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10th Annual Ocean Champions Awards Luncheon and Ocean Future Symposium at Monmouth University on October 30

Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) will host the 10th Annual Champions of the Ocean Awards Luncheon and Ocean Future Symposium on Thursday, October 30, 2014 in historic Wilson Hall.  The proceeds from this year’s awards luncheon will support a $5 million Marine Science and Policy Initiative Challenge Grant, which will have a transformative impact on the breadth and depth of Monmouth University’s marine projects and programs.

Two very distinguished national leaders–and New Jersey natives-will be Monmouth University’s Ocean Champion honorees and Symposium presenters this year.  Dr. Kathy Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Wendy Schmidt, president of The Schmidt Family Foundation and co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI).  In addition to being a distinguished scientist and oceanographer, Sullivan is the first American woman to walk in space and flew three shuttle missions during her 15-year tenure at NASA. Schmidt works to advance the development of renewable energy, and wiser use of oceans and other natural resources. The foundation supports more than 150 nonprofit organizations in program areas including climate energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and our maritime connection. The theme of this year’s Symposium is “New Horizons: Ocean Health, Research and Exploration.”

The Champion of the Ocean Award was established in 2005 to honor individuals who have undertaken actions and demonstrated sustained leadership in advancing a future in which coasts and oceans are clean, safe, sustainably managed, and preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Previous winners of the National Ocean Champion Award include: Admiral Thad Allen; environmental scientist and advocate Professor Jesse Huntley Ausubel, ocean scientist and advocate Jean-Michael Cousteau; ocean advocate Dr. Carl Safina, the Honorable Leon Panetta, Admiral James Watkins, among others.

Monmouth University received the $5 million Challenge Grant from an anonymous donor who has committed $3 million to support UCI’s Marine Science & Policy Initiative. Monmouth University must secure commitments for an additional $2 million by December 31, 2014. The Challenge Grant will increase scholarship and research opportunities for students, enhance UCI’s collaboration with local communities, and solidify critical partnerships. The goal of the initiative is to significantly enhance the capacity of Monmouth University to conduct needed research and policy analysis, enhance student experience in and out of the classroom, and support community stewardship of coastal and ocean ecosystems.

For more information about the Champions of the Ocean Awards Luncheon and Ocean Future Symposium, please contact Tony MacDonald, director of the Urban Coast Institute, at 732-263-5392 or . For information about the Marine Science and Policy Initiative Challenge Grant, please contact Beth Brody, director of leadership programs, at 732- 571-3617 or .

The UCI was established in September 2005 as one of the University’s Centers of Distinction. UCI’s mission is to serve the public interest as a forum for research, education, and collaboration that fosters the application of the best available science and policy to support healthy and productive coastal ecosystems and sustainable coastal communities. For more information, visit .