VIMS Professors of Marine Science John Graves and Robert "JJ"
Orth have been selected as recipients of 2013 Plumeri Awards for Faculty Excellence
at the College of William & Mary.
Each year, the award recognizes 20 faculty members for their
exemplary achievements in teaching, research, and service. Now in its fifth
year, 100 faculty members from William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of
Marine Science have received the award since its inaugural year in 2009.
The award—established with a generous gift from Joseph J.
Plumeri II ‘66, D.P.S. ’11—bestows $10,000 to each of the recipients, which they can use for research, summer salaries, or other stipends associated with
scholarly endeavors, with the ultimate intention of enhancing faculty
interaction with students.
“The very nature of a William & Mary education means
that these awards have directly and indirectly touched our students,” says W&M
Provost Michael R. Halleran. “Our students are frequently involved in research
and projects undertaken with Plumeri Award support, and these awards also
deepen student learning through the faculty’s enhanced scholarship.”
“I have dedicated most of my life to doing my small part in
helping out the environment, especially Chesapeake Bay,” says Orth. “Receiving
this recognition is a true honor and it is heartwarming to know my efforts of
almost 40 years have a special meaning to the College.”
Orth and Graves are joined by 18 faculty members from William
& Mary also receiving the prestigious award. The winners range from a
lawyer, to a political scientist, to a theater professor. While Orth
specializes in restoration science, especially related to seagrass communities,
Graves’ research interests are broadly focused on the processes of
molecular evolution in the marine environment.
“The Plumeri Awards have provided
critical resources to help bridge the gap between our faculty’s professional
goals and the university’s financial constraints,” says Halleran. “Mr.
Plumeri’s generosity, leadership, and passion for excellence continue to make a
significant difference for William & Mary’s faculty and students.”
The Plumeri Awards will continue to be
granted annually to 20 faculty members at the College and Institute until 2019.
Plumeri Award Citations
John E. Graves, Chancellor Professor of Marine Science
Graves both engages and inspires the
undergraduate and graduate students he teaches and mentors and the faculty he
works with as chair of the Department of Fisheries Science at the Virginia
Institute of Marine Science. His students are often on the high seas satellite
tagging and taking tissue samples from billfish, or using cutting-edge
techniques of molecular genetics to identify fish stocks or various species in
market products, or interpreting the data from their studies at an
international regulatory meeting regarding the impact of global fisheries.
Graves has served as a chairman of the U.S. Advisory Committee to the
International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas since the
mid-1990s. He has used these opportunities to expose his students to the
intense arena of international fisheries management. His students have excelled
in research, published jointly with him in peer reviewed journals and landed
prestigious internships on Capitol Hill. His passion for research works across
boundaries with faculty from other disciplines. He earned a doctorate in marine
biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California,
Robert J. Orth, Professor of Marine Science
At the Virginia Institute of Marine Science
(VIMS) since 1974, Professor Orth
has earned a reputation as a leader in restoration science, especially as
related to seagrass communities. His research is mainly focused on Chesapeake
Bay, but he is involved in restoration projects around the world. One of the
most widely published faculty members at VIMS, Orth has restoration innovations
and successes that serve as models for scientists around the world. Annual
results from a seagrass mapping program he developed are used by the federal
government, as well as the states of Virginia and Maryland, to help evaluate
the success of Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. Orth has served on several
boards and commissions, including treasurer, president and past president of
the International Estuarine Research Federation. He also delivers seminars and
talks in the community about the importance and state of seagrass in the Bay.
At VIMS, he previously served as chairman of the Department of Biological
Sciences and assistant director of the Division of Biological and Fisheries
Sciences. A dedicated mentor and adviser, Orth has been particularly successful
in engaging students in his state and federal advisory activities. He holds a
doctorate in zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park.