Former IU SPEA dean Astrid Merget dies

Astrid Merget, the third dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, has died after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 69.

Louisiana State University announced her death Monday. She was a professor in the LSU Public Administration Institute and was the university’s provost and executive vice chancellor from 2007-10.

Astrid Merget

Astrid Merget

Merget was dean of SPEA at Indiana University from 2000-07. Prior to coming to IU, she was a professor and administrator at The Ohio State University, Syracuse University and George Washington University. She also served in high-level positions in the federal government, including with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

SPEA Dean John Graham shared the news of Merget’s death in a message to colleagues. He noted that she was highly regarded for recruiting and retaining minority faculty and for maintaining an extensive network in Washington. D.C., that helped with student internship placements.

Kurt Zorn, professor in SPEA and former interim dean, said in the message that Merget was a true believer in the school’s unique approach of combining management, policy and environmental science. He said she made tough choices in times of fiscal challenges, which benefited SPEA in the long run.

“She understood and valued the strength of the collective SPEA, focusing a good portion of her attention on identifying and promoting opportunities for collaboration and cooperation across faculty groups and among faculty across SPEA’s campuses,” Zorn said.

In 2011, Merget was named chair of the National Council for Science and the Environment. She was a founding member of the organization’s Council of Environmental Deans and Directors.

Merget’s family will make arrangements for a memorial service, according to the LSU announcement.

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