October 12, 1998
By Tim Stephens
Marine geologist Gary Griggs, a professor of earth sciences and director of UCSC's Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS), has received the Outstanding Faculty Award for 1997-98 from the Division of Natural Sciences.
Griggs, who joined the UCSC faculty in 1969, is an expert on coastal geology, shoreline processes, and geologic hazards. He is also a popular teacher whose undergraduate oceanography course has drawn about 200 students every year for 30 years.
The Outstanding Faculty Award was established in 1993 to recognize faculty members who have provided outstanding contributions in the areas of research, teaching, and service. A committee comprising department chairs in the Division of Natural Sciences selects the award recipients.
"Dr. Griggs is an internationally known and well-respected scientist held in high regard for his excellent teaching, research, and service. Our campus and our local community are indeed fortunate to have him here," said David Kliger, dean of the Division of Natural Sciences.
As director of the IMS, Griggs has overseen the growth and development of the institute through a period of intense activity. His leadership was instrumental in attracting state and federal laboratories to the Long Marine Laboratory site. The state's Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center opened in June 1997 and has already conducted two major recovery efforts for oiled seabirds. Construction has just begun on a National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory, which is moving to Santa Cruz from Tiburon.
In June, the IMS received a $5 million grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to fund the construction of a new Center for Ocean Health, which will provide permanent research facilities for Long Marine Lab. The Lab's Marine Discovery Center, a public center for marine science education, is currently under construction and is expected to open in late summer 1999.
As a teacher, Griggs receives superlative evaluations from his students, who note his enthusiasm for the subject, his preparation and organization, and his approachability. Griggs has outdone his earth sciences colleagues both in terms of the number of undergraduates he has taught over the past five years and in terms of the number of M.S. and Ph.D. theses he has supervised. His graduate students have gone on to successful careers with local geological firms, policy and regulatory agencies, and academic programs.
Griggs is currently engaged in research projects focusing on shoreline erosion, sand transport, and the impact of seawalls on beach erosion.
Griggs received his Ph.D. in oceanography from Oregon State University, Corvallis, in 1968. He came to UCSC as an assistant professor of earth sciences in 1969 and was promoted to the position of professor of earth sciences in 1979. He served as chair of the Earth Sciences Department in 1981-84 and as associate dean of Natural Sciences in 1991-94. He was appointed director of the Institute of Marine Sciences in 1991.
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