Born in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, a tiny town 60 miles from the Minnesota border, is any wonder that Gaylord Nelson, former governor and senator, founded Earth Day? Inspired by President Kennedy’s 1962 national conservation tour and anti-war teach-ins, Nelson thought, “Why not have a nationwide teach-in on the environment?” And that simple idea is now celebrating its 45th year.Read, in Nelson’s own words, “The Genesis of Earth Day,” published in the Fall 1998 Wisconsin Academy Review.
In his role as Governor (1959-1963), Nelson, a graduate of the UW-Madison Law school, worked with the Board of Regents to lead the University. You can explore Nelson’s thoughts and positions on higher education in the University Communications Library Collection which contains releases written by University Communications staff. And, of course, his work and the state of the State during his time as governor are documented in the Wisconsin Blue Books.