A New Course For RTC

With a generous gift from Barbara and Richard Rosenberg, it’s full speed ahead for SF State’s Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

Photo of Barbara and Richard Rosenberg on a boat near the Romberg Tiburon Center. Photo by Toby Burditt.

What inspires a million dollar investment? For Barbara and Richard Rosenberg it was one visit to the Romberg Tiburon Center.

A new SF State institute funded by a $1 million donation from Barbara and Richard Rosenberg is expanding the Romberg Tiburon Center’s (RTC) communications about the science behind the world’s ocean environments.

Launched in July, the Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Institute for Marine Biology and Environmental Science now sponsors three programs free to the public at RTC: a spring and fall academic lecture series, a biannual public forum on marine biology and the annual Discovery Day open house, which includes hands-on science activities for K-12 students.

“We are very grateful to the Rosenbergs for this gift,” says President Leslie Wong. “Their generous support will ensure that many generations of researchers, students and citizens have excellent opportunities to understand and protect one of our region’s most exceptional assets — the San Francisco Bay.”

RTC faculty and student researchers seek a better understanding of the natural forces at work in the Bay and its surrounding wetland environments. Their studies of climate change, harmful algal blooms, invasive species, coastal habitat conservation and restoration, and response to spills and marine debris extend into the open ocean along California’s coastline and remote locations such as the Ross Sea (Antarctica), the Amazon River and the Equatorial Pacific.

The center’s Marin County site was a thriving Navy base during World War II, and as a retired commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves, Richard Rosenberg is pleased to see the old base put to good use. “We think it's the perfect platform to attract great students and great faculty to work on issues in marine biology and the marine environment,” he says.

The Rosenbergs are longtime supporters of the center’s research and educational mission through Barbara’s participation in Achievement Rewards For College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarships and in their support of three ARCS students studying at RTC. At the invitation of Carrie Craig, one of the scholarship recipients, the Rosenbergs first visited the center “and came away really impressed with the researchers’ enthusiasm and commitment to science, particularly among the students,” Barbara Rosenberg says.

Craig is excited to see the Rosenbergs’ gift bring greater exposure to the center along with new opportunities to interact with marine and environmental science experts from around the globe. “Invited speakers have lunch with students on the day of the lecture,” Craig says, “and we get to hear all sorts of stories this way, and advice about going forward in science.”

Rachel Dorfman, another graduate student at the center, agrees. “It’s hard to explain just what an awesome opportunity” the lecture series is for RTC students, she says. “In the past, we’ve been limited by funding as to whom we could invite, but now we can invite more high impact scientists in the field.”

The only academic research facility located on the San Francisco Bay, RTC operates as part of SF State’s College of Science & Engineering. In June, the center expanded its training opportunities with a new Smithsonian Environmental Research Center partnership that adds San Francisco Bay to a suite of sites for long-term comparative studies of the global impacts of climate change on coastal environments.

For additional information about the new institute, including upcoming lectures, visit rtc.sfsu.edu/rosenberg



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