This award is named for Robert Mallory Freeman, a former VIMS Council member and supporter who passed away in 2004. Bob was chairman of Signet Bank in Richmond until 1996. He was active with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Environmental Endowment, among many other community leadership activities. At VIMS, Bob was interested in oyster restoration, advancing research with cutting-edge scientific equipment, and helping to leverage resources through his many generous donations.
This year’s Freeman Award goes to Mr. Steve Johnsen.
We honor Steve, president of the VIMS Foundation Board, for his leadership during the past three years in undertaking the sensitive merger of three VIMS boards into one. Steve put his relationships and reputation on the line in order to move the merger process forward, spending many hours in meetings—and even more driving to Gloucester Point from the Eastern Shore. He handled the complicated and challenging work of the merger with a calm assurance, and as Foundation Board president continues to bring members of the merged boards to together to advance the mission of VIMS.