WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar honored the life and legacy of Stewart Lee Udall at a ceremony dedicating the main Interior building after the former Secretary of the Interior. Commemorating the legislation signed by President Barack Obama on June 8, 2010 designating the Department of the Interior Building as the “Stewart Lee Udall Department of the Interior Building,” the event was widely attended by family and friends of the Udall family.
As the 37th Secretary of the Interior, Secretary Udall served from 1961 to 1969 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. His legacy is marked by his commitment to American Indian and Alaska Native communities, his forward-looking stewardship of our Nation's natural resources, and his support for the arts and humanities.
Secretary Salazar was joined at today's event by Stewart Udall's son, Senator Tom Udall, Stewart Udall's nephew, Senator Mark Udall, Senator Jeff Bingaman, and Congressman Raúl Grijalvá.
“Without question, our nation would not be the same without Secretary Udall's vision, leadership, or writings,” said Secretary Salazar. “Stewart Udall's name on the Department of Interior building will not only honor a great man, but will serve as a challenge to all who enter to uphold his legacy and commitment to protecting America's natural treasures and resources.”
“My father was honored to lead the Department of Interior during a banner era for conservation, and would have been greatly humbled by this recognition,” Sen. Tom Udall said. “My family and I are so proud of his legacy as a visionary conservationist and fierce protector of America's people and special places. On behalf of my entire family, we thank all of Dad's friends, colleagues and admirers who made this special day possible.”
“My Uncle Stewart's passion in life and in public service were America's wild places and the people who lived, worked and recreated on them,” Mark Udall said. “Under Stewart's leadership, the Department of Interior was a beacon of conservation, wildland preservation, and environmental stewardship. Today's dedication is an honor that will inspire future generations as he has inspired me and countless others.”
“It is fitting to name the Department of the Interior Building after Secretary Stewart Udall. His name on the building should be a permanent reminder of the example he set and a continuing inspiration to all who serve here and everyone who comes through the door,” Bingaman said.
“Stewart Udall's accomplishments deserve more honor and recognition than we can give him today,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. I join with many others around the country in valuing his contributions, because few people are more responsible for increasing our nation's sensitivity to preserving the environment. He was a pioneering conservationist throughout his career, and today's celebration is richly deserved.”
During his tenure as Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall oversaw important additions to the National Park system, including national parks, monuments, seashores and lakeshores, recreation areas, and historic sites. Secretary Udall also helped implement landmark statutes on air, water, and land conservation, such as the creation of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965.