Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Oceanographer Who Discovered the Titanic to Visit ECU

Voyages of Discovery Series

August 24, 2017

By Lacey L. Gray
Director of Marketing and Communications
Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences

Robert Ballard

Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered the final resting place of the R.M.S. Titanic in 1985, will visit East Carolina University at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, in Wright Auditorium.


Ballard kicks off the Premier event in the 2017-18 season of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery Series, and will discuss “Human History Under Water.”


As an explorer, discoverer and historian, Ballard’s fascinating journeys can teach the audience a great deal about our past.


Throughout his career, Ballard has tracked down numerous significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier Yorktown (sunk during the WWII Battle of Midway) and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109.


However, Ballard believes his most important discoveries were hydrothermal vents and ‘black smokers’ in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979, along with the exotic life forms living off the energy of the Earth through a process now known as chemosynthesis. In addition, he spent 30 years at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he helped develop telecommunications technology that allows hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren to accompany him from afar on undersea explorations around the globe each year.


Ballard is a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and president of the Ocean Exploration Trust. He received a doctoral degree in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island and holds 21 honorary degrees and six military awards.


In 2001, Ballard returned to the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, where he currently serves as a tenured professor of oceanography, director of the Center for Ocean Exploration, and director of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography.


The Voyages of Discovery Series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, university organizations, and many friends and supporters.


Tickets for the Premier Speaker event are $25. Other event tickets for the season range from $15-$20. A season ticket package is available for $60. Tickets may be requested through the ECU Central Ticket Office by calling 1-800-ECU-ARTS (1-800-328-2787) or by visiting


Ballard’s presentation, which is a Wellness Passport Event, is free for ECU students. Tickets are required. To receive a free ticket, ECU students must go to the ECU Central Ticket Office, located in Mendenhall Student Center, and present his or her ECU One Card. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.


For additional information about the Voyages series, visit