DATE:  November 2, 2005
CONTACT: Dr. Robert Furgason, Executive Director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies, (361) 825-2000; or Jorge A. Ramirez, Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Communications, (361) 825-2427

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to dedicate $18 Million Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Building
Facility bears name of philanthropist and former Caller-Times publisher

The Harte Research Institute (HRI) for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will officially open its doors during a dedication ceremony on Monday, Nov.7 at 4 p.m. 

“The dedication of the Harte Reseach Institute building has been a long awaited project for many people on campus,” said University President Dr. Flavius C. Killebrew. “HRI and its ability to draw eminent scientists from throughout the world will increase the University’s standing within the research community is a vital role in the development of A&M-Corpus Christi as a research institution.”

The dedication will be followed by an open house for the public which will include tours of the $18 million, 55,000-square foot research center located at the University’s northwest entrance. Then, at 7:30 p.m. Harte Distinguished Lecturer Paul Kelly will speak on “The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina” in the University Center, Lone Star Ballroom. Kelly is Senior Vice President of the Rowan Companies and a Member of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

In September 2000 Edward H. Harte, philanthropist and former publisher of the Harte-Hanks Newspapers, created a $46 million endowment to establish the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. Harte’s gift, which is the largest ever received by the University, was inspired by the book Sea Change written by renowned scientist Sylvia Earle (1995) in deciding to endow and establish the research institute.

Its $18 million home, which was constructed with funds provided by the State of Texas, has  three floors and includes six  various scientific labs, two major computer and imaging labs, two seawater labs, a dive locker and a teaching classroom/laboratory as well as offices for six endowed chairs, numerous faculty and research scientists and both graduate and post-doctoral researchers.

The mission of the HRI is to support and advance the long-term sustainable use and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico through a tri-national partnership between the United States, Mexico and Cuba. According to Executive Director Dr. Robert R. Furgason, the establishment of the Institute will allow scientists to focus on issues of the sustainability of the Gulf from both the environmental and economic perspectives.

 “Certainly the recent events involving multiple hurricanes have drawn public attention to the issues related to the value of the Gulf of Mexico for people of all the countries that border the Gulf, and to some degree internationally,” Furgason said. “The Gulf has a major impact on our economies, our livelihoods, our food sources, and our health and safety.”

The HRI building was designed by Richter Architects in association with Watkins, Hamilton, Ross Architects. Richter Architects is a leading local firm which also designed A&M-Corpus Christi’s University Services Center.