Harlem’s Peggy Shepard To Speak At Columbia Climate School Graduation In Harlem

May 4, 2022

Environmental justice advocate Peggy Shepard will deliver the keynote address at Columbia Climate School’s inaugural Class Day ceremony.

The ceremony will take place in person on Friday, May 13, 2022, at the University’s Morningside Heights campus.

Shepard is co-founder and executive director of the not-for-profit WE ACT for Environmental Justice and has a long history of organizing and engaging Northern Manhattan residents in community-based planning and campaigns to address environmental protection and environmental health policy locally and nationally.

In announcing the news to the Columbia Climate community, Founding Dean Alex Halliday said, “This will be the Columbia Climate School’s first graduation ceremony, and I can’t think of a more appropriate speaker than Peggy Shepard to celebrate our students’ accomplishments and send them off to their future endeavors.”


In addition to WE ACT, Shepard is co-chair of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and a trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund.

She also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Black Environmental Justice Network and the Board of Advisors of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

Shepard is also a board member of the New York League of Conservation Voters and chairs New York City’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board.


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Ruth DeFries, Columbia Climate School co-founding dean and Denning Family University Professor of Sustainable Development added, “Peggy Shepard’s long-term commitment and dedication to justice for local communities is a shining example for the graduates and for all of us in the Climate School.”

The graduation ceremony will be live-streamed and available to watch here.

Photo credit: Peggy Shepard by Allie Holloway.

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