Above: Dr. Steve Culver, chair of geological sciences, works with a student at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) on core samples from the South China Sea.Previous page: Culver with UMT professor Noor Azhar Mohd Shazili in the bowels of the Smithsonian Institution with a T. rex. skull. (Contributed photos.)Below, right: Examples of beautiful microfossils from the South China Sea. (Image by ECU graduate student S. Martin.)Bottom page: Left - Culver (age 9) with his rock and fossil collection. Right - Culver's father lets the pigeons out for their daily exercise. (Contributed photos.)
December 12, 2017
Culver, chair of East Carolina University’s Department of Geological Sciences,
has received an honorary doctorate from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. UMT is
the designated marine science university in Malaysia, and Culver has been
working with the university’s Institute of Oceanography for the past 10 years on
collaborative, international field work and teaching short-courses to UMT
While Culver was
not able to attend the university convocation to receive his honorary
doctorate, which was presented by the Queen of Malaysia on Nov. 18, he provided
a response that was read during the ceremony.
“The receipt of
an honorary doctorate from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu is, indeed, a great honor,”
said Culver. “I received my Ph.D. in oceanography in 1976, and now, 41 years
on, giving a nice symmetry to my career, I receive another doctorate in
He said his
honorary doctorate represents the pinnacle of his career.
“I cannot think
of a recognition that would mean more to me or give me more pleasure. I am
truly humbled,” said Culver.
In addition to
his thanks, Culver also recognized the UMT colleagues he has worked with and
encouraged the graduating students to know their strengths and weaknesses and
to set goals that employ those strengths.
with UMT has resulted in a number of successes for ECU and UMT students and
Along with ECU
geological sciences faculty Drs. Dave Mallinson and Reide Corbett, Culver
visited Malaysia several times to conduct field work with Malaysian colleagues
and students. This international collaboration resulted in a National Science Foundation
grant awarded to ECU, seven peer-reviewed publications with more to come, and
ECU graduate students undertaking field work in Malaysia and conducting thesis
projects on Malaysian marine geology in the South China Sea.
Born in 1952 in
Blackpool, Lancashire, England, Culver is the son of a stay-at-home mother and
an entrepreneurial father. Both of his parents left school at the age of 14,
but they encouraged and nurtured Culver’s interest in paleontology.
Although Culver has worked
his entire career in academics, he believes in leading a balanced life. He
played soccer for five decades, has run 10 marathons, has a black belt in tai
kwon do, and when he was a child, he raced pigeons with his father on weekends
during the summers. Culver said pigeon racing is just like horse racing, only