Public Release: 

W. Stanley Wilson selected as a Fellow of the Oceanography Society

For his key role founding NASA's Oceanography From Space Program and the Argo observing system

The Oceanography Society


IMAGE: Stan Wilson standing on the heights above Valparaiso, Chile, with Viña del Mar in the distance to the northeast. view more 

Credit: W. Stanley Wilson

The Oceanography Society (TOS) congratulates W. Stanley Wilson on being selected as a Fellow of The Oceanography Society. The citation on Dr. Wilson's certificate recognizes him for his key role establishing NASA's Oceanography from Space Program and organizing the international coalition in support of the Argo observing system. Dr. Wilson will be formally recognized on February 13, 2018 during a ceremony at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, Oregon.

In the nominating letter for Dr. Wilson, James Yoder wrote, "During his forty-year career working in three different federal agencies (ONR, NASA and NOAA), Stan accomplished more for ocean research and operations than any Federal official that I know or have heard about from others. In addition, Stan had a major, positive effect on many of us when we were early career scientists."

Dr. Wilson began his service in the federal government in 1972 as a Scientific Officer, then Program Manager at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) where he was responsible for the Navy's basic research program in physical oceanography. In 1979 he moved to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to serve as the first Chief of the Oceanic Processes Branch and led the development of a scientifically based Oceanography from Space Program. In partnership with international and commercial entities, this program eventually resulted in the successful launch of the TOPEX/Poseidon, NSCAT and SeaWiFS missions, as well as development of the Alaskan SAR facility. Dr. Wilson then joined the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1992, serving first as Assistant Administrator of the National Ocean Service (NOS), and then as Deputy Chief Scientist. In 1997, he was responsible for initiating U.S. involvement in the International Year of the Ocean (1998). This resulted in the National Ocean Conference, establishment of the National Ocean Commission, and new NOAA initiatives in ocean exploration and observing systems. For ten years, he also served as the U.S. Representative to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO when, in addition to leading NOAA participation in Argo, he led the development of political support across more than twenty countries that now participate in that program. Initiated in 1997, Argo achieved its goal within a decade - 3,000 profiling floats providing real-time routine observations of the upper-ocean temperature and salinity field globally. From 2002 - 2011, he pursued operational oceanography as Senior Scientist in NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, where he helped secure NOAA funding for Jason-3 and define the plan for its follow-on, Jason-CS, a collaboration with the European Copernicus program.


The TOS Fellows program recognizes individuals who have attained eminence in oceanography through their outstanding contributions to the field of oceanography or its applications during a substantial period of years. The next nomination deadline is October 31, 2017. To learn more about The Oceanography Society and the TOS Fellows program, visit:

The Oceanography Society (TOS) was founded in 1988 to advance oceanographic research, technology, and education, and to disseminate knowledge of oceanography and its application through research and education. TOS promotes the broad understanding of oceanography, facilitates consensus building across all the disciplines of the field, and informs the public about ocean research, innovative technology, and educational opportunities throughout the spectrum of oceanographic inquiry. TOS welcomes members from all nations. Any individual, business, or organization interested in ocean sciences is encouraged to join and to participate in the activities and benefits of the society.

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