Kent Messer has been named the Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment at the University of Delaware.

Environmental chairs

Three faculty members named Unidel environmental chairs

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10:36 a.m., Aug. 14, 2013--Three University of Delaware faculty members have been appointed to new chairs for environmental research through the generous support of the Unidel Foundation. Kent Messer has been named the Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment, Holly Michael has been named the Unidel Fraser Russell Chair for the Environment, and Adam Rome has been named the Unidel Helen Gouldner Chair for the Environment. 

Interim Provost Nancy Brickhouse announced the positions, all of which are five-year career development chairs, today. The positions are effective Sept. 1.

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“I am pleased to announce these well-deserved appointments, which recognize the accomplishments of three outstanding faculty members who are doing valuable work in the field of environmental research,” Brickhouse said. “Kent Messer is making important contributions in the study of land use and sustainable development, Holly Michael has received national attention for her work in coastal groundwater and its significance for understanding and protecting the environment, and Adam Rome has won praise for his research and writing on the history of the environmental movement.”

Brickhouse added that the University is deeply appreciative of the Unidel Foundation for its funding of the chairs, which support “The Initiative for the Planet” milestone in UD’s Path to Prominence strategic plan.

In addition, Brickhouse thanked the committee that reviewed the candidates for the career development chairs. Donald L. Sparks, director of the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN), chaired the group, which also included Dominic DiToro, Edward C. Davis Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering; McKay Jenkins, Cornelius A. Tilghman Sr. Professor of English; James Kendra, director of the Disaster Research Center; George Luther, Maxwell P. and Mildred H. Harrington Professor of Marine Studies; and Cathy Wu, Unidel Edward G. Jefferson Chair of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. 

Kent Messer

Messer’s research interests include environmental conservation with a focus on land use and sustainable development.

He is managing editor of the journal Agricultural and Resource Economics Review and co-author of the 2011 textbook Mathematical Programming for Agricultural, Environmental and Resource Economics.

Messer is co-principal investigator on a three-year, $6-million National Science Foundation grant to establish a regional water resources network, as the Delaware Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) partners with similar programs in Rhode Island and Vermont.

Messer, who joined the UD faculty in 2007, is an associate professor in the Department of Applied Economic and Statistics in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources with joint appointments in the Department of Economics in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and the School of Marine Science and Policy in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.

He is director of UD’s Laboratory for Experimental and Applied Economics and an affiliate of the Delaware Environmental Institute.

Messer received his doctorate in resource economics from Cornell University in 2003.

The Unidel Howard Cosgrove Chair for the Environment is a five-year career development chair named in honor of the former chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees.

Holly Michael

Michael’s research interests include coastal groundwater dynamics, submarine groundwater discharge and associated chemical fluxes, groundwater-surface water interaction, water supply sustainability, water resources in developing countries and hydro-economics.

In 2012, she was named the recipient of a highly competitive National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award to further her work studying how seawater along the coast mixes with freshwater that flows underground.

Michael, who joined the UD faculty in 2008, is an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment with joint appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Department of Geography and the School of Marine Science and Policy.

Michael received a doctorate in hydrology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2005, studying the seasonal dynamics of coastal aquifers. She completed postdoctoral research with the U.S. Geological Survey and Stanford University.

Her research has been published in Nature and Science, among other journals, attracting media coverage from The New York Times and other international outlets.

The Unidel Fraser Russell Chair for the Environment is a five-year career development chair named in honor of T.W. Fraser Russell, Allan P. Colburn Professor Emeritus of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Adam Rome

Rome is an environmental historian with an emphasis on the environmental history of America.

He is the author of the recent book The Genius of Earth Day: How a 1970 Teach-In Unexpectedly Made the First Green Generation, which was widely praised and was featured in an April 15 "Critic at Large" piece in The New Yorker. Rome has discussed the book and his research on Radio Times on WHYY, at Georgetown University's Center for the Environment and at Hagley Museum and Library.

His first book, The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism, won the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Award.

Rome served as editor of the journal Environmental History from 2002-05.

A member of the UD faculty since 2010, Rome is an associate professor in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of English. He assisted in developing an interdisciplinary minor in environmental humanities.

He received his doctorate in history from the University of Kansas in 1996 and was a Rhodes Scholar in 1980-81.

The Unidel Helen Gouldner Chair for the Environment is a five-year career development chair named in honor of the late Helen Gouldner, who served as the first female dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1974-90.

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