It is with great sadness that the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) has received news of the passing of former President, Trustee, and Life Trustee Dr. W. Redwood Wright on May 8, 2017.
Redwood became involved with BIOS, then called the Bermuda Biological Station for Research (BBSR), in the early 1970’s following in the footsteps of his parents Sidney and Catherine Wright who had a long affiliation with the organization. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1972 and served as its Secretary for 5 years; and in 1977 he was elected as President.
“Redwood, in his quiet unassuming way, led BBSR through a decade of increased scientific activity, while improving the recognition and acceptance of the institution in Bermuda,” said Dr. Idwal Wyn Hughes, BIOS Trustee. During Redwood’s tenure as President the organization successfully completed its first major capital campaign, A Quantum Leap. As Redwood stated at the time, “I like to think of our Quantum Leap as stimulating the Bermuda Biostation to a new pitch of activity – while yet remaining a small institution.” This campaign was responsible for initiating renovations to the main building on BBSR’s campus and procuring the research vessel Weatherbird. A seagoing oceanographer himself, Redwood helped to crew the R/V Weatherbird during its voyage to Bermuda in what turned out to be a very memorable trip during a January gale. Redwood also played an instrumental role in the evolution of the Hydrostation ‘S’ program, which continues today and is recognized as one of longest-running ocean-measurement programs in the world. During his tenure as President, several endowed funds were established to support BBSR’s library and the organization’s resident and visiting researchers – funds that continue to strengthen the institution at its core, today and in perpetuity. Redwood contributed personally to the funds at their inception, and continued his support for the decades that followed. In 1986, the main building on BBSR’s campus was renamed Wright Hall in honor of the Wright family’s long-standing dedication and generosity. Redwood stepped down as President in 1986, and became a Life Trustee in 1991.
Sadly, Redwood’s wife Mary passed away on February 22, 2017, separating a couple that was very much a team in every way. "Being in the presence of Redwood and Mary was an inspiring experience,” recalled Dr. John W. Farrington, BIOS Trustee Emeritus. “BIOS was just one of several activities in which they were engaged. They were active citizens – in all of the honorable and positive meanings of the word citizen – of their community, country and the world." Over the years, the couple attracted numerous like-minded people to BIOS’s family of dedicated supporters. “Redwood encouraged me to join BBSR’s Board of Trustees in 1982, and who could refuse him?” said Dr. James N. Galloway, BIOS Trustee. “I have been eternally grateful to him ever since, as the past 35 years have been very fulfilling not only in terms of helping BIOS carry out its mission, but also because of the wonderful people my wife and I have met as a result of our friendship with Redwood and Mary.”