URI Dedicates Bay Campus Quadrangle to John Knauss
Narragansett, R.I. -- September 25, 2000 -- The URI Graduate School of
Oceanography held a weekend-long 75th birthday celebration to honor its
founding dean, John A. Knauss.
The celebration began on Friday, September 22, with the John A. Knauss
Symposium on Ocean Science and Policy at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus
and was followed by a birthday celebration at the Newport Officer's Club,
attended by approximately 250 guests. The final event took place on Saturday
morning when URI President Robert Carothers and Provost M. Beverly Swan
joined 150 friends, colleagues, and GSO alumni in naming the John A. Knauss
Quadrangle for the oceanographer who did so much to make GSO one of the
foremost institutions of its kind in the country.
In addition to honoring Knauss, the weekend celebration was part of
a fundraising effort to enhance the existing John A. Knauss Fund for Excellence,
created by Knauss to recognize and encourage GSO faculty, staff, and students
to carry out activities which complement the institution's commitment to
excellence. Since July, more than $48,000 has been raised to add to the
At the dedication, Jamestown native Redwood Wright recalled the good
times he had as a Ph.D. student at GSO, especially his relationship with
Knauss, "a mentor and friend for 40 years." He described Knauss
as "a major figure in the development of marine science in the nation
and the world" and a man with "a keen sense of not only what would
be nice to do, but also what can be done with existing technology and resources."
Knauss told the audience that at a recent Massachusetts Institute of
Technology 50th reunion, the alumni were asked to write down the smartest
and dumbest things they had ever done. "The smartest decision I ever
made, besides marrying my wife, Lynne," said Knauss, "was to come
to Rhode Island and start the Graduate School of Oceanography."
Margaret Leinen, former dean of GSO and current Assistant Director of
Geosciences for the National Science Foundation, compared Knauss to Forrest
Gump because "he has been at every important event and at every milestone
in oceanography for the past 50 years."
"He has given a tremendous legacy of ideas to oceanographic research,"
added Leinen, "not just to the Graduate School of Oceanography. I am
privileged to have been a student, a faculty member, and an administrator
when a living legend was working here."
Knauss became GSO's first dean in 1962. At that time, there were only
a few buildings, and a handful of faculty and students. When he left in
1987 for Washington to head the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA), his vision and leadership had built GSO into one of the top ten
oceanographic institutions in the country.
One of the founders of the national Sea Grant program, Knauss has received
numerous honors, appointments, and awards. In 1988, an act of Congress changed
the Sea Grant Fellowship Program to the Dean John A. Knauss Fellowship Program.
He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science,
the American Geophysical Union, and the Marine Technology Society. He has
been President of the Association of Sea Grant Program Institutions, Chairman
of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), and
a founder of the Law of the Sea Institute.
More than a decade after his official retirement from URI, Knauss continues
to serve the oceanographic community. He was recently appointed the chair
of the U.S. Ocean Research Advisory Panel of the National Ocean Partnership
Knauss and his wife of 46 years live in Saunderstown, Rhode Island,
in the summer and LaJolla, California, in the winter.
Lisa Cugini, 874-6642, email@example.com