Paul G. Gaffney II

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Paul G. Gaffney II
Paul Gaffney DN-SC-00-03211.jpg
VADM Paul G. Gaffney II (Ret.), as president of National Defense University, 06/12/2000
Seventh President of Monmouth University
In office
July 2003 – July 2013
Personal details
Born (1946-05-30) May 30, 1946 (age 76)
Attleboro, Massachusetts
Alma materUnited States Naval Academy
The Catholic University of America
Naval War College
Jacksonville University

Vice Admiral Paul Golden Gaffney II, USN (Ret.), (born May 30, 1946) was the seventh president of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, from 2003 to 2013, becoming president emeritus August 1, 2013.

Gaffney graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1968. Upon graduation, he was selected for immediate graduate education and received a master's degree in Ocean Engineering from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed a year as a student and advanced research fellow at the Naval War College, graduating with highest distinction. He completed an M.B.A. at Jacksonville University. The University of South Carolina, Jacksonville University, and The Catholic University of America have awarded him honorary doctorates.

He was president of the National Defense University from 2000 to 2003. Admiral Gaffney was the Chief of Naval Research with responsibility for science and technology investment for the Navy and Marine Corps from 1996 to 2000 and Commander of Naval Oceanography and Meteorology, from 1994 to 1997. He commanded the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, from 1991 to 1994. In 2001 he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, and served through the full term of the Commission until 2004. In August 2009, Gaffney was named the chair of the Ocean Research Advisory Panel (ORAP), a panel created by statute to advise federal agencies regarding ocean science and management matters.[1] In 2012 he co-chaired the Decadal Review of the US Ocean Exploration Program. In October 2014, he was appointed as the first chair of new statutory Ocean Exploration Advisory Board (OAEB), serving until 2017.[2][3] He served as a member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's Gulf of Mexico Research Program Advisory Board from 2015 to 2019.[4]

Gaffney's naval career spanned over three decades including duty at sea, overseas, and ashore in executive and command positions. He served in Japan, Vietnam, Spain, and Indonesia. While a military officer, his career focused on oceanography.

He is the eponym of Gaffney Ridge, an undersea ridge in the South China Sea, 220 miles west of the Philippines (located at Latitude 13° 23' 00" N and Longitude 118° 32' 00" E).[5][6][7] Gaffney also became the namesake of a supercomputer at the Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center at the John C. Stennis Space Center, in Hancock County, Miss., when he was honored by the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) on January 25, 2019.[8]

Gaffney is the recipient of Defense and Navy Distinguished Service Medals, Legions of Merit (4), Bronze Star (w/”V”), the Naval War College's J. William Middendorf Prize for Strategic Research, and the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies Navigator Award, the Aquarium of the Pacific Ocean Conservation Award, and has been inducted into the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Hall of Fame.[9][10] He has served on several boards of higher education and was a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the United States National Research Council. He is a director of Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., and currently serves as a Fellow of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University.[11] In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for technical leadership in naval research and development and its impact on U.S. defense, ocean policy, and the Arctic.[12] He has chaired National Academies’ Committees on: assessment of hydrokinetic energy, domestic transportation of energy fluids, and understanding and predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current.[13] and chaired a National Academies consensus study on the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current.[14][15]

Gaffney retired from Monmouth University in August 2013.[16][17][18] His contributions to the success of Monmouth University and its athletic programs during his tenure were noted in a February 2016 retrospective. The University’s competition basketball court is named in his honor as "Gaffney Court."[19]

Following his retirement from Monmouth University, Gaffney has remained active in academia, and was the guest speaker at the hooding ceremony for master's and doctoral graduates of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in May 2014.[20]

More recently, Gaffney co-authored a March, 2020, editorial with Jesse H. Ausubel in response to the economic effects of the coronavirus on maritime and coastal industries, arguing for increased investment from the United States in the Blue Economy.[21] He is currently counselor to the Dean of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina. He was selected in September 2020 as a member of National Academies’ Committee on Defense Research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.[22]


  1. ^ "Monmouth University President Takes on New Role", National Oceanographic Partnership Program, October 20, 2009. Accessed July 17, 2015. "Gaffney, who served on the U.S Commission on Ocean Policy, has been named head of the Ocean Research & Resources Advisory Panel, which provides independent advice and guidance to leaders of more than 25 federal agencies whose missions involve ocean science and management."
  2. ^ "Panel to Guide Ocean Exploration" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine, Hydro International, November 26, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2015. "NOAA has appointed 13 members to a new federal Ocean Exploration Advisory Board that will provide guidance to NOAA and the nation on the exploration of the US ocean.... VADM Paul Gaffney USN (ret) will chair the board."
  3. ^ "America First? Don't forget our seas", Corpus Christi Caller-Times, June 27, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2018. "In building a policy agenda for our nation’s future, the Trump Administration has made “America First” its guiding principle. With that in mind, our federal government must continue to our oceans."
  4. ^ "Gulf Research Program Advisory Board Members", The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Accessed October 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Gaffney Ridge: Undersea Features SOURCE: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Bethesda, MD, USA, Accessed April 16, 2014
  6. ^ Gaffney Ridge "Wolfram|Alpha: Gaffney Ridge"
  7. ^ "Sails Set to the Sky", Monmouth University Magazine, Summer 2003.
  8. ^ "Naval Oceanography Honors First Hall of Fame Inductees, Dedicates New Supercomputers". Archived from the original on 2019-01-30.
  9. ^ 2001 Navigator Award Winners, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies. Accessed March 8, 2008.
  10. ^ "Naval Oceanography Honors First Hall of Fame Inductees, Dedicates New Supercomputers". Archived from the original on 2019-01-30.
  11. ^ "Gaffney is Urban Coast Institute Fellow", Monmouth University Magazine, Fall 2013.
  12. ^ VADM Paul G. Gaffney II, National Academy of Engineering. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  13. ^ Safely Transporting Hazardous Liquids and Gases in a Changing U.S. Energy Landscape. 2017. doi:10.17226/24923. ISBN 978-0-309-46690-5.
  14. ^ "New report calls for research to better understand, predict Gulf of Mexico's loop current system". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  15. ^ Gulf Research Program (2018). Understanding and Predicting the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current: Critical Gaps and Recommendations (2018). doi:10.17226/24823. ISBN 978-0-309-46220-4.
  16. ^ Serrano, Ken. "Monmouth University president to retire", Courier-Post, February 27, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  17. ^ Considine, Bob. "Monmouth University president to retire in 2013", The Star-Ledger, February 27, 2012. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  18. ^ Levesque, Eamon. " A lifetime of service; Retiring university leader and city native Paul Gaffney II can look back on long Navy career", The Sun Chronicle, August 7, 2013. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  19. ^ Edelson, Stephen. [1]"Tracing Monmouth's Cinderella rise to Paul Gaffney"], The Asbury Park Press", February 16, 2016, accessed February 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Mark your calendars: The graduation countdown is on!, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, April 28, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2015.
  21. ^ "Blue economy, red ink, white flag? Restarting America's maritime and coastal industries". Archived from the original on 2020-05-13.
  22. ^ "Defense Research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Serving Institutions".


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