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Dartmouth Resident Honored by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

January 24, 2001

Local resident Gratia R. “Topsy” Montgomery of South Dartmouth was honored recently by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) with its prestigious Cecil H. Green Award. The award, named for Texas Instruments’ founder and philanthropist, Cecil H. Green, is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to oceanographic research at the Institution.

A long-time friend, supporter and Honorary Trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Topsy Montgomery has been affiliated with the Institution for more than three decades. She has supported a number of the Institution’s education programs, helping dozens of summer student fellows, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows launch their oceanographic careers. Her commitment to coastal research, both shore-based and sea-going, has made it possible for the Institution to begin construction of a new coastal research vessel and to expand its coastal research activities.

“Topsy has been passionate about the oceans all her life. As a child she explored the beachfront and tidal pools of her native South Dartmouth and read, voraciously, about the sea,” noted Institution Director Robert B. Gagosian in presenting the award. “Her curiousity about all things related to the oceans appears to be inexhaustible, and she has involved herself in fascinating projects and expeditions throughout her life, among them Operation Tektite, the Great Barrier Reef’s Floating Symposium, the Explorer’s Club, and one of the first voyages to Antarctica. She is an explorer, sailor, diver, angler and above all, a life-long student of the sea.”

Montgomery is an Honorary Trustee and Honorary Member of the Corporation of the Institution. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Media Research Center and is Founder and Chair of the Tai-Ping Foundation.

Gagosian noted that Topsy Montgomery’s support for the Institution’s coastal research activities offers new opportunities for Institution scientists and engineers in various departments to collaborate in new and creative ways. “The fruits of those interdisciplinary collaborations have inspired the Institution to think more broadly and daringly about its future, resulting in the establishment of four new institutes. Topsy’s foresight and leadership have made a tremendous impact on these decisions. In short, she has been a catalyst for innovation and change. She represents the essence of the Institution: an energetic spirit, fierce dedication, and deep to make this planet a better place.”

The Green Award was established in 1991 by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Associates to honor “an individual who has made outstanding contributions to oceanographic research at WHOI.” It is named for Texas Instruments’ founder and philanthropist, Cecil H. Green, who was its first recipient. Four other individuals have received the award since then: Scientist Emeritus Stanley Watson, former Chairmen of the Board Charles Adams and Guy Nichols, and Honorary Trustee Walter Smith.