University of Pittsburgh
October 7, 2004

2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Muta Maathai Is Pitt Alumna: She Earned the Master of Science Degree in Biology at the University of Pittsburgh in 1965

Second year in a row that Pitt graduate has won a Nobel Prize
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PITTSBURGH—The 2004 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Muta Maathai, is a 1965 Master of Science graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her M.S. degree in biology in Pitt's Faculty of Arts and Sciences; she went on to earn a Ph.D. degree at the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in 1971.

This is the second year in a row that a Pitt graduate has won a Nobel Prize. Last year, Pitt alumnus Paul C. Lauterbur, who earned his Ph.D. degree in chemistry from Pitt in 1962, received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

"Any university makes many of its most important contributions through the work of its graduates," commented University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg upon learning of Maathai's honor. "Therefore, everyone at Pitt is thrilled that Dr. Wangari Maathai has been selected for this very well-deserved recognition. Increasingly, it is being recognized that environmental sustainability is one key factor in preserving the peace. Dr. Maathai's efforts through the Green Belt Movement not only have highlighted that challenge, but have done something about it, by tackling the critical problem of deforestation in Africa.

"When Dr. Paul Lauterbur, also a University of Pittsburgh graduate, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine last year, I feared that we never would be able to maintain our pace on that front. However, the announcement that Dr. Maathai has been selected to receive the Nobel Peace Prize shows that, even in terms of the highest levels of international recognition, we do have the capacity to sustain our momentum," Nordenberg added.