Hollins University has presented Catherine Moore Wannamaker ‘96 with its Distinguished Young Alumna Award, recognizing her extraordinary accomplishments since graduation in the fields of law and environmental advocacy.
Wannamaker majored in biology at Hollins and studied under Professors Renee Godard and F. Harriet Gray. She went on to earn her master’s degree in biology from North Carolina State University and in 2003 received her law degree from Stanford University. After clerking for the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, she drew upon her background in biology and served three years as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, where she was a member of the professional staff of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries.
Since 2008, Wannamaker has been a senior attorney and lead litigator at the Southern Environmental Law Center in Atlanta. She has been a principal spokesperson on behalf of environmental groups seeking to sue the energy company BP under the Endangered Species Act for the unlawful harm or killing of endangered and threatened wildlife caused by the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010. In addition, she has led litigation on a number of nationally prominent cases, including challenging the U.S. Navy’s creation of a training range in right whale breeding grounds, saving wetlands along Georgia’s fragile coastal region, and leading efforts to end unfettered industry control of offshore drilling.
Wannamaker’s award citation calls her “a force of and for nature” and describes her legal expertise and commitment to the environment as “a perfect combination.”
The citation concludes, “You have devoted your professional life to fiercely protecting and preserving the ‘rich web of life upon which so many depend.’”
Wannamaker was honored during Hollins’ annual 1842 Society Weekend, which this year was held November 9-11 in Atlanta.