Carl W. Knobloch, Conservationist
and F&ES Benefactor, Dies at 86

kroon hall knobloch center
The Emily and Carl Knobloch Environment Center, located on the third floor of Kroon Hall.
Carl W. Knobloch Jr., 86, a businessman and philanthropist whose generosity helped fund the construction of Kroon Hall, the administrative home of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), died on Nov. 22.
carl knobloch yale
Carl W. Knobloch Jr.
A Connecticut native, Knobloch, a member of the Yale Class of 1951, led several companies in finance, real estate, and oilfield services and production during his career. In 1998 he founded West Hill Investors, a privately held equity firm based in Atlanta. Before that he was chair and CEO of Production Operators Corporation.
Knobloch’s love of the outdoors, first nurtured during a childhood spent on his family farm in Stamford, Conn. and strengthened at his adopted home in Wyoming, inspired a decades-long commitment to conservation. He founded the Knobloch Family Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving land and wild spaces for animals and to valuing natural resources.
In 2005 he donated $4 million toward the construction of Kroon Hall, the home of F&ES and the greenest building on the Yale campus. The Emily and Carl Knobloch Environment Center, a vibrant space located on the building’s third floor, is named in honor of Knobloch and Emily (Champion) Knobloch, his wife of nearly six decades. (His foundation also supports a faculty position at F&ES, currently held by Prof. Eli Fenichel, and research into the value of “natural capital” assets such as groundwater, forests, and fish populations.)
Two years later Knobloch endowed the F&ES deanship. At the time, he said that preservation of natural ecosystems is critical to the continued economic strength of the country — as well as the health of all Americans.
“There is an impending crisis in the degradation of the world’s environment, which we must prevent for the sake of our children and their children,” he said. “F&ES is the finest training ground for those who will forge the way.”
Indy Burke, who was named Carl W. Knobloch Jr., Dean at F&ES this summer, met Knobloch while she was Dean of the University of Wyoming’s Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources and they became friends. During his memorial service in Atlanta this week, Burke remembered the many spirited conversations she and Carl shared about conservation and public lands management.
“Mostly, Carl did not just want to think and talk about conservation, he wanted to conserve. Now,” she remembered. “He wanted to conserve as much as he possibly could, and as fast as he could.”
“Those conversations really helped me to think about the urgency of some conservation action, and how we, through engaging in real practice, can make change happen — and it’s now a priority for me as a leader in environmental education,” she said. “Carl’s legacy will live into perpetuity — from conserving the wildlife migration corridors in the Red Desert of Wyoming to his contributions at Yale.”
– Kevin Dennehy    203 436-4842
PUBLISHED: November 29, 2016
Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles posted prior to July 1, 2020, refer to the School's name at that time.