Loyola University Chicago

Office of the President

Announcing the New School of Environmental Sustainability and Big Plans Ahead


September 24, 2020 

Dear Loyola Community,

I am pleased to share the news that the Board of Trustees has approved the elevation of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) to the School of Environmental Sustainability, creating Loyola University Chicago’s 11th school. The School of Environmental Sustainability (SES) solidifies our University’s continued commitment to addressing the causes and impact of global climate change.

SES builds upon the strong foundation of the Institute, which has been skillfully led by Nancy C. Tuchman, Ph.D., who will continue as the founding dean of the new school. In seven years under her leadership, IES demonstrated success at the undergraduate level and more recently at the graduate level, putting Loyola on the map as a leader in environmental sustainability.

Notable achievements of the Institute include founding the Climate Change Conference, establishing a student-run greenhouse and farmer’s market, and reducing Loyola’s carbon footprint by 50 percent toward a goal of becoming a carbon-neutral campus by 2025.

A significant accomplishment has been the creation of a biodiesel lab housed in the Searle Center for Sustainable Innovations, where waste is transformed into renewable energy in the form of biodiesel. The lab also produces zero-waste byproducts such as BioSoap and, more recently during the COVID-19 pandemic, hand sanitizer.

The SES will be the first-ever school dedicated to environmental sustainability across Jesuit institutions in the United States, and the only one in Chicago. The model of combining academics and research with sustainable agriculture and community living all in one facility continues to attract purpose-driven students and future environmental leaders. Among first-year Loyola students, 52 percent said that the University’s commitment to the environment was either important or very important in their decision to enroll. As for IES graduates, 91 percent are in environmental jobs or furthering their studies in graduate school.

The five-year vision for SES advances the provost’s vision to amplify cross-school interdisciplinary collaborations and research at Loyola. Four new interdisciplinary areas of study within SES will support the University’s vision of developing interdisciplinary scholarship, a near tripling of SES undergraduate and graduate enrollments, expansion of graduate student research, a robust development of interdisciplinary research and scholarship across schools, increased research funding and publication rates, and augmentation of the University reputation through professional seminars and conferences.

Four new areas of study will be housed within SES: the Department of Energy and Sustainability Science, the Department of Sustainable and Equitable Societies, the Department of Sustainable Economics and Governance, and the Department of Environmental Toxicology and Health Equity.

Over the next several months, SES will be publicly launched and marketed to attract prospective students and energize potential donors. Beyond benefiting the school, these initiatives provide opportunities to further distinguish Loyola’s mission, as a University called as one to solve the urgent and complex issues of our time.

Please join me in congratulating and thanking Dr. Tuchman and her team, as well as our passionate students and dedicated benefactors, who have made IES a success. Together, we celebrate the School of Environmental Sustainability and the great good it represents in helping us care for our common home.

Yours in Loyola,

Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD