Captain Don Walsh

Captain Don Walsh U.S. Navy (Ret.), PhD, is one of history’s most accomplished and diversified explorers.


In 1960, Walsh and Jacques Piccard were the first to reach the deepest point of the world’s oceans, descending 35,840 feet, nearly seven miles, in the Navy’s Bathyscaph Trieste. President Eisenhower awarded Walsh and Piccard the Legion of Merit at the White House.

Captain Don Walsh

Captain Walsh and Jacques Piccard

A former submarine captain, he is an internationally recognized engineer, oceanographer and marine policy expert.

Since 1955, Walsh has participated in over 60 expeditions to the Arctic, Antarctic and both Poles. The longest was a 70-day circumnavigation of the Antarctic continent. The Antarctic’s “Walsh Spur” (ridge) recognizes his work there.

Walsh has served on or chaired committees and boards with many national or international organizations including NASAU.S. Department of State, the National Research Council and the Navy. Among numerous recognitions, he has received the National Geographic’s Hubbard MedalThe Explorers Club’s Explorers Medal and the Navy’s Distinguished Civilian Service Medal. In 2001 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the highest peer recognition for a U.S. Engineer. He is Honorary President of the Explorer’s Club, Fellow of the Marine Technology Society and Member of the influential Ocean Elders group.

Don Walsh was educated at the U.S. Naval Academy (BS), Texas A&M University (MS, PhD) and California State University San Diego (MA). After Navy retirement, he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California as Professor of Ocean Engineering and Director/Dean of Marine Programs.