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Released April 12, 2005

SOUTHERN MISS' GCRL TO CELEBRATE 50 OF YEARS OF SERVICE

Hattiesburg- The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory invites former students and instructors to take a cruise down memory lane - or boat channel - during a rechristening celebration for the lab's oldest research vessel on April 16 at 11:45 a.m.

Since 1955, college students from states along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers have come to the GCRL and boarded the 38-foot trawler R/V Hermes to learn firsthand about Mississippi's marine environments.

The Hermes Homecoming will be celebrated by a full day of events in honor of the boat's 50 years of service to the Mississippi marine education and research. A highlight will be the rechristening ceremony in anticipation of the next half century of service.

As part of the celebration, marine biologist David Burke will present a look at the vessel's role in the history of the lab, the community and the lives of students and instructors. Burke has become an authority on the boat, which he suspects is the oldest piece of equipment in continuous use on the state's inventory.

The Hermes was named in honor of Senator Hermes Gautier, a Jackson County legislator who worked diligently to secure the boat for the lab.

Opportunities for participants in the homecoming will also include cruises on the Hermes, a hospitality room of photos, displays and antique scientific equipment, free admission to the GCRL's J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium, and a Hermes Reunion Reception in the evening.

Marie Caylor Wilson, daughter of GCRL founder Richard L. Caylor, originally christened the Hermes and will return to rechristen the newly refurbished vessel.

Cost per person for day activities only, including light lunch, is $10. Cost per person for all day and evening activities or for the evening Hermes Reunion Reception is $25. For more information or a registration form, call (228) 872-4200 or visit www.usm.edu/gcrl.

The GCRL is a unit of the university's College of Science and Technology.

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April 20, 2005 3:42 PM