Faculty time and commitment are our most important commodities and are at the root of delivering our mission. College faculty have deep disciplinary expertise and share their passion with students as they carry out their work in the classroom, the field, and the lab, extending knowledge throughout the commonwealth and around the globe. They create remarkable careers that have the power to change the world. What we do in this college makes a difference, and the pages which follow deliver the diversity of our work and delve into the many varied impacts and successes through which it is on display.

Last fall, I travelled throughout the region to meet with alumni and supporters. We have alumni who have risen to prestigious positions, and we highlight several individuals and their leadership journeys in this issue. We seek to equip students with the skills and knowledge that form a foundation for their future success. As a student, you may not have realized your potential to lead, but, along the way, you were influenced by someone, mentored by someone, and encouraged by someone to grow, in many cases, beyond your comfort zone. I hope our current students, as well as alumni, remember that the degrees conferred upon you will not be endpoints in your journey, as evidenced by the featured successful alumni.

Sustainability has moved from a buzzword that was initiated decades ago into a physical and human science indicative of our present challenges and critical for our future survival. We highlight the work in sustainability by faculty members Jennifer Russell and Kiara Winans of the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials. They have developed the tools and expertise necessary to evaluate the impact of extraction, manufacturing, distribution, and life cycle of products.

I say it all the time: everything in every room of your home or office was produced from resources extracted from the earth and manufactured into products we rely on and use: fiber, food, metals, synthetics, plastics, cotton, glass, flooring, carpet, and wood chairs, tables, beds. And, don’t forget the electricity powering nearly everything we do. Throw in forests, biodiversity, clean air and clean water, and a growing world population, and you get a sense of how important our work is.

Our students are interested in creating a sustainable future. Our corporate and industry partners want to learn how their processes and products can be more sustainable. More than buzzwords today, terms such as life-cycle analysis, product life-cycle, and circular economy are important for the future of the planet and a thriving human ecosystem.

Finally, we welcome Professor Joe Knight as the new head and leader of our Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation. I hope you will welcome Joe throughout the CNRE academic, alumni, friend, and stakeholder communities and make sure he feels at home.

Onward toward commencement and the journey that awaits our newly minted graduates! Please hire them, mentor them, and push them to change the world – just as someone did for you.

Warm regards from our faculty, staff, and students,

Paul Winistorfer

Paul Winistorfer