By James Smith, Globe Staff
Douglas Foy, the longtime environmental campaigner and former Massachusetts cabinet secretary, is being awarded an honorary “Officer of the Order of the British Empire.”
The British consulate in Boston said today that Britain’s Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, will confer the honor on Wednesday at his Washington residence, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. The award recognizes Foy’s “achievements as an advocate and entrepreneur in the practice of environmentally sustainable enterprises” as well as his years of volunteer work helping select winners of the British Marshall scholarships.
For 25 years, Foy was president of the Conservation Law Foundation, a New England-wide organization of scientists and lawyers who work to protect the environment. He served under Governor Mitt Romney for three years as a “supersecretary” in charge of development, coordinating the work of several agencies including environment, transportation and housing. He resigned in 2006, and now works with Serrafix, a Boston-based energy-efficiency firm.
The British government said Foy was being honored in part for his many years as chairman of the regional selection committee for the Marshall Scholarship. That prestigious program, funded by the British government, awards 40 scholarships a year to American students to study in the United Kingdom for two years. The scholarship was created after World War II to honor American contributions to rebuilding Europe, not least through the Marshall Plan.
The rank of officer of the Order of the British Empire is one of five levels of honorary awards to foreign nationals. The rank is just below the level of honorary knighthood, which was awarded earlier this year to Senator Edward Kennedy, a few months before his death.
Foy, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School and a former Olympic rower, has received a number of honors for his environmental work, including the President’s Environmental and Conservation Challenge Award in 1992 and the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 2006.
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