University of South Florida


USF appoints world-class scientist and researcher to serve as College of Marine Science dean

An aerial photo of the USF College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg

The University of South Florida announced today the appointment of Thomas K. Frazer as professor and dean in the College of Marine Science - an internationally recognized hub of academic and research excellence in biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanographic sciences.

Thomas Frazer

Frazer was recruited from his position as the State of Florida's first Chief Science Officer in the Department of Environmental Protection. He has been tasked with strengthening the college’s national and global profile and helping to advance USF in its effort to become a top 25 national university eligible for membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).  As college dean, he will work to envision and develop an interdisciplinary center of academic and research excellence in oceanographic and environmental sciences.

Frazer brings with him more than 20 years of experience at the University of Florida (UF), including leadership positions in the university’s Water Institute, the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Most recently, Frazer served an eight-year term as director of the School of Natural Resources and Environment.  Throughout his career, Frazer has produced nearly 200 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, reports and technical papers, and has garnered extensive federal and state grant funding to support his research, which includes work on the ecology of coral reefs, water quality and restoration of degraded ecosystems.

"We are excited to welcome Thomas Frazer to USF and the College of Marine Science. He brings decades of commitment to studying environmental issues in both marine and freshwater systems," USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox said. "As a national and international leader in his field, Frazer is a dedicated advocate for oceanographic and climate science."

Beyond his research and publication history, Frazer is a devoted steward of environmental research and education. He has served on an Oil Spill Research Strategy Review Panel with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Advisory Council for the Office of Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which he currently chairs. He also oversees Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Blue-Green Algae Task Force, addressing nutrient pollution in Florida waterways like Lake Okeechobee and the St. Johns River.

“I am incredibly honored to join the talented and vibrant team of scientists at the College of Marine Science,” Frazer said.  “I look forward to working with my new colleagues not only in the college, but across the USF campuses, to expand the reach and influence of a research and education enterprise that is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in the ocean sciences arena.”

Frazer earned his bachelor’s degree in marine fisheries from Humboldt State University, his master’s in fisheries and aquatic sciences at UF and his doctorate in biological sciences from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Frazer’s appointment follows a global search to replace Jackie Dixon, who has served as College of Marine Science dean since 2011 and is returning to the faculty.  Frazer’s position at USF becomes effective in August. He will continue his duties as Chief Science Officer for the State of Florida and his work with the Blue-Green Algae Task Force while transitioning into his role at USF.

Return to article listing