Ocean explorer who discovered Titanic wreckage to speak at WKU

Dr. Robert Ballard, a famed marine geologist and deep-sea explorer, will deliver a keynote...
Dr. Robert Ballard, a famed marine geologist and deep-sea explorer, will deliver a keynote address at Western Kentucky University's Van Meter Auditorium Oct. 10 as a part of the university's President Speaker Series.(Mal Ludgate ACS Mal Ludgate AC | Photo provided by Western Kentucky University)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:10 AM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – A famed marine geologist and deep-sea explorer is slated to give a presentation at Western Kentucky University this fall.

Dr. Robert Ballard, best known for his discoveries of wrecked ships around the world like the R.M.S. Titanic and the German battleship Bismark, will deliver a presentation at Van Meter Auditorium Oct. 10. The announcement was made by WKU on Tuesday.

Dr. Ballard, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, will speak as a part of the university’s Presidential Speaker Series, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled to kick off the series with a true visionary and trailblazer,” said WKU President Timothy Caboni. “This series reflects our commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity, innovation and lifelong learning. Dr. Ballard’s insights will not only inspire our students, faculty and staff but will also resonate with a broad audience eager to explore the unknown.”

The keynote address titled “Deep Sea Exploration: Past, Present, and Future” offers a journey through Ballard’s career as a marine geologist and deep-sea explorer.

Dr. Ballard also discovered the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the wreck of John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 and the first hydrothermal vents in the Galapagos Rift in 1977. His work has taken him on more than 165 explorations.

“I grew up wanting to be Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” said Ballard, who is the recipient of 23 honorary doctorates. “I’m honored to be the first speaker in the WKU Presidential Speaker Series, and I look forward to sharing stories of my explorations with the university and Bowling Green community as we dive into the mysteries of the ocean together.”

The WKU Presidential Speaker Series will bring to campus influential voices from diverse fields of study including science, arts, technology and public policy, WKU said.

“I hope that this series will contribute to thought-provoking dialogue on campus and intellectual growth in our community,” Caboni said.

The presentation begins at 7 p.m. and doors will open at 6:15 p.m. The presentation is open to WKU students, faculty and staff along with the general public. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information about the Presidential Speaker Series, visit www.wku.edu/presidentialspeakerseries.