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REF NO.: 85

SUBJECT: Future blue whale display at Memorial enabled by generous donation

DATE: Aug. 9

A generous donation to Memorial University will enable the display of a rare blue whale skeleton in the university’s new Core Science Facility when it opens in 2020.
 
Mark and Sandra Dobbin, along with Craig and Lisa Dobbin, have donated the core funding needed to allow the restoration and eventual installation of the whale skeleton. This significant gift has been made in honour of Mark and Craig’s mother, Eleanor “Penney” Dobbin.
 
“Memorial University is a cornerstone of our society and our economy in Newfoundland and Labrador, so supporting the university is always top of mind for me,” said Mark Dobbin. “Memorial is recognized internationally for research and expertise related to ocean sciences. Sandra, Craig, Lisa and I are all in agreement that this whale skeleton is an important and dramatic illustration of that fact.”
 
The Dobbins initially approached Memorial in May 2014, when two blue whale carcasses washed ashore in Western Newfoundland. The whale in Trout River was preserved by a team led by the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM); however, the expense and resources required to process a second whale located in Rocky Harbour put the recovery of that carcass in doubt. Thanks to the initiative taken by Mark and Sandra Dobbin and Craig and Lisa Dobbin, the blue whale skeleton was secured for Memorial University.
 
The Trout River blue whale skeleton was featured in the ROM’s Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story exhibit in Toronto, Ont. The Rocky Harbour blue whale skeleton will be installed on Memorial’s St. John’s campus as an educational and cultural artifact to benefit the university and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are as few as 5,000 blue whales left in the world and they are the largest animals to have ever lived. The Western North Atlantic population only numbers approximately 200-250 individuals and is designated as critically endangered. 
 
President Gary Kachanoski announced the gift at a special ceremony held on Thursday, Aug. 9, on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.
 
“The ability to display a blue whale skeleton in this way places Memorial among a select group worldwide,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “A rare gift like this, secured by a generous group of donors, not only sets our university apart, but will also provide an incredible learning experience for anyone who visits our Core Science Facility. We are delighted to celebrate the contributions of our alumni and friends, and, most importantly, say thank you.”

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For further information, please contact Lisa Pendergast, communications advisor, Office of Development, Memorial University, at (709) 864-2479 or lpendergast@mun.ca.

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