HMSC began as a small, one-building fisheries laboratory in the early 1900s, and has since grown into a 40-acre collaborative campus.

The Center officially opened in 1965, welcoming 50,000 visitors in the first year and helping OSU develop its extensive marine extensive and education program. As the Center grew, educators and researchers were brought on board, and new wings and buildings were built to accommodate new programs and organizations.

In 1983, the Center was officially named the Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center, in honor of U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield (photo left at dedication), who supported the Center during its conception and construction. Over the past several decades, HMSC has grown to include groundbreaking research programs dedicated to whales, wildlife refuges, fisheries, underwater volcanoes, and marine animal genetics.

Today, HMSC enjoys collaborations with six state and federal agencies, hosts student programs from OSU, and works to educate the public on oceanographic topics.