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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse will receive the inaugural Admiral James D. Watkins Award for dedication to the oceans and ocean science from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
The ceremony will take place at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
The award is named after Navy Admiral James D. Watkins, who died in July. Watkins dedicated his life to public service with “extraordinary influence on the marine science community and ocean policy,” according to the consortium.
Watkins chaired the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, served as the chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of Energy, president of the Consortium for Ocean Research and Education, and established the National Ocean Science Bowl competition.
“The James D. Watkins Award is presented only when the highest standard of merit has been proven and recognizes those who have distinguished themselves as champions of ocean science through sponsorship of legislation, development of sound ocean policy, or promoting federal investment to advance the field of oceanography,” said a release from the nonprofit.
Whitehouse, a Democrat, was chosen for the inaugural award in recognition of his work as a founding co-chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus, his work with the National Endowment for the Oceans and for helping to pass the Estuary Restoration Act.
To commemorate the event, the URI Bay Campus is hosting a series of events from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday.
At 2 p.m. Robert Gagosian, president of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, will present a lecture called “Oceanography Amidst a Fiscal Cliff.” At 3 p.m., there will be a tour of GSO’s Inner Space Center and at 4 p.m., the senator will receive his award.
The lecture and award presentation will take place in the Corless Auditorium in the Watkins Building on URI’s Narragansett Bay Campus.