Scripps Institution of Oceanography

  • Nature, Animals & Parks
  • 1903

Ellen Scripps, whose fortune derived from the Scripps family’s newspaper empire, generously supported a range of charitable causes across southern California. She donated the land and first building for a Catholic college-prep school for girls, and supported it financially for years. She endowed what would become Scripps College, a part of the Claremont Colleges that she had helped to found. She commissioned a women’s club headquarters and community center, and the country’s first public playground, in La Jolla. She funded Egyptian explorations that resulted in the San Diego Museum’s Ancient Egyptian collection. She founded the Scripps Memorial Hospital and the Scripps Metabolic Clinic.

Nature philanthropy was one of Ellen Scripps’s favorite causes. She helped preserve the area that would become Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. She was a financer of the new headquarters of the San Diego Natural History Museum. She gave the San Diego Zoo an aviary and an animal research hospital. And in 1903, she underwrote the founding of the Marine Biological Association of San Diego. Ellen gave it a sizable endowment, and the Scripps family provided its entire operating budget for a decade until it was taken over by the University of California, San Diego and renamed the Scripps Institution of Oceanography—which is today one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers in the world for research, education, and public service on the oceans, earth, and atmosphere.