Jon White – From the President’s Office: 5-15-2017

2017-05-15T15:25:02+00:00 May 15, 2017|

Jon White, President of Ocean Leadership

Last Friday, I attended a memorial ceremony and residence hall dedication in honor of Dr. Graham Shimmield at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. After listening to the heartfelt remarks by renowned leaders, scientists, and colleagues, I realized that Graham, like a reflection of the ocean he loved, inspired every person and influenced every activity he encountered in a profound way. I looked out over coastal Maine’s Boothbay and reflected on the tremendously important ocean research and education that Bigelow and all of our consortium members conduct and support. This includes things like seaweed farming, which just might hold several keys to ensuring global food security in the future. (Did you know that the first seaweed farm in the U.S. was established less than a decade ago in coastal Maine and seaweed is an effective anti-methanogenic agent in cattle feed?) While in Boothbay for the first time and amidst this moment of reflection, I also felt a renewed call to action. Thanks to the influence of Graham, and so many other leaders across our community, I am coming to realize how important it is for the collective voice of our consortium to be elevated and amplified at this crucial point in time for our nation, our ocean, and thus our continued existence. I ask you to join me in responding to this call, to seek and create innovative ways for us to make a real difference. I imagine nothing would please Graham more.

Also last week, in a place that seems like galaxies away from coastal Maine (Washington, D.C.), the National Science Board, which sets the overall priorities for the National Science Foundation, recognized another inspirational ocean leader by presenting Dr. Rita Colwell with the Vannevar Bush Award. Established in 1980, the award recognizes those who, through public service in the realm of science, technology, and public policy, have improved the welfare of our nation. Dr. Colwell, who chairs the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI)’s Research Board and is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, was recognized for her work on global infectious diseases, water, and health. I thank and salute Rita, not only for her contribution to the Gulf of Mexico’s recovery through her work with GoMRI, but for answering many “calls to action” over the years and exemplifying how science can (and must) make our world a healthier place.

Please note that Friday (May 19th) is the last day to submit papers to the special issue of Oceanography Magazine featuring the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). I encourage COL members to take a look at the call for papers for the special issue, and to volunteer to be guest editors for the issue.

RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership

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