From the President’s Office – 9/27/2012
Yesterday was a special day for my wife Susan and me as we were honored to be able to attend Admiral Watkins’ burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. A service was held at the Old Post Chapel where Admiral Mike Mullin, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave a warm remembrance of the Admiral as “a moral man” articulating personal examples of how much the Admiral had affected his life. The burial was with full military honors from the Navy band to cannons to a 21-gun salute. But, the most memorable part of the ceremony occurred when all was quiet. At that point, four Navy jets went screaming overhead at low altitude, and as they went off into the distance, one jet climbed vertically and disappeared into the clouds. I am sure it was one of the most moving and emotional moments for many of us who attended. The Admiral would have loved it. So, it was a special day here in the nation’s capital.
In honor of Admiral Watkins, who dedicated so much of his life to public service and had a remarkable effect on the ocean science and policy community, Ocean Leadership has created the Admiral James D. Watkins Award to recognize outstanding contributions to ocean research and education. This Award will be 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. During this inaugural year, we are honoring the co-founders of the Senate Oceans Caucus. I will be traveling to the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography next week, where we will be presenting the first awardee, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, with this distinction.
Currently, the House and Senate are on recess and will convene after the November elections. As expected and discussed last week, however, the Senate did pass the six-month Continuing Resolution over the weekend to keep the federal agencies working through March 2013.
Have a wonderful fall weekend.