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 we return to campus this fall, I am once again energized by the passion of the SEAS community. There is no true substitute for spending time in the Dana Building or walking around a buzzing Diag, and I am grateful to be able to carry out our school’s mission in the company of our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

In addition to our long-awaited return, we have much to be excited about for this school year. For a third consecutive fall, applications and selectivity have increased dramatically and our enrollment will likely increase somewhat as well. These numbers reflect the growing interest in the sustainability sector throughout our society, and the growing ability of SEAS (and our alums!) to have impact. Now is the time for sustainability and climate action. At SEAS, we are pleased to be a core part of this global effort to push our field forward. Thanks to you, our 10,000+ alumni and friends who comprise the largest graduate and undergraduate community of any environmental program, we are on the front lines spending each day dedicated to moving the needle on environmental issues.

Despite the challenges of recent times, our urge to innovate and collaborate on new initiatives has not slowed down. This past spring, we were excited to announce the new Kathy and Steve Berman Western Forest and Fire Initiative (WFFI), a groundbreaking program led by Dr. Paige Fischer. The ongoing climate crisis has further exacerbated an already catastrophic wildfire season in the American West, and we are committed to developing solutions to these complex social and ecological challenges. As a result of generous philanthropic support, we can more effectively combat this troubling trend to ensure the health and beauty of a region that is particularly special to many of us.

We continue to make strides in the field of environmental justice as well. We celebrate Dr. Tony Reames’ recent appointment as senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. The Biden administration will be well served by Dr. Reames’ knowledge and expertise, and we look forward to seeing his positive impact on national energy policy. Along similar lines, Dr. Reames’ Urban Energy Justice Lab recently established the Energy Equity Project, a partnership between SEAS and the Energy and Joyce foundations. This program, led by Justin Schott (MS ’06) during Dr. Reames’ appointment with the DOE, is devoted to serving Black, Indigenous, and people of color and front-line communities that are historically overburdened by the many shortcomings of our energy system.

Also making a difference in Washington is Dr. Kyle Whyte, our George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability. Last March, Dr. Whyte was announced as one of four academics nationally to be a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, a group established by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. We take immense pride in our esteemed faculty, and we acknowledge that through their teaching, research, and leadership, SEAS continues to be a pioneering institution for environmental education.

The growing influence of SEAS is not the result of one individual, but instead the collective efforts of thousands of alumni, students, faculty, and staff committed to creating a more sustainable and just world for all. Your support is critical for SEAS as we provide our students with the instruction and resources necessary to maintain this momentum and ensure a bright future for our shared environment.

Gifts of any size help us further our mission and lead to tangible change around the world. At SEAS, we recognize that investing in the next generation of sustainability leaders is paramount to halting the climate crisis. With your partnership, we take on each new challenge with confidence and strive to be the best possible stewards of our planet.

Best regards,

Jonathan T. Overpeck Signature

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

PS: Last spring, the Dr. Carroll Williams Fund for Black Excellence was established in honor of the first Black student to attend SEAS. Please consider a gift to this fund, which supports scholars following in his footsteps.

In addition to our long-awaited return, we have much to be excited about for this school year. For a third consecutive fall, applications and selectivity have increased dramatically and our enrollment will likely increase somewhat as well. These numbers reflect the growing interest in the sustainability sector throughout our society, and the growing ability of SEAS (and our alums!) to have impact. Now is the time for sustainability and climate action. At SEAS, we are pleased to be a core part of this global effort to push our field forward. Thanks to you, our 10,000+ alumni and friends who comprise the largest graduate and undergraduate community of any environmental program, we are on the front lines spending each day dedicated to moving the needle on environmental issues.

Despite the challenges of recent times, our urge to innovate and collaborate on new initiatives has not slowed down. This past spring, we were excited to announce the new Kathy and Steve Berman Western Forest and Fire Initiative (WFFI), a groundbreaking program led by Dr. Paige Fischer. The ongoing climate crisis has further exacerbated an already catastrophic wildfire season in the American West, and we are committed to developing solutions to these complex social and ecological challenges. As a result of generous philanthropic support, we can more effectively combat this troubling trend to ensure the health and beauty of a region that is particularly special to many of us.

We continue to make strides in the field of environmental justice as well. We celebrate Dr. Tony Reames’ recent appointment as senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. The Biden administration will be well served by Dr. Reames’ knowledge and expertise, and we look forward to seeing his positive impact on national energy policy. Along similar lines, Dr. Reames’ Urban Energy Justice Lab recently established the Energy Equity Project, a partnership between SEAS and the Energy and Joyce foundations. This program, led by Justin Schott (MS ’06) during Dr. Reames’ appointment with the DOE, is devoted to serving Black, Indigenous, and people of color and front-line communities that are historically overburdened by the many shortcomings of our energy system.

Also making a difference in Washington is Dr. Kyle Whyte, our George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability. Last March, Dr. Whyte was announced as one of four academics nationally to be a member of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, a group established by President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. We take immense pride in our esteemed faculty, and we acknowledge that through their teaching, research, and leadership, SEAS continues to be a pioneering institution for environmental education.

The growing influence of SEAS is not the result of one individual, but instead the collective efforts of thousands of alumni, students, faculty, and staff committed to creating a more sustainable and just world for all. Your support is critical for SEAS as we provide our students with the instruction and resources necessary to maintain this momentum and ensure a bright future for our shared environment.

Gifts of any size help us further our mission and lead to tangible change around the world. At SEAS, we recognize that investing in the next generation of sustainability leaders is paramount to halting the climate crisis. With your partnership, we take on each new challenge with confidence and strive to be the best possible stewards of our planet.

Best regards,

Jonathan T. Overpeck Signature

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

PS: Last spring, the Dr. Carroll Williams Fund for Black Excellence was established in honor of the first Black student to attend SEAS. Please consider a gift to this fund, which supports scholars following in his footsteps.

Support the School for Environment and Sustainability

Give Today