John M Smith Aquaculture Center

John M. Smith Aquaculture Center (Building 1700)

This facility, named in honor of Dr. John M. Smith, former biology instructor at Grays Harbor College, provides a means for GHC students to learn about, and have hands-on experience with, fisheries, water quality, and conservation. 

When it opened in 1985, the hatchery was capable of handling 500,000 salmonid eggs and had an excellent survival rate. Unfortunately, due to declining enrollment in the Fisheries Program, the hatchery was closed in 2008 and many of its assets were sold or auctioned off.

The building housed maintenance equipment and rodents until 2015, when GHC biology instructor Dr. Amanda Gunn, and a small army of volunteers, cleaned up the facility and the surrounding watershed. The hatchery once again saw new life.  

See: GHC Fish Lab

Dr. John M. Smith

Dr. John M. Smith (1926-2010) graduated from Frankford High School in Philadelphia in 1944 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. Upon his discharge from the army in 1947 he enrolled in the fisheries and wildlife management program at Montana State University and subsequently earned Master’s and Doctorate degrees at Oregon State University. John married Joyce Smith of Bassano, Alberta, Canada on December 20, 1951, in Seattle, Washington.

He was employed by the Washington Department of Fisheries to study the Columbia River and Snake River salmon runs from 1952 through 1955. After transferring to Aberdeen in 1956, he helped manage the razor clam population on the Washington beaches. In 1957 he took a position at Grays Harbor College to teach biological sciences. During his tenure at GHC, Dr. Smith developed a fisheries and water quality curriculum and was instrumental in getting the on campus Aquaculture Center up and running. Later named in his honor, The John M. Smith Aquaculture Center is used to educate students and has a run of salmon that returns each November.

The John & Joyce Smith Endowment Fund, established in 2005, supports the Model Watershed program at Grays Harbor College, a program that promotes education of school age children about water quality and conservation.

In addition to his teaching career at GHC, Dr. Smith served as Associate Dean for Records, was President of the Faculty Association, served on accreditation teams to evaluate other colleges in Washington, Oregon and Alaska and was president of the Intercollege Relations Association.

In 1986 he became the first chairman of the board of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority as work began on building the replica of Captain Robert Gray’s 18th century ship, the Lady Washington. After his retirement from the college in 1988 he formed a company, Northwest Educational Tours, focused on whale watching, an activity that integrated his teaching experience in biology with his love of the sea. Dr. Smith was also a member of the Aberdeen Timberland Library Board from 1992 through 2002.