Emison elected to College of Fellows for AICP

Gerald A. "Jerry" Emison

Gerald A. "Jerry" Emison, a professor in Mississippi State's Department of Political Science and Public Administration, has been elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

The distinction is among the highest for the nation's professional planners with about one percent achieving this status.

Emison came to MSU after a professional career in public sector organizations, including director of air quality planning for the Environmental Protection Agency where he was a leading architect of the Clean Air Act of 1990. As EPA's deputy regional administrator in the Pacific Northwest, he directed land use planning that saw the resurgence of the northern spotted owl and the $50 billion clean-up of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. He also managed EPA's water quality planning to protect Puget Sound's salmon.

While in Washington, D.C., he directed a task force that redefined EPA and state governments' relations for environmental cooperation, and he co-led EPA's team that produced the first national comparative risk analysis, "Unfinished Business." The work raised national interest in environmental planning results and was a model for local and state governments.

Also, Emison has used his experience in planning to connect practice to university teaching at MSU. He has trained more than 1,000 students through courses in public management and planning. He was selected by students as professor of the year in 2006, 2010 and 2012.

Emison is author of "Practical Program Evaluations" and the co-editor of "Speaking Green with a Southern Accent" and "True Green."

In civic life, he has served as chair and member of municipal planning commissions on growth management in Bainbridge Island, Wash., and adequate public facilities in Durham, N.C. He led efforts to consolidate city and county government in Durham and developed Bainbridge Island's first comprehensive plan to integrate land use, transportation, housing and environmental protection. A member of the Durham Open Space/Trails Commission, he helped develop the first citywide trails and greenway plan.

Currently chair of the Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission, he has led in adopting one of the first form-based codes in Mississippi and in the construction of a municipal complex in the city.

Emison said his career was sparked by a correspondence course in city planning from the University of California-Berkeley, which he took while serving in Vietnam. Emison completed undergraduate work in civil engineering at Vanderbilt University and graduate study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is married to Donna Kay Harrison, and they have a daughter and three grandchildren.

Allison Matthews | Public Affairs

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