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Sustainability News

Food Systems Director's Blog

October 2, 2018

By Kathleen Merrigan

ASU is not my first university rodeo. I spent 8 years as the Director of the MS/PhD Agriculture, Food and Environment Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. I spent 4 years at George Washington University as the Executive Director of Sustainability and of the GW Food Institute. At both universities I was a member of the faculty and active in the classroom, offering a variety of courses.

I’m often referred to as the “former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture” because people want to stress what they believe to be my most important job. I suppose it depends upon the measure used. For me, the investment I’ve made in my students is likely to be the greatest achievement of my career. It is an honor to be on campus, working with students and faculty colleagues to generate new ideas to transform food systems.

When a student myself, I had the good fortune to have Barbara Jordan as a professor, she an icon of public ethics and renowned civil rights leader. Before she was my professor, she was a member of the Texas State Legislature and a Member of Congress, among other things. Despite her many achievements, the “former Congresswoman” often said: “Education remains the key to both economic and political empowerment.” She understood the power and the privilege of being a teacher. I remain grateful for all that I learned from her and the help she gave me in launching my career in Washington DC.

So it was with great pleasure that I gave my first address to the Tempe community yesterday, offering a vision for the Swette Center and the work that we will accomplish together. If you missed it, you can read my address here.