Press Release Archive 2011 - 1999

Patagonia clothing co-founder to receive honorary degree during Inaugural Week events at The C of I

2009. 09. 24.

CALDWELL – Kristine M. Tompkins, a 1972 graduate from The College of Idaho and co-founder of Patagonia, Inc., will be on campus Monday, Sept. 28 to receive an honorary degree. Kris and her husband Doug Tompkins are world-renowned conservationists who live in Chile and Argentina.

The College of Idaho is hosting several events Sept. 28-Oct. 1, including Tompkins honorary degree ceremony, to celebrate the inauguration of its 12th president, Dr. Marvin Henberg. A complete listing is below. All events are free and open to the public.

Kris Tompkins is head of Conservacion Patagonica, a land trust she founded in 2000 which is focused exclusively on conserving land within the Patagonia region – an area depleted by intensive overgrazing, mining, oil drilling and logging.

Doug Tompkins, who founded North Face and Esprit, also founded the Conservation Land Trust which has purchased nearly 2 million acres of wildlands in Patagonian Chile and Argentina to place in permanent protection.

In 2003, a conservation opportunity of a lifetime arose for the couple when one of the largest ranches (173,000 acres) in Chilean Patagonia came up for sale. The Chilean National Parks had made this ranch their No. 1 conservation priority for more than 35 years because it formed the center of prized habitat in the region.

From the beginning, the plan has been to join this estancia to the neighboring 460,000 acres of Chilean national reserves and create The Patagonia National Park, which would eventually be more than 650,000 acres. This park will represent every ecotone found in the Patagonia region: grasslands, Andean foothills, the Andes themselves, and arid and semi-arid Patagonian steppe. Virtually all of the original species of the region are still intact.

The Tompkins' efforts with the future Patagonia National Park have been featured in many publications, including an extensive story on the ABC News program "Nightline" last year. For more information on Patagonia National Park, go to

Kris will receive her honorary degree on Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Jewett Auditorium. The ceremony includes performances by the chorale, chamber singers and opera workshop from The College of Idaho and the Caldwell High School Madrigals.

Other inaugural events include:

Tuesday, Sept. 29Professor Cary Coglianese ('85) guest lecture "Law in Action: Interdisciplinary Perspectives," at 7:30 p.m. in Langroise Recital Hall. Coglianese is deputy dean and Edward B. Shils professor of law and professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also directs the Penn Program on Regulation.

Wednesday, Sept. 30Professor John J. McDermott guest lecture "Starting Over: The Humanities as Personally Implosive," at 7:30 p.m. in Langroise Recital Hall. McDermott is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Texas A&M University, and has been teaching for more than 50 years. McDermott and Henberg have known each other for more than 30 years.

Thursday, Oct. 1 – Inauguration ceremony for President Marvin Henberg at 4:30 p.m. in Jewett Auditorium. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in Langroise Foyer.