2020 Robert T. Sherman Distinguished Service Award — Kelly Mack Boulton ’02

Kelly Boulton ’02 is an environmental powerhouse at Allegheny College. Since joining the Allegheny staff in 2008, she dedicated herself to developing and implementing a comprehensive climate action plan.

The environmental science and sustainability faculty noted that “Single-handedly through determination and dedication to Allegheny, Kelly has saved the College several million dollars and put Allegheny into the national spotlight for being one of the greenest colleges in the country.”

In 2020, Boulton played a crucial role in efforts that led the College to become one of the first ten in the nation to achieve carbon neutrality. As director of sustainability, carbon neutrality is not simply an end goal for Boulton but a milestone toward a long-term commitment to decarbonization and community resilience.

Among many other achievements during Boulton’s tenure, the College has improved energy efficiency by 20%. The efficiency has resulted in sourcing 100% of electricity from wind-generated sources, reduced water usage by 40%, and paper usage by 30%. In addition, the campus now features LEED-certified buildings, rain gardens, and geo-exchange heating and cooling.

Each fall, Boulton takes a leadership role in running the October Energy Challenge. The challenge encourages all individuals to reduce their energy usage, typically resulting in a 10% reduction. The money saved during the challenge is invested in student-selected sustainable features such as solar panels, filtered water refill stations, and an automated return system for the reusable takeout program.

Furthermore, Boulton coordinates the DeHart Local Foods Dinner, featuring food from over a dozen local farmers and produce from the organic campus garden. Boulton also advocates for locally sourced, sustainable, and fair-trade food to be served in the dining halls year-round.

Along with her extraordinary leadership in planning and operations, Boulton has invested time to promote core values and sound practices throughout the College community. She advises several student organizations on campus, including Students for Environmental Action, Green Living, Allegheny Bike Share, and works closely with the student government’s sustainability committee.

Boulton has offered insights and expertise through service on the College’s Strategic Planning Committee, Campus Master Planning Committee, Administrative Advisory Committee, and the Middle States working group. Additionally, she has taught courses and supervised interns in the Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability.

On a national level, Boulton has worked on Allegheny’s profile as a leader in sustainability. She has presented, published, and partnered with the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Second Nature, the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, the World Symposium on Sustainability and Higher Education, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Research Consortium.

“Kelly Boulton is the reason Allegheny is so committed and successful at teaching and operating sustainably,” noted an individual who nominated her for the award.