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Stephen & Marylyn Pauley / Edwin W. Pauley Foundation

May 19, 2014
  • Building a Sustainable Future for Hawai‘i

“It is impossible to overstate the impact of Stephen and Marylyn Pauley on our university. Starting with their very generous gifts, but more importantly, their leadership and inspiration in building a sustainable Hawai‘i that provides for today without compromising the ability of future generations to live and thrive on our islands.”

Professor Gordon Grau, director, University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program

Funding Seminars in Sustainability

An enthusiastic crowd gathered on April 15 at the Stan Sheriff Center to welcome former U.S. Vice President Al Gore to the podium. Gore spoke passionately about the impacts of human behavior on climate change, and what we can do to mitigate damage and leave a healthy world for the next generation.

Gore’s lecture was part of the university’s prestigious Stephen and Marylyn Pauley Seminar in Sustainability series, organized by the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program. This series honors the Edwin W. Pauley Foundation’s significant support of UH, Dr. Stephen Pauley’s remarkable sustainability efforts, and Mrs. Marylyn Pauley’s national and visionary leadership in higher education. Since 2004, the Seminar in Sustainability series has brought to Hawai‘i individuals of extraordinary achievement and vision in their fields.

Dr. Pauley also helped develop and served on the board of the Center for a Sustainable Future. The center was a university-affiliated, private not-for-profit focused on bringing together world-class scientists, engineers and economists to address long-range technological issues needed to achieve sustainable development. Its focus was on Hawai‘i, the tropical Pacific and the Pacific Rim.

Creating a model of sustainability

For more than 60 years, the Pauley family’s generosity and vision has nurtured UH’s sustainability efforts in many ways. The most visible is funding the purchase of Coconut Island (Moku O Lo‘e), and the island’s several research laboratories that house the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB).  

The Pauley facilities on Coconut Island have allowed HIMB faculty to train hundreds of undergraduates and graduate students in visionary, high-impact tropical marine research, as well as provide innovative educational experiences to thousands of K-12 students and community members. The Foundation generously supports future marine biologists through the Edwin W. Pauley Summer Program in Marine Biology. This is an annual research and graduate-level training program.

Among the many discoveries made through these programs and facilities, "the Pauley Foundation made it possible for HIMB scientists to discover and characterize the first coral bleaching event in Hawai‘i, describe the parameters that affect the bleaching event and help develop strategies to lessen the impact of higher ocean temperatures on coral reefs," said HIMB director Dr. Jo-Ann Leong.

image“If we can relate the first rate science being done at this new lab to improving ecosystems in this bay, the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Ocean;  if we can make Coconut Island a model for sustainable living;  if we can leave the comfort zones of our narrow disciplines to relate our science to others in the community and to the diverse fields of the humanities;  if we can find the courage to shape public policy to improve our environment, and if by doing these things we end up with a healthier ecosphere through your efforts to re-connect people to the natural world, then our gifts to you and Hawai‘i will have real meaning not only to granddaughters, but to our future 7th generation.”

– Excerpt from Dr. Stephen Pauley’s Coconut Island dedication speech, 1998

Marylyn and Steven Pauley have spent their lives giving back:

Marylyn has been a trustee at Pomona College for 31 years. She also served on the Laguna Beach School Board from 1976-82.

Steven’s volunteer efforts include:

  • Working to prevent wild salmon extinction on the Columbia - Snake Rivers and working toward the removal of the lower Snake River dams.
  • Restoring the night sky in the Wood River Valley of Idaho (Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey) through the passage of dark sky ordinances (He is called 'Dr Dark' at times).
  • Working to have Coconut Island become a model for sustainable living systems and a meeting center for scientists; a place where scientists and policy makers can discuss marine environmental issues related to coastal Hawai‘i and the Pacific Rim.
  • Both Marylyn and Steven worked with surgical teams in Central and S. America to repair cleft lip and cleft palate defects in children.

Mahalo to the Pauleys for helping educate and inspire the next generation to create a sustainable world.

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.