Letter to the UMCES Community on the Retirement of President Peter Goodwin at End of Academic Year

Jan. 20, 2023

To the UMCES Community:

As Dr. Peter Goodwin announces his intention to retire at the end of the academic year, I thank him for his extraordinary leadership and service—not only to UMCES, but to the entire University System and to the state.

For nearly six years, Dr. Goodwin has headed an institution central to advancing our knowledge—and, therefore, our stewardship—of Maryland’s natural resources. Of course, the science produced at UMCES has powerful impact well beyond our state borders, and is guiding the nation’s approach to our most urgent environmental and climate challenges.

That sizeable influence is a tribute to President Goodwin. Under his leadership, we better understand Maryland’s crown jewel, the Chesapeake Bay, and its ecosystem. President Goodwin has served as a critical member of the Governor’s Council on the Chesapeake Bay, as lead science advisor for the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, and as a guiding voice on the Maryland Coast Smart Council.

It’s no small matter that UMCES and Dr. Goodwin have the ear—and the respect—of Maryland’s elected leaders. The confidence this state has placed in the work of this institution means we develop and adopt better environmental policies. It means we take more decisive action to preserve and restore our resources. It means we capably educate Marylanders about the environment and engage them in protecting it.

Understanding that the future of environmental science depends on the next generation of scientists, President Goodwin has deepened UMCES’s leadership of the USM’s interinstitutional graduate program in marine and environmental science. Understanding, too, that it’s not only scientists who shape and sustain environmental health, he spearheaded the expansion of professional certificate programs, enrolling business leaders, lawmakers, educators, and conservationists who join their efforts to the work of sustainability.

President Goodwin knows that environmental science must become more diverse, more democratic; that—without hyperbole—the state of our world hinges on getting more students from more backgrounds into environmental education and, ultimately, into the profession. Given that environmental health is tied inextricably to human health—given that our most disadvantaged people and communities suffer disproportionately from environmental harm—President Goodwin’s focus on equity and justice is vitally important.

It’s no accident that the USM’s new strategic plan places such strong emphasis on developing and exploiting our expertise—UMCES’s expertise—in sustainability and climate change. It’s because of President Goodwin and all of you, his colleagues and students, that we are so well-positioned for enduring influence and impact in these areas.  

I’ll be in touch with you to share next steps in the leadership transition. In the meantime, with UMCES’s 100th anniversary on the horizon, I thank Peter for his visionary leadership and for fortifying a foundation that promises this institution’s purpose and strength well into the next century.


Jay A. Perman

Contact: Mike Lurie
Phone: 301.445.2719
Email: mlurie@usmd.edu