Father's Love of Fishing Inspired Career, Scholarship
Galloway, N.J. – When he was a child, Gordan Grguric’s family would travel to the island of Silba in the Adriatic where his father, Petar, an electrical engineer, would spend hours and hours fishing.
“He would talk to the professional fishermen and get hints on techniques and where the best fishing sites were. He would rent or borrow a boat and lay down a line for a four- or five-hour trip,” said Grguric, of Galloway, an associate professor of marine science at Stockton University. “My career evolved from his interest. That island is such a part of my heritage.”
Grguric is honoring his father, and sharing his love of fishing, through a newly endowed $200,000 Silba Distinguished Scholarship, which will subsidize students who are doing research in marine science. The scholarship will award two $3,500 grants per year.
“A number of students want to do research in the summer,” Grguric said. “But if they also have to work, it can be difficult. I wanted to give them a stipend so they can take the time to do the research.”
Grguric admits that he is not a fish person.
“I do the chemistry of the ocean, the salinity and oxygen levels,” he said. “But I want to support the marine biologists. I see what Steve Evert is doing at the Marine Field Station and I know funding is an issue.”
Stockton Marine Field Station Director Steve Evert said the endowment is a huge boost for students.
“So many do have to work in the summer to help pay for college,” Evert said. “But in marine science, it is so important to get field experience and do research and a lot of that is done in the summer. Being able to do this will greatly strengthen a student’s opportunities for a job or graduate school. I tell students that there are jobs in this field, but they will go first to those with field experience.”
Evert said he has been looking for grants, but a permanent endowment like the Silba Scholarship means there will be a permanent funding source each year.
“That will also help us attract students to do the research,” Evert said.
Jennifer Kosakowski, Stockton’s interim executive director, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and executive director of Development, Corporate and Foundation Relations, helped set up the scholarship and said the new endowment addresses a very specific need.
“Dr. Grguric’s generosity will benefit generations of Stockton students who are dedicated to the ongoing research of marine life and science,” Kosakowksi said. “Such a scholarship will not only assist students financially but will ensure that the groundbreaking research that Stockton conducts regionally will continue to thrive through the recruitment and retention of talented student research assistants.”
The first awards will be presented in the 2023-24 academic year. Ggruric said he would also like the student to make a presentation on their research.
“In this field, communication skills are also important,” he said.