George Boehlert, Director 2002 - 2012
Dr. George Boehlert received his bachelors in biological sciences from UC Santa Barbara in 1972, then his Ph.D. in Marine Biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1977. In the years to follow, he was the co-author of three books, and served on the faculty at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, Oregon State University in the School of Oceanography, and the University of Hawaii, where in 1987, he was a senior fellow with NOAA. He later became the NOAA Fisheries director at the Honolulu laboratory and then in Pacific Grove, California.
As HMSC Director from 2002 - 2012, Dr. Boehlert brought many new initiatives to HMSC and to the Oregon Coast, partnering extensively with local leadership to advance a vision of marine science and education as central to economic development. He was instrumental in developing the Yaquina Bay Ocean Observing Initiative, and was an active board member of the Yaquina Bay Economic Foundation and Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln County. These organizations helped to shape the economic development strategy underlying the Port of Newport’s successful bid for the NOAA Marine Operations Center - Pacific facility. George envisioned the Central Coast’s role in wave energy research, and organized several workshops to identify the key potential environmental effects and research needs. He also helped to found the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, a partnership of OSU and the University of Washington. He served as Principal Investigator for federal grants studying potential environmental effects of wave energy installations and helped to garner support from local government and industry leadership for marine research endeavors on the Oregon coast.
Under his leadership, the science center saw a great deal of expansion, including new partnerships with the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the development of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) and the Free-Choice Learning programs, and the establishment of the Marine Mammal Institute (MMI). Dr. Boehlert's legacy includes his many accomplishments within OSU as well as extensive service to the coastal community, his strong support of HMSC’s collaborative culture and his vision for the institution and its community.