Hatfield legacy lives in OSU leadership in the marine sciences


NEWPORT, Ore. – The passing Sunday of former U.S. Senator and Oregon Governor Mark Hatfield prompted an outpouring of remembrances of the political legend and his contributions to the state, including Newport, where Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center bears his name.

Hatfield was supportive of the development of the center, which officially opened in June 1965 during his second term as Oregon governor. During his five terms as a U.S. senator, Hatfield steered critical federal funding to Newport for buildings and programs. In 1983, the center was officially named the Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC).

Today, more than 300 scientists and staff members work at HMSC’s 49-acre campus. In addition to faculty researchers and students from OSU and visiting researchers from other academic institutions, the campus is home to representatives of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, as well as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is also home port for the OSU research vessels Wecoma and Elakha.

“The Hatfield Marine Science Center is a living legacy, one that will serve Oregon, Oregonians, our nation and our world for generations to come,” OSU President Edward J. Ray. “I can think of no finer tribute to Mark Hatfield's lifetime of public service.”

Ray said the scientific strengths of HMSC, which has an annual budget of more than $45 million, are a major reason why OSU is recognized as being one of the nation’s leading academic centers in marine science, with particular depth in near-shore coastal science.

“Sen. Hatfield understood the importance of the scientific work on Oregon’s coast. And he had the foresight to support a center where that work could take place and to make invaluable contributions toward the center’s expansion over three decades,” said Ray. “Without some of the groundbreaking work that came out of HMSC, climate modeling and our understanding of climate change might not have developed as quickly as it has. We might not have had the capacity to make important contributions to aquaculture science and fisheries management or the understanding of the tectonic plates beneath the Pacific Ocean. And our internationally recognized Marine Mammal Institute might not have had the impact on whale conservation around the globe that it continues to have.

“We at OSU are among many today who can say with heartfelt conviction that he will be missed.”

Images of Sen. Hatfield and HMSC are available at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/sets/72157627262825293/.