Michigan Firsts: Joan L. Wolfe

On this day in 1977, Joan L. Wolfe became the first woman to chair a major commission.

Wolfe, born in 1929, was an extraordinary Michigan woman who became one of the most impactful environmentalists in our state’s history. Alongside her accomplishment of becoming the first woman to chair a major state commission, Joan Wolfe also founded the West Michigan Environmental Action Council in 1968, became a member of the first Natural Resources Trust Fund Board, was a part of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Electric Energy Alternatives, and played a major role in the passage of the landmark Michigan Environmental Protection Act of 1970.

In 1996, she was one of the eight honorees of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame.