2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit Featured Speakers


Speakers for the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit will be added as they are confirmed.If you are interested in contributing to the program, especially in the breakout sessions, please contact Michele Madia.


Janet Napolitano, President, University of California

Janet Napolitano was named the 20th president of the University of California on July 18, 2013, and took office on Sept. 30, 2013. She served as Secretary of Homeland Security from 2009-13, as Governor of Arizona from 2003-09, as Attorney General of Arizona from 1998-2003, and as U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993-97. Before that, she practiced at the law firm of Lewis & Roca in Phoenix, where she became a partner in 1989. She began her career in 1983 as a clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Napolitano earned a B.S. degree (summa cum laude in Political Science) in 1979 from Santa Clara University, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, a Truman Scholar and the university’s first female valedictorian. She received her law degree in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law. Napolitano holds honorary degrees from several universities and colleges, including Emory University, Pomona College and Northeastern University.

Elizabeth Willmott, Environmental Sustainability Program Manager, Microsoft

Elizabeth Willmott is the Sustainability Program Manager for Microsoft Corporation. She has worked for over a decade with cities and local governments to help them meet their carbon reduction and climate resilience goals. From 2011 through 2016 she managed Climate Solutions’ New Energy Cities program. Before that she served as the the climate change aide to former King County Executive Ron Sims, as project manager of the first King County Climate Plan in 2007, and as the Recovery Act performance and accountability lead for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She has also written two guidebooks to help local governments prepare for climate change impacts. She holds a double degree in biology and Chinese language from Williams College and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Kennedy School.

Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh

William Peduto was elected to the office of Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh in the General Election on November 5, 2013, and took office as Pittsburgh’s 60th Mayor in January of 2014. Prior to taking office, he worked for 19 years on Pittsburgh City Council – seven years as a staffer then twelve years as a Member of Council. As a Councilman, Bill Peduto wrote the most comprehensive package of government reform legislation in Pittsburgh’s history. He strengthened the Ethics Code, created the city’s first Campaign Finance Limits, established Lobbyist Disclosure and Lobbyist Registration and ended No-Bid Contracts. As Mayor, Peduto continues to champion the protection and enhancement of Pittsburgh’s new reputation – maintaining fiscal responsibility, establishing community based development plans, embracing innovative solutions and becoming a leader in green initiatives.


Paul Hawken, Executive Director, Project Drawdown

Paul Hawken starts ecological businesses, writes about nature and commerce, and consults with heads of state and CEOs on climatic, economic and ecological regeneration. He has appeared on numerous media including the Today Show, Talk of the Nation, Bill Maher, and Charlie Rose, and has been profiled or featured in hundreds of articles including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Washington Post, and Business Week. He has written eight books including four national and NYT bestsellers: Growing a Business, The Ecology of Commerce, Blessed Unrest, and Drawdown (2017). The Ecology of Commerce was voted in 2013 as the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools. President Clinton called Natural Capitalism one of the five most important books in the world. He is published in 50 countries and 30 languages. His latest book, Drawdown, The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming debuted April 18, 2017 as a #9 NYT bestseller. He is the founder of Project Drawdown, which works with over two hundred scholars, students, scientists, researchers, and activists to map, measure, and model the one hundred most substantive solutions that can cumulatively reverse global warming by reducing and sequestering greenhouse gases. He lives in Mill Valley, California in the Cascade Creek watershed with his wife and coyotes, bobcats, red-tail hawks and flocks of nuthatches.


Michael Drake, President, Ohio State University

Dr. Michael V. Drake became the 15th president of The Ohio State University on June 30, 2014.

From July 2005 to June 2014, Dr. Drake served as chancellor of the University of California, Irvine. He also served as a Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology (School of Medicine) and Education (School of Education).

Prior to serving as UC Irvine chancellor, Dr. Drake served for five years as vice president for health affairs for the University of California system, overseeing academic program policy at the system’s 15 health sciences schools, located on seven campuses. He also spent more than two decades on the faculty of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine, ultimately becoming the Steven P. Shearing Professor of Ophthalmology and senior associate dean.
Dr. Drake is an alumnus of Stanford University (BA) and UC San Francisco (MD), and holds three honorary degrees.


Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University

Michael M. Crow became the 16th president of Arizona State University on July 1, 2002. Crow was previously executive vice provost of Columbia University, where he also was professor of science and technology policy in the School of International and Public Affairs. He played the lead role in the creation of and served as the founding director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and in 1998 founded the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes. An elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Public Administration, and member of the Council on Foreign Relations and U.S. Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, he is the author of books and articles analyzing science and technology policy and the design of knowledge enterprises and higher education institutions and systems. Crow received his PhD in Public Administration (Science and Technology Policy) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.


Rita Hartung Cheng, President, Northern Arizona University

Rita Hartung Cheng is the 16th president of Northern Arizona University. Before joining NAU in 2014, Dr. Cheng was chancellor of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for four years and spent 22 years in teaching and administrative roles at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She earned her Ph.D. in management from Temple University’s Fox School of Business and Management, an MBA degree from the University of Rhode Island and a bachelor of business administration degree with honors from Bishop‘s University in Quebec. A certified public accountant and certified government financial manager, Dr. Cheng is internationally recognized for her research in government and nonprofit accounting.


Dianne Dillon-Ridgeley, Trustee, Green Mountain College and on the Board of Directors at Interface

Environmentalist and human rights activist Dianne Dillon-Ridgley of the Women’s Network for a Sustainable Future, has for over thirty years worked on issues of the environment and sustainability, gender and CSR. She was a director at Interface, Inc., a global manufacturer of modular carpet and a leader in sustainable design. She was also a director at Green Mountain Energy for the first six years.She is founding chair-emerita of Plains Justice and is a trustee and board chair for CIEL; Population Connection; Executive Director WNSF; the former national chair of River Network and former president of ZPG. Former President Clinton appointed her to the PCSD, his council on Sustainable Development (1994-1999).Along with her service as a trustee of Green Mountain College, Dianne serves on the Auburn University School of Human Sciences-Dean’s Advisory Board and the Tippie College of Business Management Committee.


David Finegold, President, Chatham University

Dr. David Finegold, the 19th President of Chatham University, has over 30 years of experience in higher education as a researcher, author, professor, academic dean, senior vice president and chief academic officer. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1985, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, from which he received his DPhil in Politics in 1992.




Robert E. Johnson, Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., took office as the Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth on July 1, 2017. Previously, Dr. Johnson was the President of Becker College, where he encouraged the growth and change of the institution through a myriad of initiatives. In 2011, Becker was designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as home to the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI), a first-in-the-nation center that connects the state’s digital games industry, government, and academic resources to promote job growth and entrepreneurship. Dr. Johnson was appointed to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education in 2015. He is a member of the Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan policy organization of chief executives, university presidents, and labor leaders, and serves on the boards of a number of state and local organizations. He has addressed organizations across the country on topics including leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship, among others. Dr. Johnson holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Touro University International, formerly a division of Touro College, New York; a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Cincinnati; and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Morehouse College. Prior to becoming Becker College’s president, Dr. Johnson served as senior vice president of Sinclair Community College, in Dayton, Ohio; vice president of enrollment management at the University of Dayton; vice provost at Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.; and executive director of enrollment management at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio.


Dorothy Leland, Chancellor, University of California, Merced

Dorothy J. Leland was appointed the third chancellor of the University of California, Merced on May 18, 2011. Prior to joining UC Merced, Leland served for seven years as the president of Georgia College & State University where she led what had been a regional college into one of rising national prominence. She attended Purdue University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1971, a Master of Arts in American studies in 1973 and a doctoral degree in philosophy in 1979. Her research area is contemporary continental philosophy, with a focus on gender and personal, social and cultural identity — a rare background for the leader of a STEM intensive, world class student-centered research university.


