Stetson University has named Jason Evans, Ph.D., as the interim executive director of the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience (IWER), effective Aug. 15. Evans will fill the position while Stetson searches for a permanent replacement for Clay Henderson, J.D., who is retiring.

Evans is an associate professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson as well as faculty director of IWER. He has not decided if he will be applying for the executive-director position, but he is looking forward to the leadership opportunity the interim position will provide.

Evans is a sea-level-rise expert, has conducted extensive research about the issue and has been published in numerous publications. He would like to see IWER make a bigger difference in Central Florida.

“My overall goal is to continue the vision and momentum developed by many individuals during the past decade for IWER to become one of the nation’s premier interdisciplinary environmental institutes,” Evans said.

Central Florida faces incredibly complex environmental problems, such as climate change, sea-level rise, harmful algal blooms, freshwater scarcity and loss of green space to suburban sprawl, Evans said.

“As a respected private institution with a storied history of developing business and political leaders in Florida, Stetson is well-positioned to be at the vanguard of change towards a more sustainable economy and environment for Central Florida and beyond,” he said.

Henderson, a Stetson graduate, attorney and leading scholar of environmental policy, has served as IWER’s executive director for four years and taught environmental activism, law, planning and policy, and water-policy courses.

Stetson has honored Henderson’s achievements with the Distinguished Alumni and George and Mary Hood Awards.

Henderson’s Stetson accomplishments include developing and organizing IWER and its staff, including the advisory and faculty steering committees, affiliate faculty and endowment; creating and administering the Sustainable Farming Fund to incentivize sustainable agriculture in the Suwannee River basin; and planning and conducting fundraising associated with the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center.

“My biggest achievement is the Sustainable Farming Fund, which opened a lot of doors on many levels for the Institute for Water and Environmental Resilience,” said Henderson. “I really enjoyed teaching, particularly at Stetson University College of Law, and taking students to the St. Johns River to discuss environmental concerns.”

Henderson will be relocating to Boston, to write about environmental topics. He is excited about Evans taking the helm at IWER.

“Dr. Evans is an up-and-comer and recognized expert in his field with a good track record in working with local governments and obtaining grants,” said Henderson. “He will be taking the institute to the next level of success.”