SMEA’s longtime Director, Tom Leschine, is stepping down from his post effective September 1, 2014 and will spend the following year on a well-earned sabbatical focusing on energy development in the Arctic. Director Leschine, a Ben Rabinowitz Professor of the Human Dimensions of the Environment, has helmed the School since 2003. He is an expert in marine policy, risk management and policy, and coastal environmental restoration, and had taught hundreds of students in his nearly 30 years on the faculty at SMEA. Director Leschine has also served on numerous local and national boards, including his current Chairmanship of the National Research Council’s Marine Board.
“These years as SMEA’s Director have been both a challenge and a great pleasure,” said Leschine. “The challenge has been to contribute to remaking SMEA around new faculty and new ideas in the field; the pleasure has been to see the great variety of excellent students year after year and their incredible success in the field. Almost everywhere I go in the Puget Sound area or Washington DC, I run into our graduates and am continually impressed with the work their are doing and the leadership positions they have attained.”
Director Leschine will return to SMEA after his sabbatical and continue in his position as a member of the faculty.
The Dean of the College of the Environment, Lisa Graumlich, praised Director Leschine’s work as SMEA’s leader. “Tom’s vision and steady hand have been absolutely crucial in making the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs what it is today,” remarked Dean Graumlich. “The work coming from the school’s faculty and students has strengthened how we wisely use our natural resources, both in the ocean and elsewhere. That’s in no small part due to Tom’s influence, and I thank him wholeheartedly for his leadership.” The College of the Environment has formed a search committee to fill the Director position, with the goal of a new Director in place and ready to start in September.
SMEA wholeheartedly thanks Director Leschine for his incredible dedication to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the School, and wishes him a relaxing and productive sabbatical experience.