NEWPORT, Ore. – Fifty years ago this summer, Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center opened its doors as a fledgling research and education facility envisioned to help the depressed central Oregon coast economy revive.
Today it stands as one of the most important and unique marine science facilities in the country, bringing together a plethora of scientists from different agencies to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the world’s oceans, educating a new generation of students about these issues, and reaching out to inform the public about their impacts.
Oregon Sea Grant has been part of the HMSC since the beginning. The program’s first marine Extension agent, Bob Jacobson, was stationed there, providing service and consultation to the commercial fishing fleet. Sea Grant marine educators Don Giles and Vicki Osis laid the groundwork for what would become an exemplary k-12 and public education program which now leads STEM education efforts on the Oregon coast. And we manage the HMSC Visitor Center, popular with tourists – and now serving as a living laboratory for studying how people learn in informal settings such as aquariums and museums.
OSU and the HMSC will commemorate their half century of success with a celebration and reception on Friday, Aug. 7, at the center. The public is invited.
“This is an opportunity to look at the past and honor the people and events that have made the Hatfield Marine Science Center such a special place,” said Bob Cowen, director of the center. “It’s also a time to celebrate the future, as OSU is launching its Marine Studies Initiative and working on plans to expand the center and its capacity.”
The 50th anniversary celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. just outside the Hatfield Marine Science Center, located south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. The celebration will feature speakers, displays, a historical slide show, and a video featuring faculty, student and community perspectives on the center’s future plans. A reception will follow from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; the events are free and open to the public.
Earlier in the day, a special presentation by Rick Spinrad, chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and former OSU Vice President for Research, will be held in the Visitor Center Auditorium. His talk, “How Oceanography Saved the World,” which begins at 3 p.m., is part of the 50th Anniversary Alumni Speaker Series.
Other speakers include former Oregon State President John Byrne, a former NOAA administrator.
Event information and links to HMSC archives, historic photos, video and a timeline of landmarks for the Hatfield Marine Science Center can be found at: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/50th.