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Beyond the Law

Jonathan Adler sees the law as a major lever in addressing today’s environmental challenges.

And, as of last spring, he has a new platform to prove his thesis. Adler, the Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and prominent environmental law scholar, is the inaugural director of the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law. Burke (LAW ‘70), a prominent environmental conservationist, established the center with a commitment of $10 million, the largest gift in the school’s history.

The center aims to expand students’ learning opportunities in environmental law, and also establish the school as an intellectual hub of interdisciplinary research and thought leadership.

The center’s first major event was a symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency. Next is a conference on environmental health with the university’s Law- Medicine Center—the nation’s first centered on health law.

“Today’s environmental problems require a willingness to work outside and across disciplinary boundaries,” Adler said. “It is our hope that this center will foster productive dialogue and analysis of these issues and prepare a new generation of environmental lawyers.”

Fifty years ago, Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River fire sparked a focus on pollution in the area and around the country—and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Professor Jonathan Adler speaking with students