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Dr. John Knauss

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Dr. John Knauss Obituary
KNAUSS, DR. JOHN A. founding Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) at the University of Rhode Island and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1989 to 1993 died peacefully at home on November 19th following a period of declining health in Saunderstown, RI, where he had lived for the last 53 years. He was 90 years old at the time of his death. He was predeceased by his wife Lynne and is survived by his sons Karl and William. As founding Dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography, he created an oceanographic institution in 1962 at the University of Rhode Island that became nationally and internationally recognized for its breadth of oceanographic and marine programs. He was widely viewed as an international leader in oceanography and marine policy over a long and productive career. John Knauss was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 1, 1925 to Karl and Louise Knauss. He received his B.S. in meteorology from MIT in 1946, a M.S. in Physics from the University of Michigan in 1949 and his Ph.D. in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1959. In his Ph.D. dissertation, he made the first comprehensive measurements of the Pacific Equatorial Undercurrent, demonstrated this to be a major component of the Pacific Ocean circulation, and went on to discover a similar current in the Indian Ocean. Aside from the establishment of GSO, one of John's most enduring accomplishments was his collaboration with Senator Claiborne Pell and Dr. Athelstan Spilhaus to create the Sea Grant Program. In recognition of John's leadership role, the Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship was named for him in 1979. Dean Knauss was involved with a number of important national initiatives during his career. He was a member of the influential Stratton Commission and the only academic oceanographer on the commission that produced the report, Our Nation and the Sea: A Plan for National Action, in 1969 which resulted in the creation of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the formation of the Coastal Zone Management Act. He was passionate about preserving freedom of research on the high seas. As a delegate to the Law of the Sea he was critical to discussions aimed at insuring access for research on continental margins beyond the 200-mile limit. He served on many national and international organizations and committees during the course of his career including being President of the Oceanography Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and later as the President of the AGU, Board of Directors of the National Oceanography Association, President of the Association of Sea Grant Program Institutions, Vice President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Chair of the Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences, and Chair of the University- National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS). John received a number of awards and honors in recognition of his contributions to oceanography and marine affairs including the National Sea Grant Award, Rhode Island Science and Technology Award, Ocean Sciences Award from the Ocean Sciences Section of the AGU, the Waldo E. Smith award for lifetime achievement from the AGU, and the Ram Award of the URI Alumni Association. He was a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, and the Marine Technology Society. He was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 1983 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Rhode Island in 1992. Besides his considerable professional achievements John will be mostly missed for his kindness, humor and humility; a genuinely good man who did many great things. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his memory to the John A. Knauss Fund for Oceanographic Excellence, or to the . Contributions can be made payable to the "URI Foundation" with "John A. Knauss Fund for Oceanographic Excellence" in the subject line, and mailed to: URI Foundation, PO Box 1700, Kingston, RI 02881. A memorial gathering will be held Saturday, December 5th at the Village Inn (One Beach Street, Narragansett, RI) and will be from 3:00 - 6:00PM with remarks at 4:00PM. Visit Nardolillo.com for online condolences.
Published in The Providence Journal from Nov. 25 to Nov. 29, 2015
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