UNE Annual President’s Gala
Ocean health and marine science were major topics at the University of New England’s annual president’s gala in Biddeford, Maine on May 14, 2015. I spoke to an audience of alumni, trustees, friends, faculty and staff to emphasize the importance of wise ocean stewardship as world economic and population growth threaten increasingly fragile ocean ecosystems. My presentation included screening of a film I made about an historic high seas ocean protection initiative, focused on the ~2 million square mile Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean. I cited the upcoming US national park system centennial celebration in 2016 as an opportunity to foster greater public appreciation of America’s amazing natural and cultural treasures including 150,000 square miles of marine preserves. Borrowing an expression used by others in the past, I urged that we “seas the day”, acting as wise custodians of natural resources on behalf of future generations.
The menu for the evening was designed with a focus on sustainably harvested and grown seafood, including smoked steelhead trout that was raised in UNE’s Marine Science Center. Barton Seaver, the director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at the Harvard School of Public Health, designed the menu and also served as guest executive chef.
At the event, UNE President Danielle Ripich described several highlights and markers of excellence the University had earned during the past year, including UNE ranking first among Maine schools in the Brookings Institute’s report of colleges and universities that increase students’ career earnings.
Featured Photo: Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation, President Danielle Ripich, David Shaw