TACOMA, Wash. – Sally Jewell, U.S. secretary of the interior from 2013-17 and former president and CEO of outdoor retailer REI, will offer the Commencement address at University of Puget Sound’s 126th graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 13. She will be awarded the degree Doctor of Science, honoris causa.
Jewell, an expert on energy and climate issues, led the federal office that manages about a fifth of the nation’s land, handling important decisions affecting natural resources, energy needs, public spaces, and tribal communities. Throughout her tenure, Jewell sought to balance the conservation of public spaces with the country’s need for economic progress, and prioritized policies to interest more young people in the great outdoors.
“It is with great pleasure and anticipation that we welcome Sally Jewell to address our graduating Class of 2018,” said Puget Sound President Isiaah Crawford. “As a professional and as an individual, Ms. Jewell has dedicated her life to making positive change, blending critical analysis, sound judgement, and intellectual curiosity with a strong desire to serve her community. As a Pacific Northwesterner, she also shares our respect and love for this beautiful state and all it offers. Our graduates will benefit considerably from her experience and insights.”
As secretary of the interior, Sally Jewell sought to balance economic growth with conservation of public lands. She focused on investing in more sustainable water use and building trust with indigenous communities.
An enthusiastic hiker and mountain climber—who scaled Mount Rainier seven times—Jewell made public access to federal lands a priority. She supported initiatives such as the Every Kid in a Park program, which gave all fourth-grade students and their families the right to a free, one-year pass to all U.S. national parks and public lands.
She approved the first phase of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which aimed to streamline approval for solar, wind, and geothermal projects, and to preserve more than 4 million acres of California desert land. She also traveled the country listening to scientists and raising the profile of federal government efforts to address climate change.
Prior to her federal appointment, Jewell served as president and CEO of outdoor retailer REI. Earlier she worked in commercial banking for firms including Rainier Bank, Security Pacific Bank, West One Bank, and Washington Mutual. Born in London, England, and raised in Seattle, Jewell trained as an engineer at University of Washington and spent her early career as an engineer in the energy industry.
J ewell has served with numerous nonprofits, including holding seats on the National Parks Conservation Association Board of Trustees and University of Washington Board of Regents. She helped found the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, which has protected and enhanced communities and public lands along the I-90 corridor from Puget Sound across the Cascades for more than 25 years. In 2012 she received the inaugural Land for People Award from The Trust for Public Land, and was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service.