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2009 Proteus Intro

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Bill Ruud and I have the privilege to be president of this wonderful university. I'm pleased to welcome you to tonight's Proteus lecture in conjunction with publication of the spring issue whose theme is "Water and Our World."

Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard's Almanac, noted: "When the well is dry, we know the worth of water." Nearly two hundred years later, his prophetic words ring even more true. Throughout our nation and the world, we see the devastating impact drought has on all aspects of life. According to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center, water shortages are possible for some parts of the nation this year - and many years in the future.

Since water is an essential ingredient in life, its use -- and misuse -- are critical to our survival. Tonight, we are honored to have as our guest speaker Charles Fishman, whose next book is a comprehensive look at what could become a crisis for us all.

Mr. Fishman is an award-winning senior writer at Fast Company. As an investigative journalist, he has reported on such diverse topics as Wal-Mart, bomb factories and NASA. In 2007, he did a story on bottled water that changed the way he thought about water and its role in our lives. As part of his research for that book, he traveled worldwide and tonight will share some of his findings with us.

In 2005 he won a Gerald Loeb Award for distinguished business journalism. In 2004 his story, "The Wal-Mart You Don't Know," won best business magazine story of the year from the New York Press Club. His magazine writing has also been in The Best Business Stories of the Year. He is also the author of the best-seller "The Wal-Mart Effect."

I hope that after tonight, we will all see water in a different light and will understand even more its importance to us all. Please welcome Charles Fishman.