Novel Idea: The idea
of a Sea Grant College Program was originally suggested
by oceanographer, inventor and writer, Dr. Athelstan
Spilhaus at the 93rd meeting of the American Fisheries
Society in 1963. Interest in the Sea Grant concept
grew, much of it sparked by an editorial written by
Spilhaus that appeared in a 1964 issue of Science:
" I have suggested the establishment of ‘sea-grant
colleges' in existing universities that wish
to develop oceanic work . . . These would be modernized
parallels of the great developments in agriculture
and the mechanic arts which were occasioned by the
Land-Grant Act of about a hundred years ago . . .
Establishment of the land-grant colleges was one of
the best investments this nation ever made. That same
kind of imagination and foresight should be applied
to exploitation of the sea."
Thus, at a time when America was excited about science
in general, especially the possibility of reaping
sustained economic benefits from the vast resources
of the seas, national enthusiasm for the Sea Grant
College concept grew. In 1965, Sen. Claiborne Pell
of Rhode Island introduced legislation to establish
Sea Grant colleges on campuses nationwide as centers
of excellence in marine and coastal studies. With
the adoption in 1966 of the National Sea Grant College
Act, Congress established an academic/industry/government
partnership that would enhance the nation's education,
economy, and environment into the 21st century.
Just as our nation's Land Grant institutions
have revolutionized agriculture, so too are the Sea
Grant colleges steering our nation toward the productive
and sustainable use of our coastal, marine, and Great
Lakes resources, through integrated programs of scientific
research, education and training, and technical assistance.
These programs make available a wealth of information
on marine and aquatic topics—from public school
curriculum materials to the most advanced scientific
research. In short, Sea Grant funds high quality research
that is responsive to user needs, bringing university
expertise to solve today's marine environmental problems.
Creation of Sea Grant
1966 President Lyndon Johnson signs
the bill, establishing the Sea Grant Program through
The National Sea Grant College and Program Act of
1968 The work of Sea Grant begins
as the first grants are awarded and the National Review
Panel is established.
1970 Sea Grant becomes part of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The
National Sea Grant Depository (Library) is established
as an information center dedicated to the collection,
storage, documentation, and dissemination of Sea Grant
1971 Four universities are the first
to achieve Sea Grant College status: Oregon State
University, University of Rhode Island, Texas A &
M University, and University of Washington.
1972 University of Hawaii and University
of Wisconsin achieve College status. University of
Southern California becomes an Institutional Program.
1973 University of California achieves
1975 State University of New York
and Cornell University achieve College status.
1976 The Sea Grant Improvement Act
amends the National Sea Grant College and Program
Act of 1966. The amendment strengthens the basic program
of the original Act and codifies the National Sea
Grant Review Panel. University of Delaware, State
University System of Florida, Massachusetts Institute
of Technology, and University of North Carolina achieve
1978 Louisiana State University achieves
1979 The Sea Grant Intern Program
is initiated, allowing outstanding graduate students
to spend one year in Washington, D.C., developing
the skills needed for active leadership in both policy
development and research in coastal and ocean sciences.
1980 University of Alaska, University
of Georgia, and University of Maine/University of
New Hampshire achieve College status.
1982 University of Maryland, University
of Michigan/ Michigan State University, and Mississippi/
Alabama Consortium achieve College status.
1984 Virginia Graduate Marine Science
Consortium achieves College status.
1985 University of Minnesota achieves
College status; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
becomes an Institutional Program.
1986 South Carolina Consortium achieves
1987 The Sea Grant Intern Program
was renamed the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy
Fellowship in honor of Dean Knauss, one of the founding
fathers of Sea Grant.
1988 The Ohio State University and
the University of Connecticut achieve College status.
1989 New Jersey Marine Science Consortium
and University of Puerto Rico achieve College status.
1997 University of Illinois/Purdue
University achieves College status.
1998 NOAA celebrates Sea Grant's
30th anniversary commemorating three decades of accomplishment
in research, education and outreach related to coastal,
ocean, and Great Lakes resources. The year is proclaimed
by the United Nations as the "International Year
of the Ocean."
1998 A performance-based evaluation system
is established. Resources allocated to programs are
determined in part by performance.
Sea Grant and NOAA Fisheries established a Graduate
Fellowship Program in population dynamics and marine
2002 NOAA Sea Grant reauthorization
signed into law after unanimous passage in both houses
2002 Sea Grant Law Center is founded.
2003 University of New Hampshire
achieves College status.
2004 University of Maine achieves
2008 Pennsylvania State University
becomes an Institutional Program.