The Marine Science Consortium

by
Ben Oostdam

page 14


The preceding pages contained the story of the first years of The Marine Science Consortium and runs from 1965 to about 1970 . I wrote the first draft as part of my autobiography in 1987. I will now (March, 1999) make a quick attempt to continue the story to at least 1976, first without any use of other documents or diary, then perhaps refining it. I put a number of documents on the World Wide Web and may refer to them for the sake of illustration. Here I go:


One commemorable episode I omitted took place in Cape May in 1967. The chair of the Philadelphia Community College's Biology Department, Dr. Eleanor Flick, had actively cooperated trying to organize the Consortium, as had Professor Paul Prince of the Geology Department of Indiana University of PA, but they had not met in person. So on one of our cruises, when she just emerged from the cabin where she had wriggled into her swimming suit, I finally managed to introduce shy and baldheaded Paul to her. She was far from shy and, moreover, in a sea-breezy mood, so she grabbed him around his neck and pulled him into her bosom saying how happy she was to finally meet him and how much she had heard about him. I stood behind Paul and just saw three giant globes of which the center one turned crimson. It was unfortunate that the administration of her College did not honor her request to join as founding member; she resigned her chair and started a Union, which went on strike and caused them some (well-deserved?) problems. Dr.Paul Hess of Lebanon Valley was in the same boat - I mean his College also did not honor his recommendation to join: he resigned and became the first Director of Environmental Services at Hershey Foods. Consequently, the first seven or so founding members were PA state colleges.


After my formal election as the first President of the Consortium in 1968, I was annually reelected till 1976, mainly because I was the only full-fledged oceanographer. First, I had to do this practically on my own time and expense, carrying a normal 12 hour teaching load, but by 1969 I was given a quarter load-reduction which carried over through 1971 when I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Delaware. After that, I received upto $ 1,000 per month salary from the Consortium and taught at least half a load per semester and served just about full-time every summer. Somewhere I kept track of my hours spent on behalf of the Consortium, which on occasions exceeded 300 hours per month.

The Consortium was an independent non-profit corporation, initially consisting of a single director from each participating member institutions, later extended to two (commonly one biologist and one geologist/geographer or chemist). Each institution contributed $ 5,000 annually, recruited their own students and made available one or more faculty or faculty salaries for the summer sessions.
The directors determined the curriculum, the schedule, which courses to teach and who would teach them, and what equipment and supplies to purchase. Thus the tuition fees and the faculty salaries accrued to or derived from the member institutions, while the Consortium charged individual users fees for the facilities: dormitories, dining halls, labs, vessels and vehicles. All scheduling and payments were made through my office at Millersville, Lewes or Wallops till 1976, when I was finally granted my first half-year of full-time sabbatical leave, starting in July, and resigning as President in December when I was asked to continue in my position at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research.


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