When Chuck Epifanio joined the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies in 1971, he was a junior member of the staff. Today he is the last remaining faculty member from that time period. And that is a good thing, as he can recount the history of what has evolved into the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment.
Epifanio will present “History of Marine Science at UD: A Wild, Wet and Windy Journey” at the Friday, March 21 program of the Lewes Historical Society beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Lewes Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall on Kings Highway, Lewes.
Epifanio has served as researcher, professor, associate director, interim director and associate dean during his tenure. In the more than 60 years since the University of Delaware’s marine science program was established in Lewes, it has grown from a small unit operating in a high school basement to one of the most prestigious in the nation. Originally founded to help with diminishing fisheries in Delaware Bay, the program has since expanded and evolved just as much as the community around it.
He says reading memoirs of two professors who preceded him at the University gave him the impetus to dig deeper into the history of the College of Marine Studies. His illustrated presentation, he said, “is not going to be dry, no pun intended. It is going to be real stories about real people. My talk will take historic dates and put real-world context to them by providing relatable events. It’s been impressive to watch the program grow and evolve to keep in lockstep with surrounding community, particularly the demographics, land use, population growth and especially the problems that have risen from these changes and growth.”
Epifanio will divide the program into three segments: early history from 1940-70, the middle period beginning with the creation of the College of Marine Studies, and finally the current times marked by the expansion and renaming as the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and its attendant School of Marine Science and Policy in 2009.
An expert in the growth and development of fish and crustaceans, Epifanio is currently working on development models for blue crab recruitment - the addition of a new cohort of juveniles to a population - and factors that affect it.
The public is cordially invited to attend this talk highlighting the history of the College of Marine Studies. Light refreshments will be served following the presentation. For more information about The Lewes Historical Society, go to www.historiclewes.org.