Founded in 1903, SIO, affiliated with UC San Diego, is one of the world’s oldest, largest and most important centers for global science research. Scripps’ mission is to seek, teach and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, atmosphere and Earth sciences for the benefit of society and the environment.
Stuart J. Krantz, SIO’s executive director of development, told Rotarians the institution was initially housed in the Del Coronado boathouse and was started by zoologist William Ritter of UC Berkeley.
“Ritter wanted to better understand the marine environment,” said Krantz, noting with the patronage of E.W. Scripps and Ellen Browning Scripps, Ritter was able to do exactly that.
“They found this nice piece of (oceanfront) property, 170 acres, which at that time was Pueblo land, which had no buildings on it that nobody wanted in La Jolla Shores,” said Krantz. “The Scripps gave it to Ritter for his marine biology station at that time.”
Krantz said SIO has “a very large education program” with 250 Ph.D. students and extensive outreach to regional K-12 schools, including Birch Aquarium at Scripps.
“The leading oceano-graphers around the world, many of them study at Scripps,” said Krantz, noting SIO has numerous research laboratories, as well as two research vessels that traverse the globe.
Krantz said a new SIO vessel, The Sally Ride, is under construction and will be ready in 2015. He added some two million items are contained in Scripps’ marine and geological samples collection that goes back “almost 100 years.”
Dr. Margaret Leinen, SIO’s new director, is taking a progressive stance in moving the institution forward, Krantz said.
“She’s told us we need to have a much more outward focus, as historically we’ve been more inwardly focused,” he said, adding SIO plans to be more forthright about letting people know “the impacts we are having,” while continuing to educate the public about “serious environmental challenges” confronting the world on a number of fronts.
Rotary International is an international service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
“There are 1.2 million Rotarians in the world with more than 54,000 clubs,” said Gordon Shurtleff, Torrey Pines Rotary Club president.
Torrey Pines Rotary Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The group meets Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Rock Bottom Brewery, 8980 Villa La Jolla Drive.