Oystoberfest draws large crowd of Bay supporters
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science hosted an oyster roast on its Gloucester Point campus on October 23rd to celebrate its 75th anniversary, as well as recent breakthroughs in aquaculture research.
The event—“Oystoberfest”—gave local supporters and Chesapeake Bay enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy an evening of live music, bratwurst, craft beer, and all-you-can-eat oysters. In addition to the festivities, a portion of each ticket purchase will benefit research, education, and advisory service activities at VIMS.
Held in conjunction with William & Mary’s homecoming weekend, more than 100 people came to VIMS to show their support and enjoy a night on the banks of the York River. Guests included local community members and W&M alumni, as well as VIMS faculty, staff, and students.
House Delegate Keith Hodges (R-98TH) attended the event and presented VIMS Dean and Director John Wells with a resolution in honor of the Institute’s 75th year. The resolution—introduced in August by U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and U.S. Representative Rob Wittman—expresses the Virginia lawmakers’ appreciation for the more than seven decades of service to the environment by faculty, staff, and students at VIMS and in William & Mary's School of Marine Science.
“Chesapeake Bay is one of Virginia’s most valuable natural resources,” says Hodges. “VIMS research has brought critical insights into issues affecting the Bay and its rivers, and has established itself as a leader in the field of marine science. I was delighted to attend Oystoberfest and present the resolution congratulating VIMS for 75 years of dedication to scientific achievement and academic excellence.”
Wells, along with VIMS Foundation president Stephen Johnsen, welcomed the audience to VIMS and gave a brief overview of how far the Institute has come since its humble beginnings in 1940. “We appreciate everyone who came out to show their support for our efforts, especially those who chose Oystoberfest as one of their destinations to celebrate homecoming,” says Wells.
In addition to it being homecoming, the weekend also marked a big moment in the life of W&M and VIMS, with the university embarking on the largest fundraising initiative in its 323-year history. For the Bold: The Campaign for William & Mary has an overall goal of raising $1 billion by 2020, with $35 million of that goal allocated to VIMS.
VIMS alumnus Charles Natale and his company ESS Group, Inc. served as one of the event sponsors, and Natale recognized VIMS Emeritus Professor Maurice (Mo) Lynch and his wife Virginia (Gin) for being the longest supporting donors on record. Lynch, who started his career at VIMS as a student in the 1960s, has been giving back to the Institute for 35 years.
“I was honored to be part of this celebration,” says Natale. “I was also thrilled to present the Institute’s deepest gratitude by recognizing Mo and Gin not only for their years of consistent giving to VIMS, but also their long term association and service for the advancement of the Institute and its students and faculty.”
“It was a wonderful evening on the water celebrating VIMS’ anniversary by savoring oysters that—without VIMS—would undoubtedly not be available,” says Johnsen.
The event was sponsored by Phillips Energy Inc., Waypoint Seafood & Grill, Henry and Nancy George, Blue Water Yacht Sales and Chris Hall, ESS Group, Inc. and Charlie Natale, Doug and Janis Wood, Dare Marina, Ann Baise, Steve Johnsen, John and Patsy Wells, Rob and Jennifer Latour, and Wyndham Price. Slapnation Band served as the live musical entertainment for the evening.