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50th Anniversary celebration kick-off

January 30, 2019 @ 3:35 pm - 4:35 pm

Photo of the old Venable Hall the original home of Marine Sciences on the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North CarolinaMASC 50th Anniversary celebration kick-off: Half a century of history from the Department of Marine Sciences

Please join us this Wednesday, January 30th at 3:35 pm in Murray G201 for a special two-part seminar celebrating the first fifty years of Marine Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill. Two of our department historians (and former department chairs) will share the story of how MASC evolved into the world-class program it is today.

Join us afterwards at Imbibe for Happy Hour!


Photo of John Bane PhD faculty member of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel HillMASC builds a home on campus (Dr. John Bane)

UNC’s Venable Halls and it’s Marine Sciences Curriculum-then-Department (MASC) have been dancing an elegant, fifty-year-long dance, from 1970 until this day.  In three rooms in the original Venable Hall, recently vacated by the Chemistry Department, MASC began to take concrete shape when geologist Conrad Neumann became the first faculty member appointed directly to MASC.  In the next three years, three more faculty were added: geochemist Chris Martens, marine biologist Dirk Frankenberg, and physical oceanographer John Bane.  More old empty rooms and labs in Venable were acquired, and we were off and running.  This truly was a case of “pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.”  The MASC faculty has now grown to more than four times its original number within the Department, plus a similar number of joint faculty from the IMS and several on-campus departments.  This year we are celebrating the Golden Anniversary of the creation of MASC, now settled into our home in the new Venable Hall, which has risen up on the very same ground as our original home quarters.


photo of Chris Martens PhD Distinguished Professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill“The First Hundred”: MASC beginnings and initial graduates (Dr. Chris Martens)

The Curriculum in Marine Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, led by faculty in the departments of Geology, Zoology, Botany and Environmental Sciences and Engineering, was established in 1968 following approval of the PhD program by the State Board of Higher Education. Graduate student enrollment had grown to 20 by 1971, when a proposal was made to formally establish a Department of Marine Sciences with new faculty appointments in MASC within the College of Arts and Sciences. An emphasis on cross-cutting research and coursework continued to attract excellent, independent students as the program’s national visibility grew. The first 100 graduates from those initial decades have gone on to outstanding academic, government and professional careers, many in prominent leadership positions around the country. We will continue to welcome them back for visits during our 50th year anniversary celebration.


Photo of UNC Marine Sciences students working on a Florida Bay project in the late 1990's


January 30, 2019
3:35 pm - 4:35 pm
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