Jean-Michel Cousteau, Richard Harris, and Paul WhitworthFoundation dinner honorees—Left to right: Jean-Michel Cousteau, Richard Harris, Paul Whitworth. The Cowell Foundation will also be honored at the dinner.

Foundation Forum: Cousteau and Harris to discuss gulf oil spill

Jean-Michel Cousteau and Richard Harris will discuss the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, at this year's UCSC Foundation Forum. The forum will take place during the afternoon of Friday, October 22.

A brown-bag lunch event, "A Report from the Gulf" is free and open to the public.

The forum begins at noon at the Rittenhouse Building, 1375 Pacific Avenue, in downtown Santa Cruz.

Seating is limited, and complimentary tickets can be reserved at: santacruztickets.com.

See related story for details about Foundation Forum. 

UC Santa Cruz will host its fourth annual Founders Day gala dinner at Santa Cruz's Cocoanut Grove on Friday, October 22, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Launched in 2007 to celebrate the spirit of community that resulted in the founding of a University of California campus in Santa Cruz, the event recognizes and honors extraordinary individuals and their outstanding contributions to society.

This year's featured honorees will be:

  • Jean-Michel Cousteau (UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal): Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, will be honored for his investigation of the world's oceans.
  • S. H. Cowell Foundation (Fiat Lux Award): The S. H. Cowell Foundation will be honored for the seminal role of the Cowell family in the founding of UC Santa Cruz and recognized for its legacy of charitable support.
  • Richard Harris (Alumni Achievement Award): Award-winning journalist Richard Harris (Crown '80) will be honored for his reporting on science issues for NPR.
  • Paul Whitworth (Faculty Research Lecturer): Professor of Theatre Arts Paul Whitworth, a professional theater actor and director, as well as former artistic director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, will be honored for his extensive experience in the performance of the plays of Shakespeare.

With a theme of "Decades of Discovery," the evening will include a celebratory dinner, awards presentation ceremony, and video tributes to each of the award recipients. The dinner's honorary co-chairs will be Sam Farr, U.S. congressman (D-CA); Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and UCSC graduate (B.A. Biology, Crown College, 1974; M.A. Biology, 1978; and Jack O’Neill, founder of O’Neill.

Jean-Michel Cousteau has investigated the world’s oceans aboard Calypso and Alcyone for much of his life. Honoring his heritage, Jean-Michel founded the nonprofit marine conservation and education organization Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work. Ocean Futures Society aims to communicate the critical bond between people and the sea and the importance of wise environmental policy.

Cousteau has produced more than 80 films, received the Emmy, the Peabody Award, and the Cable Ace Award.

As chairman of the board and president of Ocean Futures Society, Jean-Michel travels the world, meeting with leaders and policymakers at the grassroots level and at the highest echelons of government and business. He is dedicated to educating young people, documenting stories of change and hope, and lending his reputation and support to energize alliances for positive change.

The S. H. Cowell Foundation gave a generous gift of support toward the construction and naming of UCSC's first college and namesake landmark, Cowell College, as well as toward the construction of the Cowell Student Health Center. UC Santa Cruz is located on the previous site of Cowell Ranch.

Since 1964, the S. H. Cowell Foundation has made almost $4 million in gifts to UC Santa Cruz, including major support to the New Teacher Center and, most recently, a donation to help pay for the stabilization of the Cooperage in the Cowell Limeworks Historic District at the entrance to campus.

The foundation was established in 1956 through a bequest from Samuel Henry Cowell (1861-1955). His father, Henry Cowell, migrated to California during the Gold Rush and made a sizeable fortune in the building materials, drayage, and storage industries. S. H. continued and expanded the family business to include a significant real estate portfolio throughout Northern California--more than 80,000 acres of land in all.

Since its inception, the S. H. Cowell Foundation has made more than $246 million in grants to 2,017 organizations.

Award-winning journalist Richard Harris (biology, Crown '80) reports on science issues for NPR's newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Harris, who joined NPR in 1986, has gone to the ends of the Earth for the media organization. He has traveled to Timbuktu to witness how climate change is forcing nomadic tribes to give up their wandering lives for a more sedentary existence; he's climbed the ice-shrouded Mt. Erebus in Antarctica to watch a volcanologist at work; he's stood beside a charismatic Maasai named Samuel Pilipili as the man administered daily doses of tuberculosis medicine to fellow tribe members in Kenya in an effort to cut the disease’s deadly toll.

All of this was done, not for adventure, but to help people learn about scientific discoveries and challenges in our world today.

Harris's latest assignment has been covering the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Paul Whitworth, professor of Theatre Arts at UCSC, is also a professional actor and director. He earned an M.A. in modern languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Quechua, and Guarani) from University of St. Andrews in Scotland, after which he was awarded a Carnegie Scholarship to pursue research in 17th century Spanish drama at the University of Oxford.

His professional acting career began at the Royal Shakespeare Company where, between 1976 and 1982, he performed in numerous productions modern and Shakespearean in London, Newcastle, and Stratford-upon-Avon.

Whitworth's interest in combining performance and scholarship led him to Shakespeare Santa Cruz, where he has performed in, directed, or produced 56 shows. He led the company as artistic director from 1996 to 2007.

Whitworth has performed and directed in many regional theatres in the United Kingdom and in the United States and received numerous Bay Area awards for acting, directing, and producing.


The Founders Day Dinner begins with a 6:30 reception; dinner follows at 7:30.

The cost is $95; to register go to: http://www.ucsc.edu/founders/

For more information: