Environmentalists, social entrepreneurs Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews to speak at Coe Contemporary Issues Forum

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Secretary of the College
(319) 399-8605 or rpritcha@coe.edu

2018-02-07 07:00:00 - General

Craig Mathews and Yvon Chouinard are the 2018 Contemporary Issues Forum speakers.
Craig Mathews and Yvon Chouinard are the 2018 Contemporary Issues Forum speakers.

Two of America's leading environmentalists and social entrepreneurs, the iconic founder and owner of Patagonia Yvon Chouinard, and conservationist and founder of Blue Ribbon Flies Craig Mathews, will appear at the 15th Coe College Contemporary Issues Forum. The event will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Sinclair Auditorium. The format for this event will be a moderated discussion.

Reserved seating is available at www.coe.edu/boxoffice, or by calling the Coe Box Office at 319-399-8600 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ticket prices are $10 for the general public and $5 for students and seniors.

Committed to the philosophy that business must worry as much about the social bottom line as profits, Chouinard and Mathews are particularly dedicated to environmental action and awareness. In 2002, together they founded 1% for the Planet, a global network of businesses, nonprofits and individuals working together for a healthy planet. Participating companies direct at least 1% of total sales each year to the organization’s approved nonprofit partners. To date, the organization has more than 1,200 members and has raised more than $175 million to benefit the environment. Learn more at https://www.onepercentfortheplanet.org/

Biographical sketches of Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews

Yvon Chouinard is perhaps the most recognized name in the world of business sustainability after turning Patagonia into both a global success and model of corporate social responsibility. A top climber, his many feats in the mountains include the first ascent of the North America Wall in 1964 (with Royal Robbins, Tom Frost and Chuck Pratt), using no fixed ropes. Seeking a need for durable and quality built climbing equipment and clothing, Chouinard began making his own climbing gear. Word quickly spread among his friends, and before long, Chouinard began to put the pieces together for what ultimately would become an iconic company, Patagonia.

Keeping Patagonia as a private, closely held company allowed Chouinard to recognize the financial success of the company provided the opportunity to also achieve his personal goals, and he committed the company to being an outstanding place to work, and to be an important resource for environmental activism. In 1984, Patagonia opened an on-site cafeteria offering healthy, environmental conscious food, and started providing on-site child care, one the first such efforts in the country. Two years later, Chouinard committed the company to "tithing" for environmental activism, committing one percent of sales or 10 percent of profits. This commitment included paying employees to work on local environmental projects so they could commit their efforts full time. He has recently turned his attention to sustainable food.

A Certified B Corp, Patagonia's mission is to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. The company is recognized internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing over $89 million in grants and in-kind donations to date. In 2016 alone, the company granted $7.1 million to 824 groups in 22 countries in support of environmental projects. In recognition of the company's efforts, Patagonia has received the world’s most prestigious environmental awards. 

Craig Mathews is a businessman, author and award-winning environmentalist.He moved to West Yellowstone, Montana in 1979 and became the chief of police alongside his wife Jackie, who was a dispatcher. Shortly thereafter, they together opened Blue Ribbon Flies, a full service fly and guide shop in West Yellowstone. The shop is known for unparalleled customer service and relentless innovation, and is responsible for famous fly patterns like the Sparkle Dun, X-Caddis, Iris Caddis, Nature Stone Nymphs, Pops Bonefish Bitters, TDF Shrimp, Turneffe Crab, and many others. He is the author of numerous books, including "Simply Fly Fishing: Techniques for Tenkara" written with Chouinard.

Together with his wife Jackie, Mathews has served on the boards of many regional and national environmental organizations and has been a tireless advocate and fundraiser for the preservation of the Big Sky Country and other wild places. Their work has resulted in numerous national recognitions including The Federation of Fly-Fishers' Lee Wulff Award for their conservation and environmental work, Trout Unlimited's conservationist of the year award, and recognition from the The Greater Yellowstone Coalition. But perhaps the greatest debt owed by anglers around the world to the Mathews results from their work to preserve access and preservation of the famous "Three Dollar Bridge" section of the Madison River.

Established by the late K. Raymond Clark '30, the Contemporary Issues Forum presents the views of distinguished leaders whose work has shaped and altered the course of world events. The forum has featured former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, former Poland President Lech Walesa, deep-sea oceanographer Robert Ballard, civil rights activist Myrlie Evers-Williams, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, ecology expert Jared Diamond, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, celebrated author Sir Salman Rushdie, former Senate Majority Leader and Special Envoy George Mitchell, Pulitzer Prize-winning global health expert Laurie Garrett, legendary soccer player Abby Wambach, and leading commentator on race Jelani Cobb.

Coe College offers superb academics and exciting co-curricular activities in a thriving urban setting that promotes student growth and success. Established in 1851, Coe has a national reputation for academic excellence enhanced by a student-centered, highly supportive campus environment. Coe's vibrant Cedar Rapids location provides an abundance of internships for students and career opportunities for graduates.