Founder of BGSU marine lab to receive honorary degree

Cynthia Collin Stong, founder of the BGSU marine biology laboratory, will be presented an honorary doctorate in marine science education by the University at summer commencement Saturday (Aug. 6).

The University is honoring Stong, a resident of Key Colony Beach, Fla., for her dedication to students and teaching, leadership in marine biology education, service to BGSU and lifetime of achievements in her field.

  Cynthia Collin Stong

Stong, a professor emeritus of biological sciences, taught at BGSU from 1962-93 and is the person most responsible for the development of its courses in marine biology. She became interested in marine biology when she received a summer scholarship to study at a marine laboratory from her alma mater, Wellesley College.

After obtaining her master’s degree from Brown University in 1962, she joined Bowling Green’s biological sciences faculty. Stong gradually developed the curriculum for a marine biology focus while establishing a marine laboratory that has been described as unequalled on any inland college campus in the nation.

For 30 years she directed an annual marine biology field trip during the University’s spring break, returning to campus with living marine specimens that enhanced the laboratory collection. She developed an “Ocean Focus” curriculum for teachers in grades K-12 with funding from the National Science Foundation. In collaboration with University Honors students in the marine biology program, she produced a children’s ocean activity book, Sea Sense and Fun Sense.

While a member of the faculty, Stong received the Master Teacher Award from the University’s Alumni Association and the Distinguished Educator Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. In addition, the marine biology scholarship that she started has been renamed in her honor.

Since relocating to the Florida Keys in 1993, Stong has been involved in environmental planning with the Boot Key Harbor Committee, the Key Colony Beach City Utility Board and the Florida Bay Watch program. She also has served as marine biology lecturer on cruise ships to Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Stong continues her involvement in science education with several Ohio high school teachers from her “Ocean Focus” program and interacts with the high school students on their field trips to the Keys.
August 1, 2005