HIGHLANDS, N.J. – With a crash of the ceremonial champagne bottle, Monmouth University’s newest and largest research vessel was christened as the R/V Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe.
The 49-foot vessel (formerly the R/V Nauvoo) was named in memory of Heidi Lynn, a lifelong Shore area resident who loved to surf and spend time at the beach with her family and friends. Ms. Sculthorpe’s father, Robert B. Sculthorpe, is a graduate of Monmouth and former chair of the University Board of Trustees.
“For the next few decades, people in New York Harbor, Sandy Hook Bay, and along the beaches of the Jersey Shore, will see her name pass by them on the water every day,” Monmouth University President Grey Dimenna said during a naming ceremony held at Bahr’s Landing on Oct. 8. “It’s going to make them think about her, ask who she is, and build a strong association between Heidi Lynn, Monmouth University, and the ocean. That is a really special thing for us.”
“I have been proud to watch Monmouth’s marine programs grow into some of the finest in the country,” Mr. Sculthorpe said. “This vessel is an asset few universities can match, and will help Monmouth attract new students and expand its partnerships with other research institutions. I look forward to all of the new discoveries our students and faculty will make aboard the Heidi Lynn.”
The vessel was donated to Monmouth by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and launched this summer. Gifts from George Kolber, of Middletown, and the Fairleigh Dickinson Jr. Foundation made it possible for the University to restore the vessel and outfit it with enhanced technologies that will improve opportunities for students. The most recent donation from Mr. Sculthorpe, of New York City, will ensure the maintenance and operation of the vessel to support faculty and student research for years to come.
The acquisition of the Heidi Lynn will enable the University to conduct research, educational and contract work at a larger scale than ever before. It will also substantially enhance in-house research and monitoring capabilities to meet increasing faculty and student demand within the School of Science’s Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy program.
The vessel can take full classes and large groups on the water and work on the open ocean up to 20 nautical miles offshore. Overnight research trips on the water are now possible, as the vessel has a head and the capacity to berth seven.
Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Director Tony MacDonald noted that the name Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe “has long been in our DNA.” Since 2008, the UCI has awarded Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Summer Research Program grants to students for research activities that support the Institute’s mission. Recent projects include studies of Jersey Shore shark populations, the endangered Atlantic sturgeon’s feeding habits, and the resurgence of oysters in New York City area waters.
The University also owns two smaller research vessels, the 18-foot Little Hawk and 27-foot Seahawk.