SERC Director Arne Jacobson Receives CSU’s Highest Honor

Arne discusses the pros and cons of solar lighting products at a focus group in Kenya.

Arne discusses the pros and cons of solar lighting products at a focus group in Kenya.


Arne, Ted Bilek, and Han-Sup Han, leaders of the $5.8M Waste to Wisdom biomass project, observe biomass harvesting in Humboldt County.


Arne and students receive their award as winners of the U.S. EPA’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet competition.

Just before winter break, California State University Chancellor Timothy White informed SERC Director Arne Jacobson that he had been chosen to receive the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Award. This award “celebrates CSU faculty and administrators who, through extraordinary commitment and dedication, have distinguished themselves by exemplary contributions and achievements in their academic disciplines and areas of assignment.” Arne received the award in the area of Natural Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Sciences, and Engineering.

Arne was honored in part for his groundbreaking work with the International Finance Corporation and World Bank to ensure the quality of off-grid lighting and solar home products as part of the Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia, and Lighting Global programs. As has been chronicled in this newsletter for years, Arne and his team have contributed to increased energy access for millions of low-income people in Africa and Asia. Laboratories around the world have adopted the testing protocols and quality assurance standards that were developed by the SERC team in collaboration with partner organizations.

Arne will receive his award during a ceremony at the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach on January 27. The Board of Trustees, CSU Presidents, and other guests will attend and a celebration dinner will follow. The Wang Family Excellence Award comes with a cash prize of $20,000.

About Peter Lehman

Director of SERC and a professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. Dr. Lehman received a B.S. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. He then served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley where he conducted research on the aerochemistry of photochemical air pollution. Before coming to HSU, he has been a member of the faculties of Sacramento State University; California State University, Northridge; and Deep Springs College. While at HSU, Dr. Lehman has served as chair of the Environmental Resources Engineering Department, co-chair of the International Development Technology masters program, and faculty advisor to the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. His research interests include renewable energy systems, especially solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies. Dr. Lehman's work at the Schatz Center includes the development of solar hydrogen generation systems, development and production of fuel cell personal utility and neighborhood electric vehicles, and research and production of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Most recently, the Center is involved in integrating electrolyzers into complete hydrogen generation and dispensing facilities, and developing and producing fuel cell systems for telecommunications, portable power and uninterruptible power supply applications.