NOAA official Jane Lubchenco to come to Stanford as visiting scholar

Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been appointed the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor for spring 2013. An Obama appointee with expertise in science, climate and oceans, Lubchenco will lead weekly seminars, mentor students and deliver the Haas Center for Public Service Distinguished Visitor Lecture.

Wayne Hoggard Jane Lubchenco

Jane Lubchenco

Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will spend spring quarter as the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor at Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service. Currently, Lubchenco is under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA. Nominated by President Obama in 2008 and confirmed in 2009, Lubchenco is leaving the position at the end of February. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is responsible for monitoring the nation's climate, weather, oceans, fisheries and coasts.

"Stanford University is pleased to have a world-class environmental scientist and ecologist as the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor," said Provost John Etchemendy. "Her work as head of NOAA and advocate for the health of our nation's climate and oceans is a valuable addition to the public policy, as well as scientific research, being conducted at Stanford."

Endowed by Mimi and Peter E. Haas, the Distinguished Visitor program brings individuals who have had significant public impact at home or abroad and who have distinguished themselves in public service. A scientist and policy maker, Lubchenco is a model for students interested in research in the environment as well as for those interested in pursuing careers in public policy.

"I am delighted to be the Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor," Lubchenco said. "Following four intense years in Washington, D.C., I look forward to sharing my experiences with faculty and students and discussing with them the role of science and scientists in policy, management and public understanding. The breadth and depth of Stanford's talent is very appealing."

During her quarter-long appointment, Lubchenco will meet with students for weekly seminars, mentor students and collaborate with other departments and centers in areas related to sustainability science and environmental policy. She will also deliver the Haas Center's Distinguished Visitor Lecture on Public Service and Citizenship. Her talk, "Science Serving Society: An Inside View from Washington, D.C.,” will be held in early May.

"One of the wonderful things that Lubchenco brings to her appointment as Distinguished Visitor is the fact that her work bridges scientific theory with practice," says Thomas Schnaubelt, executive director of the Haas Center. "Not only has she been important in creating forward-thinking environmental leadership in Washington, D.C., she has also established programs such as the Leopold Leadership Program, which focuses on cultivating the next generation of environmental leaders."

Lubchenco, a native of Denver, earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Colorado College, her master's in zoology from the University of Washington and her doctorate in ecology from Harvard University. She has taught at Harvard and, most recently, is on leave as the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology at Oregon State University. From 1978 to 1984, she was a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1993, she received a MacArthur Fellowship. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2012, she was inducted into the Women in Science and Technology Hall of Fame sponsored by Women in Technology International.

As head of NOAA, Lubchenco made science, oceans, fisheries and the climate the organization's priority areas. This includes helping craft and implement the United States' first official policy on oceans; ending overfishing in U.S. federal waters; and restructuring the weather satellite program to ensure the continuity of climate and weather observations from space. She also led NOAA's response to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and NOAA's modeling and tracking of radioactive material and debris from the 2011 tsunami that resulted from the earthquake in Tohoku, Japan. Under the George H. W. Bush administration, Lubchenco served on a National Academy of Sciences' study about global warming. She has co-founded several organizations that help scientists connect their research to the general public, media and policy makers: Climate Central; Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS); and the Leopold Leadership Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Established in 1985, the Haas Center for Public Service inspires Stanford University to realize a just and sustainable world through service, scholarship and community partnerships. As part of Student Affairs, the center collaborates with schools, centers and offices throughout the university to seek solutions to society's most urgent problems. Students and faculty work in local, national and global communities. For information about Lubchenco's appointment, contact

Joy Leighton is communications director for the Haas Center for Public Service.