URI celebrates 30th anniversary of research vessel Endeavor

Dignitaries from 1976 christening of ship join festivities

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 3, 2006 – On a chilly December day in 1976, officials and students from the University of Rhode Island joined then-Governor J. Joseph Garrahy and Senator and Mrs. Claiborne Pell to christen the research vessel Endeavor at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus.

Today, many of the same dignitaries joined current officials and URI students to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the ship that has traveled the world many times over to conduct scientific research.

“A 30th anniversary gives us an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary achievements and oceanographic advances that have been made over the years from the Endeavor,” said David Farmer, dean of the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. “Many of the most prominent oceanographers have used this vessel to explore and learn more about the ocean, and generations of students have gained research experience aboard her.”

Honored guests at today’s ceremony included Oceanography Dean Emeritus John Knauss, Garrahy, and Mrs. Pell, who christened the ship with the traditional bottle of champagne in 1976, as well as former URI chaplin the Rev. Randolph Chew, who offered the invocation at both the christening ceremony and the anniversary event.

Built in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., the Endeavor, a 185-foot Intermediate Class research vessel, is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the University of Rhode Island with a crew of 12 and accommodations for 17 scientists. It underwent a major retrofit in 1993.

For the last 30 years scientists from Rhode Island, the nation and abroad have conducted government-sponsored research and trained graduate students aboard Endeavor on more than 400 scientific cruises. Scientific expeditions have been conducted in nearby Rhode Island waters as well as in distant locations such as near the Easter Islands and Galapagos Islands in the South Pacific Ocean, and in the Mediterranean and Black seas. Endeavor spends an average of 240 days each year at sea and serves as Rhode Island’s ocean-going ambassador in domestic and international ports of call.

The Endeavor is also a useful tool in outreach and education in the local community.

“As a research and educational platform, Endeavor has been a stunning success,” Farmer said. “The Ocean State has shown its confidence in the Endeavor’s activities through the Rhode Island Endeavor Program, which contributes to use of the vessel by Rhode Island researchers, teachers and students. All Rhode Islanders can be proud of the Endeavor and of the great contributions it has made to understanding the oceans.”

The Rhode Island Endeavor Program is a state-supported initiative at the Graduate School of Oceanography that provides state residents with direct access to the scientific research and educational capabilities of the ship. Another popular education program, the Rhode Island Teacher-at-Sea Program, is designed to establish partnerships between ocean scientists, researchers and teachers who live and teach in Rhode Island. Teachers selected for the program become part of a scientific research team conducting ocean science research while cruising aboard the Endeavor.