Director, Tishman Environment and Design Center
Fanton Hall/Welcome Center
Michelle J. DePass is the Dean of the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy and Tishman Professor of Environmental Policy and Management. She joined Milano in November 2013 coming from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where since 2009 she had served as Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs. In this presidentially appointed, senate-confirmed position, DePass had been responsible for all dimensions of environmental policy between the EPA and other nations, federally recognized tribal nations, and multilateral institutions and donors.
Prior to joining the EPA, DePass was a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, with a portfolio focused on the environment and community development, most notably green economy and climate change, environmental health and justice and indigenous environmental rights. In her two-decade career in sustainability and public service, DePass has also served as founding Executive Director of the New York Environmental Justice Alliance, Senior Policy Advisor to the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, environmental manager for the City of San Jose, and co-founder of the Gulf Coast fund for community and ecological renewal. A lawyer by training, DePass was also the Kunstler fellow for civil rights at the Center for Constitutional Rights here in New York City. She is a sought after civil society leader and has served on dozens of boards and advisory committees to government, NGO’s and international organizations. DePass holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, a Juris Doctor from Fordham Law School and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, where she was a National Urban Fellow.