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University Initiative

William & Mary will lead in finding innovative solutions to ensure the resilience of the world’s oceans, coasts and waterways.

Over the next 50 years, one of the world’s most threatened and valuable resources will be water. Solving grand global issues related to water will require innovative approaches to conservation and strategies to increase resilience. Virginia’s coastal systems — from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and watersheds to the outer coast — are vital to the commonwealth’s ecological and economic future, yet they will face greater stress from rising temperature, increasing sea level, drought and storm-induced flooding over the next half-century. As home to one of the world’s preeminent marine science institutes — and outstanding conservation, law, policy and education programs — William & Mary is poised to be a leader in the development of solutions to these complex challenges. Our students will lead the next generation of scientists and industry professionals who steward the world’s water resources.

Committee chair: [[v|vimsdean,Derek Aday]], Dean, School of Marine Science and Director, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

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Pride Points

  • Premier Marine Science Institute

    W&M is home to a premier marine science institute, VIMS, which partners with top international, business and governmental organizations on high-impact research.

  • Top Institution for Marine Science Degrees

    VIMS is ranked among top institutions in the U.S. for best schools with marine science degrees.

  • Cross-Disciplinary

    Beyond VIMS, William & Mary has deep expertise across a range of related disciplines in core sciences, law and policy, environment and conservation (IIC), and more.

Water Initiative Goals, Targets & Actions

  • Lead the innovation of adaptation and conservation strategies and solutions that will enhance coastal Virginia’s resilience — and the communities, economies, and environments that rely on them — via research and analysis, education, advisory service and collaborative implementation efforts.
  • Support and strengthen connections among W&M research, education, advisory service, external partnerships and community engagement to foster success and extend W&M’s global impact.
  • Enhance existing academic programs, develop new undergraduate programs and certificates, and grow enrollments in marine, conservation and environmental sciences.
  • Develop a signature public science center and curriculum to create opportunities for current students and the next generation of global professionals and scientists.
  • By 2023, seize growth opportunities for research and other revenue streams.
  • By 2023, establish a staged path for enrollment and visitor growth.
  • By 2024, create new educational programs, enhance existing programs and increase public visibility.
  • By 2024, double W&M marine science undergraduate enrollments, research opportunities and internship placements, and establish paths for future growth.
  • Advance solutions to challenges impacting Virginia’s coastal waters — and the communities, economies, and ecosystems that rely on them — to benefit both humanity and our planet.
  • Strengthen connections among W&M’s schools, centers and institutes to enhance existing academic programs around conservation, advance interdisciplinary research and develop a new degree program in marine science to expand W&M’s reach.
  • Forge partnerships with other universities, agencies and the private sector to create applied learning opportunities (research, internships, externships, apprenticeships, etc.) that create new career pathways.

Support the Water Initiative

For further information about this initiative and ways to support the effort, please contact:

Suzie Armstrong '93, Assistant Vice President for Development, Campus Initiatives