Schlesinger Steps Down

April 1, 2007
Departing dean: Schlesinger heads north for new professional horizons

Departing dean: Schlesinger heads north for new professional horizons. Chris Hildreth

William H. Schlesinger, dean of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, has been named the second president and director of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies. He will step down as dean on June 1 and assume his new duties in Millbrook, New York.

The Millbrook institute is one of the largest and most respected ecological research organizations in the world, with expertise in aquatic science, forest ecology, urban ecology, air pollution, nutrient cycling, and disease ecology.

Schlesinger took over the leadership of the Nicholas School in 2001 and was appointed to his second five-year term in 2005. During his tenure, the school saw a steady increase in enrollment in the professional program and a rise in giving. He began planning in 2003 for a new building to bring the Durham units of the school together and also oversaw the creation of the Nicholas Institute in 2005, which launched its Washington office in November. As dean, he has written and published numerous op-ed columns, testified before Congress, and given speeches across the country on environmental issues. Schlesinger served as president of the Ecological Society of America from 2003 to 2004 and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2003.

After his departure, Schlesinger will continue his environmental research. “The institute offers me an opportunity to focus my work and research in a way that a dean cannot,” he says. “I look forward to the new challenge.”