Invited Plenary Speakers

Dr. Don Boesch.We are excited to announce a pair of VIMS alumni as invited speakers for the Homecoming Research Symposium.

Dr. Donald F. Boesch

Donald F. Boesch is a Professor of Marine Science and President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the University System of Maryland’s Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability.

Don completed a Ph.D. in marine science at the College of William & Mary in 1971 and was a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia. He was on the VIMS faculty for eight years, before returning to Louisiana to become the first executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium during the 1980s. He has been the President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science since 1990.

Don has conducted research on the ecology and oceanography of coastal and continental shelf ecosystems along the Atlantic Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico, eastern Australia, and the East China Sea. He has been particularly active in extending scientific knowledge to environmental and resource management at regional, national, and international levels. He is an internationally recognized expert on solutions to address the impacts of land-based pollution, oil and gas development, coastal wetland loss, and climate change. He has frequently returned to his home state of Louisiana to contribute to and often lead committees providing scientific advice on coastal restoration.

Don is a past-chairman of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council and currently a member of the Advisory Board of the National Academies Gulf Research Program and the Leadership Council of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative. He serves as a member of the Maryland Governor’s environmental subcabinet and was appointed by President Obama in 2010 as one of seven members of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

Dr. Paul A. Sandifer

Dr. Paul Sandifer

Paul A. Sandifer recently retired from the position as Chief Science Advisor for NOAA’s National Ocean Service and is currently a part-time Research Associate (Professor) at the College of Charleston, SC, and an associate graduate faculty member at the Medical University of SC.

Paul has a broad background in research, natural resource management, science policy, and the intersection of marine ecosystem health and human health. He completed a B.S. in Biology at the College of Charleston in 1968 and a Ph.D. in marine science at VIMS (through the University of Virginia) in 1972. He joined the SC Department of Natural Resources a few months prior to completing his Ph.D. where he served as scientist, deputy director for marine resources, founder and director of the Waddell Mariculture Center, and agency director. In 2001, he was appointed by the President to the US Commission on Ocean Policy.

In 2003, Paul retired from SCDNR and moved to NOAA as a Senior Scientist where he also served as the Senior Science Advisor to the NOAA Administrator and as Chief Science Advisor for NOAA’s National Ocean Service. He led development of NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Initiative, contributed to the President’s National Ocean Policy, and played key roles in strengthening NOAA science, NOAA’s highly regarded scientific integrity policy, an agency-wide effort in ecological forecasting, and the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program for the Gulf of Mexico. He was a member of three National Academy of Sciences Roundtables, Chaired the Interagency Working Group on Harmful Algal Blooms, Hypoxia and Human Health, and Co-Chaired the Ocean Science and Technology Interagency Policy Committee. Other service included as member of the NRC’s Marine Board, U.S. National Committee for the Census of Marine Life, Founding Board of Directors of the South Carolina Aquarium, Board of Directors of the College of Charleston Foundation, and advisory boards for the SC Sea Grant Consortium and the Graduate School of the College of Charleston.

Paul has published extensively and is an Honorary Life Member of the World Aquaculture Society, an AAAS Fellow, a NOAA Research Fellow, and recipient of South Carolina’s highest civilian award and a Presidential Rank Award.