Mark Mitsui, President, Portland Community College

Mark Mitsui began his tenure as president of Portland Community College on September 1, 2016.Previously, President Mitsui served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges within the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education for the U.S. Department of Education. In Washington he worked to advance President Obama’s community college agenda through partnerships with numerous federal agencies and national stakeholders. Before serving in the Obama administration, he was president of North Seattle College in Washington state from 2010 to 2013. From 2006 to 2010 he served as Vice President of Student Services at South Seattle College, and before that worked as a senior administrator and teacher at educational institutions across the Pacific Northwest, where he has deep roots. President Mitsui holds a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from Western Washington University, and completed a master’s degree and doctoral studies in Education at the University of Washington.


Nancy E. Pfund, Founder and Managing Partner, DBL Partners

Nancy E. Pfund is Founder and Managing Partner of DBL Partners, a venture capital firm whose goal is to combine top-tier financial returns with meaningful social, economic and environmental returns in the regions and sectors in which it invests. As a leading player in impact investing, DBL has helped to reveal the power of venture capital to promote social change and environmental improvement. Ms. Pfund writes and speaks frequently on the field of impact investing. Ms. Pfund currently sponsors or sits on the board of directors of several companies including; Farmers Business Network, The Muse, Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Off-Grid Electric, Primus Power, and, prior to their public offerings, Tesla Motors and Pandora Media. She also served on the board of SolarCity until its acquisition by Tesla in December 2016. Ms. Pfund serves on the board of several not-for-profits and academic organizations, including The Bill Lane Center for the American West and The National Geographic Society. Prior to founding DBL, Ms. Pfund was a Managing Director in Venture Capital at JPMorgan, having started her investment career at Hambrecht & Quist in 1984.


Lisa Hayles, Vice President, Institutional Investment Services, Boston Common Asset Management

Lisa is responsible for client relationship management and business development focusing on foundations, endowments and their consultants. She coordinates Boston Common’s shareowner engagement work around inclusion- focusing on dialogues with portfolio companies and policy initiatives supporting gender equality in the workplace. Lisa serves on the institutional investors committee of the Thirty Percent Coalition, a national non-profit committed to raising the number of women, including women of color, on public company boards across the U.S.  She also serves as a resource person on responsible investment issues with the Executive Committee of the Intentional Endowment’s Network, and Confluence Philanthropy’s Asset Owner Working Group.

A native of Toronto, Canada, Lisa worked in the UK for a decade before relocating to New England in 2013. An enthusiastic traveler, dancer and yoga practitioner, she supports Womenade, a philanthropic giving circle funding community-based organizations serving women and girls in the greater Boston Area and also serves on the board of the Boston Impact Initiative, an impact fund focused on economic justice.


Graham Richard, President/CEO, Advanced Energy Economy

Graham Richard is CEO of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). AEE is a fast growing national organization of businesses using policy advocacy, analysis, and education to grow a prosperous economy that runs on secure, clean, affordable energy. Richard also directs the work of AEE’s coalition of state and regional partners active on energy policy across the country. Graham served as mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 2000 to 2008, following a 20-year career in business. He also served in the Indiana State Senate, where he chaired the utilities committee. Graham received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Indiana University and earned a B.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.


Tom Soto, Founder and Managing Partner, Frontier Impact Capital

Tom Soto is Founder and Managing Partner of Frontier Impact Capital and oversees the investment committee process. Frontier Impact Management is an East LA-based, Latino-owned private equity innovation fund focused on investing in the sustainability sector founded in 2016. Prior to this, Tom was Cofounder and Managing Partner of Craton Equity Partners, one of the state’s first clean technology funds in 2005. Having sold Craton Equity Partners II to TCW in 2013, Tom became Managing Director of Alternatives at the $198b fund and was an Investment Committee Member of TCW-Craton Alternatives. During this time, Tom continued to oversee the investment committee process of the Craton investments that had been folded into TCW Alternatives and worked toward ensuring a smooth transition of Craton into TCW with the support of his portfolio companies and the Fund’s Limited Partners. Post-transaction, Tom played a considerable role in TCW across all products and asset classes, helping to lead the development of new and innovative alternatives products; a public equities trading platform, the first of its kind at TCW focused on ESG/SRI, and the development of a women-owned emerging manager, distressed hedge fund, among many other successful efforts while at TCW.


