President’s Blog: October 7, 2016
President's Blog

President’s Blog: October 7, 2016

October 7, 2016 Dear Friend: Governance of Sea Research Foundation…

October 7, 2016

Dear Friend:

Governance of Sea Research Foundation and Mystic Aquarium is technically vested with the Board of Trustees. There are five committees of the Board of Trustees (Marketing, Development, Mission Programs, Finance, Capital Projects) that meet at least three times a year. Other committees (Nominating and Governance, Human Resources and Compensation, and Audit) convene occasionally. Several processes exist for informing the governance, and management of the organization. Most notably, three advisory councils that include a broad representation of leaders convene three to four times a year. They are the President’s Council, Research Advisory Council and Volunteer Advisory Council.

Last Friday I met with the Research Advisory Council and this week with the Volunteer Advisory Council. At the Research Advisory Council meeting, we discussed the Scientists-in-Residence program, a new program on ornamental fisheries and aquaculture, the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and our collaboration with the University of Connecticut, and location of our laboratories and research staff at the Avery Point campus. Then, at the Volunteer Advisory Council meeting, we discussed how to more effectively engage millennials and promote diversity within the Volunteer program.


During the past year we have refocused our research program, largely through the creation of a Scientists-in-Residence program. This program has established a network of scientists who are affiliated with Mystic Aquarium and play an active role in our conservation-focused research program. Importantly, the program contributes additional scientific expertise and resources allowing for growth and elevation of Mystic Aquarium’s research, conservation and educational capabilities. Our Scientists-in-Residence are

David Gruber, PhDDavid Gruber, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology, Baruch College, City University of NY
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History

Jason Mancini PhDJason Mancini, PhD
Director, Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at University of CT
Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Connecticut College

Greg MarshallGreg Marshall
Research Associate, National Geographic
Inventor, National Geographic’s Crittercam

Vincent Pieribone PhDVincent Pieribone, PhD
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Neurobiology
Fellow, John B. Pierce Laboratory

Gregory Skomal, PhDGregory Skomal, PhD
Senior Fisheries Biologist, Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Marine Biology Program
Adjunct Faculty, University of Massachusetts School for Marine Science and Technology
Guest Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Adjunct Scientist, Center for Shark Research

Norman Wainwright, PhDNorman Wainwright, PhD
Senior Director of Research and Development
Charles River Laboratories, Charleston, SC



Congratulations to Vice President for Education and Conservation, Kelly Matis, and Assistant Supervisor of Penguins and Pinnipeds, Tracy Camp, who are keynote speakers at the Bethsaida Community, Inc., Empowering Women event on Friday evening at Mystic Aquarium. We are very proud of both of them.


Preparing our coastlines for the reality of rising tides and changing weather patterns is critically important. Mystic Aquarium is proud to be working with the Town of Stonington to assist in preparing our local community to become more resilient to the threat of coast flooding. I hope that you might join us at the forum that we are hosting on October 20th, 6pm, at Mystic Aquarium.

Resiliency Event


Each year for the past four years, Mystic Aquarium hosts the families of Connecticut law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.  The event is organized and sponsored by the Connecticut Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation. For the past several years, Director of Development Jeanne Long has been coordinating the event logistics and providing wonderful hospitality to the families and the many law enforcement officers who attend.

I am told that this is one of the few events for the families that does not involve speeches or memorial services. It is an opportunity for them to gather informally and support each other. This year included a day at Mystic Aquarium, dinner by Ocean Blue Catering at the Mystic Yachting Center with an opportunity for families to swim in the pool there, rides on area police boats, and a visit to Mystic Seaport. I am very grateful to Jeanne for all of her hard work with this event.

The Police Chiefs involved are always very appreciative. A group of them visited last week and presented a framed print of the famous Norman Rockwell painting, one of my all-time favorites, depicting a Massachusetts State Police Trooper in a diner talking to a run-away boy. With all of the talk about the importance of community policing, this painting, completed five decades ago, captures the important role that law enforcement officers play in the life of our communities in many small and big ways.

Rockwell Community Friends


By the way, a few weeks ago a contingent of staff attended the annual Association of Zoos and Aquariums conference in San Diego. We are very proud of Mystic Aquarium’s leadership role within the Association. That being said, I received the following from the conference. Do you recognize any of these folks?

AZA Attendees


Haven’t had enough Blog?  Check out this post on another Blog site about our National Youth Mentoring program.


See you all soon!


Stephen M. Coan
President and CEO

The Latest

Press Releases


Marine Mammals of Maine Join Release in Light of Unusual…
Press Releases


Goal to Remove 500lbs of Debris during Community Event this…
Press Releases


Mystic, Conn. (September 13, 2018): In September, Mystic Aquarium is…