Minneapolis, MN — June 28, 2005 – Walden University, an accredited online institution celebrating its 35th anniversary, will award its President's Award for Leadership in Social Change to activist Winona LaDuke at The Thoreau Society's annual gathering, July 7-10 in Concord, Mass. During a special program for Thoreau Society members and guests at Trinitarian Congregational Church on Thursday, July 7, Walden University President Paula E. Peinovich, Ph.D., will present LaDuke with the leadership award in recognition of her work to foster social change through social activism. LaDuke will then speak at 8 p.m. at the church on 'Environmental Justice from a Native Perspective.' The award will be preceded by a reception for conference attendees from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Concord Museum. "This is an exciting time for Walden as we celebrate both our history and our future as a university founded on a mission of effecting positive social change," said Peinovich. "Like Walden, Winona [LaDuke] has championed the cause to make the world a better place; it is an honor to be presenting her with the leadership in social change award." The award presentation is part of a series of events sponsored by Walden in 2005, as it marks 35 years of providing quality higher education at a distance. Underscoring its long-held commitment to social change, Walden is creating a Center for Social Change, a Journal of Social Change and a conference on social change, set to take place in Baltimore, Md., later this year. LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg who lives and works on the White Earth Reservations in Minnesota. A highly respected activist for social and environmental issues, LaDuke is the program director of Honor the Earth and the founding director of White Earth Land Recovery Project. In 1994, LaDuke was nominated by Time as one of America's 50 most promising leaders less than 40 years of age. She was awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the BIHA Community Service Award in 1997, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women's Leadership Fellowship, and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which she began the White Earth Land Recovery Project. The Thoreau Society annual gathering is open to the public, and registration materials are available at The Thoreau Society office and The Thoreau Society Shop, which are open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and can be reached at (978) 369-5310. Information is also available on the society Web site at www.thoreausociety.org. Established in 1941, The Thoreau Society is the oldest and largest organization devoted to an American author. Its mission is to honor Henry David Thoreau by stimulating interest in and fostering education about his life, works, and philosophy and his place in his world and ours, encouraging research on his life and writings, acting as a repository for material relevant to Thoreau, and advocating for the preservation of Thoreau Country. About Walden Since 1970, Walden University has offered working professionals the opportunity to earn advanced degrees through distance learning. Today, this comprehensive, accredited online university offers master's and doctoral degrees in education, psychology, management, and health and human services, as well as master's programs in engineering and IT and bachelor's completion programs in business. For more information, visit www.WaldenU.edu. Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, www.ncahlc.org; 312-263-0456.