In Memoriam: Dodge Morgan


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with deep sorrow the death September 14, 2010 of former Honorary Member Dodge D. Morgan.  Dodge served as a Member of the Corporation from 1989 to 2004, when he was elected an Honorary Member.  He was a member of the Ships (later Access to the Sea) Committee since 1994.  He was also a member of the Paul M. Fye Society, and participated in the WHOI Science Partnership Program. 

Dodge David Morgan was born in Malden, Massachusetts on January 15, 1932.  He was the son of the late Russell and Ruth (Dodge) Morgan.  Dodge graduated from Governor Dummer Academy and attended the University of New Hampshire before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1951, where he earned the rank of first lieutenant and served as a fighter pilot for five years.  In 1957 Dodge returned to college, graduating magna cum laude from the Boston University School of Journalism; he also held honorary degrees from numerous universities. 

His career in journalism took Dodge to Alaska, where he worked as a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and where he founded an advertising, public relations, and lobbying agency.  His early success enabled him to purchase a schooner named Coaster, which he sailed from Cape Cod on a two-year adventure traveling the waters off coastal Maine, the Caribbean, South America, the Society Islands, Hawaii, and back to Alaska.  Dodge then returned to Massachusetts and worked for Worcester Controls Corporation before co-founding Controlonics Corporation, where he was CEO. 

In 1984, he sold the company to Dynatech Corporation, enabling him to begin work on his life-long dream of sailing around the world, a feat he eventually accomplished aboard the 60-foot sloop, American Promise that he had specifically commissioned for the purpose.  Dodge sailed more than 26,000 miles between November 12, 1985 and April 11, 1986 on a record-breaking non-stop solo circumnavigation completed in 150 days, 1 hour and 6 minutes.  He was the first American and the third person to ever accomplish this feat.  His sailing trip served as the basis for his biography, The Voyage of American Promise, and also served as the subject of the documentary film, “Around Alone.”  Logs and records of his voyage are being catalogued at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine and are available to the public. 

A lifelong advocate for free speech and independent spirit, Dodge owned two alternative newspapers, The Maine Times and The Casco Bay Weekly.  In 1986 he helped found and was Chairman of VXI Corporation.  During his career, Dodge received numerous distinctions: Associate, Boston Museum of Science; Cruising World Offshore Sailor of the Year, 1986; Golden Globe Award, Slocum Society; Sailing Hall of Fame, Newport, R.I.; New England Sports Hall of Fame; Award of Distinction, Boston University School of Communications; and Distinguished Alumni Award, Boston University. 

Dodge lived on Snow Island in Harpswell, Maine, a 30-acre sanctuary that he owned and where he moored six sailboats.  He is survived by two children: Hoyt David Morgan, and Kimberley Promise Morgan. 

Arrangements are by Hobbs Funeral Home, 230 Cottage Road, South Portland, Maine.  Private services will be held at a later date.  Memorial donations may be made to The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Attn: Contribution Services, 10 Brookline Place West – 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445. 


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