Open letter from the Center
To support SPMC’s innovative programs, eight separate funds have been established within the WWU Foundation. These funds provide a variety of opportunities for friends of SPMC to support marine science research and education programs in a targeted manner.
You can learn about the various funds below. To make a donation, please follow the link provided. Your gift to the WWU Foundation, targeted to one of the funds, is tax deductible and greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your support!
Brian L. Bingham, Ph.D.
Director of Marine and Coastal Science
Western Washington University
Our Funds and Endowments
This fund will provide the resources required to maximize Shannon Point Marine Center’s productivity by supplementing the funding provided by the University in support of instruction, research, and public education on matters relating to the ocean and inland waters of Washington State. Availability of private funding promotes innovation and permits Shannon Point Marine Center to build and maintain the facilities and staff required to stay at the cutting edge of scientific endeavor and to train the next generation of ocean science professionals at a high level of sophistication.
Shannon Point Marine Center pursues its mission to enhance the state of our knowledge about our coastal ecosystems by closely articulating research, instruction, and public education. Research programs are carried out at a high level of sophistication and learning opportunities for undergraduates and Master’s of Science graduate students are characterized by training in field and laboratory investigative techniques that are extraordinary on their levels of sophistication and scope. Our hands-on approach to training provides value-added to the education and degrees earned by our students, rendering them highly competitive as they pursue their careers. Engaging students directly in research promotes innovation and engagement in the process by both students and mentors.
Our approach, however, requires resources beyond those normally associated with higher education. Our classes are heavily focused on laboratory and field work and are necessarily small, with a significant investment of faculty and staff time. Student access to facilities has its costs, both in development and maintenance. Shannon Point Marine Center can reach its potential only if resources provided by the university that provide for the basics of a sound education are supplemented by private funds that permit the extra measure of investment in the research and education that characterize an extraordinary program. All contributions to the Shannon Point Marine Center Fund are immediately available to support such extraordinary activity.
If you choose to contribute to the Shannon Point Marine Center Fund online, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
This fund will provide support for SPMC faculty and staff to extend their expertise in ocean science to the broader community, including K-12 classes and general audiences. The goal is to provide a better understanding of major issues that relate to ocean science and that affect everyone living in the coastal zone and to translate the scientific research underway at SPMC for a general audience and to present it in appropriate venues.
Enhancement of ocean literacy among the general population has been identified by the National Science Foundation as an important function of the nation's marine laboratories in the coming decades. Broad issues such as the effects of global climate change on ocean productivity and ocean acidification, the impacts of pollution in the coastal zone and the causes and effects of Harmful Algal Blooms are impacting the lives of increasing numbers of citizens in the United States as populations along our coasts continue to grow rapidly. In order to plan effectively for the impacts of these phenomena and to manage growth in a manner that is consistent with wise husbandry of natural resources, it is essential for an informed citizenry. It is the proper role of Western Washington University to extend its expertise on these matters to the general population and the faculty and staff of the Shannon Point Marine Center are well-qualified to assume this important role.
In addition, SPMC is engaging in significant research related to the coastal waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean and inland waters of Washington State. To have its broadest impact, the results of such research should be made available in a format that is understandable by non-scientifically trained citizens.
SPMC has implemented an ambitious Public Education Initiative to address these opportunities for general public education. However, the many elements of such activities require resources. The development and production of educational materials, travel to presentation venues, and staff training are examples of activities that require a source of funding. The Shannon Point Marine Center Public Education Fund has been established to provide the opportunity for everyone to contribute to this endeavor. We welcome your assistance.
If you choose to contribute to the Shannon Point Marine Center Public Education Fund online, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
Proceeds of this endowment will permit the Director to pursue initiatives that further Shannon Point Marine Center’s mission to support students and faculty in pursuit of marine science studies.
This endowment, established by a bequest of $71,800 from the estate of Jeanne Richards, will provide guaranteed funding to support the exceptional programs provided to undergraduate and Master's of Science students in the study of marine science at the Shannon Point Marine Center (SPMC). In terms of direct student learning, the most significant contribution a marine laboratory experience provides to a student is a "value added" one; value added to the education and value added to the degree. Taking a course or conducting research at a marine laboratory provides to the students a qualitative enhancement to the learning process. For those students who will go on to professional careers, and especially those who will seek admission to graduate school, a degree that includes a marine laboratory learning experience provides an invaluable competitive advantage.
The key to providing the exceptional learning and practical opportunities that characterize the Shannon Point program lies in offering students access to an environment that is designed to foster research, provides training in the most up-to-date laboratory and field investigative techniques, and thus incorporates real research activity directly into the curriculum. This approach demands extraordinary commitment of faculty and staff time and the facilities to make it possible.
