About Us

Letter from the Director

John Wear

Dear Friend,

We had a bold vision over 20 years ago of a Center for the Environment that would educate our college community and the public about environmental stewardship and sustainability; that would provide value added education to students, offering rare opportunities for experiential learning; that would bring diverse people and groups together to catalyze sustainable solutions to our most persistent environmental challenges.

That ambitious vision would never have moved beyond the idea stage if a host of donors and volunteers had not stepped up to support us. Over the years, they have examined our vision and the path we charted to bring it to fruition, and they have determined that it is not only worth doing; it is critical to bringing about a sustainable future.

Many have joined forces to help us offer multiple opportunities for students and citizens of the larger community. Our recent efforts have included a National Environmental Summit for High School Students, which brings bright students from across the nation to Catawba College; a multi-faceted program to educate people about air pollution and help them change their behaviors to mitigate that pollution; uncommon opportunities for our students – an approach one of our graduates called environmental education “for the real world.”

tl_files/cfte/images/Facility/kka-cfe2.jpgThroughout our history, we have lent our leadership and our expertise on issues ranging from air and water quality to land preservation and sustainable development. We have been intentional about setting models for others to follow. While most of our projects have focused on the immediate area, we believe the projects transcend county lines because we educate the community and the region by setting the example right here in Rowan.

All of our efforts, as well as the exemplary efforts of the college as a whole, have earned Catawba College inclusion in the Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Rating Honor Roll. We have earned distinction as one of 21 colleges to receive the highest possible score in its Green Rating. That’s 21 colleges nationwide. That’s impressive.

So, to all of you who have supported the Center with your time and treasure, we offer our profound thanks. We appreciate the confidence you have expressed in our vision, and we fully acknowledge that we could not have accomplished as much as we have without you.

We need your philanthropic support now more than ever. Join us today.


John E. Wear, Executive Director


To provide education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and to foster community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country.


The Center for the Environment at Catawba College has been deeply involved in our state’s environmental issues since its inception in 1996. We strive to serve as a model to our region, lending our expertise on a wide range of issues – from air and water quality to land preservation and sustainable development. In the process, Catawba students receive a value-added education through involvement in our activities. (Read More)


The Center for the Environment is currently involved in several major initiatives: the Campaign for Clean Air, the National Youth Environmental Summit, the Faith, Spirituality and Environmental Stewardship Conference, and the promotion of sustainable practices.


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