The Marine Science Consortium

Ben Oostdam

page 2

Unfortunately, I had no books available to prepare my course, which I mainly wrote out longhand
during a hectic three-day working session. I also started ordering textbooks, journals and equipment and supplies,
but the most memorable activity was the presentation of my first lecture, crammed with information enough
for three classes! In the meantime, we also moved from dorm to college house to our first 'own'
house on Barbara Avenue. We bought this with a sizeable bank loan from the sister of Dan Engel,
the Physics professor. She was a missionary East Africa in the process of converting to a travel agent.
In early September, I happened to be present at a meeting between Bill Mcllwaine, the prospective
Chairman man of the soon to be established Department of Earth an Space Science, and a salesman who enquired
what Millersville was going to do about the Equipment Grant application due next week.. Offhand Bill asked if I
was interested, and gave me the application materials. I spent another hectic week preparing an application that was
bound to shock some bureaucrats with its broad scope of the term "equipment"! The proposal was to equip a mobile
marine station consisting of two 60 x 12ft laboratory trailers, a 34 ft research catamaran and the basic oceanographic
sampling gear and instruments, for a total of $ 64,000. The College's Business Manager, Mr Ermon Postles, assured us
that the Commonwealth would come up with the required 50% share in matching funds,so the President, Dr. Robert Christie, congratulated me and signed the proposal minutes before the deadline.
That first fall semester was extremely busy; I had contacted several professors at Franklin and Marshall, Lehigh, Lebanon Valley, Kutztown, West Chester, Shippensburg, Indiana, Pa and the University of Delaware, and we had many meetings. The two main objectives were to secure an outlet to the sea and to broaden the base of operations, because it seemed evident that a successful program would require extensive sharing of limited resources. By far the most useful contact was with Dr. Paul Hess of Lebanon, who was a graduate of the Marine Biology program of the University of Delaware. He introduced me to Dr. Frank Daiber of that University, who showed me the marine facilities in Lewes, Delaware. Initially it appeared that - if we would win the grant. -we could set up our trailers at Lewes, and moor our boat at the University's small research station on Broadkill River.
Unfortunately, this did not work out, because when we did receive the grant in Spring 1967 and tried to firm up the deal with Delaware, I received a long letter spelling out a traumatically detailed list of conditions which would put us into abject slavery to Delaware. Anyhow, it took a very long time to allow us to even accept the grant from the Federal Department of Health, Education and Welfare, because the matching fund would not be provided by the Department of Education in Harrisburg. Instead, they would allow Millersville to take the $ 32,000 out of its own budget..- which was, moreover, subject to considerable cutting by a cost -conscious Governor.
first MS
early January, 1987
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