The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announced today that Dr. Steven Lohrenz, an innovative and practical scientist who recently served on a scientific team that responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, will become the new Dean of the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST). Dr. Lohrenz is a full professor and leads a very active Department of Marine Science at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).
"Dr. Lohrenz 's experience as a faculty member and researcher since 1987 has prepared him exceptionally well for his leaderships roles at USM and nationally,'' said UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack. "He is eager and enthusiastic about joining the SMAST team of scientists. We are very impressed with his ideas, his common sense leadership approach and creative energy. He will certainly help us to bring SMAST to its next level of competitiveness and contribution."
Dr. Lohrenz said, "I am pleased and honored to have the privilege of serving as Dean of the School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at UMass Dartmouth. I look forward to working with the talented and accomplished faculty and excellent staff and students. SMAST already has a strong reputation and solid record of accomplishment, and a bright future as a premier research and academic center of marine science on the SouthCoast.
"Our marine and coastal environments are critically important to the economy and well-being of the region and the nation. SMAST has and will continue to play a key role in improving understanding and awareness of marine environments and processes, in facilitating stewardship of marine resources, and in contributing to the continued growth of marine technology industries. The knowledge and expertise provided by SMAST will be an important asset in addressing issues of regional importance such as commercial and recreational fisheries, marine renewable energy, and natural and human impacts on coastal and ocean ecosystems. The location of SMAST provides tremendous opportunities for collaboration and partnerships. I am looking forward to strengthening interactions between SMAST and other UMass Dartmouth programs, as well as other institutions, agencies and communities throughout the region."
Added Interim Dean John Farrington: "Steve Lohrenz is an experienced academic leader with a record of excellence in research and higher education He is well known for his leadership and service to the nation in the ocean sciences arena while maintaining strong connections and interests in the regional and local arenas of science-policy-management interactions. We are fortunate to have attracted him to SMAST."
Dr. Lohrenz is joining SMAST, which is widely recognized for its research and graduate programming related to fisheries management, coastal preservation and ocean modeling, and is engaged in the University's emerging inter-disciplinary work in marine renewable energy. SMAST is also about to embark on a major expansion of its New Bedford-based facility.
Dr. Lohrenz has been responsible for the management of four academic programs, which include both undergraduate and graduate degrees, a three-building facility staffed by more than 80 employees, and an operating budget of more than $8 million. The USM Department of Marine Science is located at NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center, is situated approximately 75 miles from the USM main campus.
Dr. Lohrenz chaired the Executive Committee for the School of Ocean and Earth Sciences at USM and will bring to SMAST a strong administrative background involving strategic and facilities planning as well as great success at fostering cross disciplinary collaborations and external partnerships.
He also brings leadership experience at the national level. From 2004-2007 he served on the Board of Governors for the Consortium of Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE) and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) Board of Governors. He was elected to the CORE-JOI Ocean Council which guided the merger of CORE and JOI to form the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, on which he served as a Trustee and Vice-Chair from 2008-2010. He has also served on numerous national science advisory committees, including most recently the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry steering committee and the Carbon Cycle Science Steering Group.
Dr. Lohrenz received his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and both he and his wife, Maura, who is also an MIT graduate, have strong ties to New England and the SouthCoast. Dr. Lohrenz's research interests are in the field of phytoplankton ecology and the role of phytoplankton in biogeochemical cycling, with a specialization in bio-optics and remote sensing. He has published more than 55 journal articles and seven book chapters, and has been successful in securing more than $12.5 million in external funding from a variety of agencies including NSF, ONR, NOAA, NASA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Dr. Lohrenz is expected to join UMass Dartmouth full-time in July. He will be visiting the campus intermittently during the spring semester as part of the transition from USM to SMAST.
UMass Dartmouth Provost Anthony Garro expressed "our deep appreciation to Dr. John Farrington for leading the dean search and recruitment process that landed us a winner in Steve Lohrenz. Dr. Farrington, a UMass Dartmouth alumnus and world class scientist, has provided a steady hand on the wheel and a strong focus on the horizon as he has moved SMAST forward. We are fortunate that he will be on hand to assist in the leadership transition over the next several months."
Dr. Kevin Stokesbury, Chair of SMAST's Department of the Fisheries Oceanography, described Dr. Lohrenz as a "clearly a distinguished scientist" and a "practical visionary." "We found his description of dealing with the Deep Water Horizon oil spill compelling as was his understanding of funding from diverse sources and the successful experience of completing a building project," Dr. Stokesbury said, adding that Dr. Lohrenz's presentations to the regional community were impressive.
Dr. Louis Goodman, who chairs SMAST's Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences, said, "Steve Lohrenz brings enthusiasm, professionalism, scientific excellence, and management competency to the position of SMAST Dean. He is well poised to provide the leadership to bring SMAST to the next level of pre-eminence. All of the faculty of the Department of Estuarine and Ocean Sciences look forward to working closely with him to accomplish that goal."
Dr. Avijit Gangopadhyay, Associate Dean of SMAST, said, "Dr. Lohrenz is a very well- respected oceanographer in the community, who will bring vast experience to SMAST. We are very fortunate to have him at the helm and we are looking forward to working with him to move to greater heights."