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UB Creates New Position of Chief Sustainability Officer

Ryan McPherson, standing at the UB Solar Strand

Ryan McPherson was named UB's Chief Sustainability Officer in September 2011.

Published September 1, 2011

UB has created a new position of chief sustainability officer to provide leadership and direction for sustainability initiatives as the university works to implement ambitious environmental objectives.

“UB’s Climate Action Plan calls for the university to reduce or offset greenhouse-gas emissions enough to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.”
Dennis Black, Vice President
University Life and Services

“UB’s Climate Action Plan calls for the university to reduce or offset greenhouse-gas emissions enough to achieve climate neutrality by 2030,” said Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services. “As our university grows, it is vital to have sustainability built into our evolution. This new position will help us operationalize our commitment to the environment.”

The creation of the new position came at a point in UB history when it was constructing and renovating new buildings and facilities designed to new eco-friendly standards, including a 3,200-panel solar array at the Flint entrance to the North Campus. Other new developments include William R. Greiner Hall, a state-of-the-art residence hall that opened in August. The building was designed to earn UB’s first gold rating under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

Ryan McPherson was named chief sustainability officer, effective Sept. 9, 2011. Prior to that, he was UB's associate vice president for government and community relations. As chief sustainability officer, McPherson coordinates university-wide environmental efforts through UB Green, the campus environmental office, partnering with the Environmental Stewardship Committee. In collaboration with university and community partners, he promotes sustainability among the campus community and helps build and improve programs that incorporate sustainability into UB operations.

Robert Shibley, campus architect and dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, said UB’s appointment of a chief sustainability officer marks a new level of commitment to environmental stewardship and the university’s responsibilities as a charter subscriber to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

“Creation of this position demonstrates the importance of sustainability as a key principle in all of the university’s operations, as well as in its educational and research programs,” said Shibley, who chairs UB’s Environmental Stewardship Committee. “Ryan McPherson’s consistent record as an environmental leader on this campus, and in the wider community, makes him the ideal candidate for this exciting new position.”

Since he joined UB in 1999, McPherson has served in a variety of government relations, community relations and external affairs roles. As UB’s associate vice president for government and community relations, he led the university’s federal, state and local government agenda and community relations, working to achieve government and community support for the UB 2020 strategic plan.

He has served as chair of outreach and communications for the Environmental Stewardship Committee since 2008, and formerly chaired UB’s Greener Shade of Blue Committee. A resident of East Aurora, he is active in community environmental initiatives and causes.

Prior to joining UB, McPherson served in a variety of legislative, research and development positions for organizations in Washington, D.C., and in New Hampshire. He received a JD from the UB Law School in 2002, graduating magna cum laude, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of New Hampshire in 1996.