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.

Nominations for the 2023 AASHE Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA) are closed. Nominations will reopen in spring 2024.

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.


Submission/Nomination Deadline Last Friday in May
Judging Underway May – July
Submitters/Nominators Notified. Finalists Announced. Sept/Oct
Winners Notified and Announced December


The Lifetime Achievement Award winner receives:

  • One complimentary pass to AASHE’s annual conference in the year they receive the award
  • Recognition via a live virtual awards ceremony
  • Photo and bio on the Lifetime Achievement Award webpage
  • One plaque provided by Rivanna Natural Designs

Selection Process

Once the nomination period has closed, a selection committee comprised of experts in the field reviews the 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 15 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 (which should address both social and environmental dimensions of sustainability) 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.

Meet the Lifetime Achievement Award Winners:

  • 2023
    Dr. Peggy F. Barlett is the Goodrich C. White Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Emory University, specializing in agricultural anthropology and sustainability in higher education.  As the driving force behind Emory’s Piedmont Project, she has played a leading role in the development and dissemination of a model for infusing sustainability across the curriculum that has been implemented at hundreds of institutions.  

    Meet Dr. Peggy F. Barlett.

  • 2022
    Dr. Robert D. Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice. Dr. Bullard currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy and director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University. He served as Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University from 2011-2016 and before that was founding Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. He publishes widely on sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity. 

    Meet Dr. Robert D. Bullard.

  • 2021
    David Shi is a visionary leader for sustainability who, as President at Furman University from 1994 to 2010, helped transform the institution into a widely-recognized model for sustainability.  Notable accomplishments under his leadership include the adoption of a general education requirement in sustainability and the launch of a new bachelor of science degree in Sustainability Science. David was also charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and later served on the board of Second Nature. His impact on campus continues to be felt in the work of the Shi Institute for Sustainable Communities, which promotes sustainable communities through education, research and leadership.

    Meet David Shi.

  • 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.

    Meet Nan Jenks-Jay.

  • 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.

    Meet Judy Walton.

  • 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.

    Meet Dr. Tony Cortese.

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