Alumni Reflections: Carol Browner
“As a law student, I was taught the skills to make my career goal of public service a reality. I also learned the importance of communicating and being able to work with people from all walks of life. The many things I learned about myself and the world while attending the University of Florida College of Law continue to influence me daily — both personally and professionally — and have contributed greatly to my success in life.”
— Carol M. Browner (UF JD 79), former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); founding member of the international strategy firm The Albright Group; senior fellow at the Aspen Institute’s Program on Energy, the Environment, and the Economy; and first woman to chair the National Audubon Society. Browner co-chairs a project at the Aspen Institute — a global, impartial forum for leveraging the power of leaders to improve the human condition — aimed at developing a multi-stakeholder project on sprawl and urban growth.
Appointed by President Clinton in January 1993 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Browner was the longest serving administrator in the history of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With a fiscal year 2000 budget of $7.6 billion and 18,000 employees, EPA’s mission is to protect public health and the environment by safeguarding the nation’s air, water and land from harmful pollution. Browner also has served as secretary for Florida’s Department of Environmental Regulation (1988-91), legislative director to Albert Gore during his stint in the Senate ( 1988-91), and chief legislative aide on environmental issues to Senator Lawton Chiles before Chiles left the Senate to run for governor of Florida. She was general counsel for the Florida House of Representative’s Government Operations Committee and worked for Ralph Nader’s Citizen Action.
Browner has received the Advocate for Children Award from the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, the “Mother of the Year” award from the National Mother’s Day Committee, Glamour magazine’s “Woman of the Year” award, the South Florida Chapter of the Audubon Society’s Guy M. Bradley Lifetime Achievement award, and the Lifetime Environmental Achievement award from the New York State Bar Association, among others. She has continued her relationship with the UF College of Law by speaking at commencement and teaching in the Summer Study Abroad Program in Costa Rica, among other activities.