Around the Pier: Sustaining a Legacy


The family of famed former Scripps Director Roger Revelle has made a $2.5 million gift to establish the Roger Revelle Chair in Environmental Science at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The endowed chair honors Revelle, one of the world’s most highly regarded oceanographers and the founder of the University of California, San Diego.

The generous gift from Revelle’s wife, Ellen, and her family represents the largest single donation ever made for an endowed chair in the 104-year history of Scripps Oceanography.

“Roger loved being at Scripps—it was always near and dear to his heart,” said Ellen Revelle. “Endowing a chair here in his honor seemed like a very appropriate thing to do.”

Funds for the endowed chair will be used to recruit an outstanding climate scientist for Scripps, one of the world’s foremost climate change research institutions.

“This enduring gift from our dear friend Ellen Revelle signifies a lifelong commitment that she and Roger shared with Scripps for more than half a century,” said Tony Haymet, director of Scripps. “Ellen has a vision for Scripps and our science, now and in the future, and we express our deepest gratitude to her and her family.” 

Roger Revelle, who died in 1991, was a world leader in the application of science and technology to help solve problems in developing countries. Revelle, an early voice advocating the serious study of climate change, is often described as the “grandfather of the greenhouse effect.”

Long associated with the University of California, Revelle was director of Scripps from 1951 to 1964.  His vision and energies led to the establishment of the UC San Diego campus in 1960, where he was a professor of science and public policy. In 1965, the first of UC San Diego’s six colleges was named Revelle College in his honor.

“Roger Revelle was a bold and legendary scientist of the first order as well as a visionary academic leader who built a powerful institution—UC San Diego—from the ground up,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “A good measure of UCSD’s success can be traced back to the strong foundation laid by Roger Revelle. This generous gift from the Revelle family helps ensure that Scripps Institution of Oceanography remains at the forefront of marine science and climate change research that is unparalleled in this country.”

— Cindy Clark and Shannon Casey


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