UCSC creates scholarship fund in memory of slain Soquel resident J. Gordon Smith

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Gordon Smith aboard the R/V David Johnston, with Long Marine Lab in the background. (Photo by Steve Davenport)

A scholarship fund honoring the late J. Gordon Smith has been established by family, friends and his former colleagues at the UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Laboratory. Smith was killed in his property management office in Capitola in November 2013. Since his death, his widow Joan and the staff at Long Marine Lab have been collecting donations from family and friends to create an endowed scholarship in his memory.

Smith spent nearly all of his adult life in Santa Cruz and worked for UC Santa Cruz as the skipper of the David Johnston, a 43-foot research vessel used by scientists at Long Marine Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey. Smith and others on the boat conducted seismic profiling, collected samples, and took marine biology students on educational trips from the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor.

"It just seemed a natural progression to take the money that was given in his memory and endow a permanent scholarship fund," explained UCSC marine biologist Baldo Marinovic. "It was all because of Gordon's love for the ocean and his impact on students while he worked with us that we created this scholarship to benefit young people with a passion for the ocean."

Staff at Long Marine Lab hope to raise $50,000 so the scholarship may be awarded annually to an undergraduate student with interest in marine science. Donations can be made to the Gordon Smith Memorial Scholarship, c/o UC Santa Cruz Foundation, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz supports excellence across the university through increased private investment in the people and ideas shaping the future. It is bringing critical new resources to each academic division, and to signature initiatives in the Student Experience, Genomics and Health, Coastal Sustainability, the Institute of the Arts and Sciences, and Data Science Leadership.