Lifetime Achievement Award

This award honors outstanding leaders (both academics and practitioners) who have made significant contributions to the advancement of sustainability in higher education over their lifetimes. They represent the most influential minds in the field of campus sustainability. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by AASHE.

The nomination period for the AASHE Lifetime Achievement Award is currently closed and will reopen in early 2022.

Meet the Lifetime Achievement Award Winners:

  • 2020
    Nan Jenks-Jay, who recently retired as the dean of Environmental Affairs at Middlebury College, is a leading voice for the environment and sustainability in higher education. She played leadership roles in the development of Environmental Studies programs at Williams College, University of Redlands and Middlebury College. In addition to her work as an educator, Nan also pioneered a wide variety of campus sustainability strategies – from green buildings and on-site composting to sustainable purchasing, fuel switching and land conservation – that have helped to make Middlebury an internationally recognized leader in sustainability. She has published and presented widely on her work and served as an advisor to multiple sustainability organizations, including AASHE.

    Learn more.

  • 2019
    Judy Walton, the founding director of AASHE, served the organization in a variety of capacities from 2006 to 2013. In her time with AASHE, she played leadership roles in the development of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Judy also helped found and coordinate the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability and the Higher Education Associations Consortium for Sustainability.

    Learn more.

  • 2018
    Dr. Tony Cortese, Principal at Intentional Endowments Network. With over 3 decades of leadership, Dr. Cortese played an essential role in the formation of many of the key organizations and frameworks – including the Talloires Declaration, Second Nature, AASHE, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment and the Intentional Endowments Network – that have guided the evolution of the movement for sustainability by and in higher education.

    Learn more.

Application Details


AASHE members are invited to nominate individuals they feel are deserving of a Lifetime Achievement Award. Applications, in the form of a nomination, must include a detailed description of the nominee’s contributions to the campus sustainability community and be submitted through the official nomination form.  Nominations will remain on file and will be considered in each of the next three award cycles after submission. Self-nominations are not accepted.

Nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award are currently closed and will reopen in early 2022.


Submission/Nomination Deadline Third Friday in May
Judging Underway May – July
Submitters/Nominators Notified. Finalists Announced. Mid-August
Winners Notified and Announced Mid-September


The Lifetime Achievement Award winner receives:

  • One complimentary pass to AASHE’s annual conference in the year they receive the award
  • Recognition during that conference’s opening ceremony
  • Photo and bio on the Lifetime Achievement Award webpage
  • One plaque provided by Rivanna Natural Designs
  • Recognition in Sustainability and Climate Change

Selection Process

Once the nomination period has closed, a selection committee comprised of experts in the field reviews all nominations and selects one or more individuals to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award based on the criteria below.


The Lifetime Achievement Award is intended for individuals with at least 10 years of documented accomplishments in the field of higher education sustainability who have had a significant impact on a large number of individuals and organizations.

The impact may be demonstrated in one or more of the following ways:

  • Programs & Projects: The individual designed or implemented one or more high-impact programs or projects that have been widely replicated.  
  • Products: The individual has developed influential tools, models, frameworks or other products used to advance sustainability in higher education.
  • Presentations & Publications: The individual has made meaningful contributions to the body of knowledge on higher education sustainability through conference presentations, articles, books, etc.
  • Service & Mentorship: The individual has contributed substantial time and expertise to help build the campus sustainability community (e.g., by leading campus sustainability-focused organizations or networks, serving on relevant boards or committees, and/or mentoring others).


AASHE members may nominate any individual who meets the criteria above for a Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominees do not have to be associated with an AASHE member organization. Self-nominations are not accepted.