Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now
Banner with portrait of Ruckelshaus and words RUCKELSHAUS DAY: Honoring the Legacy of Bill Ruckelshaus

Celebrate Ruckelshaus Day

Ruckelshaus Day Tree Dedication

In July 2021 we held a small gathering in the back garden of our building on the University of Wyoming campus to dedicate a Douglas-fir to Bill Ruckelshauss. In addition to our faculty and staff, several people who were instrumental to launching the Ruckelshauss Institute and who worked closely with Bill in Wyoming and beyond shared their thoughts and remembrances. Special guests in attendance were: 

  • Harold Bergman, Director, Ruckelshauss Institute and Haub School of ENR, 1998-2008

  • Ann Boelter, Ruckelshauss Institute Research Scientist, 1995-2008

  • John Ehrmann, Senior Partner, Meridian Institute

  • William Gern, Director, Institute for Environment and Natural Resources, 1995-1998

  • Diana Hulme, Assistant Director, Ruckelshauss Institute, 2001-2010

  • Rich Innes, Senior Fellow, Meridian Institute

  • Michael Kern, Director, William D. Ruckelshauss Center, University of Washington and Washington State University 

Michael Kern shared this remembrance from the Ruckelshauss Center, a similar entity to ours in Washington State. And William Gern said, “If you want to see what this tree will become in 150 years, go to Vedauwoo, drive on the campground loop and right along that road is a giant 250-year-old Douglas fir. It’s gorgeous. And when you drive by that, think about Bill Ruckelshauss, think about having a Douglas fir right here in Laramie, Wyoming, dedicated to this giant of a man who helped set up this institute and school, who did wonderful things for us as an institution, and did wonderful things for the world.”

We intend to celebrate Ruckelshauss Day each year on July 24, Bill’s birthday, going forward. Ruckelshauss Day will be a chance to both remember the founding of our institute, our original purpose and ambitions, as well as look to the future and consider how we can apply Bill’s experience, foresight, and ideals to the challenges we and our students will face in the coming years and decades. Carrying forward Bill’s ideals for collaborative approaches and his example of leadership with great humanity and integrity is not easy in today’s world, but it is more important than ever.


Event Photo Gallery

Group photo of attendees at Ruckelshaus Day event July 2021
Small group of attendees pose for a photo behind the Bim Kendall House.
Newly planted Douglas fir tree and dedication plaque for Bill Ruckelshaus
Dedication plaque reads "In memory of William D. Ruckelshaus, Champion of America's Natural Resources, Founding Board Chair, Ruckelshaus Institute of ENR
Director of the Ruckelshaus Center and personal friend of Bill Ruckelshaus, Michael Kern, speaks at the tree dedication while Haub School associate dean Steve Smutko looks on.
Rich Innes addresses the crowd with a few remarks as Haub School Dean John Koprowski and director of development Amiee Reese look on.
A group of attendees at Ruckelshaus Day tree dedication event sit around a table on the patio of the Bergman Gardens behind the Bim Kendall House.
Rich Innes, William Gern, Michael Kern, Harold Bergman, Ann Boelter, and Diana Hulme pose for a group photo behind the tree and plaque dedicated to Bill Ruckelshaus.
Photo of the cake at the Ruckelshaus Day tree dedication event.
A basket of postcards written by attendees to Bill Ruckelshaus's family
William Gern, who directed the Institute of Environment and Natural Resources from 1995 to 1998 speaks at the tree dedication event.
Overhead photo of attendees mingling on the patio of the Bergman Gardens behind the Bim Kendall House at the reception for the tree dedication.


Douglas-fir tree illustration.

The Douglas-fir was Ruckelshaus's favorite tree. This member of the pine family grows throughout the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains. We have planted one in the back garden of our building at the University of Wyoming in Ruckelshaus's memory.

“When concerned citizens take the time to master an issue, when they are able to conduct their deliberations outside the courts or the political fishbowl, they can learn to speak a common language and come up with creative solutions for problems that appear to be frozen in a perpetual contention between narrow interests.”

Wise words from a thoughtful leader. Read Bill Ruckelshaus’s whole speech  delivered at the University of Wyoming in 1997.

From Conflict to Collaboration: Restoring Trust in Government

In 2002 he delivered this speech at the University of Wyoming when the institute was named in his honor.

Remarks Upon the Naming of the William D. Ruckelshaus Institute of ENR

William D. Ruckelshaus

William D. Ruckelshaus weaing blue sweater.July 24, 1932 – November 27, 2019

In 1993, Senator Alan Simpson asked Browning Ferris CEO William D. Ruckelshaus to come to the University of Wyoming to discuss a new institute for environment and natural resources. Ruckelshaus had previously served as first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970-1973) under President Nixon and administered the agency again (1983-1985) under President Reagan. He was a Republican known for his unwavering integrity and steadfast commitment to advancing business interests alongside environmental protection.

Ruckelshaus had a diverse and impactful background. In addition to leader of the EPA, he’d been a lawyer, Republican representative for Indiana, acting director of the FBI, deputy attorney general fired by Nixon during the “Saturday Night Massacre” of the Watergate scandal, VP of a major timber company, and head of the Puget Sound Partnership. He brought his steady-handed approach for collaborative decision making around complex environment and natural resource challenges to Wyoming when he became the founding board chairman of the University of Wyoming’s Ruckelshaus Institute. Read more about Ruckelshaus's role in Wyoming.

Bill Ruckelshaus led our board to write and adopt this mission statement in 1996:

"To advance effective decision making on environmental and natural resource issues by promoting and assisting collaborative informed approaches that sustain both the economy and the environment.” 

Contact Us

Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources

Bim Kendall House

804 E Fremont St

Laramie, WY 82072

Phone: (307) 766-5080

Fax: (307) 766-5099


Find us on Facebook (Link opens a new window) Find us on Twitter (Link opens a new window) Find us on Instagram (Link opens a new window)

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon