John Wear

Catawba College


Dr. John Wear, founder and executive director of the Center for the Environment and associate professor of biology and environmental science at Catawba College, has been involved in a diverse array of environmental efforts for over a quarter of a century that have spanned a very broad range of environmental and sustainability-focused areas. He has been named Conservationist of the Year by the Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards Program, “Guardian of the Earth” by the Charlotte Observer, and Green Builder of the Year by the Carolina Recycling Association, the nation’s largest recycling association, for his oversight of the design of the facility that houses the Center for the Environment, one of the Southeast’s first green academic buildings.

During his time as Director of the Center for the Environment, Wear has been the driving force behind a wide variety of regional initiatives, including campaigns to improve air quality and water quality, land conservation efforts, programing to educate government, community, and business leaders, a statewide program to certify schools for their efforts in shifting towards sustainability at all levels and a national environmental summit for high school students among just a few. Wear’s efforts to focus at the community level, engaging students in those efforts while educating the region and beyond, have brought the Center for the Environment into the national spotlight. Julian Keniry, author and co-creator of the National Wildlife Foundation’s Campus Ecology Program, recently called the Center “incomparable.” No other center in the country has, in her words, “the approach, the perspective, the longevity and the outcomes” that the Center has. “With leadership from John Wear and his team, the Center for the Environment at Catawba College has set many local and national precedents.”

Dr. Wear teaches college courses and has lectured broadly on a variety of topics that focus on environmental challenges and the creation of sustainable solutions. He holds a bachelor of science degree from North Carolina State University; a master of science degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and a Ph.D. from Wake Forest University.