Wim Wiewel, President, Lewis and Clark College

Wim Wiewel is Lewis & Clark’s 25th president. He takes the helm on October 1, 2017, after nine years successfully leading Portland State University. Under his tenure, PSU became the largest and most diverse university in the state. Retention and graduation rates increased every year, while funded research went up 50 percent, and fundraising tripled. His leadership earned him a 2014 CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Chief Executive Leadership Award.

The first in his family to go to college, he holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University.

He has served on a number of prominent business and culture organizations, including the Portland Business Alliance, All Hands Raised, Regional Solutions, and the World Affairs Council of Oregon.


Linda Lujan, President, Lamar Community College

Dr. Linda Lujan is the President of Lamar Community College (LCC) serving Baca, Prowers, Kiowa, and Cheyenne Counties in rural Southeast Colorado.Prior to joining LCC, Lujan spent eleven years in administrative roles in the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona, where she served as the district’s chief new ventures officer, president and CEO of Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and academic vice president of South Mountain Community College. Before that, Lujan served eight years in administrative roles in CCCS, including academic dean at the Community College of Denver and director of educational technology at Arapahoe Community College. She also served as a full-time faculty member in Computer Information Systems at Arapahoe Community College. Lujan earned a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Colorado State University, an M.A. in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University, a B.A. in Human Resource Management from Colorado Christian University, and an A.A.S. in Management Information Systems from Arapahoe Community College. She also completed a certificate in Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.


Brian Rosenberg, President, Macalaster College

Brian C. Rosenberg, the sixteenth president of Macalester College, began his tenure at the college in August 2003.

Rosenberg is active nationally, serving as a member of the Leadership Circle of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Higher Education Working Group, the Presidents’ Trust of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Presidents’ Advisory Board of the Bonner Foundation, and as a member of the board of the Teagle Foundation. Rosenberg is a member of the Allina Health Board of Directors and is a member of the board of Wallin Education Partners.

Prior to becoming president, Rosenberg was dean of the faculty and an English professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. Rosenberg served as an English professor and chair of the English department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, from 1983 to 1998.A native of New York City, he received a BA from Cornell University and an MA and a PhD in English from Columbia University.


Don Gould, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees & Chair of the Investment Committee, Pitzer College, and President & Chief Investment Officer, Gould Asset Management

Don Gould is the president and chief investment officer of Gould Asset Management, which he founded in 1999. Previously, Don founded the Huntington Funds, a pioneering group of globally-oriented mutual funds based in Pasadena, California, and later acquired by Franklin Templeton Investments. At Franklin Templeton, Don acted as portfolio manager for several of the firm’s mutual funds, and also was responsible for overseeing the establishment of asset management companies in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Don is Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Pitzer College and also chairs the Board’s investment committee. Don has been on the front lines in implementing the college’s recent decision to divest its endowment from fossil fuel stocks and incorporate ESG factors into its portfolio construction.

Don holds a BA in economics from Pomona College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a visiting lecturer in portfolio management at the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance at Claremont McKenna College.

Bob Litterman, Kepos Capital

Robert Litterman is the chairman of the Risk Committee and Academic Advisory Board at Kepos Capital LP. Prior to joining Kepos Capital in 2010,Litterman enjoyed a 23-year career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he served in research, risk management, investments, and thought leadership roles. While at Goldman, Litterman also spent six years as one of three external advisors to Singapore’s Government Investment Corporation (GIC). Bob was named a partner of Goldman Sachs in 1994 and became head of the firm-wide risk function; prior to that role, he was co-head of the Fixed Income Research and Model Development Group with Fischer Black. Litterman earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in human biology from Stanford University. He is also the inaugural recipient of the S. Donald Sussman Fellowship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and serves on a number of boards, including Commonfund, the Sloan Foundation, and World Wildlife Fund.


Dianne Harrison, President, California State University, Northridge and Chair, Climate Leadership Steering Committee

Dr. Dianne F. Harrison began her appointment as president of California State University, Northridge in June 2012. Prior to her appointment, she served as president of California State University, Monterey Bay since 2006 and for nearly 30 years worked at Florida State University, where she began as a faculty member and served in various administrative leadership roles, including vice president for academic quality and external programs. She holds a Ph.D. in social work from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s of social work and a bachelor’s in American Studies, both from the University of Alabama. Her academic and research areas of expertise include HIV prevention among women and minority populations and higher education issues related to university leadership.


