Dr. Kathleen Merrigan is the first executive director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems at Arizona State University. She also holds the position of the Kelly and Brian Swette Professor of Practice in Sustainable Food Systems with appointments in the School of Sustainability, College of Health Solutions and School of Public Affairs.
Previously, Kathleen was the executive director of sustainability at George Washington University, where she led the GW Sustainability Collaborative and GW Food Institute. From 2009-2013, Kathleen served as the deputy secretary and COO of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she led the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative to support local food systems, was a key architect of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, and was the first woman to chair the Ministerial Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Kathleen holds a Ph.D. in environmental planning and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a MPA from the University of Texas, and a B.A. from Williams College. She serves as co-chair of AGree, board director of Food Corps and Marrone Bio Innovations, and steering committee member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment. In 2010, Time magazine named Kathleen among the 100 most influential people in the world.