The Marine Science Education Fund will assure that such resources are available to SPMC in perpetuity.
If you choose to contribute to the Marine Science Education Fund online, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
Proceeds of this fund will permit the Director to support graduate research programs, including graduate assistantships, summer stipends, support of thesis research, and provision of new resources needed to promote graduate research.
Because marine science is an inherently multi-disciplinary field, requiring training in physics, math, chemistry, and earth sciences as well as the life sciences, most entry level positions require applicants to have a graduate degree. Western's graduate program in Marine and Estuarine Science provides an outstanding venue for students to receive the appropriate training required to enter the profession. The program is distinctive nationally in that it can provide the faculty and facilities that typically characterize doctoral programs at the Master's level. Thus students who are interested in a terminal (or interim) Master's degree in marine science receive undiluted faculty attention, have unrestricted access to the most up-to-date field and laboratory investigative techniques and can compete effectively for financial support. Promoting the graduate program is important not only because it contributes to the futures of participating students directly, but also because a strong graduate program contributes to a strong undergraduate program and because the research of graduate students contributes greatly to our knowledge of local marine environments and resources.
However, to exploit fully the opportunities provided by the graduate program, additional funding is needed. Among the goals of the Marine Science Graduate Research Fund are to provide additional graduate assistantships, particularly for students pursuing thesis research at the Shannon Point Marine Center; supplement the State-approved stipends for assistantships that are well below those offered by other institutions; and provide non-resident tuition waivers (scholarships) that permit students from other states to apply their studies to the local marine environment.
This Fund will provide the resources needed to assure marine science graduate education is fully implemented at the Shannon Point Marine Center.
If you choose to contribute to the Marine Science Graduate Research Fund online, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
This fund will provide support for marine research and education at the Shannon Point Marine Center, with a specific focus on ocean acidification. The fund was established and funded by WWU alumnus Dr. Greg H. Rau (BA, Biology, 1971), and may be used to pay any costs related to such activities conducted by faculty, scientists, staff, and/or students affiliated with SPMC.
If you choose to contribute to the Ocean Acidification Research Endowment Fund, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
This fund will provide the resources necessary to obtain new research/training vessels required to sustain Shannon Point Marine Center’s programs that train students in field investigative techniques and support graduate student and faculty research.
Among the most important components of the marine laboratory experience are the opportunities not only to study in the marine environment, but also to receive hands-on training in the use of the investigative tools that professional marine scientists use. Key to providing that distinctive experience is the use of Research/Instructional vessels. The Shannon Point Marine Center has a small fleet of such vessels. Experience has shown that a well conceived fleet must have two characteristics; namely, it should have a variety of vessels that are specialized for specific functions and all vessels must have speed adequate to address the logistical demands presented by class size and the vagaries of weather and tides.
At present, the Shannon Point fleet has three large vessels (> 20'), two of which are outboard powered. The third, the RV ANOVA, is a diesel inboard powered vessel, the only one with the mast and boom necessary to using heavy sampling gear. It also is the only vessel with a large enough cabin to provide for small scale laboratory experiments while underway. This vessel has a maximum speed of only 9 knots, restricting its use. Shannon Point needs to replace this vessel with one of similar characteristics, but with more free deck space and a higher speed capacity.
The Research/Instructional Vessel Fund will provide the resources to upgrade the SPMC fleet and permit us to continue to provide training to undergraduates and Master's students in field investigative techniques.
If you choose to contribute to the Research/Instructional Vessel Fund, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
This fund is to provide support for student education and research at the Shannon Point Marine Center. The fund may be used to pay any costs related to scholarly activities and research conducted by students.
If you choose to contribute to the Steve Sulkin Education and Research Fund, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
This endowment, established to honor the memory of Leona Sundquist, a Western Washington University professor and long-time student of the marine environments in the San Juan Islands, provides resources to support student programs and related activities at Shannon Point.
This endowment fund was established in 1990 to honor Leona Sundquist, long-time Western faculty member, who was a pioneer in study of local marine environments and who fostered early programs of study in marine science at Western. The main laboratory building at Shannon Point was named in her honor and serves as a memorial to her good works. The memorial endowment was established by her sister, Ms. Alice Osgood, to provide in perpetuity support for students and programs at SPMC.
Proceeds from the fund are to be used at the discretion of the SPMC director to provide support for students, library and related materials, visiting lecturers and such other activities as deemed appropriate.
If you choose to contribute to the Leona Sundquist Memorial Endowment Fund online, please access the Western Washington University Foundation secure site and follow the quick and simple procedure described.
Thank you for supporting Shannon Point Marine Center!