VIMS honors Marsh with Pathfinder Award

  • Pathfinder Award  The Honorable John O. “Jack” Marsh, Jr (left) accepts the Pathfinder Award from VIMS Dean & Director John Wells (right), as VIMS Foundation Board member Jim Rogers looks on.  Photo by Steve Salpukas.
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The Virginia Institute of Marine Science presented former Secretary of the Army and Congressman Jack Marsh with its Pathfinder Award during the Institute’s annual Maury Society dinner on October 24th.

The Honorable John O. “Jack” Marsh, Jr. addresses the Maury Dinner audience. ©Steve Salpukas.The award, the highest external honor bestowed by VIMS, recognizes individuals who have displayed an enduring commitment to the Institute’s three-part mission of research, education, and advisory service. Marsh has served on the VIMS Council for two decades and as the advisory board’s secretary since 2002.

“We are greatly honored that Jack chose to share his wise counsel and savvy advice with the VIMS Council, our current administrative staff, and several of my predecessors,” says Dean and Director John Wells. “His incisive analysis of political and policy issues and his commitment to advancing the role of objective science in policymaking represent unparalleled examples of leadership and integrity.”

W&M President Taylor Reveley adds “We’re delighted to recognize Jack, who has made a real difference for the better as a member of the VIMS Council. He has been a tireless advocate for the important work taking place in Chesapeake Bay and around the world.”

Secretary Marsh has brought to VIMS his experience as a U.S. Congressman from Virginia’s 7th district (1963-71), an Assistant Secretary of Defense and National Security Advisor during President Gerald Ford’s Administration (1974-77), Secretary of the Army under President Ronald Reagan (1981-89), and Chairman of the Reserves Policy Board (1989-94). Jack Marsh as the 14th Secretary of the Army for the U.S. in the 1980s. Photo courtesy DOD.He has used his expertise as a lawyer and town judge to help VIMS develop and maintain its position as a leading research and education center for marine science, and has consistently promoted the relationship between VIMS’ research programs and its mandates in the Code of Virginia.

“Jack has always understood VIMS’ important role in providing sound advice to the Commonwealth and the public, and has been exceptional in his initiative and leadership in environmental matters,” says Wells.

The Pathfinder Award is named in recognition of the exploits of Matthew Fontaine Maury, a son of Virginia often referred to as the “Father of Oceanography” and the “Pathfinder of the Seas.”