UW Today

March 28, 2012

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to be commencement speaker

News and Information

Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson

As EPA head, Jackson leads the Obama administrations efforts to protect the nations environment. She leads a staff of more than 18,000 who address health threats from pollution and work to promote a greener economy.

Since being appointed, Jackson was named one of Newsweeks “Most Important People in 2010.” She also appeared on Time magazines 2010 and 2011 lists of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

“We are delighted to welcome Ms. Jackson to the university to help us celebrate this pivotal moment in the lives of our students,” said UW President Michael K. Young.  “To have the EPA Administrator speak at the ceremony in a year when the UW was named the ‘greenest school in the nation by Sierra Club Magazine, and a year in which we received from the Department of Agriculture a $40 million grant to develop biofuels,  puts a wonderful exclamation point on the work we are doing.  Our entire university looks forward to welcoming her on this special day in the lives of our students and their families.”

Jackson, a New Orleans resident, is a summa cum laude graduate of Tulane University. She also holds a masters degree in chemical engineering from Princeton. She began working with EPA in 1987 as a staff-level scientist, and she has spent the majority of her career working in the EPAs Region 2 office in New York. In 2002 she joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and was appointed commissioner there in 2006.

Jackson has pledged to focus on seven priorities for EPAs future: taking action on climate change; improving air quality; cleaning up our communities; protecting Americas waters; assuring the safety of chemicals; expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice; and building stronger state and tribal partnerships.

In December 2009, Jackson announced an endangerment finding on greenhouse gases, setting the stage for EPA action on climate change. To date, EPA has taken a number of steps, including the development of clean air standards designed to reduce emissions from large facilities without burdening small businesses, and a clean cars program, crafted in collaboration with the Department of Transportation and the auto industry.

The University of Washington is a leader among universities in addressing issues of sustainability. It was ranked first in Sierra magazines listing of Coolest Schools for 2011. It is one of 16 universities named to the Green Honor Roll by Princeton Review. The UW was recognized by Seattle Business magazine as one of 50 companies and organizations in Washington whose stewardship of resources sets them apart. The UW also was given a grade of A-on the College Sustainability Report Card, the only independent evaluation of campus sustainability activities. It has achieved this grade five years in a row.