South Carolina Aquarium Conservation Gala



Environmental Stewardship Award Recipient

Dr. Robert D. Ballard
President, Ocean Exploration Center and Ocean Exploration Trust

Best known for his 1985 discovery of the TITANIC, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous other significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship BISMARCK, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the U.S. aircraft carrier YORKTOWN (sunk in the World War II Battle of Midway), and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109.

While those discoveries have captured the imagination of the public, Dr. Ballard believes his most important discoveries were of hydrothermal vents and “black smokers” in the Galapagos Rift and East Pacific Rise in 1977 and 1979 along with their exotic life forms living off the energy of the Earth through a process now called chemosynthesis.

In addition to being a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence and a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, Dr. Ballard is the president of the Ocean Exploration Center (OEC) at Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT.

Dr. Ballard has 21 honorary degrees and six military awards. He was also a Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the Navy from 1967 to 1997.  He received the National Geographic Society’s prestigious Hubbard Medal in 1996 for “extraordinary accomplishments in coaxing secrets from the world’s oceans and engaging students in the wonder of science.”   Dr. Ballard has published numerous books, scientific papers, and a dozen articles in National Geographic magazine.   Dr. Ballard also has been featured in several National Geographic television programs, including the record-breaking “Secrets of the TITANIC.”

His discoveries also include sunken remains of ships along ancient trade routes in the Mediterranean Sea; two ancient Phoenician ships off Israel, the oldest shipwrecks ever found in deep water; and four 1,500-year-old wooden ships, one almost perfectly preserved in the Black Sea.  Dr. Ballard’s Black Sea project seeks evidence of a great flood that may have struck the region thousands of years ago.

An explorer, discoverer and historian, Dr. Ballard’s fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and they have encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.



Evening Schedule

6 p.m.

Cocktail Reception

7 p.m.

Seated Dinner and Awards Ceremony
Liberty Square

9:30 p.m.



Event DRS
Event Talent Resources
Hamby Catering and Events
JMC Events
Production Design Associates
Snyder Event Rental


Presenting Sponsor

Platinum Sponsor
Mary and Mason Holland

Silver Sponsor
LS3P Associates
Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough
TD Bank
The Boeing Company
Santee Cooper

Lead Sponsor
College of Charleston Foundation
Esther and Jim Ferguson
Laura and Bill Hewitt
Alexandra Samra

Host Sponsor
Pam and Ambrose Dittloff
Nedra and Bruce Hecker
Peg and Don Higgins

Gala Chairs

Kelly Carr & Bryan Sherbacow
Erica & Dixon Woodward

Patron Committee

Gretchen & Thompson Penney
Reba & Harry Huge
Jack Mitchell
Catherine & Hilton Smith
Laura & Jonathan Zucker

More Information

For more information, contact
Tanya Fitzgerald
(843) 579-8540