Living Legends: Honoring Sylvia Earle

UC Santa Cruz 2017 Foundation Medal

The UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal recognizes individuals of exceptionally distinguished achievement whose work and contribution to society exemplify the vision and ideals of UC Santa Cruz.

During the evening, M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International, will guide conversation with Earle and Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Together they will take on the topic of climate change, innovation, and the need for inclusivity in the conservation movement. UC Santa Cruz is effectively training the next generation of conservation leaders. They are diverse, steeped in the sciences, and fluent in social justice.

The work of innovation and implementing environmental solutions needs all voices-- particular those disproportionately affected by climate change - to ensure the future health of our land, coasts, and oceans. 

The legacy of Rachel Carson.
Naturalist, writer, fighter-Rachel Carson was a scientist driven to challenge authority. UC Santa Cruz continues our commitment to conservation and honors her legacy, exhibited by the recent dedication of Rachel Carson College. We are proud of our work that advocates environmental and social justice issues.

Monday, September 18, 2017

7 p.m. Program
Followed by a dessert reception

Rosewood Sand Hill
2825 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Register now
Tickets: $75 per person
Please register by September 8th
Tickets are limited

Thank you to our Sponsors



  • Sylvia Earle

    National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence, founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc.

    Sylvia Earle
    Sylvia A. Earle is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue, founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc., chair of the advisory council for the Harte Research Institute, and former chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has authored more than 200 publications and led more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater.

    She was the first female chief scientist of NOAA, and was named by Time magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998. The New Yorker and New York Times have dubbed her "Her Deepness"; the Library of Congress calls her a "Living Legend." She recently addressed the UN Ocean Conference in New York, discussing why the ocean matters and why we need to protect it now.

    Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. She is the subject of the Emmy Award–winning Netflix documentary Mission Blue and the recipient of more than 100 national and international honors and awards.

    She is a graduate of Florida State University with M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University and 27 honorary doctorates.

  • M. Sanjayan

    Chief executive officer, Conservation International

    M. Sanjayan
    M. Sanjayan (Ph.D. '97, biology) is a global conservation scientist specializing in how nature preserves and enhances human life. He is chief executive officer of Conservation International, an environmental nonprofit whose goal is to protect nature as a source of food, fresh water, livelihoods, and a stable climate.

    Sanjayan holds a doctorate from UC Santa Cruz, and his peer-reviewed scientific work has been published in journals including Science, Nature, and Conservation Biology. He is a visiting researcher at UCLA and a distinguished professor of practice at Arizona State University.

    Raised in Southeast Asia and Africa, Sanjayan’s unique background and expertise have attracted widespread media coverage. His appearances include The Today Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS This Morning, and CBS Evening News, and he has hosted and cohosted documentaries for PBS, BBC, Discovery, and Showtime. He was cohost for Big Blue Live, a live television and online event celebrating some of the world’s most amazing marine creatures converging off California’s coast. Currently he is the host of the University of California and Vox Media’s Climate Lab series.

    He posts frequently from his expeditions at @msanjayan.

  • Julie Packard

    Executive director, Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Julie Packard
    Julie Packard (Crown '74, biology; M.A. '78) is founding executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Based on a lifelong passion for science and nature, she has led the Aquarium to become a global force for ocean conservation.

    She chairs the board of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, a global leader in deep ocean science and technology, and she is deeply engaged in ocean conservation strategies through her work as a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. She served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission, which published a blueprint for improving governance of America's ocean waters, and more recently served on the California Parks Forward Commission to develop a sustainable path for California's state parks.

    Packard holds a master’s degree in biology with a focus in marine algal ecology from UC Santa Cruz.