Oregon State University Receives $20 Million Gift to Establish Gaulke Center for Marine Innovation and Technology

Alumni Judy and Mike Gaulke’s generous donation will support interdisciplinary research and development of technology to better understand and protect the ocean and its environment.

Oregon State University (OSU) has received a transformative $20 million gift from alumni Judy and Mike Gaulke. The donation will establish the Gaulke Center for Marine Innovation and Technology, which aims to lead and support groundbreaking research in oceanography and artificial intelligence. The center will foster collaboration between these two areas of academic strength at OSU and drive technological innovation in ocean research. This generous gift will enable the university to address pressing challenges and develop solutions to protect and utilize the ocean and its resources.

Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration

The Gaulke Center for Marine Innovation and Technology will prioritize interdisciplinary research, leveraging the expertise of both the oceanography and artificial intelligence departments at Oregon State University. By encouraging collaboration between these fields, the center aims to develop innovative solutions to complex ocean-related challenges. This interdisciplinary approach will foster a deeper understanding of the ocean and its environment, leading to more effective conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.

The Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair in Ocean Innovation

The Gaulkes’ generous gift includes the establishment of the Michael and Judith Gaulke Chair in Ocean Innovation. The holder of this prestigious position will serve as the executive director of the Gaulke Center and hold a joint faculty appointment in the OSU colleges of Engineering and Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. The chair will play a crucial role in leading and guiding the center’s research initiatives, fostering collaboration, and driving technological advancements in marine science.

Support for Faculty and Graduate Students

In addition to establishing the Gaulke Center and the endowed chair, the Gaulkes’ gift provides support for faculty and graduate students. This funding will enable the recruitment of top-tier researchers and scholars who will contribute to the center’s interdisciplinary research efforts. The support for graduate students will create opportunities for aspiring scientists to engage in cutting-edge research and develop their skills in marine innovation and technology.

Funding for Early-Stage Research and High-Impact Projects

Recognizing the importance of supporting innovative ideas, the Gaulkes’ gift includes funding for early-stage research and projects with significant potential impact. Often considered too risky for traditional funding sources, these projects will receive the necessary financial support to explore novel approaches and technologies that could revolutionize ocean research and conservation. This forward-thinking investment will encourage researchers to take bold steps towards addressing critical challenges in marine science.

The Gaulke Center and the Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex

The Gaulke Center for Marine Innovation and Technology will be housed within the Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex, a state-of-the-art research and education facility. This complex will feature one of the nation’s most powerful supercomputers and will serve as a hub for team-based approaches to solving global challenges. The Gaulke Center will leverage the resources and collaborative environment of this facility to tackle complex issues in oceanography, climate science, sustainability, and water resources.

Advancing Ocean Research with Technology

The Gaulkes’ gift comes at a critical time when the ocean faces numerous challenges, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing. Oregon State researchers are already working on projects that harness technology to address these issues. For instance, they are developing unmanned robotic systems that use artificial intelligence to explore under ice shelves, as well as robotic boats that aid in measuring glacier ice melt. The Gaulke Center will provide a platform for further advancements in technology-driven ocean research, enabling scientists to develop innovative tools and approaches to protect and sustainably manage marine ecosystems.


The establishment of the Gaulke Center for Marine Innovation and Technology at Oregon State University marks a significant milestone in the university’s commitment to advancing ocean research and conservation. Thanks to the generous gift from alumni Judy and Mike Gaulke, the center will serve as a hub for interdisciplinary collaboration, technological innovation, and high-impact research. By leveraging the expertise of oceanography and artificial intelligence, the Gaulke Center will contribute to a better understanding of the ocean and its environment, while developing solutions to address pressing challenges. This transformative gift exemplifies the Gaulkes’ deep love for the ocean and their profound commitment to Oregon State University’s mission of creating a sustainable future for our planet’s most vital resource.






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