Civility and the Future of Zoos and Aquariums with Stephen Coan

News Story: April 17, 2015

Dr. Stephen Coan, president and CEO of Mystic Aquarium, will give a talk on “Civility and the Future of Zoos and Aquariums” on May 26 at 6 p.m. at The Ferguson Library.

His talk is part of a series on Civility in America, sponsored by Sacred Heart University and The Dilenschneider Group, along with Hearst Media Group in Connecticut and The Ferguson Library.

Dr. Coan has been an officer of Mystic Aquarium since 2001. He was appointed chief operating officer in 2004 and completed a radical restructuring of the organization’s financial platform. He became president and CEO in 2006. Under his stewardship, Mystic Aquarium has enjoyed record-setting fund raising and has expanded its education programming globally through partnerships with organizations that include National Geographic Society.

Mystic Aquarium is committed to inspiring people to care for and protect our ocean environment, and it accomplishes this goal through public engagement in conservation, STEM education, and research programs related to the ocean. These programs are brought to life through interesting exhibits like the new Exploration: Wild exhibit and the ongoing biological research conducted with beluga whales in the North Slope of Alaska.

Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit organization, is the largest cultural attraction in Southeastern New England with annual attendance of 700,000.

In 2014, Mystic Aquarium was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service at the White House in recognition of its unique array of community and national programs serving at-risk youth and people with special needs.

Prior to joining Mystic Aquarium, Dr. Coan was the chief education officer of the JASON Foundation for Education, now known as JASON Learning. He has served as executive director of two educational organizations and held faculty appointments at Tufts University, Bentley College and Cambridge College. He is a trustee of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Horizons in Windham, Conn., the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in Baltimore, Md., and a founding trustee of the North American Marine Environment Protection Association.

Dr. Coan earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and both a master’s in management degree and a doctorate in social policy from the Heller Graduate School at Brandeis.

Public opinion polls show that in every sector of society, civility has declined, and this decline is manifested in political attacks, lack of personal decency, outrage in the media and cyber-assaults in the blogosphere.

Robert L. Dilenschneider, founder and president of The Dilenschneider Group, who conceived the idea for the series, said, “Incivility has become socially acceptable and commonplace. The lack of civility in every segment of society, from politics to academia, from the media to the blogosphere, from talk radio to the pulpit, has become a crippling epidemic that threatens the future of our country. Something must be done.”

For information about the series, call (203)-351-8231, or register online at www.fergusonlibrary.org