President’s Blog: June 13, 2017
President's Blog

President’s Blog: June 13, 2017

Dear Friend: In our One Ocean, One Mission 2020 Strategic…

Dear Friend:

In our One Ocean, One Mission 2020 Strategic Plan we identified several strategies as essential to Mystic Aquarium’s future. As an organization deeply rooted in local and global action for protection of oceans and aquatic species, with a resolute concern for community and people, one of those strategies included an investment in our employees.  Through the generosity of Trustee and long-time volunteer, Dick Katz, Mystic Aquarium awards the Sarah Delano scholarships each year to staff and volunteers pursuing worthy educational endeavors.

The program honors the late Sarah Delano, a member of our Fish and Invertebrates staff who died in an automobile accident a few years ago.

The scholarships support tuition and fees for pursuit of professional development programs including conferences and seminars, as well as courses for undergraduate and graduate degrees.  I am very appreciative to the Sarah Delano Scholarship Committee, chaired by Vice President of Education and Conservation Programs, Kelly Matis, for their diligence in reviewing applications and making recommendations for the scholarships.

The recipients of the 2017 Sarah Delano Scholarship Awards are:

Maura Bonner

Rebecca Bray

Sarah Callan

Marie DeNoia

Andrew Raymond Duval, Jr.

Nate Fague

Jessica Levine

Jordan Morace                                    

Deborah Pazzaglia

Emily Pepin

Janelle Schuh

Danielle Stone

Katrina Vickery


On June 2nd we held a President’s Council meeting followed by a Board of Trustees dinner.  The evening brought together members of the Board, Research Advisory Council, President’s Council and Volunteer Advisory Council.

Event Attendees
Bob & Cathy Tabor, Jackie & Jerry Desmond
Debbie & Rob Valenti, Kurt Harrington
Dr & Mrs Sonnenfeld
Liz & Dr Gerry Sonnenfeld
Event attendees
Shonah, Karen & Debbie Drakos
event attendees
Geraldine Tom, Tracy Romano, Fatima Matos
event attendees
Kelly Matis, Bob & Jill Patten, Larry Rivarde
Event attendees
Hee Teck Tan, Andy Drakos, John Holstein, Sally Tan
Event attendees
Dr. Graham Forrester, Steve Coan & George Milne
Event Attendees
Sally Tan, Susette Tibus, Patti Coan

It was a very special evening beginning with a tribute to the late William J. Drakos.  Bill Drakos was a long-serving Trustee and donor.  His son, Peter Drakos, now serves as a Trustee and Chair of the Mission Programs Committee.

We dedicated the William J. Drakos Family Gallery in the Ocean Conservation Center.  Dr. George M. Milne, Jr., Chairman of the Board paid tribute to Bill Drakos and also to his wife Teeny Drakos, Peter and his wife Shonah, Jim Drakos and his wife Karen, Andy Drakos and his wife Debbie.  Dr. Milne noted that the family has been closely connected with Mystic Aquarium for the past 25 years and it is fitting that the gallery is not just in remembrance of Bill Drakos, but a tribute to his entire family.

Drakos family
Teeny Drakos looks fondly upon her late husband’s name, as the Drakos family listens to Peter’s remarks.
Drakos Family, Steve Coan, George Milne
Drakos Family, with Steve Coan, George Milne

Later that evening at the dinner we presented the Harry Jack Gray Hercules Award to former General Counsel Stephen B. Hazard.  This award was first presented to Harry Gray who was also a long-serving Trustee of Mystic Aquarium, and served contemporaneously with Bill Drakos.  Harry was the first Chairman and CEO of what is now United Technologies.  As a Trustee of Mystic Aquarium he made Herculean efforts to assist the organization, particularly with its financial challenges at the time.

As General Counsel, Stephen Hazard worked tirelessly to advance the interests of Mystic Aquarium during over nearly a decade of service.  Steve’s wife Lynn and son Bill joined him during the evening.  As is his way, Steve kept his remarks brief, and humble.

award presentation
Denise Armstrong presents Steve Hazard with the Harry Jack Gray Hercules Award
Steve Hazard shares remarks
Steve, Lynn & Bill Hazard
Steve, Lynn & Bill Hazard

Mystic Aquarium’s Youth Conservation Corps, led by Director of Education & Conservation MaryEllen Mateleska, plays a very important role within in our community.  Youth leaders hail from all over New England and undertake a variety of projects and programs aimed at increasing public awareness and engagement in conservation.

We had the privilege of awarding certificates to two of the program leaders, Eunice Rosado and Hannah Welch.  Both young women presented on their work with the Youth Conservation Corps.  We are very proud of them and deeply appreciative of their work.

YCC Eunice Rosado
Eunice Rosado
YCC Leader Hannah Welch
Hannah Welch

Scientist-in-Residence Dr Norm Wainwright gave a keynote address on his collaborative work between Charles River Laboratories and Mystic Aquarium, which focuses on horseshoe crabs, their survival, and human health. I will share highlights of that in next week’s blog.

Norm Wainwright, Steve Coan
Norm Wainwright, Steve Coan
Dr Wainwright Keynote Address
Dr Wainwright Keynote Address


At our Board of Trustees meeting on Saturday morning, we received unanimous approval to begin construction of the Milne Ocean Science and Conservation Center.  This is a very exciting milestone.

We appreciate that there will be some inconvenience for our community as the building construction begins and hopefully in one year’s time we can all be proud of our collective contributions to making this important building a reality.

See you all soon!





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