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Erin Seekamp Named Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Coastal Resilience and Sustainability, and Director of the Coastal Resilience and Sustainability Initiative

NC State’s College of Natural Resources, along with the Office of University Interdisciplinary Programs, is pleased to announce that Dr. Erin Seekamp, a professor of parks, recreation and tourism management and an extension tourism specialist in the College of Natural Resources, has been appointed Goodnight Distinguished Professor of Coastal Resilience and Sustainability, and director of the Coastal Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (CRSI). The appointment is effective August 16.

“We are excited that Dr. Seekamp has been selected for this much deserved honor. Her appointment speaks volumes to her outstanding work in the human dimensions of coastal resilience and sustainability sciences, and is a great boost for the future of NC State’s leadership in the field,” College of Natural Resources Dean Myron Floyd said.

Seekamp’s research specialties include partnerships, decision-making and capacity building focused on climate adaptation planning, community-based conservation and conservation behaviors. Her projects have helped coastal communities become more climate ready, especially those dependent on natural resources and tourism to thrive. She has worked extensively with the National Park Service, and is currently involved in a project to develop a planning and decision support tool to help the NPS and partners prioritize archeological sites for climate adaptation treatments. 

Over the course of her career, Seekamp has produced nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications; secured more than $12 million in total grant funding, including more than $11 million as PI or co-PI; and mentored more than 50 graduate students. She is the first woman in the College of Natural Resources to receive the Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award, and was named a University Faculty Scholar in 2020.

Seekamp received her Bachelor of Science in anthropology from James Madison University, her Master of Science in forestry from Virginia Tech, and her Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Idaho.

“To help create resilient and sustainable coastal communities we need to be able to work across disciplines while simultaneously working with and learning from communities. Dr. Seekamp’s interwoven research, public engagement and teaching exemplify this needed interdisciplinary approach. I’m excited that she will join us to lead the many faculty on campus committed to the resilience of our coastal communities. Given the threats to North Carolina’s coasts, Seekamp takes over this position at a very important time,” said Rob Dunn, senior vice provost for University Interdisciplinary Programs. “Dr. Mary Watzin, CRSI founding director, did an outstanding job in creating the Coastal Resilience and Sustainability Initiative and in engendering support for the initiative across campus. We look forward to Erin’s leadership and to seeing the ways that she grows and leads the program.

The professorship was made possible by a gift from longtime NC State supporters Dr. Jim and Mrs. Ann Goodnight.

The Goodnights are notable NC State alumni; Dr. Goodnight – the CEO and founder of SAS – earned his Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics in 1965, his Master of Science and doctorate in statistics in 1968 and 1972, respectively, and the university conferred an honorary degree to him in 2002. Mrs. Goodnight earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1968 and works as the senior director of community relations at SAS.

In addition to supporting 245 North Carolina students each year through the Goodnight Scholars Program, established in 2008, the Goodnights have generously strengthened centers, programs and additional scholarships across NC State. Their commitment to faculty excellence has resulted in the creation of 15 named faculty positions across several colleges at NC State. The Goodnight Distinguished Professorship of Coastal Resilience and Sustainability further strengthens NC State’s commitment to attracting, retaining and supporting outstanding faculty.

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