President Peter Goodwin retires after 40 years in science and higher education

September 22, 2023

After a 40-year career in science and higher education culminating in leading Maryland’s university for the environment, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) President Peter Goodwin retires at the end of September. He has been leading the university’s commitment to unbiased scientific research and public service while developing the next generation of environmental scientists since 2017.

“The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a very special community within a unique institution driven by a common mission driven by truly exceptional researchers and staff,” said Goodwin. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead UMCES toward its second century of impact in Maryland and around the world.”

An internationally known expert in ecosystem restoration, he has championed bringing together the best available science around issues of coastal resilience, oyster recovery, ecosystem management, and using large-scale environmental data in decision-making to Maryland. As part of UMCES’ longtime role to advise the state on Chesapeake Bay management and restoration programs, he has served an integral role on the Governor’s Chesapeake Bay Cabinet, as well as lead science advisor on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. He been a consistent leading voice associated with expanding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives not only within UMCES but throughout the environmental sciences.

“President Goodwin’s leadership of UMCES has been vitally important to the state and to the nation, as the science coming out of his institution guides the approach to our shared environmental and climate challenges,” said University System of Maryland Chancellor Jay A. Perman. “President Goodwin’s compelling vision for UMCES, his skill in developing the next generation of talented and diverse environmental scientists, his well-earned influence in Annapolis, which advances better policy and practice—all of it will be greatly missed. I thank him for the exceptionally strong foundation he’s laid for UMCES’ dynamic future.”

A globally eminent research institution aimed at advancing scientific knowledge of the environment, UMCES has a unique mandate from the State of Maryland to conduct scientific research and provide sound advice to help leaders manage Maryland’s natural resources. Since its establishment in 1925, UMCES has played a key role in expanding our understanding of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and is known for tracking progress on its restoration. UMCES addresses some of the most pressing environmental challenges facing society nationally and internationally and prepares future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century through the Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences (MEES) graduate program, as well as other educational offerings.

“On behalf of Board of Visitors, we have greatly enjoyed working with Peter to advance UMCES these years. He has moved this institution forward in so many ways,” said outgoing Board of Visitors Chair Charlie Monk. “Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our ideas and support your vision for this unique institution.”

University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor Jay A. Perman has appointed longtime UMCES vice president Bill Dennison as interim president, effective Sept. 25. He will serve in that capacity until a permanent replacement is named by the Search and Screening Committee appointed by the USM for the UMCES, one of the university system's 12 institutions.

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads the way toward better management of Maryland’s natural resources and the protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. From a network of laboratories located across the state, UMCES scientists provide sound evidence and advice to help state and national leaders manage the environment, and prepare future scientists to meet the global challenges of the 21st century

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