NOAA student scholarship honors life and legacy of Ernest 'Fritz' Hollings

Former Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings passed away Saturday, April 6, at his home in South Carolina at the age of 97. Over his long career in state and federal politics, Hollings was a champion for ocean policy and conservation. When he retired in 2005, the Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship was established in his honor to bolster training in NOAA-related sciences.

NOAA Hollings Scholars from the classes of 2011 and 2012 met with Senator Ernest F Hollings (center) at the University of South Carolina’s Hollings Library.
NOAA Hollings Scholars from the classes of 2011 and 2012 met with Senator Ernest F Hollings (center) at the University of South Carolina’s Hollings Library. (Claudia Benitez-Nelson)

Since its inception, a total of 1,683 students have received the Hollings Scholarship, which provides two years of academic assistance and a 10-week summer internship at a NOAA facility. Combining hands-on research experience with academic study, the scholarship helps prepare the next generation of ocean and environmental experts to address many of the same types of issues that Hollings advocated for during his long career. 

“The Hollings Scholars are bright, eager, and making a myriad of valuable contributions to NOAA,” said Louisa Koch, Director of NOAA Education. “Senator Hollings was very proud of this program, and we are delighted to honor him in this way.”

Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings
Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings

About Senator Hollings

Emphasizing "practical conservationism," Senator Hollings spearheaded an extraordinary range of laws to safeguard America's coasts and oceans, including many of the seminal environmental laws of the 1970s. In 1970, he played a major role in establishing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He was instrumental in the enactment of the Coastal Zone Management Act (1972), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972), the Oceans Dumping Act (1976), and the Sustainable Fisheries Act (1996). Each summer, many scholars train with NOAA to do research that supports these same laws that Hollings worked to establish.

Senator Hollings’ legacy is recognized through several programs at NOAA and partner organizations. In addition to the NOAA Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship Program, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund and the Hollings Marine Laboratory are named in honor of the Senator's commitment to ocean conservation. 

To learn more about the Hollings Scholarship and how to apply, please visit our website. Applications for the Hollings Scholarship class of 2020 will open on September 1, 2019.