Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Coast Day 2010
Cannon Lab, Lewes
October 3, 2010

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Welcome to Coast Day 2010! I thank Dean Targett, the entire college, and Delaware Sea Grant for putting on such terrific celebration year after year.

2010 marks the 40th anniversary of what is now the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. I want to congratulate everyone associated with the college for 40 years of science, research, and action on behalf of our marine and coastal resources—not just here in Delaware but, truly, around the world. Could we give them a round of applause?

There’s at least one new guest at today’s celebration—all 400 feet of her. Our campus-powering wind turbine is such a terrific example of Delaware’s commitment to leading this nation toward a sustainable-energy future.

And “leading” really has been our mission this year. While the Deepwater Horizon was still gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, Dean Targett was helping convene the U.S. research community on response efforts. She later briefed Vice President Biden’s office on our biggest scientific challenges and the coordination of non-federal assets. Meanwhile, our underwater glider was in the Gulf gathering data on sea-surface temperatures to track oil flow and direction.

When a huge ice island cleaved from the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland, it was this college that processed the raw data from the event. And it was UD Professor Andreas Muenchow whom Congress called on to weigh in on whether the event was related to climate change.

We’re on the vanguard of environmental science because we’re investing in it. Two new satellite-receiving stations—among just a handful on the East Coast—are giving us real-time data on land and ocean-surface conditions and atmospheric changes. Meanwhile, our global visualization lab integrates different data streams to give us a holistic—and incredibly realistic—look at exactly what’s going on in our ocean.

This sort of cutting-edge technology—and the breakthrough research that goes along with it—makes Delaware a critical resource for scientists across the country. And it makes this state one of the most watched places on the planet—literally and figuratively.

You’re in this mission with us. For nearly 20 years, as part of UD’s Citizen Monitoring Program, volunteers throughout the state have been collecting water samples from Delaware’s bays, rivers, streams, and wetlands to help us measure important water-quality characteristics. This data is just as important as what we get from satellite feeds and underwater robots. It gives us a great picture of the watershed’s health and helps us preserve an ecosystem I know we all cherish deeply.

And that’s our ultimate mission: to preserve this amazing landscape for generations to come. That’s what fuels our science, our research, our policy and practice. And that’s what brings us together today.

So I hope you eat well, learn a lot, and have a fantastic time.

Thank you.

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