SUNY Chancellor Appoints Carter Strickland First Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Director of Climate Action

April 21, 2023

Experienced Leader to Advance SUNY's Sustainability Goals and Accelerate Research and Workforce Opportunities

Strickland's Photo is Available Here

Albany, NY
– State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. today announced Carter Strickland as the system's first-ever chief sustainability officer and executive director of climate action, charged with leading SUNY's ambitious agenda to achieve New York's sustainability goals, lead the nation in energy and environmental research, and create economic opportunity by preparing New Yorkers for skilled careers in the clean energy revolution.

A national subject matter expert in a range of environmental issues including natural climate solutions, climate risk assessment and responses, and green business development, Strickland joins SUNY after more than 30 years of experience implementing environmental solutions across government, nonprofit, and private sectors, including leading the Trust for Public Land's New York and Mid-Atlantic offices and earlier serving as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

SUNY campuses account for 40 percent of all state-owned assets, with more than 1,800 academic buildings covering nearly 60 million square feet. Working closely with campuses and faculty, Strickland will be responsible for the overall management of major elements of the system-wide climate action program, including project development and implementation to decarbonize SUNY's college and universities, advance circular materials management, adapt and build resilience in the campus communities, and prepare students for success in the green economy. His appointment is effective by the end of May.

"Under the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul, New York has one of the most ambitious climate goals in the nation, and with SUNY's significant footprint across our state, it is our responsibility to lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring sustainable campuses for the students, faculty, and staff we serve," said SUNY Chancellor King. "At the same time, our students and faculty want to be a part of the solutions to society's largest environmental issues—from cutting-edge research to education and workforce preparation. Carter Strickland's experience makes him uniquely suited to work alongside our campuses and our state, local, and federal government partners to accelerate SUNY's leadership in this vital area."

Strickland said, "SUNY is the largest comprehensive system of public higher education in the nation with a vast team of national climate and environmental experts from every discipline, and engaged students who want to make a difference in the world and in their careers—everyone can contribute. I am excited about the opportunities ahead to collaborate, spur research, and help grow the renewable energy and climate tech workforce opportunities for New Yorkers. I am excited to join SUNY Chancellor King and his team to make a meaningful impact to achieve the vision set by the Chancellor, Governor Hochul, and the SUNY Board of Trustees."

Laura Schifter, Senior Fellow directing This Is Planet Ed at the Aspen Institute, said, "The need to take action on climate change across our society is both urgent and critical. Higher education must be a part of that action and will be essential in advancing solutions. With the appointment of Carter Strickland to accelerate comprehensive climate action across the system, SUNY will prove how higher education can lead and empower students to advance a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future."

Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters, said, "The New York League of Conservation Voters is thrilled by SUNY's decision to name Carter Strickland as the university's first ever Chief Sustainability Officer. By creating this position, Chancellor King is demonstrating SUNY's commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of the entire portfolio. With a proven track record in environmental conservation, combined with his deep expertise in sustainable practices, Carter is the perfect candidate to lead SUNY towards a greener future. We look forward to working with SUNY and Carter to advance sustainability initiatives across the SUNY system."

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, "DEC applauds Chancellor King for his commitment to expanding SUNY's role in advancing sustainability and climate resiliency through the ongoing implementation of New York's Climate Act, Governor Hochul's nation-leading Executive Order 22, and other actions that will prepare current and future generations for success in our green economy. With this new position, SUNY's impact will only grow, and DEC looks forward to collaborating with Carter Strickland and the SUNY team to help achieve New York's ambitious climate goals."

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "With New York State primed to be a global epicenter for the green economy, it is great to see SUNY appointing such a well-qualified and passionate candidate for the important position of Chief Sustainability Officer and Executive Director of Climate Action. One of the best ways to boost New York's Green economy is to educate students on the issues and instill a passion for green jobs, and I look forward to working with SUNY to enhance these efforts in the future."

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "The SUNY system is an integral partner in growing an innovative talent pipeline, through next-gen R&D and workforce development, that is key to industry transformation. As New York State works to meet Governor Hochul's ambitious climate goals, it's fitting that SUNY has appointed Carter Strickland, a proven climate leader, to this new role—and we look forward to working together in building a sustainable green economy."

NYSERDA President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Doreen M. Harris said, "To advance Governor Hochul's ambitious climate agenda and meet New York's nation-leading climate goals, diligent action is needed on all fronts. I warmly welcome Carter Strickland and look forward to more opportunities to collaborate with SUNY as NYSERDA continues to support the next generation of clean energy workers through a variety of green job training programs for college students across New York State."

About Carter Strickland

Carter Strickland is a trusted advisor to key stakeholders—from CEOs to mayors to community members—on developing strategic visions and implementing tangible solutions to environmental issues. A national subject matter expert in water, air, energy, natural climate solutions, extreme weather emergencies and response, parks, and active transportation infrastructure, with a proven track record of driving impactful change.

Strickland currently serves as VP, Mid-Atlantic Region and New York State Director at The Trust for Public Land. He leads a team that protects open space and builds parks and playgrounds around New York. Under his leadership, the team has built or facilitated over 50 parks in New York City, Buffalo, and across State; passed conservation funding measures at the local and state level; launched the 175-mile trail Long Island Greenway and other greenways; and protected landscapes along the Appalachian Trail, Delaware River, and Hudson Valley.

Strickland has worked on environmental issues in several capacities: as a prosecuting attorney for the New York State Attorney General's Office, water and air pollution expert for New York City's first sustainability plan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and regional water and sustainability lead for the national architecture and environmental engineering firm HDR.

His initiatives and campaigns have included the $2.4 billion NYC Green Infrastructure program (the largest such program in the US), the NYC Clean Heat initiative, the NYC Wastewater Resiliency Plan, the NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, a resilient energy program in the Hunts Points neighborhood of the Bronx, a study to reduce greenhouse gases from the New York City building sector, and cleaning up toxic pollution of the Hudson River. He helped lead NYC's response to Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and as an outside partner works to implement programs in response to Hurricane Ida.

He teaches graduate courses on sustainability and infrastructure development at Columbia University and earlier taught at NYU and Rutgers. Strickland is also on the NYC sustainability advisory board.

Strickland earned his juris doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and graduated from Dartmouth College where he received his bachelor of arts in History, cum laude. He is also a Sustainability Professional certified by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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