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 has announced his retirement at the end of this academic year.
“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.”
The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a very special community within a unique institution driven by a common mission to represent the very best that science has to offer the environment. It has been the honor of a lifetime to lead UMCES toward its second century of impact in Maryland and around the world.
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.
Goodwin was named president in 2017. During his tenure he guided the university through the pandemic, maintaining not only the safety of the community but an unwavering commitment to UMCES’ mission and sustaining the quality of research and education programs. He has been led throughout by his commitment to making environmental sciences more diverse, equitable, and inclusive to ensure the future face of the profession reflects face of the nation.
“The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science is a very special community within a unique institution driven by a common mission to represent the very best that science has to offer the environment,” 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.”
As part of UMCES’ longtime role to advise the state on Chesapeake Bay management and restoration programs, Goodwin 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 championed bringing together the best science around issues of coastal resilience, oyster ecology and management, developing environmental best practices for dredge material management for the Port of Baltimore, and using large-scale environmental data in decision-making.
As part of UMCES’ commitment to developing the next generation of scientists, business leaders, policy-makers, natural resource managers, and educators, Goodwin led the expansion of UMCES’ educational offerings, both externally through a professional certificate programs and by broadening UMCES’ role and relationships within the University System of Maryland in support of graduate students in USM’s nationally ranked graduate program in marine and environmental science.
An internationally known expert in ecosystem restoration, ecohydraulics, and the enhancement of river, wetland, and estuarine systems, he has authored scientific papers and books on river conservation, environmental aspects of integrated flood management, wetland management, and environmental modeling of coastal, estuarine, and river waters. He has participated in river and tidal wetland restoration, coastal wetland sustainability, flood rise reduction, and sediment management projects around the world and from coast to coast.
Before coming to Maryland, he was the founding director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research at the University of Idaho, where he is professor emeritus, and director of Idaho’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, a federal-state partnership to build research capacity and infrastructure. He served as the lead scientist for the Delta Science Program in California and was a scientific advisor for several government agencies related to river and wetland management issues, including chairing the Louisiana Coastal Area Science Board.