Retired Extension Agent honored by Sea Grant


NEWPORT - Robert "Jake" Jacobson, retired Extension Sea Grant agent, is the 1996 recipient of the William Q. Wick Award for Visionary Career Leadership from his former colleagues in the National Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service.

Jacobson, who retired in 1995 after 28 years with Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon State University Extension Service, will receive the award during a national meeting this December in Monterey, Calif.

The award is named for the late Oregon Sea Grant director, William Wick, who was instrumental in formation of the National Sea Grant College Program in the late 1960s. Sea Grant's Marine Advisory Service Assembly - a group representing marine extension agents nationwide - instituted the award two years ago. Jacobson will be the second recipient.

It was Wick who, in 1967, appointed Jacobson as the first marine extension agent in the United States, modeled on a concept developed for the agricultural community under the land grant college philosophy.

Working out of Newport, Jacobson "set the standard for Sea Grant Extension agents nationwide," said Jay Rasmussen, Oregon Sea Grant Extension Program Leader, who nominated him for the biennial award.

Himself a part-time commercial fisherman, Jacobson earned a reputation for being a catalyst and problem solver between the region's fishing industry and the agencies that regulate it. He served eight years on Oregon's Fish and Wildlife Commission, and in the 1970s helped organize a series of "town hall" meetings designed to help fishermen and resource managers find common ground.

He also was instrumental in developing marine safety workshops for fishermen, at one point jumping off a dock in a survival suit to demonstrate the product's usefulness to skeptical fishermen.

Since his retirement, Jacobson has also been honored by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission for outstanding contributions to the management and conservation of fisheries resources.