Peter H. Raven is Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Engelmann Professor of Botany of Washington University. He is a native of California and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1960, after completing his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds honorary degrees from several universities, including the Universities of Massachusetts and Goteborg, Sweden, as well as Rutgers, Leiden and Washington Universities. Dr. Raven is Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, Chairman of the Report Review Committee of the National Reserach Council and a member of the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.
In 1986, he received the International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan, in 1990 shared with E.O. Wilson the Prize of the Institut de la Sweden, in 1994 shared with Arturo Gomez-Popma the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and in 1995 shared with Canaganayagan Suriyakumaran and Norman Meyers the Sasakawa Environment Prize. From 1985 to 1990 he was a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and several foreign academies of science, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and he has served as a member of the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri and a member of the National Science Board.
Before coming to St. Louis in 1971, Dr. Raven was a member of the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. He spent the academic year 1969-1970 in New Zealand as a Guggenheim fellow. He is past president of a number of groups, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Organization for Tropical Studies, and the Botanical Society of America, served as Chairman of the National Museum Services Board, and Chairman of the National Research Council Committee on the National Biological Survey. In addition, Dr. Raven is a member of the Committee on Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society, Co-chair of the Editorial Committee of the Flora of China project, and Chairman of the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation for the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union. He is the author or editor of 18 books, including textbooks in biology and botany, and more than 450 scientific papers.
Since moving to St. Louis, Dr. Raven has been concerned with the development of the Garden's research program in tropical botany, which has become one of the most active in the world. In addition, he has continued his work with graduate students and his research on Onagraceae. He is active in efforts to enhance public awareness of the ecological crisis in the tropics, and the need for preservation of plants and animals throughout the world.
Mendal Medal Presentation Program, January 25, 1997. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.