Portrait of Dean Overpeck SEAS Logo

Jonathan T. Overpeck

Samuel A. Graham Dean and William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education
School for Environment and Sustainability

As I reflect upon the past year and the ever-changing circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m reminded of how grateful I am to be part of the SEAS community. The strength and resilience of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni continue to amaze me, as do our community’s efforts to foster a more just, sustainable, and equitable world, even in this time of uncertainty. I sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe, healthy, and connected during these unprecedented and challenging times. 

One of the many lessons the pandemic has taught us is that it’s essential we continue to focus on climate change, food access, environmental justice, water quality, and many other urgent environmental issues. Now more than ever, it’s important that we renew our efforts to protect the Earth’s resources for this generation and those to come. As alumni, you lead this charge every day, and for that we are grateful.

The pandemic’s environmental impacts are ones we can continue to tackle head-on thanks to our collective resilience and strength. At SEAS, our mission is to prepare the next generation of leaders to combat our world’s pressing issues, so that they may generate innovative and radical solutions to climate change, injustice, pandemics, and other weighty problems that plague our society. We recognize that it’s not just about making a difference at SEAS, it’s about making a difference in the world at large, so that everyone, regardless of their situation, can equitably benefit from environmental solutions. Your support today helps us continue this strong tradition. 

Despite the world’s pressing problems, we still have much to celebrate at SEAS. Professor Don Zak, a longtime faculty member whom many of you remember, has been named a Distinguished University Professor, one of U-M’s highest honors, as well as a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, the world’s largest community of professional ecologists. Our faculty continues to grow with the addition of several new members, including Professor Kyle Whyte, whose research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, as well as the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. 

As alumni, your accomplishments abound as well. SEAS alumni number more than 10,000—the largest number of any environmental degree program in the country—and reside in 87 countries. I am thrilled to see the impact our alumni are making across the globe. For example, alumna Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (BS ’98, MPH) was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Century for her work exposing the Flint water crisis, while alumna Allison Clements (BS ’98) received the Democratic nomination to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. To view more stories like this, visit our alumni page on our new website, launched this past summer. 

Alumni like you carry on the mission of SEAS. In this time of uncertainty, I see tremendous opportunity to make a difference in the world, and a need to continue providing students with a holistic and experiential education. I invite you to consider giving today to help the next generation of environmental leaders, stewards, and change-agents solve our world’s pressing problems. With your help, we can propel our mission for a just and sustainable world even further.  

I am honored to serve as dean of this school, and to work with inspiring students, faculty, staff, and alumni, like you, each and every day. Thank you for all that you bring to our community and to our world. 

Be well, and Go Blue!

Jonathan T. Overpeck Signature

Jonathan T. Overpeck
Samuel A. Graham Dean
William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education

P.S. At SEAS, we are prioritizing a stronger commitment to environmental justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). You can help us in this mission by supporting our DEI Funds. 

One of the many lessons the pandemic has taught us is that it’s essential we continue to focus on climate change, food access, environmental justice, water quality, and many other urgent environmental issues. Now more than ever, it’s important that we renew our efforts to protect the Earth’s resources for this generation and those to come. As alumni, you lead this charge every day, and for that we are grateful.

The pandemic’s environmental impacts are ones we can continue to tackle head-on thanks to our collective resilience and strength. At SEAS, our mission is to prepare the next generation of leaders to combat our world’s pressing issues, so that they may generate innovative and radical solutions to climate change, injustice, pandemics, and other weighty problems that plague our society. We recognize that it’s not just about making a difference at SEAS, it’s about making a difference in the world at large, so that everyone, regardless of their situation, can equitably benefit from environmental solutions. Your support today helps us continue this strong tradition. 

Despite the world’s pressing problems, we still have much to celebrate at SEAS. Professor Don Zak, a longtime faculty member whom many of you remember, has been named a Distinguished University Professor, one of U-M’s highest honors, as well as a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, the world’s largest community of professional ecologists. Our faculty continues to grow with the addition of several new members, including Professor Kyle Whyte, whose research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, as well as the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and climate science organizations. 

As alumni, your accomplishments abound as well. SEAS alumni number more than 10,000—the largest number of any environmental degree program in the country—and reside in 87 countries. I am thrilled to see the impact our alumni are making across the globe. For example, alumna Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha (BS ’98, MPH) was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Century for her work exposing the Flint water crisis, while alumna Allison Clements (BS ’98) received the Democratic nomination to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. To view more stories like this, visit our alumni page on our new website, launched this past summer. 

Alumni like you carry on the mission of SEAS. In this time of uncertainty, I see tremendous opportunity to make a difference in the world, and a need to continue providing students with a holistic and experiential education. I invite you to consider giving today to help the next generation of environmental leaders, stewards, and change-agents solve our world’s pressing problems. With your help, we can propel our mission for a just and sustainable world even further.  

I am honored to serve as dean of this school, and to work with inspiring students, faculty, staff, and alumni, like you, each and every day. Thank you for all that you bring to our community and to our world. 

Be well, and Go Blue!

Jonathan T. Overpeck Signature

Jonathan T. Overpeck
Samuel A. Graham Dean
William B. Stapp Collegiate Professor of Environmental Education

P.S. At SEAS, we are prioritizing a stronger commitment to environmental justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). You can help us in this mission by supporting our DEI Funds. 

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