Widener Law launches Environmental Law Center
Public Relations - Published: April 22, 2009
environmental law center faculty photo

From left, Distinguished Professor Andrew L. Strauss, center Associate Director and Professor James R. May, Associate Professor Kenneth T. Kristl, Widener Delaware campus Vice Dean and Professor J. Patrick Kelly, Law Dean Linda L. Ammons, center Director and Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach, Professor Jean M. Eggen, and Professor David R. Hodas

As countries around the world prepare to celebrate Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, Widener University School of Law is pleased to announce it is forming an Environmental Law Center that will harness the expertise of the environmental law faculty on both of its campuses in a new effort to benefit its students and the public.

Seven faculty members from Widener’s Harrisburg, Pa. and Wilmington, Del. law campuses will make up the center. Law Dean Linda L. Ammons has named Distinguished Professor John C. Dernbach, who teaches on the Harrisburg campus, to lead the center in a two-year term as director. Delaware campus Professor James R. May will serve as associate director.

“Society is more focused than ever on a future of sustainability – and the positive environmental, economic and security effects it can have on our world,” Ammons said. “We at Widener Law see an opportunity in that for the powerful environmental law program we’ve built on both of our campuses. Our new center will focus the resources of our exceptional environmental faculty on assisting state, local and national environmental efforts toward sustainability.”

Working under the motto “Law for Sustainability” the center’s list of ambitious goals includes:
  • Studying, making proposals for and evaluating the implementation of environmental, energy and climate-change programs in Pennsylvania and Delaware at the state and municipal levels.
  • Developing, advocating for and evaluating innovative laws and legal proposals relating to the environment, energy and climate change. This will be done by putting on conferences open to the public and through faculty research and writing.
  • Helping public and private decision makers solve legal problems relating to environment, energy and climate change.
  • Collaborating with other higher-education institutions on environmental, energy and climate-change matters.

EnviroLawCenterOpenPromoThe center is also intended to help Widener students engage in environmental law through coursework, externships and opportunities to work in the school’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. The new center will work to ensure students are offered the appropriate courses and that they graduate prepared for careers in environmental law, energy and climate change – specialized opportunities that are expected to grow exponentially in the next decade.

The center will be guided by an advisory board, which is still being assembled, to enhance its interaction with the community. The law school will officially launch the center in the fall 2009 semester, during an event that will coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic and the celebration of 25 years of environmental law at Widener.

Other faculty members who are part of the center all teach on the Delaware campus. They include: