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Dr. Abel Antonio Chávez

Dr. Abel Antonio ChávezDr. Abel Antonio Chávez was named the 10th president of Our Lady of the Lake University following a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees. He will succeed President Diane E. Melby, who is retiring on July 15 after serving as president since 2015. 

A first-generation, first in family, son of immigrants, and bilingual administrator and academic, Dr. Chávez is currently serving as Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success at Western Colorado University. He has provided university-wide thought and change leadership to enhance the institution’s portfolio and position through rigorous program-, market-, and strategic-analysis.  

An integrative leader and learner, Dr. Chávez has served in multiple roles in and beyond higher education, allowing him holistic institutional oversight and understanding of the university operation. He has a track record of, and is committed to, conceiving, building, enhancing, and positioning programs in relevant fields, that enhance quality, access, affordability, and completion, while serving the needs of students, families, economies, and campus.  

A global leader in community-based energy, material, and greenhouse gas emissions accounting, he has served as lead author on multiple global assessments, has several peer-reviewed works, and has partnered with various local governments and institutions of higher education across the world. His global trajectory includes stops in Asia (India, China, Philippines, Kazakhstan), Europe (Germany, Spain), and Mexico.  

As a scientist with a commitment to serving minority and underserved students, Dr. Chávez often mentors and supports student-led initiatives that elevate students, their communities, and their educational attainment goals. He leads several efforts including initiatives for Mexican students through a partnership with the Mexican federal government’s IME Becas program, and one with the State of Colorado for underserved and rural students.  

As a recognition of his commitment and service to communities and education, the Mexican Government presented Dr. Chávez with the Ohtli Award, their highest civil honor.  

Dr. Chávez holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado Denver, an MBA from the University of Houston, and a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado Denver. 

He and his wife, Naomi, have two children. César is a second-year college student studying computer science. Naíma will be starting high school in the fall. 

