Diving Safety Officer and Scuba Educator Extraordinaire U of MI (Retired: August, 2001)
It is with great regret that the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences learned of the passing of one of our esteemed Fellows, Dr. Lee Somers (Sports/Education 1994), on New Year’s Day, 2015.
Dr. Lee Somers was one of the earliest certified scuba instructors in the U.S. He was dually certified by the YMCA Scuba Program and NAUI. From the beginning, Dr. Somers understood the importance of a comprehensive educational experience in scuba diving and developed such a program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Besides teaching courses that addressed virtually every facet of diving, he developed one of the most highly regarded instructor education programs. The program attracted instructor candidates from all over the globe and resulted in the certification of NAUI instructors representative of a “Who’s Who” in the contemporary diving world.
Having created the Research Diving Program at the University of Michigan, Dr. Somers was a scuba legend in the Midwest. He established a hyperbaric research facility at the University of Michigan, conducting some of the earliest pressure-related research as well as proving opportunities for countless recreational divers to experience a ‘chamber orientation,’ including pressurization in a hyperbaric chamber. He was the author of dozens of diver safety publications as part of the University of Michigan Diver Education Series, along with the Research Divers Manual and articles on a wide variety of topics from oceanography to diver education.
Dr. Somers has served our sport and Industry well and served as a member of the board of directors with many organizations including the AUAS, IANTD, NAUI, Our World Underwater and the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society. He has also been recognized by his peers as a past recipient of the NOGI Award for Sports/Education, the Leonard Greenstone Award for Diving Safety and the DAN/Rolex Diver of the Year. Dr. Somers was a mentor to many of the leaders in the diving world today and was sought out for advice on almost everything
At the 2013 DEMA Awards Party in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Somers was honored with the DEMA Reaching Out Award, which inducted him into the DEMA Hall of Fame.
Note: This article is taken from DiveNewsWire 7/2/2013