Published: June 1, 2017

Protecting Our Planet: A Letter to Our Community

Richard Lariviere, President and CEO, Office of President/CEO


The Field Museum will continue in its mission of documenting and preserving nature’s wonders and sharing those wonders with the rest of the world.

Collage of photos showing people out in in different environments: a woman using a net in a stream, two people inspecting trees in a forest, a man climbing out of a plane, and people holding lanterns

Dear colleagues,

Today, the President of the United States withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Accord, an international pledge to reduce carbon emissions and global warming. Regardless of what decisions are made in Washington, The Field Museum will continue in its mission of documenting and preserving nature’s wonders and sharing those wonders with the rest of the world. The Field Museum has always been a proud supporter of science and defender of life on Earth, and the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord will not change that.

The issue of climate change is bigger than political factions, bigger than individual opinions. The Field Museum’s mission is to celebrate and explore this planet and the life it’s home to. Protecting our planet is tantamount to our mission.

The Earth’s climate has changed in the past, as a result of catastrophic volcanic activity, impacts by asteroids, and more. Here and now, it’s changing because of us. The science is clear. And while the gravity of this situation is undeniable, so is the chance for hope. We can endeavor to curb our misuse of natural resources and reduce the harmful carbon emissions that alter the chemistry of the air we breathe. These efforts can make a difference. They must.

From our Rapid Inventories in jungles half a world away to our LEED-certified building on Lake Shore Drive, we’ll keep making a difference. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our cause. I am honored to share this mission with all of you.



Richard Lariviere, PhD

President and CEO

The Field Museum 

Richard Lariviere
President and CEO, Office of President/CEO

Richard Lariviere has been the President and Chief Executive Officer since October 2012.

Before joining the Field, Lariviere was the President of the University of Oregon (UO) from July 1, 2009 through November 2011. During his tenure there, he cultivated the university’s growing reputation for innovation in the classroom and in research, sharpening the University’s focus on sustainability and international partnerships. Prior to Oregon, Lariviere was Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at the University of Kansas from 2006 to 2009 and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Austin from 1999 to 2006. Lariviere also served as the inaugural Associate Vice President for the Office for International Programs at UT Austin.

Lariviere was born in Chicago and grew up in Marshalltown, Iowa. He earned his bachelor’s degree in the History of Religions from the University of Iowa in 1972 and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1978, he earned his doctorate in Sanskrit from the University of Pennsylvania.

After spending time in India, Lariviere built an impressive academic career around the country’s languages, histories, religions and culture. He has published articles and several books on Indian legal history. He reads eight languages and speaks French and Hindi. He has conducted research in London, Oxford, Calcutta, Poona Kathmandu, Tokyo, Beijing, Lahore, Munich, Colombo and Madras, and many other cities. 

He had a successful career as a consultant for American and Indian companies in information technology and business process outsourcing. He has also served on corporate boards in the IT industry in Europe and India.

Lariviere is a Fellow of the Institute of Innovation, Creativity & Capital in Austin (IC2), a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, a life member of the American Oriental Society, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a founding member of the Society for Design and Process Science, the Economic Club, and the Chicago Club.

He has earned several awards for outstanding contributions, including the Margaret C. Berry Award in 2004 from the University of Texas and the Eyes of Texas in 2004 and 1993. He was selected by the Royal Dutch Academy to give the annual Gonda Lecture in 1994, and the Collège de France honored him with the status of Professeur étranger in 1996. In 1989, his book on Indian legal procedure was selected as the best book of the year on South Asia by the CESMEO Institute in Torino, Italy.