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Meanwhile, back on shore
by -- May 9th, 2010

Peter Brucato and Pat Jolie

Peter Brucato and Pat Jolie

The celebration included lots of dry-land exercises too.

For many of the 150 or so anniversary attendees who weren’t inclined to ride boats or step on little crabs in the dark, there were some high-level lectures by Marine Lab faculty in the gorgeous Marguerite Kent Repass Center.

Lisa Campbell talked about her studies of the Down East people and their relationship to the land and the water. Orrin Pilkey shared his dire predictions for sea level rise and what it will do to human-built structures, including entire cities that pretty much have to move out of harm’s way or be consumed by the waves.

During the mid-day break, I noticed New York plates on a hybrid car in the parking lot and a guy in a tie-died Ben & Jerry’s shirt standing next to it. Just what you’d expect, right? Not exactly. Peter Brucato is a financial advisor, and what the alumni association calls a “triple-Dukie”: undergrad, masters and PhD. Peter spent just six weeks out of his 10-year Duke career at the lab during one summer semester. But he’s been smitten ever since. The Marine Lab is a unique kind of learning community, he says. You get to share meals with professors and see them one on one, and really get to see them as people, not just talking heads.

Peter just couldn’t get enough of  Larry Crowder’s afternoon lecture on large marine animals — tuna, turtles and whales — and was the last person to leave. That’s what the alumni association folks call life-long learning.

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