President’s Blog Nov 4, 2016: Exciting & Engaging
President's Blog

President’s Blog Nov 4, 2016: Exciting & Engaging

Dear Friend, This past week we had meetings of various…

Dear Friend,

This past week we had meetings of various committees of the Board of Trustees in preparation for the full Board meeting on Saturday.

On Tuesday I was pleased to attend an event honoring Lisa Konicki, President of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce. I attended with Kurt Harrington, who is our newest President’s Councilor and President’s Councilor Tom Liguori.

We deeply value our membership in the Chamber and our assistance from Kurt, Tom and others in building our relationships and presence in Rhode Island. Congratulations to Lisa who has done an amazing job building the Ocean Community Chamber in Westerly, Pawcatuck and throughout the southern region of Rhode Island.

On Thursday I was with President’s Counselor Myles Weisenberg at the inauguration of Ron Leibowitz as President of Brandeis University. As Brandeis is my own alma mater, I am very honored to rely on Myles and others at the University for assistance in helping to shape our development program and also our international conservation programs.


Tuesday was also a proud and momentous day for our Animal Rescue and Marine Mammal Care teams, as Washburn was released into her native waters of Florida. Congratulations to all, and best of luck to Washburn!


Sadly, on Friday, many members of our team and I attended a funeral service for long-time and beloved team member, Jim Steele. Jim was retired from the United States Navy and Electric Boat. He worked at Mystic Aquarium in Guest Services for 14 years and was much beloved and respected. Our deepest sympathies to his entire family, and especially his wife Victoria.


At the Board meeting this weekend, we will discuss many issues including growth in our attendance and related revenue. I am pleased to report that attendance has been growing for nearly two years, every month. Our year to date attendance has grown 8% over last year, largely in part due to increased marketing efforts.

I thought it would be nice to share a medley of some of those marketing efforts. The following are samples of some our radio, television and print ads.

Frogs! TV spot

Volunteer PSA radio spot

Sea Scare radio spot

Membership TV spot

Social Media posts:

African penguin chicK

Washburn, the rescued Manatee

Ocean Blue Catering print ad

OBC ad


Finally, we will have a chance to reflect on 2016 in more detail over the coming months. However, I want to share some highlights of the President’s Report to the Board of Trustees that I am presenting this weekend:
“We have much to celebrate and look forward to. Some of the highlights of 2016 include:

  • Welcoming three new Trustees, new President’s Councilors, and revitalizing the Volunteer Advisory Council and Research Advisory Council
  • Overall fund raising topped $7.6 million in 2016, a new record
  • Fund raising for the Conservation and Research Center is completed at $4.2 million
  • Year to date attendance is up 8% over the previous year and 4% over budget
  • Our research program is successfully housed at University of Connecticut Avery Point
  • We have implemented the new Scientists-in-Residence program and continue to shift our research program to policy oriented conservation research
  • The national Youth Conservation Program and STEM mentoring initiative received $2.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Mystic Aquarium was recognized by the White House for our leadership in establishing the New England Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument
  • We opened a popular new exhibit, Frogs!, continuing the transformation of the Ocean Conservation Center into a stunning new exhibit hall
  • We have completed plans for a proposed education building to be constructed adjacent to the Milne Conservation and Research Center.
  • We are actively pursuing state funding in support of constructing a new front entrance to Mystic Aquarium
  • We have a comprehensive animal management plan including the Arctic Coast exhibit and our Beluga whales.

Mystic Aquarium is reaching new accomplishments and implementing our 2020 Strategic Plan at an admirable pace. Your leadership and the active engagement of our committee system are key to continuing to grow this important organization and vital mission.”

See you all soon.

Stephen M. Coan, PhD
President and CEO

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