  • Chávez, A. (2021). Metrics for Assessing Higher Education: A Life-Cycle Based Student-Centered Approach to Institutional Success. In Preparation. 
  • Chávez, A. (2021). A college degree is two things: something you earn, and something you own. The Colorado Sun. August 2021. 
  • Chávez, A. (2021). Transformar la educación comienza con las ABCs. El Tiempo Latino, August 2021. 
  • Chávez, A. (2021). The ABCs of Education. Boulder Daily Camera, July 2021. 
  • Chávez, A. (2021). Transforming education must start with the ABCs. GJ Sentinel, June 2021. 
  • Vázquez, I., Chávez, A., Madrid, C., Villalba, G. (2020). A Life Cycle Based Electricity Carbon Footprint: The Case of Puebla, Mexico. In Press. 
  • UCCRN. (2019). Urban Energy Supply Sector: Challenges and Opportunities for Low-Carbon, Resilient and Just Cities. Lead Author, Chapter 8 in Climate Change and Cities: Second Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network (ARC3-2). 
  • Chávez, A., Kennedy, C., Chen, B., Chertow, M., Baynes, T., Chen, S. & Bai, B. (2018). Urban Metabolism: Resource flows, the urban boundary, and resilience. In Future Earth (Ed.), The Urban Planet: Knowledge towards livable cities. 
  • Chávez, A. (2017). Key Drivers and Future Trends of Urban Carbon Emissions. In Low Carbon Cities, Future   Science. 
  • Pichler, P.P., Zwickel, T., Chávez, A., Kretschmer, T., Seddon, J., & Weisz, H. (2017). Reducing Urban Greenhouse Gas Footprints. Nature, Scientific Reports, 7, 14659. 
  • IPCC. (2014). Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Contributing Author to Chapter 12 on Human Settlements. 
  • Chávez, A. (2012). Comparing City-Scale Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Accounting Methods: Implementation, Approximations, and Policy Relevance. PhD Thesis. University of Colorado Denver. 
  • Chávez, A. & Ramaswami, A. (2013). Articulating A Trans-Boundary Infrastructure Supply Chain Greenhouse Gas Emission Footprint for Cities: Mathematical Relationships and Policy Relevance. Energy Policy, 54, 376-384. 
  • Chávez, A. & Ramaswami, A. (2013). How large are the total energy supply-chains serving cities? Coverage by territorial, infrastructure and consumption-based carbon footprints. Environ. Sci, Technol. 
  • Chávez, A., Ramaswami, A., Dwarakanath, N., Ranjan, R., & Kumar, E. (2012). Implementing Trans-Boundary Infrastructure-Based Greenhouse Gas Accounting for Delhi, India: Data Availability and Methods. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 16 (6), 814-828. 
  • Chávez, A. & Ramaswami, A. (2011). Progress Toward Low-Carbon: Approaches for Trans-Boundary Greenhouse Gas Emissions Footprinting for Cities. Carbon Management, 2 (4), 471-482. 
  • Ramaswami, A. & Chávez, A. (2013). What metrics best reflect the energy and carbon intensity of cities? Insights from theory and modeling of 20 US cities. Environ. Res. Lett, 8.
  • Spork, C.C., Chávez, A., Durany, X.G., Patel, M.K., & Villalba, G. (2013). Applying real-time emission factors to increase accuracy in GHG accounting for electricity: A case study for Spain. Journal of Industrial Ecology.
  • Ramaswami, A., Chávez, A., & Chertow, M. (2012). Carbon Footprinting of Cities and Implications for Analysis of Urban Material and Energy Flows. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 16 (6), 783-785.
  • Ramaswami, A., Bernard, M., Chávez, A., Hillman, T., Whitaker, M., Thomas, G. & Marshall, M. (2012). Quantifying Carbon Mitigation Wedges in US Cities: Near-Term Strategy Analysis and Critical Review. Environ. Sci, Technol., 46 (7), 3629-3642.
  • Ramaswami, A., Chávez, A., Ewing-Thiel, J., & Reeve, K.E. (2011). Two Approaches to Greenhouse Gas Emissions Footprinting at the City-Scale. Environ. Sci, Technol., 45 (10), 4205-4206.
  • Ramaswami, A., Main, D., Bernard, M., Chávez, A., Davis, A., Thomas, G., & Schnoor, K. (2011). Planning for Low-Carbon Communities in US Cities: A Participatory Process Model between Academic Institutions, Local Governments and Communities in Colorado. Carbon Management. 2 (4), 397-411.
  • Pattison, A. Chávez, A., Ramaswami, A., & Gifford, B. (2009). A Review of Green Job Estimations for   Colorado. Presented at Wal-Mart Green Jobs Council Summit. 


