National Maritime History Society to honor ECU professor emeritus

Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, East Carolina University professor emeritus of maritime studies and Honors College faculty fellow, will be honored this fall by the National Maritime Historical Society. Runyan will receive the David A. O’Neil Sheet Anchor Award at the New York Yacht Club on Oct. 25.

Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, pictured on the deck of the 1607 replica vessel Godspeed in Jamestown, Va, where he spoke at the launch of the vessel.

Dr. Timothy J. Runyan, pictured on the deck of the 1607 replica vessel Godspeed in Jamestown, Va, where he spoke at the launch of the vessel. (Contributed photos)

“I am very flattered; so very surprised to learn that I was selected for this prestigious award,” said Runyan.
The award honors Runyan’s years of dedicated service as a trustee for the National Maritime Historical Society and for his advocacy of maritime heritage preservation in the United States.
“Dr. Runyan is being recognized for his extraordinary leadership in building the strength and outreach of the society,” wrote Wendy Paggiotta, vice president of the NMHS.
As a trustee for the NMHS, Runyan serves as a member of the executive committee, chair of the advocacy committee and chairman of the editorial advisory board of Sea History magazine.
Since 2015, his advocacy with the U.S. Congress has resulted in nearly $10 million in federal funding for a grant program in maritime heritage. More than 100 organizations have received awards through the program, including a $200,000 grant to the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, a $46,000 grant to the Core Sound and Waterfowl Museum on Harker’s Island and a $144,500 grant, awarded in 2016, to ECU’s Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Laboratory.
Runyan aboard a sailboat in Annapolis, Md.

Runyan aboard a sailboat in Annapolis, Md.

“Every organization that has received a National Maritime Heritage Grant has Dr. Runyan to thank, as he spearheaded the effort to restore funding for the grants program in his role as chair of the National Maritime Alliance,” wrote Paggiotta.
During his 23-year career at ECU, Runyan served as director of the master’s program in Maritime History and Underwater Archaeology, later renamed the Program in Maritime Studies. He served as acting director, and later, director of the program, was a senior research associate to the vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, and a faculty member of the ECU Institute for Coastal Science and Policy.
Runyan received his doctorate from the University of Maryland and studied at the University of London. Additional faculty appointments included Cleveland State University and Oberlin College. From 2007 to 2011, he was invited to serve as acting manager of the Maritime Heritage Program at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries — the largest maritime heritage program in the federal government – before returning to ECU as a faculty member in the newly established Honors College.
-by Lacey L. Gray, University Communications