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Graduate School of Oceanography Oral History Interviews

Biographical or Historical Information

The University of Rhode Island's oceanography program began as the Narragansett Marine Lab, founded by Charles Fish, in 1936. It was renamed the Fish Oceanographic Lab in 1960, and then established as the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) in 1961. With the legislative aid of Senator Claiborne Pell, the School achieved Sea Grant College status in 1971 under the direction of Dean John A. Knauss. In 1989, the school was renamed the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration Center of Excellence. It ranked fifth in its Ph.D. program among oceanographic schools in the U.S.

Dr. Margaret Leinen, who was the third Dean of the GSO, initiated this project. She was prompted by the knowledge that the some of the original almuni were, by circumstance, present in the region and she thought it would be a good opportunity to capture an oral historical record of the early years at the GSO. Mrs. Leinen then contacted the Director of Marine Programs, Sarah Hickox, and asked her if she was interested in coordinating the project. Mrs. Hickox agreed and asked Walter Gray, the Director of the New England Marine Resources Information Program and the Marine Advisory Service from 1968-1989, to conduct the interviews.