From: Melik Khoury
Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 8:11 AM
Subject: Rue Mapp – May 14, Commencement Speaker
Mapp is founder of the nonprofit organization Outdoor Afro, which has chapters all across the United States. Based in Oakland, Calif., Outdoor Afro uses a multimedia approach grounded in personal connections and community organizing to build broader community and leadership in nature. From its grassroots beginnings, Outdoor Afro has been recognized for emphasizing the importance of racial and economic diversity in the outdoors.
Outdoor Afro is a wonderful example of meeting environmental and societal needs with creative solutions. Rue Mapp’s own personal talent for self-expression and passion for the outdoors has inspired many others to engage with nature and the environment — a terrific example of sustainability science applied.
Mapp’s work has been featured in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Backpacker Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Sunset Magazine, NPR, and many others; and she has been recognized with numerous awards and distinctions:
· Named to the Root 100 as one of the most influential African-Americans in the US
· Awarded the Outdoor Industry Inspiration Award by the Outdoor Retailer conference
· National Wildlife Federation Communication award
· Named one of “America’s 20 Most Influential Moms” by Family Circle magazine, May 2015
Mapp also serves on the Board of Rails to Trails Conservancy, American Camp Association, and the Outdoor Industry Association. Most recently, she was appointed to the California State Parks Commission by Gov. Jerry Brown.
A graduate of University of California-Berkeley with a degree in Art History, Mapp started Outdoor Afro as a blog in 2009. It has since become a leading national network that celebrates and inspires African-American connections and leadership in nature.
Dr. Melik Peter Khoury