Ocean Institute Names Dori Dennis Moorehead New President and CEO
Former Executive Director of The California Museum in Sacramento & O.C. Native

Press Release

Dana Point, CA –­ The Ocean Institute today announced its Board of Directors has named Dori Dennis Moorehead as its new President and Chief Executive Officer after completing a nationwide search initiated earlier this year.  Ms. Moorehead, 45, most recently served as Executive Director of The California Museum in Sacramento, the State of California’s official history museum. She is also an attorney having served earlier in her career as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Army.

Ms. Moorehead will assume her new position on July 13, 2015. She succeeds Dan Stetson, who has served as President and CEO of the Ocean Institute since 2005, and announced his intention to step down last December. Mr. Stetson, 62, will move into a new consulting role to focus on the organization’s endowment initiative.

Executive Director of the California Museum since 2011, Ms. Moorehead led the Museum to economic sustainability while effectively delivering its educational mission and strengthening its ties to the Sacramento community and outlying regions. During her tenure Ms. Moorehead oversaw the re-structuring initiative to re-focus the Museum on K-12 education and civic engagement. She also increased communication outreach and successfully raised the profile of the Museum among donors, the business community and community and civic leaders, locally and statewide.

“As we start a new chapter for leadership of the Ocean Institute, I can think of no better person to lead than Dori Moorehead,” said Board Chair, Maurice Masson. “Her track record as a visionary, educator and experienced operator brings us the mix of skills, imagination and talent to continue to realize the considerable potential of the Ocean Institute as we look to its future.” Added Mr. Masson, “Now being open to the public seven days a week and with the recent opening ofHeadlands and Beyond, our hands-on exploration exhibit to complete The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, the Ocean Institute offers a truly unique experience to our more than 115,000 annual visitors.  So in addition to welcoming Dori, I would like to thank Dan Stetson for his dedication and commitment in leading the Ocean Institute for the past decade and helping us get to this very exciting place.”

Said Ms. Moorehead, “As a native of Orange County, I have long been an admirer of the Ocean Institute and its indispensable and unique outreach to visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Due to my experience in hands-on education, the mission particularly resonates with me. I am looking forward to working with the Board and talented staff to enhance the presence and stature of this well-loved organization throughout Southern California and beyond.”

Ms. Moorehead received her BA in History from Baylor University and her JD from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. Prior to her work at the California Museum, she led advancement operations for Los Rios Community College District, managed fundraising operations at UC Davis Health Systems and completed a $10,000,000 capital campaign for the Legal Studies Center at McGeorge School of Law.

The national search was conducted by the executive search firm, Oppenheim Associates.


The Ocean Institute is an ocean education center that offers in-depth Marine Science, Maritime History and Outdoor Education programs. The facility includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tallships, and an oceanographic research vessel. Immersion-based field trips range from one-hour science labs to multi-day programs at sea. All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning. Ocean-based exhibits are open to the public seven days a week. Visitors can explore the underwater world while participating in fun activities designed to indulge ocean curiosity. Throughout the year, the Ocean Institute also offers organized family programs, summer camps, cruises, tallship sails, and other unique events including our annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival and the Festival of Whales.

Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, CA 92629
Website: www.ocean-institute.org
Phone: (949) 496-2274

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