Seeing the 113-foot wooden whaling ship and National Historic Landmark Charles W. Morgan last Saturday at the New Bedford state pier for the July Fourth celebration, I was awestruck by its majestic beauty and storied past. Built at Hillman Brothers shipyard in New Bedford and launched on July 21, 1841, it had embarked on 37 voyages in a whaling career that lasted 80 years. Imagine 30 to 35 men who would undertake an expedition of three to four years away from their families to hunt whales with harpoons and lances, anticipating lucrative rewards from the whale's blubber, spermaceti, and ambergris. As Eric Jay Dolin wrote in Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America:
"From the moment the Pilgrims landed until the early twentieth century, whaling was a powerful force in the evolution of the country. Much of America's culture, economy, and in fact its spirit were literally and figuratively rendered from the bodies of whales. "
What excitement to witness the July Fourth fireworks celebration, spearheaded by Mayor Jon Mitchell and Whaling Museum President James Russell, with the Charles W. Morgan as a backdrop! With food, drink, and friendly banter at the festival, I enjoyed meeting two of our alumni who serve in New Bedford: Steve Martins, a Political Science graduate who is a City Councilor, and Renee Fernandes Abbott, an Accounting degree recipient who is the Treasurer and Tax Collector. Councilor Martins also actively volunteers as Vice President of the UMassD Alumni Association. Kudos to Professors Shannon Jenkins and Doug Roscoe for the notable role they played in mentoring Councilor Martins!
I know you are disappointed, as was I, that tropical storm Arthur derailed our Freedom Festival this year, but we are rescheduling the event in the Fall semester to be timed with our alumni homecoming. Stay tuned!
Professor Sigal Gottlieb was the opening plenary speaker on the topic "Strong Stability Preserving Time Discretization" at the International Conference on Spectral and High Order Methods in Salt Lake City in June. At the same conference, three of our faculty members presented at mini-symposiums: Professor Alfa Heryudono on "Radial Basis Function Collocation Method in Block Pseudospectral Mode," Professor Yanlai Chen on "Parametrically Preconditioned Spectral Collocation Methods with Model Reduction," and Professor Akil Narayan on "Adaptive High-Order Smolyak-Leja Approximations for Systems with High-Dimensional Random Inputs." As well, Mathematics graduate student Zach Grant presented "Optimal Explicit Strong Stability Preserving Runge-Kutta Methods with High Linear Order and Optimal Non-Linear Order." Hats off to them for representing UMassD exceptionally well at this prestigious conference!
Congratulations to Professor Carlos Almeida and three students who have just returned from a two-week trip to Cape Verde. The students -- Erica Dias, President; Rubem Lopes, Vice President; and Sara Dolloff, Secretary, of our Cape Verdean Student Association -- distributed educational supplies to students at the Cova Figueira High School on Fogo island.
If you missed the UMassD 50th anniversary alumni recognition page in the June 22 issue of the Boston Globe, I am attaching a copy here for your perusal (click here). We are indebted to Vice Chancellor Renee Buisson, Rachel Cocroft, and Mike Mahoney, whose professional and imaginative work has earned the campus profuse praise.
This week, on Thursday at 5:00 PM at the Nonquitt Casino, we launch our summer lecture series, beginning with Law School Associate Professor Hillary Farber who will present "Eyes in the Sky: Constitutional and Regulatory Approaches to Domestic Drone Deployment."
I was just informed that our alumnus Captain Kevin O'Neil, a military judge with the U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps -- whom I had the opportunity to visit last April during our alumni trip to California -- successfully underwent heart and kidney transplants this past weekend. You will recall that Kevin, who received his B.S. Mathematics magna cum laude at UMass Dartmouth, joined us at our Blue Out alumni homecoming last year. Let us pause and pray for Captain O'Neil's continued recovery.
Enjoy the magnificent but fleeting summer days!