  • Colorado Council on High School/College Relations Annual Conference. Speaker, talk titled “Wholistic Educational Assessment: Promoting Student and School Success”. December 2021.  
  • Whiteboard Advisors and Inside Higher Ed. Virtual Salon Dinner on “Equity, Access and Innovation.” Panelist and Speaker. November 2021.  
  • U.S. Department of Energy. American-Made Challenges Network Summit, “Building, Engaging, and Supporting Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into Your Organization.” Panelist and Speaker. November 2021.    Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU). Round table speaker for session titled, “During Challenging Times Student-Serving First, Student Enrolling Second: Lessons Learned.” 35th Annual Conference, October 2021.  
  • Secretary of External Relations, Government of Mexico. 4ta Semana Binacional de Educación. Keynote speaker to global audience, talk titled, “Navegando instituciones de educación superior: Perspectiva de un mexicano de primera generación.” August 2021.  
  • Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano (ITM). Cadenas de Suministro y Sostenibilidad. Vive Conferencia Global. Keynote Address. December 2020.  
  • Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua (UACH). Metabolismo Comunitario: Entender para Crear. Chihuahua, Mexico. November 2019.   
  • Instituto Tecnológico Metropolitano (ITM). Industrial Ecology and the future. Medellín, Colombia. September and October 2019.
  •  The Colorado-Wyoming Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (CO-WY AMP). Keynote Address. April 2019.  
  • Colorado School of Mines. Integrating Sustainability and Resilience One Community At A Time: Perspectives, Best Practices, and Tools. Golden, Colorado. September 2018.  
  • Tec de Monterrey, Puebla Campus. 2do Congreso de Sustenibilidad, Ecología Industrial Por un Sector Energético Sustentable en México. Puebla, Mexico. August 2018.  
  • Project-Based Learning Workshop. Colorado School of Mines. Golden, Colorado. April 2018.  
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Advancing Urban GHG Inventory Development for Science and Mitigation Management Needs, Washington, D.C. September 2017.  
  • University of California San Diego, Addressing Critical Issues and Transitions in the STEM Pipeline, San Diego, California. January 2017.  
  • Clemson University, Who’s Not At The Table? Building Research Capacity for Underserved Communities in Engineering, Clemson, South Caroline. November 2016.  
  • Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at Pavlodar State University (PSU), Pavlodar, Kazakhstan. Material Flow Analysis and Life-Cycle Assessment of Natural Resource Extraction Industries. October 2015 and May 2016.  
  • Lecturer and Visiting Scholar at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona, Spain. Economic Input-Output Analysis for Life-Cycle Assessment and Environmental GHG Accounting. October 2012, May 2013, and November 2013.  
  • Public Lecture/Seminar, City-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting Methods: A Perspective of The Nature and Size of Supply-Chains Serving Cities. Presented at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) and Joint European Master in Environmental Studies (JEMES), October 2012.  
  • DISCCRS (DISsertations initiative for the advancement of Climate Change ReSearch) VIII Symposium Scholar. Colorado Springs, CO. October 2013.  
  • Chávez, A. Comparing Different Greenhouse Gas Emission Footprint Methods and Metrics to Represent the Energy and Environmental Performance of Cities. International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE). Ulsan, South Korea, June 2013.  
  • Chávez, A. Urban Metabolism, LCA, and GHG Footprints for Cities. Workshop on Sustainable Urban Systems. UNESCO, Paris, France, June 2012.  
  • Chávez, A. Nature and Size of Supply-Chains Serving Cities. Gordon Research Conference on Industrial Ecology. Les Diablerets, Switzerland, June 2012.  
  • Chávez, A. Toward Low Carbon Cities. Philippine League of Local Environment and Natural Resources Officers, Inc. (PLLENRO) National Conference. Cebu City, Philippines, November 2011.
  • Chávez, A., & Ramaswami, A. Two GHG Emission Accounting Approaches: Trans-Boundary Infrastructure Supply Chain, and Consumption-Based GHG Footprints. American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA). Chicago, IL, October 2011.  
  • Chávez, A., & Ramaswami, A. Comparing Geographic, Geographic-Plus Infrastructure Supply Chain, and Consumption-Based Greenhouse Gas Accounting Methods for US Cities. International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE). Berkeley, CA, June 2011.
  • Chávez, A., & Miller, L. Center for Sustainable Infrastructure Systems (CSIS) and City-Scale GHG Emissions Accounting. New Delhi International Conference on Cities and Climate Change. Delhi, India, February 2011.  
  • Ramaswami, A., & Chávez, A. Are We There Yet? Measuring Progress Towards Low-Carbon Trans-Boundary Challenges in City-Scale Greenhouse Gas Accounting. US-China Workshop on Low-Carbon Cities. Hong Kong, China, December 2010.  
  • Chávez, A., & Ramaswami, A. Hybrid Greenhouse Gas Accounting Methodology for Cities: Past Work & New Developments. American Center for Life Cycle Assessment (ACLCA). Portland, OR, November 2010.  
  • Chávez, A., & Ramaswami, A. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting: Framework and Innovations at the CityScale. Colorado Environmental Health Association (CEHA). Colorado Springs, CO, October 2010.  
  • Chávez, A. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting at the City-Scale. SACNAS. Anaheim, CA, October 2010.