones. He is also the recipient of 27 honorary
doctoral degrees from North America and Europe.