Distinguished Alumnus Award:
Even as a child, H. Douglas Pratt existed in a world where there was no boundary between art and science. He seamlessly combined a love of birds with a talent for painting to produce beautifully detailed renderings of the natural world.
He brought this mindset to Davidson College, a place where the arts and sciences are celebrated, to study biology, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966. Wanting to share his knowledge and regard for nature, he went on to teach high school biology in Charlotte and Gastonia, as well as serve as a ranger-naturalist in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while continuing to draw and paint the birds he loved so much.
In 1970, he returned to higher education to pursue a Ph.D. in zoology from Louisiana State University. By the time he graduated in 1979, he had already established himself as one of the premier nature illustrators in the country. Over the years, this "hobby that got out of hand," as he puts it, has produced illustrations for dozens of books and magazines including, among others, the Encyclopedia Britannica, The Peterson Field Guide to Birds, and National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. He has also published his own books, A Field Guide to the Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific and The Hawaiian Honeycreepers. His works are widely displayed in museums and nature centers around the country and featured regularly in nature publications. When not working on writing or illustration projects, he generously continues to share his wisdom with others as a lecturer, consultant, and nature tour leader.
Because you so generously share your delight in the natural world with others; because your drawings and paintings have informed and educated so many through the years; because your work encourages the preservation of wildlife and wild areas; and because you make Davidson College proud to claim you as her own, the Alumni Association presents to you, H. Douglas Pratt, the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the Class of 1966's 35th Reunion, April 21, 2001.