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Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Celebrates 75th Anniversary in 2005

July 15, 2005

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) is celebrating 75 years of ocean research, education and exploration in 2005 with a series of activities this summer and fall, ranging from an “unboat” regatta, public open house and science symposium, to publication of a book on the Institution’s history.

Founded in 1930 to help advance the role of the United States in worldwide oceanographic research, WHOI has grown from a summer laboratory to a year-round global research operation. The Institution has a staff and student population of more than 1,000 people working and studying on two campuses in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and at research locations around the world.  Its seagoing facilities include three large research vessels, several smaller boats, the submersible Alvin, and a fleet of deep-diving remotely operated and autonomous vehicles.

The first 75th anniversary event, an Anything-But-a-Boat Regatta, will take place August 6 at 10 a.m. on the Woods Hole waterfront. The regatta brings back a popular event held at Waterfront Park in the early 1980s, when dozens of human-powered “unboats” of ingenious designs attempted to round marks set in Great Harbor. No boat shells, surfboards or other commercially available  “boats” are allowed, and crew members must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes will be awarded for various vessel qualities. Registration forms and regatta rules are available at or by contacting Hovey Clifford at 508-289-2724, Ann Devenish at 508-289-2865 or Mike Lagrassa at 508-289-2372. Please register by July 22.

A public Open House will be held September 10. Films, public lectures on ocean research topics of interest to the public, and laboratories will be open to allow visitors an opportunity to meet staff and learn about Institution activities. Visitors will be able to see the reconfigured Quissett Campus and two new buildings scheduled to open later this fall.

Colleagues from other research institutions will discuss some of the many contributions made by the Institution to ocean science and exploration during a science symposium September 20-22. Themes of the meeting include climate change, life in the ocean, mid-ocean ridges,  and ocean circulation. Commencement and alumni/ae activities for the MIT/WHOI Joint Graduate program, founded in 1968, will follow later that week.

The Institution’s history will be highlighted by publication later this summer of a 184-page book, “Down to the Sea for Science: 75 Years of Ocean Research, Education and Exploration at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,” written by Vicky Cullen, a longtime member of WHOI’s communications staff.

The public is invited to join in many of these events.  Further information is posted on the web at or contact Vicky Cullen at 508-289-2719.