Esther L. Barazzone,Ph.D President Chatham University

Esther L. Barazzone,Ph.D President Chatham University

At Chatham University, our commitment has long been to prepare students to excel in their professions and to be engaged, environmentally responsible, globally conscious, life-long learners, and citizen leaders for democracy. Our Eden Hall campus, located in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh, is the embodiment of a commitment Chatham makes everyday to support sustainability and environmental education, honoring the legacy of alumna Rachel Carson, class of 1929, one of the world’s most influential nature writers, ecologists and scientists.

In fact, our Eden Hall Campus is home to Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment (SSE) and functions as a living and learning laboratory, where the campus doesn’t just house classrooms, but is the classroom. Eden Hall will feature high performance green buildings and the latest in sustainable land, energy, and water management techniques. By protecting valuable watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farm structures alongside developing new, green buildings, Eden Hall will be a one-of-a-kind venue for education, conferences, community outreach, and ecotourism. The initial stage of construction consists of the development of field labs, classrooms, a café, an amphitheater, a mosaic garden, and infrastructure development to be complete before the end of 2013. A dining hall and two residence halls are scheduled for completion in 2015.

Eden Hall will be the first community in the world built from “below the ground up” for the study of sustainable living, learning, and development. Self-sustaining in every way, Eden Hall is designed to one-day serve 1,500 students while emitting zero carbon emissions, producing more energy than it consumes and managing all storm and waste water on-site. Focusing on improving the health of our world and its people, Eden Hall is envisioned as a working laboratory of ways that a small community can be more sustainable and work to:

  • • Improve air quality and reduce a community’s carbon footprint
  • • Utilize comprehensive on-site storm and wastewater management techniques
  • • Model a diverse mix of energy generation including solar, geothermal and natural gas fuel cells
  • • Develop new, green buildings while also preserving and updating older structures
  • • Pursue sustainable agriculture methods to produce food for the region


A charter signatory of the American College & University President’s Climate Commitment, Chatham University has a stated commitment to produce zero net carbon emissions by 2025. We do not take this commitment lightly and through our efforts, the University has been able to increase square footage and enrollment by 36 percent and 45 percent, respectively, yet has reduced greenhouse gas net emissions by 68 percent since 2007. Our work has helped us to receive the Excellence in Integration award by ISCN (International Sustainable Campus Network), a Second Nature Climate Award and Sierra Club’s Top 25 Cool Schools. The Zero Net Carbon Emissions Project at Chatham exemplifies how the University has integrated the concept of sustainability throughout the University and can act as a model for how individuals, organizations and communities can move to a more sustainable future.

Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment was founded to help improve our world and create the next generation of leaders in sustainability. Our Master of Arts in Food Studies is unique in its emphasis on a holistic approach to food systems and is the only graduate food studies programs in the U.S to offer both sustainable agriculture and culinary arts and cuisine within a liberal arts environment. We also offer a Master of Sustainability, an Executive Master in Sustainability Leadership, and, coming fall 2014, a Bachelor of Sustainability.


Chatham is proud to have been able to also establish international partnerships with other universities, including EARTH University in Costa Rica, to connect physically and virtually students, faculty, professionals, and leaders from around the world at Eden Hall in the study of sustainability.


  • Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D President Chatham University

    Dr. Barazzone has led Chatham through a period of major institutional renewal and expansion leading to national recognition and elevation to university status in 2007.  Major program development under her leadership has included the creation of many new degree and certificate programs (undergraduate, graduate and continuing education), a Division III athletic program, and University-wide initiatives such as the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship; the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics; the Rachel Carson Institute; and the Global Focus program, which won the Institute of International Education’s Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education in 2003.  More recently, she has led planning for Chatham’s new Eden Hall Campus, which will be built sustainably from the ground up and be the future home of Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment.

    Dr. Barazzone has served on many boards, including the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), the Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP).  Her honors include the Pittsburgh Business Times Diamond Award (2012); History Maker in Education, Senator H. John Heinz III History Center (2006); and the YWCA Leadership Award in Education (1999).   For her work in international education she has been recognized with the University Medal from Fatima Jinnah Women’s University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan (2001) and honorary doctorates from Seoul Women’s University in Seoul, Korea (2000) and Doshisha Women’s College in Kyoto, Japan (1999), as well as the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award for Outstanding Leadership for Peace and Humanitarianism from Morehouse College (2004).