New Institute, New Leader

March 31, 2005

 

Timothy Profeta, J.D. '97, M.E.M. '97, counsel for the environment to U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman, will be the first director of Duke's new Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Officials say that the Nicholas Institute will have a global reach and will marshal the broad resources of the university to help set a national environmental agenda.

William K. Reilly, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator under President George H.W. Bush and the current president and CEO of Aqua International Partners, will be senior adviser and chair of the board of advisers for the Nicholas Institute. Together, Profeta and Reilly will bring to the Nicholas Institute "unparalleled leadership," says President Richard H. Brodhead.

As Lieberman's counsel, Profeta was a principal architect of the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act in 2003. He also oversaw all activities of the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air, Wetlands, and Climate Change during Lieberman's term as committee chair in the 107th Congress. Profeta has represented Lieberman in legislative negotiations pertaining to environmental and energy issues and coordinated the senator's energy and environmental portfolio during his runs for national office.

"By the end of the decade, I want the Nicholas Institute to be on the 'first-call-made list' by a wide range of groups interested in environmental issues," Profeta says. "It should be a resource for businesses seeking to craft strategies to address environmental problems, policymakers seeking to draft effective solutions, advocates seeking credible insight into environmental challenges, and reporters and the public seeking objective analysis."

Profeta, who will start his new job June 1, earned his bachelor's degree in political science from Yale University in 1992 before enrolling in Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and the law school. He was a visiting lecturer at the law school, where he taught a weekly seminar on the evolution of environmental law and on the Endangered Species Act. Before joining Lieberman's staff, he was a law clerk for Judge Paul L. Friedman, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Duke plans to build Nicholas Hall, a free-standing new "green" building on West Campus to house the school, the Nicholas Institute, and all related centers, programs, and faculty that address environmental issues at Duke. The institute is made possible through a gift from Duke's board of trustees chair Peter M. Nicholas '64 and his wife, Virginia Lilly Nicholas '64, of Boston. The couple gave $70 million in December 2003 to the school that bears their name to push ahead with the new institute.