NSU opened the Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research in Hollywood, Fla. on Sept. 27. President Hanbury and the new center’s dean, Richard Dodge, kicked off the grand opening with a ceremony that included key speakers, former U.S. Vice President Al Gore; Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz; U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Patrick Gallagher, Ph.D.; and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Paul Sandifer, Ph.D.
Prior to the grand opening ceremony, students, scientists, and President Hanbury scuba dived, and with the help of oceanogrpahic doctoral candidate Elizabeth Larson, explored the coral reef nursery.
Doctoral candidate from the oceanographic center, Abby Renegar, said the facility’s enhanced lab space and coral nursery will better students’ research experiences.
Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D. teaches conservation biology and conducts research with graduate students at the new facility’s Guy Harvey Institute. He said that they conduct research on marine species and issues like oil spills, but the facility is primarily focused on coral reef ecosystem research.
Among the ceremony’s 475 invitees were several commissioners, Hollywood’s Mayor Peter Bober, state Senator Elena Kagan, Guy Harvey, and H. Wayne Huizenga. After the ceremony, the 86,000 sq. foot, $50 million facility’s opening was celebrated with an ocean-themed reception and personal tours.
NSU’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jacqueline Travisano said, “This facility gives NSU students across the country a unique nationally recognized facility to study their interest with professors and first class research.”
She envisions success and creation of a sister building in a decade.
Rep. Wasserman-Shultz, former Vice President Al Gore, Patrick Gallagher, Ph.D., and Paul Sandifer, Ph.D. congratulated NSU for contributing to the economy and environment with the research and conservatory efforts the center will continue to perform.
Former Vice President Gore said, “I congratulate NSU and all its leadership and research.”
Representative Wasserman-Schultz said, “[This] is possible when we all work together… This is an investment on critical research.”
National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s senior advisor Sandifer said, “It is spectacular. What we leave behind will shape the world for our grandchildren.”
President Hanbury said in a final address at the ceremony, “We need to have leaders based upon knowledge. Invest in a cause greater than yourself.”