PHOTO: Monmouth University researchers use Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) and side scan sonar to survey western Raritan Bay for presence of surviving oyster reefs. Project was funded through Hudson River Foundation. (From left: Emily Caputo, Emily Cristiano, Megan O’Donnell and Dr. Tiffany Medley)
Anonymous Gift Supports Marine Science & Policy Initiative
WEST LONG BRANCH , N.J. (September 4, 2014)Tony MacDonald, director of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI), announced that the UCI has received a $5 million challenge grant from an anonymous donor who has committed $3 million to support a new Marine Science & Policy Initiative, if the university can secure commitments for an additional $2 million by December 31, 2014.
The challenge grant will bolster the university's efforts in the areas of coastal stewardship and conservation, storm recovery and resilience, and sustainable ocean use. A deadline of December 31, 2014, has been set for the UCI to secure commitments for the additional $2 million needed to obtain the grant.
The donation marks the UCI's first challenge grant and one of the largest in the University’s history. “A challenge grant, especially one of this size, can motivate other donors to contribute to the same goal,” explained Jason Kroll, vice president for External Affairs. “Because the gift is conditional, without matching support from our community, we can’t access the $3 million in challenge grant funds committed to support the Marine Science & Policy Initiative,” he said.
PHOTO: Director of Urban Coast Institute Tony MacDonald
"With the grant, the UCI will significantly expand its efforts at promoting public awareness of the importance of science-based marine policies and programs," MacDonald said. "Outcomes of the initiative include increased student research into marine ecosystems and a new partnership with Rockefeller University's Program for the Human Environment.”
Monmouth University President Paul R. Brown said, “Located just one mile from the ocean, we have a special responsibility and unique opportunity to engage our students and our community to support sustainability and proper stewardship of our coastal environment through direct research and policy analysis.”
“This challenge grant will have a transformative effect on Monmouth's continuing leadership on coastal issues and enhance the University's capacity and long-term commitment to marine science and policy programs,” Brown said.
"The donor's dedication to preservation of critical waterways and resources is so important, not just for the University, but for our entire region,” Brown added. “The new funds will significantly advance collaborative research efforts to effectively serve the public interest on coastal and estuarine environmental issues."
“I cannot think of a stronger endorsement of the excellent work of the UCI than this challenge grant,” said Dr. Michael A. Palladino, dean of the School of Science. “It will significantly enhance the quality and scope of student and faculty research,” Palladino said. “The grant will also support construction of new marine science facilities for the School of Science. The new state-of-the-art facilities, which are already being renovated, will further position Monmouth University as a leader in marine science and policy education, and enhance the quality and scope of student and faculty research.”
“This summer alone, Monmouth University students conducted research on carbon sequestration in dunes, monitored water quality in Barnegat Bay, surveyed the health of oyster reefs in the Hudson River Estuary, and stewarded beach nesting areas for fragile bird populations. This work is having an immediate and practical impact on our environment,” Palladino said.
Later this year, the UCI will celebrate its 10th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium and Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon. The honorees include NOAA Administrator and former astronaut, Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, and co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute at Stanford University, Wendy Schmidt. Proceeds from the October 30 event will support the Marine Science and Policy Initiative Challenge Grant.
To learn more about UCI and the Marine Science & Policy Initiative, visit www.monmouth.edu/UCI.