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The 114th Explorers Club Annual Dinner

Described by James Cameron as “the Academy Awards of Exploration,” The Explorers Club is proud to once again host the world's largest gathering of explorers, with our 114th Explorers Club Annual Dinner. Honoring the world’s leading explorers and field scientists since 1904, more than 1,200 explorers and guests will converge on Times Square at the Marriott Marquis on March 10th, 2018.

This year, we look at Next Generation Exploration: Frontiers, Technology, Innovators

Upon his recognition at our 109th Annual Dinner, the late John Glenn defined exploration as curiosity in action:

“…and if you think about it, curiosity is far more than just wanting to go and look at some new scenery someplace—it’s an attitude...Our whole history has been one of dragon pushing. Pushing dragons back off the edge and filling in gaps on the maps.”

ECAD 2018 will provide guests with a look at the new frontiers being driven by that insatiable curiosity in action, the technologies being developed which push the boundaries of the human experience, and the indomitable spirit of those who continue to push dragons off the map.

The Explorers Club Medal

Captain James A. Lovell, CO ‘66

In less than two decades, U.S. Navy Captain James Lovell (ret) managed to participate in four groundbreaking space flights. The first, Gemini 7, took place in 1965 and included the first rendezvous of two manned maneuverable spacecraft. A year later, he and Buzz Aldrin completed Gemini 12, a 4-day, 59-revolution flight that brought the Gemini program to a successful close.

In 1968 Lovell was assigned to be the Command Module Pilot of Apollo 8 – man's maiden voyage to the Moon. It was during this flight that Lovell and his fellow crewmen became the first humans to leave the Earth's gravitational influence, and to see the far side of the Moon.

In April 1970, on Apollo 13, Lovell became the first person to journey twice to the Moon. En route, an explosion occurred in the Service Module cryogenic oxygen system. Lovell and crewmen, John L. Swigert and Fred W. Haise, working closely with Houston ground controllers, converted their lunar module "Aquarius" into an effective lifeboat. Their emergency activation and operation of lunar module systems conserved both electrical power and water, enough to assure their survival in space and their safe return to Earth.

Among other awards, Captain Lovell has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. He has been a member of The Explorers Club since 1966 and carried The Explorers Club Flag on Apollo 8 and Apollo 13.

The Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award

Jeff Bezos, MN ‘14

Jeff Bezos is the founder of aerospace company Blue Origin, which is working to lower the cost and increase the safety of spaceflight so that humans can better continue exploring the solar system. Driven by its company motto, Gradatim Ferociter or “step by step, ferociously,” Blue Origin’s incremental development process builds upon each success as it develops groundbreaking spaceflight systems. In 2015, Blue Origin’s reusable rocket, New Shepard, made history with the first ever vertical landing from space. It was the first of four flights for the reusable rocket, with each subsequent flight leading to the first crewed test flights that are planned to take place in early 2018, and the start of commercial service shortly thereafter.

In 2014, Bezos and his team received The Explorers Club Citation of Merit for recovering the F-1 engines of the Saturn V rocket that sent Apollo 11 astronauts to the moon. Aside from his exploration, Bezos founded in 1994 with the mission of being Earth's most customer-centric company, as well as several other companies and philanthropic endeavors.

Bezos graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University in 1986, and was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 1999.

The Citation of Merit

Edith A. Widder, Ph.D., FN ‘99

Dr. Edith Widder's distinguished career as a deep sea explorer has taken her to some of the most remote and inhospitable places on earth, places 3,000 feet beneath the surface of the ocean where pressures exceed 1,300 pounds per square inch. Her main purpose for braving these dangerous depths is the pursuit of her passion, the study of how the ocean’s inhabitants use bioluminescence to help them survive in the ocean's darkest depths. This passion has led her to develop new ways to explore the deep sea and her innovations have produced many observations of animals and behaviors never seen before, including the first images of a giant squid in the deep sea. These accomplishments have resulted in her being included in the Women Diver’s Hall of Fame and receiving a 2006 MacArthur Genius award.

In 2005 Edie helped found the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA), a marine conservation not-for-profit, which is focused on using new technologies to find pollution and stop it at its source.

The Sweeney Medal

David A. Dolan, FN ‘03

David Dolan has committed his life to combine his passion for exploration with international humanitarian service. He established health clinics, orphanages, water wells, and housing projects on four continents and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya to raise funds to fight poverty. In addition to his humanitarian work, he is committed to environmental justice and animal conservation, volunteering for several non-profit organizations including the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

David has served on the Explorers Club’s Board of Directors and was its first Vice President for Development. Currently he is the co-chair of the Development Committee, Founder of The Explorers Club’s Famous Firsts Campaign, and Chair of The Legacy Society Committee. On July 21, 2017, four years after being diagnosed with severe lung disease, David received a double lung transplant at UCSD, and now recovered from this life-saving surgery. With his new found health, David is thrilled to continue his commitment to service.

The New Explorer Award

Gino Caspari, Ph.D., TM ‘15

Dr. Gino Caspari is a Swiss archaeologist and explorer. The Fulbright alumnus and Columbia University graduate focuses on the discovery and analysis of ancient landscapes, graves, and ruins. Years of fieldwork, rigid academic training, and a sense of adventure have led him to work in remote steppes, mountains, and deserts. As a year-long grantee of the Swiss National Science Foundation, he has recently led an expedition into Southern Siberia where he found and documented the oldest royal Scythian tomb together with colleagues of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Hermitage Museum. He produces the documentary Frozen Corpses Golden Treasures in close cooperation with cinematographer Trevor Wallace, making archaeological exploration and discovery accessible to a broader audience and raising awareness of the destruction of cultural heritage caused by looting and illegal art trade. Gino is currently establishing the ArchaeoExploration Foundation with the aim of promoting archaeological field research in understudied and remote areas around the globe.

Trevor Wallace, MN ‘13

Trevor Wallace is an expedition filmmaker focusing on the wild, remote corners of the world and stories of the human spirit. Trevor has done three investigative and field research expeditions with Dr. Gino Caspari, capturing their search for Scythian tombs in the feature documentary Frozen Corpses Golden Treasures. In the summer of 2017, Trevor carried Flag 134 with Dr. Gino Caspari to Siberia where they, along with a team of archaeologists from the Russian Academy of Sciences, were the first to document the tomb of Tunnug-1, the oldest Scythian royal tomb ever found. Trevor’s films have been screened at the American Museum of Natural History, the Polar Film Festival, and the World Water Forum.


Friday, March 9th
Weekend Welcome Party
The Explorers Club, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021
6:00 - 10:00 pm - Open to all ticket buyers and their guests

Saturday, March 10th
Morning Excursions
Click here for information on all 3 excursions

The 114th Explorers Club Annual Dinner – Black Tie or Native Attire
The Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
5:30 pm - VIP check-in
6:00 pm - General check-in
6:00 - 7:15 pm - Reception with exotics & silent auction in the Broadway Lounge
7:15 pm - Award Ceremony and Live Auction in the Broadway Ballroom

Sunday, March 11th
ECAD Sunday Programs
The Explorers Club, 46 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021
10:00 am - Annual Meeting – Open to Explorers Club Members ONLY
12:00 pm - Lunch
1:00 pm - Sunday Presentations Begin – Open to all ticket buyers and guests
5:00 pm - High Tea


Click here to purchase tickets online

If you wish to purchase a ticket online, you may do so via our eventbrite ticketing site. Note that this will cause you to incur a payment gateway processing fee. If you would like to avoid that fee, feel free to purchase tickets by calling us at 212.628.8383, emailing us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or mailing us a check at The Explorers Club, 46 East 70th Street, NY, NY, 10021.

The Marriott Marquis — Times Square, NYC

Click here to reserve rooms at the Club's rate

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste