Gary’s interest in the coastline and surfing led him to an undergraduate degree in Geology at UCSB and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Oregon State University. He joined the Earth Sciences Department at the new University of California Santa Cruz campus in 1968.
He is a Distinguished Professor of Earth Sciences, has been Director of the Institute of Marine Sciences for the past 21 years. Gary’s research and teaching are focused on coastlines and beaches, coastal hazards and sea level rise. In 2006 he received the UC Santa Cruz Alumni Distinguished Teaching award. and in 2009, and was named a Coastal Hero by Sunset Magazine and the California Coastal Commission, along with Pierce Brosnan.
He recently completed his 5th and 6th books, Living with the Changing California Coast and Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coasts, and just finished building his 4th house. He also writes a bi-weekly column, Our Ocean Backyard, for several newspapers. Gary has traveled extensively, has lived and worked in Greece and New Zealand, and also sailed through the South Pacific and around the world while teaching on the Semester-at-Sea program.