VIMS alumnus Marvin Hedgepeth (M.A. ’75) has created a life based on the influence of two great men—Arthur Ashe and Jacques Cousteau. Hedgepeth says inspiration drawn from Cousteau’s scientific explorations, and Ashe’s superb tennis skills, have made him who he is today.
Growing up in such close proximity to Gloucester Point, Hedgepeth was familiar with VIMS and its reputation. “Once I was influenced by Cousteau, and made the decision not to go to med school, I applied to the graduate program at VIMS and was lucky enough to get accepted,” he says.
Hedgepeth studied biological oceanography during his time at VIMS, with the main focus a study of enzymes in clams and oysters. On graduation, Hedgepeth knew his days in the lab were behind him. He served as Marine Science Coordinator at the Math and Science Center in Richmond before realizing that his real passion was to share what he had learned about the ocean with young people.
A recent retiree from the Newport News public school system, Hedgepeth has spent more than 38 years as an educator, teaching marine biology, marine ecology, and oceanography in local classrooms, including stints at Menchville High School and Hampton University.
After making the tough decision to retire, Hedgepeth’s found himself back in the classroom. He currently teaches marine biology and life science at Hampton Roads Academy. “I’m having a ball at HRA,” says Hedgepeth. “It’s like a close-knit family here, much like VIMS.”