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Dowling's marine sciences chair now at Molloy College

Director of CERCOM (Center for Enviromental Research and

Director of CERCOM (Center for Enviromental Research and Coastal Ocean Monitoring) and Professor of Enviromental Studies John Tanacredi inspects an adult horseshoe crab at the CERCOM lab in West Sayville. (Oct. 4, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

The chairman of Dowling College's marine sciences program and head of its center for coastal research has left the struggling Oakdale school to help bolster environmental studies at Molloy College in Rockville Centre.

John Tanacredi, a 12-year professor and chairman of Dowling's Earth and Marine Sciences department, whose research focuses on horseshoe crabs, began teaching at Molloy last month.

Molloy signed a three-year agreement to lease an 1,800-square-foot marine science laboratory at the West Sayville Boat Basin, formerly used by the Dowling program. It will be renamed the Center for Environmental Research and Coastal Oceans Monitoring at Molloy College.

"It is a spectacular opportunity," Tanacredi said. "Molloy has embraced the whole idea of this type of environmental study."

The move is the latest in a series of losses for Dowling, which has experienced plunging enrollment, a fiscal crisis and unstable leadership over the last few years. In August, as a cost-cutting initiative, Dowling closed part of its Brookhaven campus, moving residential students and some classes from there to the main campus in Oakdale.

Norman Smith, Dowling's interim president, said Tanacredi's move was voluntary and not the result of downsizing.

Molloy, like Dowling, is a private, liberal arts college with a large population of first-generation college students. The school this semester enrolled the largest incoming freshman class in its 58-year history -- 500 students -- and it has worked to raise its profile among high schools in the tri-state area.

Given the college's location in southwest Nassau County, Molloy officials say they are seeking to enhance environmental sustainability course offerings to include ecology and marine science.

"Dr. John Tanacredi brings a wealth of experience to Molloy College and our students will be richer for it," said Valerie Collins, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty.

Tanacredi, 66, of Melville, holds a doctorate in environmental health engineering from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NYU-Polytechnic Institute.

He has published several research papers on horseshoe crabs and coastal health, and has studied the coastline of Fire Island in conjunction with the Town of Islip.

Tanacredi was deputy director of the Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center at Brooklyn College from 1989-2001 and previously chaired the Suffolk County Wetlands Management Work Group and the New York Marine Sciences Consortium.

The new aqua lab in West Sayville will strengthen Molloy's focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives, Collins said.

Molloy officials said much of the programming is in the planning stages. They declined to give details on the program's cost.

With Kathleen Kerr

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