Dr. Marvin Creamer was a geography professor at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) for almost three decades until his retirement in 1977. During his time at the College, Dr. Creamer served as director of Public Relations, professor of Geography, chairman of the Social Studies Department, president of the New Jersey Council for Geographic Education, and founder of the geography department, now called the Department of Geography, Planning, and Sustainability. As a result of his tireless spirit and commitment to the College and his community, Dr. Creamer received countless accolades and honors such as being chosen as the ‘Distinguished Alumnus in 1980, the “Citizen of the Year” by the Glassboro Chamber of Commerce in 1980, an award for excellence from the New Jersey Education Association in 1984, and the Creativity Award by the Odyssey of the Minds organization in 1995.
Growing up near Parvins Lake in Southern New Jersey, young Marvin Creamer was drawn to sailing and the water. As a teenager, he dreamed of one day sailing around the world without instruments. In adulthood, he never gave up this dream eventually becoming a highly accomplished yachtsman, including completing several voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. He eventually began to explore sailing without nautical instruments, which included separate journeys to England and Africa. In 1982, five years after his retirement (and years of planning, learning, and experimenting), Dr. Creamer set sail from National Park, NJ aboard the 36-foot Globe Star, seeking to fulfill his dream to circumnavigate the globe without the use of navigational tools. On May 17, 1984, after 18-months, he successfully completed his courageous voyage safely returning to National Park, NJ.
In order to sail without navigational instruments, Dr. Creamer mostly utilized celestial navigation, a method of navigation using the relative positions of the sun, moon, and stars. As a geographer, Dr. Creamer also used his knowledge of water currents, wind patterns, the angle of sun shadows, the color of the ocean, and marine life –animals and plants– to discern his location.
To this day, Dr. Marvin Creamer is the only known person to have sailed around the world without using nautical instruments.
The Rowan University public art Endeavor commemorates Dr. Creamer’s extraordinary voyage and life.