John L. Hesse
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Biography: Mr. Hesse received a Bachelor of Science degree from Utah State University (1965) in aquatic biology, a Master of Science degree from Michigan State University in fisheries management, and earned 60 credits toward a Ph.D. before accepting a full-time appointment with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in 1969. While with the MDNR for 12 years, he was involved with the monitoring and control of toxic chemicals such as PCBs, mercury, dioxin, and dozens of others. He successfully pushed the passage of legislation in Michigan to ban PCBs in 1975 and received an Environmental Quality Award from US EPA for his early work on PCBs and mercury. He later worked 17 years with the Michigan Department of Community Health as Chief of the Center for Environmental Health Sciences. While at MDCH, John was responsible for coordinating Michigan’s response to various environmental health issues and studies into human health risks associated with exposures to chemical contaminants.
Since retiring from state government in 1997, Mr. Hesse has served as an adjunct faculty member with joint appointments in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and earlier with the Bailey Scholars Program. After a few years of classroom teaching, guest lecturing, and helping with the MSU-WATER project, John became involved with study abroad programs, establishing and leading programs both to Antarctica and the Arctic. He has traveled to all 7 continents in the last 25 years. As an avid fisherman, he is now deeply involved with getting more youth into the sport of fishing.