Hobart and William Smith Colleges are proud to announce that Lisa B. Cleckner, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the Finger Lakes Institute, a role she will assume on Jan. 1, 2011. An expert in collaborative aquatic research, community outreach and administration, Cleckner was most recently assistant director of operations with the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, in Syracuse, N.Y. There, Cleckner worked with academic institutions and industry partners on applied research and demonstration projects in water resources, clean and renewable energy, and indoor environmental quality.
“Dr. Cleckner’s experience as an academic and administrator in successful research organizations will prove useful in guiding the Finger Lakes Institute in its mission to protect, promote and preserve the region’s precious natural resources,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “Her specific expertise in aquatic research coupled with her ideas, enthusiasm and community-mindedness make her an ideal candidate to lead an organization that will only continue to grow in regional and national prominence.”
After receiving her B.A. in biology from Colgate University, Cleckner earned her Ph.D. in public health with a concentration in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As a post-doctoral research associate and staff scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cleckner led a research group investigating mercury cycling in the Great Lakes and Everglades, and supervised a water chemistry laboratory for more than five years. Subsequently, she earned an M.B.A. from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester.
Throughout her career, she has been involved in outreach activities targeted to a wide range of audiences including the public, students, businesses and professional scientists. She has also successfully pursued grant funding totaling more than $3.5 million from federal, state and non-profit organizations. Most of these proposals have been collaborative efforts engaging different constituencies such as faculty, research scientists, federal agencies, community organizations and outreach groups.
“Dr. Cleckner’s background in scientific research, environmental health, quantitative analysis and economic development perfectly complements the mission of the Finger Lakes Institute and makes her well suited to help the Institute and the Finger Lakes Region advance in all these areas in the coming years,” says Provost Teresa Amott.
As director of the Finger Lakes Institute, Cleckner plans to “build on the Geneva Partnership that Hobart and William Smith have established to serve the region.” She also notes she will help the Institute more fully develop programs for research and outreach in economic development, including areas such as smart growth, sustainable infrastructure and green business operations.
“The Finger Lakes Institute has a strong foundation in place in terms of the faculty, research, education and outreach,” says Cleckner. “I look forward to working with the community, faculty, staff and students to continue its mission.”
Established in 2000, the Finger Lakes Institute is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, the Institute fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region, and disseminates the accumulated knowledge to the general public. It is the only organization of its kind performing research on all of the Finger Lakes.