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College of Environment and Design

Dorinda Dallmeyer, Director of Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, to Retire December 2018

Dorinda Dallmeyer
Dorinda Dallmeyer (Photo credit: Dorothy Kozlowski)

Like many accomplished, creative people Dorinda Dallmeyer’s professional life has numerous threads of interests that weave a rich fabric. She is a writer, a teacher, a geologist and naturalist, a lover of art and cultures, and a legal scholar, among other things. When she is not exploring the far reaches of the planet (Alaska, Antarctica, etc.) she can be found in her kayak on one of Georgia’s many rivers. Her diversity of interests is undergirded with a profound sense of ethics that shapes all of her endeavors, the main focus of which is the natural environment.

For the past 12 years Dorinda Dallmeyer has directed the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program at UGA’s College of Environment and Design (CED). She has taught thousands of students from disciplines all over campus and led hundreds of seminars. “The founding principal of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program was to encourage faculty and students to talk across disciplines at UGA. We established a path that would give students a good understanding of ecological science and environmental philosophy, at the same time allowing them to tailor their electives to their own interests,” she explains. Among the founding members of the EECP 35 years ago were CED’s Darrel Morrison, Allen Stovall, and Bruce Ferguson. Jack Crowley, former dean of the School of Environmental Design, was instrumental in hiring Dallmeyer as director of the program in 2006.

This job came after a 21-year career at the Rusk Center (1984-2005), where she had worked with Dean Rusk, Thomas Schoenbaum, Louis Sohn, and Milner Ball, among others, in the fields of international law and environmental policy. Her primary research areas crossed a broad spectrum of international law, with a particular emphasis on the role of negotiation and dispute resolution.

Dallmeyer’s research has been supported by grants from the MacArthur Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Ford Foundation, the Canadian Embassy, the National Science Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation.  She has edited books on women in international law, civilian uses of space, globalization and environmental ethics, NAFTA, the negotiation of maritime boundary disputes, and marine environmental ethics. She has been co-author on articles published in the internationally acclaimed scientific journals Nature and Science.

Given her lifelong love of Southern landscapes, Dallmeyer served as editor of the anthology Bartram’s Living Legacy: Travels and the Nature of the South (Mercer University Press 2010); essayist in Philip Juras's exhibition catalog, The Southern Frontier: Landscapes Inspired by Bartram's Travels (Telfair Books 2011, University of Georgia Press 2015); co-editor with James R. Holland and Janisse Ray of the book, Altamaha: A River and Its Keeper (University of Georgia Press 2012); and essayist in Philip Juras's exhibition catalog, The Wild Treasury of Nature: A Portrait of Little St. Simons Island (University of Georgia Press 2016). Her current project is serving as executive producer and screenwriter for the documentary film Cultivating the Wild: William Bartram's Travels, scheduled for release in late 2018.

“I think my love and deep appreciation of the natural world came from my childhood in Macon, where I grew up in a four-generation household at the edge of the fall line, across the road from an amazing park built in the 1930s. The park had a spring-fed lake and boardwalk, along with all the things that would excite a small child, like a miniature train and a skating rink. We fished in that lake fall, winter, and spring; I spent hours searching for rocks and discovering fossils, which became a life-long obsession.” Her parents were not surprised when she brought home a trunk full of rocks from summer camp in North Carolina.

Before her career in law Dallmeyer’s college education focused on geology.

In 1977 she received an M.S. degree in geology for her research on the effects of climate change on deep-sea benthic organisms.  She then worked with UGA professor James W. Porter for over three years, conducting research in tropical marine biology and ecology in Jamaica and off the Georgia coast. Her coral reef research culminated with a week-long saturation dive in the underwater habitat HYDROLAB in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

To pursue her interest in conservation law and policy, Ms. Dallmeyer returned to the classroom in 1981, this time at the UGA School of Law. She received her J. D. degree cum laude in 1984.

Ms. Dallmeyer is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a past vice-president of the American Society of International Law, and past president of the Bartram Trail Conference. From 1992-2002, she was a member of the board of directors for the Educational Foundation for Nuclear Science, best known as wardens of the so-called “Doomsday Clock.” She has been a member of the State Bar of Georgia since 1984.