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Virginia Sea Grant achieves College Status

Department of Commerce will award William & Mary and Virginia Institute of Marine Science with the highest status any Sea Grant program can achieve

On Thursday, December 18, the Department of Commerce will award William & Mary and Virginia Institute of Marine Science with the highest status any Sea Grant program can achieve: College Status.

“I am so proud of Virginia Sea Grant staff and partners,” says Troy Hartley, Director of Virginia Sea Grant (VASG). “Everyone worked so hard for this. College status is a great validation of where we’re going and that’s really important, but we’re not stopping. We are committed to continued improvement, and excellence through integration and innovation.”

The announcement came after a multi-year restructuring process after VASG went from a dispersed organization with satellites in multiple institutions in the state to a centralized program headquartered at Virginia Institute of Marine Science at William and Mary.

The application process to transition from an Institutional program to a College Status program involved years of preparation that culminated in a site visit and review in fall of 2013. According to the letter from the Department of Commerce to William and Mary, the program has “clearly shown a high level of dedication to the responsibly management and development of the Nation’s marine and coastal resources, and they have demonstrated a commitment to continue this record of quality science and service.”

The VASG program began in 1984. VASG works to enhance the ecological, economic, and social sustainability of coastal and ocean communities and the ecosystem services they depend upon through university-based research, extension, education, and communication that provide science-based information to decision makers.

The National Sea Grant College Program is a national network of 33 Sea Grant programs located in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, Lake Champlain, and Guam. These programs serve as the core of a dynamic, national university-based network of over 300 institutions involving more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, educators, students and outreach experts. The network engages the power of academia and a wide variety of partners to address issues such as coastal hazards, sustainable coastal development and seafood safety. Sea Grant is a program of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the U.S.
Department of Commerce. 

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