William & Mary President Taylor Reveley will be one of six of Virginia’s university presidents to join forces to advance marine and coastal science that solves pressing issues by signing the Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) charter today.
“By any measure, VASG is a valuable part of university life in the Commonwealth,” says Reveley. “Its research at the intersection of science and policy makes a real contribution. VASG is helping significantly to develop solutions to challenging coastal and marine issues.”
University presidents from William & Mary, Old Dominion University, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University will be signing the document. Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, Secretary of Education Anne Holton and Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward will also participate in the event.
“The charter is our way to operationalize our commitment to integrating our programs and enabling connections across our institutions,” says Troy Hartley, director of VASG.
Founded in 1984, VASG is a multi-university organization whose mission is to enhance the ecological, economic and social sustainability of coastal and ocean communities in Virginia and the ecosystem services they depend upon through university-based research, extension, education and communication that provide science-based information to decision makers.
The charter signing comes on the heels of another major milestone for VASG. On Dec. 18, the Department of Commerce awarded VASG’s home institutions William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science with College Status, the highest status that any Sea Grant program can achieve. These formalized arrangements are essential to solving the issues Virginia’s coasts and oceans face today, says Hartley.
“It’s important to break down boundaries and to cross those boundaries, whether they are institutional, operational, or functional; extension, research, or communication; social science or natural science,” says Hartley. “That’s where innovation and problem solving comes from.”
Sea Grant is a program of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce.