University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Dr. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

Office of the President

Dr. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

President Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm

President Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm leads the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, which plays a key role in providing sound science to help state and national leaders manage the environment and preparing the next generation of environmental leaders. He also serves as the University System of Maryland’s vice chancellor for sustainability.

A renowned ecosystem hydrologist, he has a career of over 30 years in academic leadership, bringing together his expertise with government, private sector, and international development organizations. His scientific portfolio intersects with UMCES’ core research areas—water resources and watersheds, ecosystem restoration, biodiversity, conservation science—and his extensive work with organizations outside academia has focused on creating actionable science that provides a basis for local, national, and global decision-making.

He has been a principal investigator on more than $300 million in research sponsored by NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Bank, and other organizations. He has worked as a researcher and consultant in water resources projects in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe over his career.

Prior to joining UMCES, Dr. Miralles-Wilhelm served as dean and professor at the College of Science at George Mason University, and was previously professor and chair of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), where he directed the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). He spent five years as a civil servant at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in Washington, DC. He has also served as lead scientist at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) for over six years.

He has served as advisor to the World Bank, steering investments in agriculture, energy, and water and sanitation across Africa, Central and South Asia, and South America, and he is the principal investigator on a project co-sponsored by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), guiding multisector planning at the nexus of water, energy, and food in the Amazon River Basin.

Miralles-Wilhelm is a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a diplomate of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. He is a registered professional engineer in the states of Massachusetts and Florida.

He earned his Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at MIT, an MS in engineering at the University of California, Irvine, and a BS in mechanical engineering at Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela.