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Leading environmentalist, consulting professor donates collection

Leading environmentalist and architect William McDonough, consulting professor of civil and environmental engineering, will donate his archive to Stanford University Libraries.

The archive will contain paper as well as digital material and will be active, meaning that new materials will continually be added in.

“We see the possibility to capture not just the writings and artifacts but also the activities and conversations of a designer and thought leader — and the many influential individuals he works with — as they happen. It’s a real-time archive,” said Robert Trujillo, head of the library’s special collections, to the Stanford News Service.

McDonough said in the same article that he was “especially excited about [Stanford Libraries’] interest in new ways of archiving and look forward to working with their team. We are doing something new here. It’s not just pulling the past into the present. We are pulling the present into the future.”

McDonough’s is the founder of architectural design firm William McDonough + Partners and environmental consulting firm McDonough Advisors as well as the co-author of the influential 2002 book on sustainability, “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.” Additionally, McDonough is a partner at clean technology venture capitalist firm VantagePoint Venture Partners.

In 1999, Time magazine named him a “Hero for the Planet,” saying “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that — in demonstrable and practical ways — is changing the design of the world.” McDonough was the first and only person to have been awarded the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development in 1996 by former President Clinton.

The library’s acquisition was announced on Wednesday night in San Francisco at an event emceed by Susan Sarandon and attended by Meryl Streep.

-Natasha Weaser