Husic to Direct New Center for the Environment

Diane White Husic

Diane White Husic, a 1981 biochemistry graduate and vice president of the NMU Alumni Advisory Board, has been appointed the inaugural leader of the new Center for the Environment at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. She will assume her new post in July. Husic currently serves as the founding dean of the Center for Scholarship, Research and Creative Endeavors at Moravian University in Bethlehem, Penn. She also directs Moravian's environmental academic programs and is a professor in its Department of Biological Sciences.  

“Diane demonstrated to our search committee that she possesses the kind of passion, expertise, and innovative thinking required to provide visionary leadership for our new Center for the Environment,” said St. Lawrence President Kathryn Morris in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming her to our community, and to collaborating with her as she guides the development of a strategic plan for the center.” 

“Diane's knowledge and experience in environmental stewardship principles and practices, her connections with systems-change entrepreneurs and advocates working on solutions to environmental challenges, and her ability to work collaboratively across disciplines with students, faculty, and staff will ensure the Center's success," added Dean of Academic Affairs Alison Del Rossi, who co-chaired the environmental center task force. "Her commitment to engaging undergraduate students in meaningful research, advocacy, internship, and leadership experiences will be invaluable to all students who engage in the center's activities and programs.”

Leveraging the university's unique location between the Adirondack Mountains and the St. Lawrence River, the center was introduced at the end of 2023. It offers opportunities to all students, regardless of major, with potential to earn an Environmental Distinction at graduation.

Husic will develop new projects that will advance St. Lawrence University's sustainability commitments and provide opportunities for integrative experiences for all students. More than $4 million has already been raised to support new initiatives to add to a robust slate of environmental programs and activities that will be unified and amplified within center. Her executive director position is permanently funded by a $1.5 million endowment gift from Richard and Gail Stradling.

Some of the center's new initiatives include scholarships for qualified first-year students with special opportunities, such as pre-orientation activities and First-Year Program courses with environmental themes; Green Internship Fellowship stipends to provide financial support for students engaging in professional opportunities within the environmental sector; and Green Innovation Grants that provide funding to undergraduate students who create projects that improve energy use, reduce waste and increase recycling/composting on campus, and otherwise contribute to enhancing the campus environment and reducing its environmental impact.

Husic's recent research at Moravian University has spanned a wide range of topics, including reframing sustainability in higher education, climate change impacts on ecosystems, the transformational role of undergraduate research experiences, and developing climate change leaders.

In addition to her administrative and academic work, Husic has extensive experience working with environmental non-profit and non-governmental organizations. She serves as a member of the steering committee for the Research and Independent NGOs constituency group for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She is also a member of several groups focused on early warning systems and the nexus of technology and food security as nations adapt to climate change as a part of the Technology Executive Committee under the UNFCCC. 

During her work with the UNFCCC, she has brought students with her to UN climate change meetings. She serves or has leadership roles on the boards of non-profit organizations including the Lehigh Gap Nature Center and Wildlife Refuge, the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Camaquiri Conservation Institute (Costa Rica), and the Rocky Mountain Sustainability and Science Network.

Husic has been recognized with numerous honors, such as Senior Fellow, Global Council for Science and the Environment, and President of the Council on Undergraduate Research and President of the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association (for the NCAA).

In addition to her bachelor's degree from Northern, Husic earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University. She has authored nearly 60 scholarly articles and contributed to numerous state, national, and international reports. She is co-editor of a new book about her work on the ecological restoration of a Lehigh Gap Superfund site, which is collaborative work that involved undergraduates, colleagues, community groups and government agencies.

Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Alumni