Jonathan Lash, President, Hampshire College

Jonathan Lash, the sixth President of Hampshire College, has served previously as president of World Resources Institute (WRI), senior staff attorney of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Peace Corps volunteer and trainer. An internationally recognized environmental leader, he chaired the President’s Council on Sustainable Development for Bill Clinton, and led Vermont’s environmental program under Governor Madeleine Kunin. He holds a law degree and master’s degree in education from Catholic University of America and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. President Lash has dedicated his career to building institutions to help solve the pressing problems of our planet. That dedication continues at Hampshire College, an institution committed to educating citizens who can help lead society as it confronts those problems.


Tim Smith, Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement, Walden Asset Management, Boston Trust

Tim Smith serves as the Director of ESG Shareowner Engagement at Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company.  Walden has been a leader in sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) since 1975. As of December 30, 2016, Walden managed approximately $3 billion in assets for individual and institutional clients.

Mr. Smith joined Walden in 2000 to lead Walden’s ongoing shareholder engagement program promoting greater corporate leadership on ESG issues. This includes company dialogues, shareholder proposals, proxy voting, and public policy advocacy. One of Walden’s priority issues is Board diversity pursued through letters, company dialogues, shareholder resolution and proxy voting. Walden works on a wide range of Sustainability issues including climate change, diversity, governance, supply chain and human rights issues among others.

Previously, Mr. Smith served as executive director of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) for 24 years.  


Garrett P. Ashley, Vice Chancellor, University Relations and Advancement, The California State University  

Garrett P. Ashley is vice chancellor of University Relations and Advancement for the California State University, providing oversight for systemwide fundraising, governmental affairs, alumni relations, communications and public affairs since November 2008. His division highlights the system’s positive role in California while advocating for public higher education interests.

Ashley is president of the California State University Foundation, which enhances the educational excellence of the system through public and private support and partnerships. Additionally, he serves as chair of the St. Mary Medical Center Board of Ambassadors to which he was appointed in 2009.

Previously, Ashley was undersecretary for international trade in the Business Transportation and Housing Agency for California. He chaired the statewide California Trade Partnership, was a member of the U.S. Trade Representative’s Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee, and served on the Center for International Business Education and Research Advisory Board at the University of Southern California.

Ashley also served as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deputy chief of staff for operations and as chief deputy director for Governor Pete Wilson’s Office of Emergency Services.

Ashley earned a political science bachelor’s from the University of New Mexico.


Dr. Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor, University of Colorado Boulder

Dr. Philip P. DiStefano is the chancellor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to his appointment on May 5, 2009, Dr. DiStefano was the top academic officer at CU Boulder for eight years as the provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. He served as interim chancellor twice during pivotal times in the university’s history.

Dr. DiStefano co-chaired the steering committee for CU Boulder’s visionary strategic plan, Flagship 2030, conceived with campus, community and statewide input, to guide CU Boulder for decades to come. Today, Dr. DiStefano is shepherding its implementation as Flagship 2030 moves from vision to reality.

Dr. DiStefano has served CU Boulder for 43 years. He joined the University of Colorado in 1974 as an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at the School of Education. His academic career flourished as he assumed a series of academic and administrative positions, including professor, associate dean, dean and vice chancellor. He was appointed provost and executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs in 2001.

As chancellor he works closely with students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, governing officials and business and community leaders in extending CU’s legacy as a preeminent national comprehensive research university.

A first-generation college graduate, Dr. DiStefano earned a Bachelor of Science degree from The Ohio State University and a Master of Arts degree in English education from West Virginia University. He holds a doctorate in humanities education from The Ohio State University, where he served as a teaching and research associate.

He began his educational career as a high school English teacher in Ohio. He has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles on various topics in literacy education.

Dr. DiStefano and his wife, Yvonne, have been married for 46 years. They are the parents of three grown daughters and the proud grandparents of two girls.