Jane Lubchenco, PhD, University Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University (OSU) and former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) administrator, will present the 2024 Ferguson Family Lecture, “Making Waves: Science, the Planet, and Our Future” on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 6:15 p.m. 

An expert in the ocean, climate change, and the interactions between the environment and human well-being, Lubchenco has collaborated with organizations working to address climate change, better manage fisheries and create more resilient communities. She believes that scientists need to engage with the public and policymakers; she co-founded three organizations that aim to train scientists to be better communicators: COMPASS, the Earth Leadership Program and Climate Central. 

From 2009-2013, Lubchenco served as under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and the administrator of NOAA, appointed by President Obama, and was nominated by President Obama to his Science Team in 2008 and was sworn in the following year.

In 2014, she became the first U.S. science envoy for the ocean, working with organizations and governments overseas on science diplomacy regarding the ocean, climate and sustainable development. Since Feb. 2021, Lubchenco has been on loan from OSU to the White House, serving as the deputy director for climate and the environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Lubchenco is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the World Academy of Science, as well as other distinguished academies.

Lubchenco will participate in a discussion with Lori Bennear, Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, in Love Auditorium at the Levine Science Research Center. The lecture will follow a reception that begins at 5:15 p.m. in the adjacent Hall of Science. The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is requested. The lecture will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend in-person. 


The Ferguson Family Distinguished Lectureship is presented annually by the Nicholas School to bring major thought-leaders to speak on topics of significant social and environmental importance. Past speakers have included former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, environmental justice advocate Catherine Coleman Flowers, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, and former Vice President Al Gore Jr.