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Matthew Gilligan


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    I prefer Matt to Matthew and think that biographical sketches that include personal background, obstacles and warts bring us together and illustrate our diversity as well as out strengths, accomplishments and qualifications: Matt Gilligan’s first 17 years were uninspired and untroubled by goals or academic achievement. After finally finding a college that would admit him in 1968 (Nasson which went out of business in 1983) in order to disagree with the Vietnam war, he started reading and found a footing in science. He did some (very) independent research at Hartwick College and earned a B.S. degree in Biology there in 1972. The undergraduate research report quality, good GPA (GRE not so much) and surprisingly effective interview skills earned him admission to a Ph.D. degree program (Biology/Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) at the University of Arizona where he studied El Golfo de California, Mexico fishes for 7 years eventually being conferred the Ph.D. degree in 1980. He was employed at Savannah State College (now University, SSU) from March 1980 to November 2011 and is now Professor Emeritus, Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences. His awards include SSU National Alumni Association President's Award on April 21, 1989 at the dedication of the Marine Biology Building, NOAA Environmental Hero Award April 23, 1996, Board of Regents Distinguished Professor at SSU AY2001-2002, first recipient of the SSU Distinguished Faculty Research/Grantsmanship Award on November 22, 2010 and 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Mentoring on June 26, 2018 in Washington, D.C. He testified on ocean education and social diversity before the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy in Charleston, SC on January 15, 2002 and moderated a panel on the future ocean workforce and social diversity at the Conference on Ocean Literacy in Washington, D.C. in June 2006. He served on the U.S. Ocean Research Advisory Panel from July 2004 to June 2007 and is an Emeritus member of the National Association of Marine Laboratories.

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