Mark Ruffalo Gives a Small Florida College the ‘Hollywood Treatment’ in ‘Dark Waters’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Rob Bilott, Mark Ruffalo and Todd Haynes attend a photocall for "Dark Waters"

Actor Mark Ruffalo‘s portrayal of activist and lawyer Robert Bilott within the December 2019 launch Dark Waters thrust a tiny Florida school into the highlight.

Rob Bilott, Mark Ruffalo and Todd Haynes attend a photocall for "Dark Waters"
Rob Bilott, Mark Ruffalo and Todd Haynes attend a photocall for “Dark Waters” |David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

Bilott is the lawyer who fought towards chemical large DuPont after the corporate allowed the chemical PFOA, to stream into the group water provide in West Virginia.

Part of the story consists of Bilott’s school days, featured in The New York Times article, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” The Herald-Tribune reviews.

Bilott advised The Herald-Tribune that Ruffalo learn the New York Times story and it impressed him to make the movie. But Bilott additionally shared what made the school he attended, New College of Florida, so distinctive and particular.

Bilott attended New College of Florida within the 1980s

Bilott was a scholar on the small liberal arts honors school from 1983 to 1987. New College of Florida, positioned in Sarasota affords an untraditional tutorial setting. The faculty permits college students to discover their very own schooling path, which incorporates writing and defending a thesis throughout their fourth 12 months.

“You could design your own major, it was a pass/fail system, you could do a lot of independent study,” Bilott mentioned. “That seemed really intriguing to me, so I came down and visited the campus with my dad, and was really impressed with it and decided to come on down. I had a great time while I was there, it was a great institution.”

Bilott was initially from Ohio. So he finally returned to the midwest upon commencement. However, he returned to the sleepy Florida city all through the years, making Sarasota a trip vacation spot for his household.

He credit New College for serving to hone his important considering expertise

Bilott’s distinctive schooling helped him fine-tune his important considering talents. He advised Sarasota Magazine he initially wished to grew to become a metropolis planner. But he graduated with a political science diploma as a result of there was no math concerned.

“I was a political science major. I tried to avoid anything that involved numbers and math,” he admitted. “It was rather ironic that I ended up dealing with chemicals.”

He insists that New College ready him to struggle the chemical large. “They did a great job in teaching you how to think critically, how to analyze data, how to question what you’re seeing and look at it for yourself.”

Rob Bilott was supposed to offer the graduation handle at New College

Bilott was scheduled to ship the graduation handle for the category of 2020 at New College. The faculty introduced Bilott because the keynote speaker in December 2019. “We’re thrilled to have Rob Bilott as our commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient this year,” Don O’Shea, president of New College mentioned.

“Rob’s legal work challenged the powerful and defended the less privileged,” O’Shea continued. “He uncovered a public health hazard, as highlighted in many publications and now in a major movie.  His work exemplifies New College’s mission as an institution that prepares its students for lives of purpose, service and achievement.”

Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck and commencement plans needed to change. However, as an alternative of bypassing the commencement ceremoney, the varsity postponed it till December.

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