Biologist David Lodge named director of Atkinson Center

David Lodge

David M. Lodge, the Galla Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the first Francis J. DiSalvo Director of the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. His appointment will begin in May 2016 as the center celebrates its fifth anniversary as an endowed center.

An internationally recognized conservation biologist, Lodge is founder and director of the University of Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative and is president-elect of the Ecological Society of America.

“David Lodge brings an impressive record of multidisciplinary research, administrative leadership, policy experience and measureable impact on regional, national and international stages,” said Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett. “He will enhance the Atkinson Center’s global perspective on solving the world’s most pressing sustainability issues.”

Provost Michael Kotlikoff said, “David’s background is a great fit with the Atkinson Center’s broad campus representation, our strategic emphasis on multidisciplinary solutions to sustainability, and our deep partnerships with other academic, governmental and nongovernmental institutions.”

Professor Andrew Bass, senior associate vice provost for research, who led the national search, said, “We are incredibly fortunate to have recruited a scientist and educator of David’s caliber as the next Atkinson Center director.”

Lodge succeeds Frank DiSalvo, the J.A. Newman Professor of Physical Science and founding director of the center, for whom the directorship has been named, thanks to a gift from David ’60 and Patricia Atkinson, who endowed the center in 2010.

In recent years the Atkinson Center has expanded faculty grant, fellowship and postdoctoral programs, and established collaborations with CARE, The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Defense Fund. The center has 450 faculty fellows engaged in sustainability research and scholarship.

“The faculty associated with the Atkinson Center have astonishing intellectual firepower and a commitment to applied research,” said Lodge. “I look forward to working with university leaders to focus those talents on the innovative interdisciplinary research required to solve the most challenging sustainability issues facing humanity.”

Lodge brings a background of collaboration with economists, historians, theologians and philosophers, and he has partnered with such organizations as The Nature Conservancy to bring his scientific work into public policy. He has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, served on national and international policy boards, and recently completed a year as a senior science adviser to the U.S. Department of State. In 2013, he was appointed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board.

A renowned expert on invasive species, Lodge’s research focuses on freshwater ecology; invasive species biology and bioeconomics; ecological risk analysis; global changes and biodiversity; and environmental ethics and policy. He has published 200 scientific papers and edited two books.

At Cornell, Lodge will be a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with joint academic appointments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences.

Lodge earned a B.S. in biology from Sewanee–The University of the South in 1979. As a Rhodes scholar, he earned a doctorate in zoology from the University of Oxford in 1982. He was a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and joined Notre Dame’s faculty in 1985.

Lauren Chambliss is communications director for the David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

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