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In Memoriam: Global Conservationist, Groundbreaking Scientist Eleanor Sterling

UH News, first published February 21, 2023.

Eleanor Jane Sterling, director of the Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, died on February 11, 2023. A beloved and respected friend and colleague, Sterling committed her professional life to conservation efforts and honoring the interconnectedness of nature and people among Indigenous peoples and local communities around the world.

“I feel honored to be amongst the network of incredible people inspired and mentored by Eleanor,” said Rachel Dacks, who worked closely with Sterling at HIMB. “She was especially supportive of students and early-career professionals striving to weave different knowledge systems in their work. Given her immense reach, her impact will surely continue throughout the world and for generations to come.”

Sterling joined UH Mānoa as HIMB’s director in 2022. Although she served in that role for only a year, her contributions to HIMB’s sustainable funding and strategic planning created new opportunities for the institute.

Related UH News story: HIMB honors Heʻeia ahupuaʻa, moʻolelo to welcome new director, January 10, 2022

“Eleanor gave herself over to the work at HIMB—open-hearted and direct, with an incredible strategic mind. Her leadership helped us to find new purpose in working together,” said Megan Donahue, acting director of HIMB. “She developed new initiatives that connected HIMB with its community through projects integrating art and science, expanding place-based research, and elevating multiple ways of knowing.”

Please read the full story on UH News!