DATE:  June 18, 2007       
CONTACT: Marshall Collins 361.825.2427; Steve Paschal, 361.825.2336
Dr. Robert R. Furgason to Retire as Executive Director of Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- Dr. Robert R. Furgason, executive director of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31.

Furgason served as the University’s president from 1990 to 2004 before becoming the first HRI director. Since its inception in 2004 the HRI has become the premier research institute for advancing the long-term sustainability and conservation of the Gulf of Mexico. Through its trilateral relationship with Mexico and Cuba, the HRI has established and activated an agenda to promote excellence in conservation, research and innovative public policy.

“The work of Bob Furgason will remain in the hearts and minds of many,” said University President Flavius Killebrew. “His vision and hard work laid a strong foundation for us to build upon as Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi takes its place among the nation’s leading universities in marine research and policy.”

Philanthropist Edward H. Harte, whose $46 million endowed gift paved the way for the Institute’s creation, said that Furgason, while president of A&M-Corpus Christi, participated actively in the incubation of the ideas behind the Harte Research Institute.

“Bob Furgason has been pivotal to the establishment and success of the Harte Research Institute,” said Harte. “He has been part of everything we have done, and we owe him a great debt.”

As head of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Furgason was highly instrumental in bringing many leading oceanic experts from the academic, government and private sectors to Corpus Christi for the first State of the Gulf of Mexico Conference in 2005. The Summit, the first of its kind to address issues specifically related to the Gulf, drew more than 300 participants. In addition, HRI researchers are collecting data for the 50-year update of “Bulletin 89- The Gulf of Mexico- It’s Origins, Waters and Marine Life” which was originally compiled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1954.
 “It has been both my pleasure and privilege to be part of the University over the years and to work with many dedicated faculty, staff and students,” said Furgason.

Within the community, Furgason and his wife, Gloria, have been tireless champions for the performing arts, leading fundraising efforts to expand the South Texas Institute for the Arts and to build the University’s $18 million Performing Arts Center. Each year, the Bob and Gloria Furgason Bravo! Series for the Performing Arts brings internationally-known performers to the Performing Arts Center.

Before joining the University, Furgason was vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Idaho and holds a Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

President Killebrew has named Trent Hill, vice president for Institutional Advancement, and Frank Pezold, dean of the College of Science and Technology, as co-chairs of the search committee for Furgason’s replacement.