$575 Creation Care Scholarships are available to interested students

Richard Acker Creation Care Scholarship

The $575 Richard Acker Creation Care Scholarship is provided each year for those students interested in pursuing a career related to environmental studies, policy or law.


Richard Acker

About Richard Acker

Richard was committed to living out his Christian faith in the law. As an environmental attorney, he would collaborate with Dr. Susan Emmerich in teaching the biblical responsibility to care for the creation at the Law, Justice and Culture Institutes. Richard also faithfully supported the Center through prayer, encouragement, and donations. His wife continues that legacy.

Richard was born in Hinsdale, Illinois, the third of four children to Fred and Cindy Acker. As a child, he wanted to be a train engineer when he grew up, and loved all things trains. He excelled in school, began many of his collections (including coins), became a Cubs fan, and joined the Boy Scouts. As an eighth grader, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in just 29 months. Scouting awoke Richard’s love for the beauty of the world around

him through their hiking and camping trips. In high school, Richard became a music aficionado, drummer in the school band, and an actor, playing the title role in Rumpelstiltskin. He spent hours playing catch, computer games, and riding bikes with his best friend.

In the fall of 1991, Richard entered Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he majored in French and International Relations. He spent his junior year in Paris, an experience he so enjoyed, and which whet his appetite for future travel. After graduating magna cum laude, Richard spent a year in Springfield, Illinois, working as a Dunn Fellow for Governor Edgar. Next he earned a master’s degree at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School for Pubic Policy. This was his favorite academic experience, and while there, he felt a career calling to environmental stewardship—protecting and preserving creation. To further prepare for this he enrolled in the University of Chicago Law School.

Upon attaining his law degree, Richard practiced environmental law with a law firm in San Francisco for several years. He then returned to Chicago to work for a non-profit environmental organization, Openlands Project. His work included mapping the “green infrastructure” of
the tri-state Chicagoland area, wetlands protection, and efforts to reform state regulations for approving water/sewer systems to reduce environmental harm. In 2005, he became an attorney at the Environmental Law and Policy Center. There he focused on clean water and wildlife habitat issues, and led a large multi-organization project to fund, buy and protect land in the “Driftless Area,” an environmentally unique area in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Richard and Karen met through a mutual friend during their college years. The friendship grew over time and they were married in July 2001. God blessed them with a little daughter, Amelia. Richard was a devoted husband and delightful father.

Richard had an others-oriented personality. He developed good friends everywhere he lived, and made real efforts to maintain contact with them. His genuine interest in the lives of others impacted all he met.

Richard was a person with great intellectual curiosity, diverse interests, and hobbies. He loved music, listening to a wide variety of musical styles, and participating in church and community choirs. He composed a French lullaby for Amelia when she was born. Richard was an avid coin collector. He enjoyed travel, and had opportunities to visit many locations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as other countries including Norway, France, Ireland, Hungary, Kenya, Costa Rica, Nepal, and New Zealand. Outdoor activities, hiking, and nature photography were other passions that he often combined with his travels.

But most of all, Richard loved God. He had a deep and steadfast faith even in the face of his cancer. A week before he died Richard wrote, “One does not always get a chance to write ‘last words,’ and to many of you I have made them already in person. But here [is a] parting thought—Do not fail to seize the love of God, which is available to you in the all-embracing sacrifice of Jesus Christ.” Richard himself had seized that love, and through its power, selflessly served God and others.