Erik Foley

Director of Learning and Development , Director of Sustainability
Department: Executive Education Programs, Office of the Dean
Office: Suite 314B, Innovation Building
Phone: 814-863-8395


Erik Foley is the Director of Sustainability at Smeal and Director of Learning and Development in Executive Education. Erik is responsible for executive education programs in sustainability as well as working with faculty, students, staff, alumni and external partners to integrate sustainability into all aspects of the business school.

Before coming to Smeal, Erik was the Managing Director at Penn State's Sustainability Institute, the mission of which is to integrate sustainability across all major functions of the university: research, teaching, outreach and operations. He was helped establish the institute and write the university's first Sustainability Strategic Plan. He has the unique perspective of understanding the business imperative for sustainability as well as the deep ecological and social dimensions to human decision-making. A skilled leader, educator, writer and strategist, Erik has been on the front lines of sustainability for two decades with on-the-ground experience from rural Paraguay to the Alaskan bush to the inner city to work with over 20 companies.

He earned a bachelor's degree from Whitman College (Washington) and a Master's in Business Administration from St. Francis University (Pennsylvania). Erik has served as the president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, on the Environmental Committee of Leadership Centre County, on the American Council on Renewable Energy's Higher Education Committee, and within Penn State on the University Sustainability Council. Erik is on the board of Clearwater Conservancy and also serves on the board and is the treasurer of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP).

Before joining Penn State in 2009, Erik was the founding director of the award-winning Renewable Energy Center at St. Francis University, which worked across the state on community-based renewable energy development, particularly wind power. From 1997-1999, Erik served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay as an Environmental Education Specialist. Erik is married, has two children and lives in State College, Pennsylvania.