100 Candles


Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the family of the late legendary statesman of science Roger Revelle honored Revelle's 100th birthday with a three-day celebration from March 5 to March 7. The events recognized the UC San Diego founder and former Scripps director's lifetime achievements and aimed to inspire a new generation of young scientists to follow Revelle’s example of academic excellence and leadership. Revelle was a world-renowned scientist and is considered a pioneer of climate change research.

“A lot has changed in our landscape since Roger and his wife Ellen first came to Scripps,” said Scripps Director Tony Haymet, “but the legacy of Roger Revelle still echoes in our halls and labs and on our vessels.”

Revelle’s widow, Ellen, and a host of about 50 other Revelle family members spanning four generations joined in the celebrations. They shared personal reminiscences of Revelle as an inspiring father and grandfather while Scripps friends and colleagues remembered him as a visionary scientist and leader during Remembering Roger events on March 5.

The scientific apex of the celebrations in Revelle’s honor was the full-day Roger Revelle Centennial Symposium during which globally distinguished scientists and policymakers shared present-day perspectives and future projections on the scientific fields Revelle advanced, including climate change, ocean and environmental health, and energy independence. This meeting of global scientific minds marked the first of many to be held in the recently completed Scripps Seaside Forum, a new state-of-the-art teaching and conference facility, which celebrated its official opening during Revelle 100th Birthday events.

The science symposium culminated in an address by former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore to students of UC San Diego’s first undergraduate college, Revelle College, named in honor of Revelle. Gore credits Revelle, his Harvard professor in the 1960s, with sparking his passion for the environment, and was on the Scripps campus to receive the inaugural Roger Revelle Prize at Scripps for his transformational role in bringing the science and issues of climate change research to a global audience.

Nearly 350 guests joined UC President Mark Yudof, UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, Haymet, and the Revelle family to present Gore with a unique prize: an original seafloor sediment sample collected by a seagoing Revelle in 1950.

CAPTION: Scripps Institution of Oceanography Director Tony Haymet and Roger Revelle’s daughter Carolyn Revelle present Former Vice President Al Gore with his Roger Revelle Prize: an original seafloor sediment sample collected by a sea-going Revelle in 1950. (March 6, 2009)

“You could imagine, seriously, how much I treasure this,” Gore said. “I accept this award from this great institution and this magnificent family as an honor to the man who taught me to care about this great challenge that has played out as he predicted it would.”

More than $140,000 in proceeds from the award dinner went to establish the new Roger Revelle Leadership Fund at Scripps, which will provide critical support to help recruit and retain outstanding students, faculty, and researchers to Scripps – an objective that was always paramount to Revelle when he was Scripps director.

And what’s a birthday celebration without cake? On March 7, what would have been Revelle’s 100th birthday, visitors to Birch Aquarium at Scripps were treated to a special presentation about his life and achievements as they enjoyed birthday cake served by Revelle family members, including a beaming Ellen.

The Roger Revelle 100th Birthday Celebration secured more funding for Scripps than any other single event to date. The Roger Revelle Centennial Symposium, was funded by nearly $100,000 from government agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Naval Research, and the UC Discovery Grants Program. Private support from Scripps friends in the community, including a lead gift from the Revelle Family, covered all other celebration events and supported the new fund in Roger’s name.

It’s not too late to join the celebration by supporting the Roger Revelle Leadership Fund at Scripps. To make your gift online, visit http://supportscripps.ucsd.edu/Give_Now and select “Roger Revelle Leadership Fund” or contact the Scripps Development Office at revelle100@ucsd.edu or 858-822-4313.

--Shannon Casey

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