DATE:  November 30
CONTACT: Dr. John “Wes” Tunnell, Associate Director, Harte Research Institute, (361) 825-2768; Steve Paschal, Public Affairs, (361) 825-2336
Zachry Foundation Donates $25,000 to Furnish Outreach Suite for New Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies
High-definition TV to highlight educational programs, current research

A $25,000 donation from the Zachry Foundation will make it possible for the Harte Research Institute (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to purchase audio-visual equipment and furnishings for an educational outreach suite on the first floor of the HRI building.

When the HRI building opens in March 2005, the outreach suite will include a high-definition touch-screen, plasma television wall that will display a multitude of educational programming produced by National Geographic, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Teaching and Learning Network and others. The plasma television wall will also display special programming.

According to Dr. Wes Tunnell, associate director of the Harte Research Institute, every person visiting the Institute will have an opportunity to learn about the Gulf of Mexico through the educational outreach program.

“We are highly grateful to Zachry for supporting the efforts of the University. The educational outreach suite will help promote understanding of the Gulf of Mexico and help teach the public about how to be good stewards of its resources,” said Tunnell. “We also believe the state-of-the-art plasma wall appeals to a digital-age audience and will communicate well to students today and in the future. With the support of the Zachry Foundation, the educational outreach program will serve generations to come.”

Rene Garcia, director of Zachry’s Commercial Building Division, said the gift was in recognition of the great achievements occurring on the A&M-Corpus Christi campus.

“We receive numerous requests for assistance, but this one stood out. As we walked through the campus, it’s obvious that it’s a growing and lively environment and important to the community,” Garcia said. “Also, this donation is a first step in our partnership with the University, and we urge the University to continue this communication. Our associations on campus have made it easy to work with the University, and we are enjoying the opportunity.” Garcia added that the HRI building is one of Zachry’s most challenging and unique projects because of the distinctive architecture and complexity of the technology.

The Harte Research Institute will house scientists dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico. The $18 million, 57,000 square foot building will consist of six wet labs, two seawater labs, two dry labs and research labs and offices. The HRI building sits behind the campus sculpture “Momentum,” at the entrance to the University.