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American University’s Kogod School of Business, School of Public Affairs Appoint Eminent Scholar Chair in Sustainability

The dual appointment between American’s Kogod School of Business and School of Public Affairs marks the first joint endowed chair in the university’s history.



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American University announced today the appointment of Nicole Darnall as the Arlene R. and Robert P. Kogod Eminent Scholar Chair in Sustainability. The first joint appointment of an endowed chair in the university’s history, the role was established with a generous gift from Kogod School of Business namesakes Bob and Arlene Kogod, who have continuously supported scholarship across AU’s schools. She will start at AU ahead of the fall 2024 semester.

A renowned scholar, Darnall comes from Arizona State University, where she previously served as Foundation Professor and Associate Dean of the School of Sustainability. While at ASU, Darnall was founding director of the Sustainable Purchasing Research Initiative, which produces actionable knowledge about sustainable purchasing globally. Her appointment furthers AU's commitment to sustainability. Since signing the 2008 American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment to address the threat of climate change, AU has been a leader advancing sustainability practices, principles and education.

“We are incredibly lucky to have Nicole Darnall join AU at this pivotal time in our journey of building the area of sustainability,” said Acting Provost Vicky Wilkins. “Dr. Darnall brings a wealth of scholarship and teaching experience to us, and I also know her to be a fantastic institution builder and university citizen.”

For Kogod, sustainability is the driving force of the school’s mission to build a more sustainable world through business. Darnall’s appointment marks the Kogod School of Business’s fifth sustainability faculty hire in the past two years. During this time, the Kogod School has also established a Sustainability Advisory Council of top-tier business, finance, NGO, and labor leaders. With the Council’s guidance, Kogod has infused sustainability throughout its core curriculum for undergraduate and MBA students and has revamped the curriculum in its flagship MS in Sustainability Management program, which launched over a decade ago. In 2023, Kogod received the Page Prize for best sustainability curriculum in the country, joining previous winners including Harvard, Duke, Northwestern, and Cornell. In addition, the school brings leaders from across sectors to speak about sustainability in business at its Gamechangers in Sustainability speaker series that launched in 2022.

Recruiting a scholar and leader of Nicole Darnall’s stature reflects Kogod’s distinction as a leader in sustainability education.”

David Marchick Purple

David Marchick

Dean, Kogod School of Business

“Hiring our fifth sustainability-oriented faculty member in two years was made only possible through the generosity of Robert and Arlene Kogod,” said Kogod School of Business Dean David Marchick.

Darnall’s work is published broadly in many top peer-reviewed journals in management and public administration, including Journal of Management Studies, Strategic Management Journal, Public Administration Review, Public Management Review, and Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. Her research into incentivizing organizations and individuals to adopt sustainable practices will further the work of the School of Public Affairs and its Center for Environmental Policy in the areas of energy, sustainability and climate policy. Darnall will focus on the issues of sustainability governance by informing and educating future sustainability leaders while promoting innovative technology and policies that strengthen environmental, climate, energy and sustainability practices.

“Nicole Darnall brings a wealth of experience to the School of Public Affairs,” said Interim Dean Alison Jacknowitz. “With her addition, SPA now has seven faculty members who are elected and active fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration, underscoring our desire to inform and improve public administration and governance in a variety of areas, including environmental policy.”

I am thrilled to join AU’s esteemed faculty in Kogod and SPA,” said Professor Darnall. “AU has a tremendous community of colleagues and students dedicated to tackling today's biggest sustainability challenges. I am excited to bring my expertise in sustainable enterprise to collaborate with them, advance innovative research, and create exceptional educational opportunities that lead to impactful sustainability initiatives for all kinds of organizations and their leaders."

Learn more about the Kogod School of Business’s sustainability insights and impact and about the School of Public Affairs’ Center for Environmental Policy.


American University's Kogod School of Business, established in Washington, D.C., more than 60 years ago, aims to equip and empower its community to use business as a force for meaningful change. Kogod graduates are leaders on Wall Street and in the corporate world, but also work for non-profits, government agencies and social-service organizations. Washington, D.C., serves as a laboratory for learning through work, internships, and other forms of experiential education. Kogod is the oldest accredited business school in Washington, D.C. The school is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), which represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide.


Established in 1934, American University's School of Public Affairs (SPA) is ranked No.13 in the nation (and first in the D.C. area) by U.S. News & World Report, offering undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and executive-level programs to build and enhance careers in public service. The school offers a unique pairing of access to Washington, D.C. with world-renowned faculty and transformational research, driving progress in policy, politics, law, and public administration. SPA is also ranked third in the U.S. and first in the D.C. area for public affairs research impact.


American University leverages the power and purpose of scholarship, learning, and community to impact our changing world. AU’s faculty, students, staff, and alumni are changemakers who shape the future from sustainability to social justice to the sciences. Building on our 129-year history of education and research in the public interest, we say ‘Challenge Accepted’ to addressing the world’s pressing issues. Our Change Can’t Wait comprehensive campaign creates transformative educational opportunities, advances research with impact, and builds stronger communities.