IMS director comments on newspaper account

To: Institute of Marine Sciences faculty, staff and students

From: Gary Griggs, IMS Director

The Santa Cruz Sentinel article and its headline this morning (December 16) produced a very misleading picture of the Seymour Center, stating that it had been "put on notice" by UC Santa Cruz due to increasing budget pressures. Our doors are open and our future is bright. The Seymour Center's mission has never been more important. At a time when understanding and conserving the oceans are becoming increasingly important to our human health and survival, the cutting edge and innovative research conducted by scientists within the Institute of Marine Sciences and the educational programs and exhibits that describe and explain this research are at the core of the Seymour Center's efforts. As the Institute Director for 18 years, completing the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and seeing it flourish remains as one of the Institute's most important accomplishments, and one that has enriched the community and the lives of hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Do we have financial challenges? Certainly. The staff, volunteers and Friends of Long Marine Lab board of directors work seven days a week to run the center, plus plan, develop, and run the programs and events that raise the funds needed to operate the center. Every year, the Seymour Center raises approximately 85 percent of its nearly one million-dollar budget through nominal program fees and fundraising. It's not easy but we have been successful due to our many generous donors during the past eight years since the doors opened - and for the nearly 30 years there has been a public education program. These are difficult economic times for everyone, but we have no reason to believe that the Seymour Center is not up to meeting these challenges. Other than the last fiscal year, the Seymour Center has met or exceeded its operating budget and is not running a long-term deficit. Additionally, the Seymour Center is pleased to expand its efforts with the affiliation of the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, which will increase our opportunities for educational outreach and fund raising.

I am extremely proud of the Seymour Center and its staff and supporters. It is one of the University's greatest public outreach programs. We sincerely appreciate the continued support of the campus and the community.