Bill Foege


Supported by a generous endowment from George L. and Helen B. Long, the Rachel Carson Science, Technology & Society Annual Lecture was designed to bring leading experts in the fields of science and technology to campus to address the PLU community. Visiting scholars interact with PLU students and faculty in the classroom, and lecture on a scholarly topic of general interest in the evening.

The 2020 lecture will bring Willliam Foege, B.A. (’57), M.D., M.P.H. back to Pacific Lutheran University. Dr. Foege is best known for his leading role in the effort to eradicate smallpox, but he was also key to the fight to eliminate Guinea worm disease, polio, measles and river blindness. He’s a global health champion, especially in the arenas of child health and development, preventative medicine, and vaccines, and he lent his passion and expertise to help shape and expand The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s revolutionary mission in global health.

Lecture Topic

Why to Avoid a Life Plan

Rachel Carson forced us to see the future implications of our current actions. What are the things that we should be focusing on as threats to our very survival, and what are some of the most important things we could now do to reduce those threats and improve the future if humanity does survive? You each get one lifetime to take those actions. What are the skills and the knowledge you should seek to shape your future and the world’s future?

Following the lecture, Dr. Foege will sign copies of his books. Copies of the following will be available for purchase at the lecture:

  • The Fears of the Rich, The Needs of the Poor: My Years at the CDC, Dr. William Foege
  • House on Fire: The Fight to Eradicate Smallpox, Dr. William Foege
  • The Primeval Forest, Albert Schweitzer – suggested reading by Dr. William Foege

(Photo: The White House) President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. William Foege '57 in 2012
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