Judy Walton was the founding director of AASHE, serving the organization from 2006 to 2013. Sustainability has been her lifelong passion, with a focus on higher education and cities. Her experiences include community-led neighborhood planning efforts in Seattle, green building consulting in Washington state, and advising on open space planning in Arcata, California, where she was a geography professor at Humboldt State University in the late 1990s and early 2000s. At HSU she helped launch a master’s program in environment and community and taught courses on sustainable cities. She also advised the student-led Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, supported recycling and bicycle advocacy efforts, and engaged with NWF’s Campus Ecology Program.

After following her husband to Portland, Oregon in 2002, Judy taught sustainable city courses at Portland State University. With support from Tony Cortese at Second Nature and a group of dedicated faculty from the West Coast, she helped launch and grow the Education for Sustainability Western Network, a regional organization that quickly expanded to become AASHE in 2006.

While at AASHE, Judy worked steadily to build on existing foundations, tap the growing energy and activism of students, and empower AASHE staff to think outside the box in supporting campus members at every level. She helped establish the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (now called the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitments, housed at Second Nature) and helped develop AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS), now the premier sustainability rating system for colleges and universities. 

Working collaboratively to grow the campus sustainability movement, Judy helped found and coordinate the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability and the Higher Education Associations Consortium for Sustainability. Internationally, she formed partnerships with AASHE-like organizations in other countries; helped develop the U.S. version of the international Sustainability Literacy Test (Sulitest), supported Debra Rowe and the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development; and most recently helped found a United Nations Regional Center of Expertise in Oregon called the Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network.

From 2014-2019 Judy served as Program Administrator for Portland State University’s Urban Sustainability Accelerator, helping cities and regional governments across the country implement their sustainability plans, from green infrastructure to compact development and multi-modal transportation.

Judy received a Ph.D. in geography from Syracuse University, a master’s in geography from San Diego State University, and a B.A. in political science from UC San Diego.