Toasting Farewell to Mark Belton

Bill Dennison ·
1 March 2019

Many of the Chesapeake Bay crowd gathered at an Eastport pub on a snowy evening to toast farewell to Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Mark Belton. Mark was Secretary of DNR for four years, as part of the Hogan Administration. Mark and his colleague Ben Grumbles Secretary of Maryland Department of Environment (MDE), led the Maryland contribution to the Chesapeake and Maryland Coastal Bays restoration efforts and I have enjoyed working with them.

Mark Belton at his farewell party.

Peter Goodwin at Mark Belton’s farewell

people provided nice remarks about Mark Belton, as he is a personable,
knowledgeable and collaborative leader. Peter Goodwin, the University of
Maryland Center for Environmental Science President, presented Mark with an
antique nautical device, appropriate given Mark’s previous role as a Rear
Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Ben Grumbles presented Mark with a tongue-in-cheek
MDE tee shirt and golden toilet plunger.

Ben Grumbles toasting Mark Belton

contribution to Mark’s farewell was a song, which was stimulated by Mark’s
highly variable facial hair. At one point in his tenure at DNR, Mark’s salt and
pepper beard was quite long and we teased him about being a rabbi (even though
he is Roman Catholic). So, I reached into the song book of Fiddler on the Roof,
a musical about a Russian Jewish family. The song I adapted was “To Life!” with
the following lyrics:

is returning to a job that he held previously as Chief Executive of Charles
County and he plans to stay involved in Chesapeake Bay conservation issues in
that role. I am sure that we will continue to work with Mark in the future,
something that I look forward to.

Mark’s replacement is an old Eastern Shore friend, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, my former Maryland State Delegate and more recently working with Governor Hogan as Deputy Chief of Staff. Jeannie is very familiar with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, which will facilitate the continuation of a strong partnership between UMCES and Maryland State agencies.

About the author

Bill Dennison

Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Application at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

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