AASHE’s Presidential Voices interview series features conversations with heads of higher education institutions who are inspiring sustainability leaders. To recommend a president or chancellor for this series, contact Judy Walton, AASHE’s Chief Publications Officer, at email@example.com.
Wim Wiewel, President of Portland State University, is our guest for this interview. Dr. Wiewel serves on the steering committee of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Under his leadership, PSU received the largest gift in its history, the $25 million James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation challenge grant for sustainability. In 2011, the university was awarded an AASHE STARS Gold rating. Dr. Wiewel’s books include Global Universities and Urban Development and The University as Urban Developer. He holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University.
Judy Walton: In 2008, soon after arriving at Portland State, you announced that a $25 million, 10-year challenge grant from the James F and Marion L Miller Foundation (at that time the largest single gift for sustainability in higher education) would be put toward sustainability research, engagement, and education. Why was sustainability chosen as the focus, and in what ways has the Miller grant made an impact?