Pioneering UCSC faculty member William T. Doyle dies at 91
Doyle was among the founding faculty members of UC Santa Cruz when the campus opened in 1965 and was largely responsible for the establishment of Long Marine Laboratory.
A professor emeritus of biology and founding director of the Institute of Marine Sciences at UC Santa Cruz passed away earlier this month at his Santa Cruz home.
William T. Doyle, 91, died on April 21. He was among the founding faculty members of UC Santa Cruz when the campus opened in 1965 and was largely responsible for the establishment of Long Marine Laboratory.
“Bill was a wonderful human being who supported people and made UCSC and the world a better place,” said IMS Director Daniel Costa. “He played an essential role in building the marine science program at UCSC, and he made sure people had the resources and support they needed to succeed.”
Doyle was born in 1929 in Coalinga, California. His parents divorced when he was five, and his mother moved with her four children to Soledad, in Monterey County. While still in elementary school, Doyle began working to help support the family, doing yard work and delivering newspapers during the school year, and working during the summers on farms and ranches, in a fruit packing shed, and in a grain warehouse.
In 1944, the family moved to Watsonville, where Doyle graduated from Watsonville High School in 1947. He served in the California National Guard from 1948 to 1949, and in the U.S. Air Force from 1949 to 1952. In 1953, he married Glendawyn (Glennie) Cox, whom he had met in high school, where they both played in the school orchestra. She died in 2020.
Doyle received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in botany from UC Berkeley. He spent five years on the faculty of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, before coming to UCSC as a founding faculty member in 1965.
Doyle served as chair of the campus planning committee on marine studies from 1970 to 1972, and he served as director of the Center for Coastal Marine Studies (renamed the Institute of Marine Sciences in 1983) from its establishment in 1976 until his retirement in 1991.
“While not a marine scientist himself, he had the vision to see that this was a field that UCSC could and should excel in, and he dedicated years to make that happen,” said Gary Griggs, distinguished professor of Earth and planetary sciences, who succeeded Doyle as IMS director. “Bill was generous with his time, and he encouraged and supported many young scientists in the early stages of their careers, whether undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, or young faculty. He was always ready to step in and take charge to move something forward in order to make UCSC a stronger institution.”
Among graduate students Doyle advised were Julie Packard, now executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Andrew DeVogelaere, research coordinator for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
“Bill Doyle had a huge influence on so many students’ lives,” said Packard, who first met Doyle when she took his introductory botany course as an undergraduate, which led to her working in his lab and signing up for the intertidal biology field course he taught with marine biologist John Pearse.
“Those before-dawn forays up the coast to Davenport Landing proved to be a turning point in my life, sparking my interest in ocean life and especially seaweeds,” she said. “When I later got involved in founding the Monterey Bay Aquarium, seaweeds featured prominently, from the kelp forest to our kelp swirl logo. The world owes all that to Bill Doyle. More than any one during my college career, he was my mentor.”
A fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, Doyle also played the French horn in the Santa Cruz County and Monterey County Symphonies from 1966 to 1980.
Doyle is survived by his daughters Shelley, Carol, Jean, and Mary, and three grandchildren.
This story was adapted from a post by the UC Santa Cruz News Center. To read the original story, click here.