This Saturday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) dedicated their new Marine Operations Center-Pacific Facility in Newport, OR (also home to Oregon State’s Hatfield Marine Science Center). Heading that dedication was former OSU distinguished professor Jane Lubchenco, who is the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the first woman administrator for NOAA. Lubchenco was a professor of zoology at OSU for 32 years, moving to Corvallis, OR in 1977. Often collaborating in her work with husband and fellow OSU Distinguished Professor Bruce Menge, he continues their scientific work here at OSU in partnership with other programs. Lubchenco is one of the nation’s leading scientists and has won numerous awards including the MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Genius’ Award. Here work, passion, and credibility as a researcher were the reasons President Obama appointed her to this position in NOAA, hoping to guide the organization by science rather than politics.
NOAA’s Marine Operations Facility will serve as a home base for four research and survey ships, adding to the already strong presence of marine science in Newport, such as OSU’s Hatfield Marine Research Center. Lubchenco states that their “strengths are going to come together and gel, and we’ll see what is possible in their interactions.”
I, along with many others at OSU, are excited about this new presence of NOAA in Newport, Lubchenco and Menge’s dedicated research in collaboration with OSU, and what all these forces will bring to the research and community for Newport and OSU.