Ben Oostdam story # 566

THE FATHER OF
PENNSYLVANIA
OCEANOGRAPHY





Sometime in August, 1966, when I was teaching the first
oceanography course at Millersville State College under
the umbrella of Dr. Henderson's BIO 511 SEMINAR
I told him that I had met both "Fathers of Marine Geology":
my SIO Professor and Advisor Dr. Francis P. Shepard,
author of "Submarine Geology", and Professor Dr. Philip H. Kuenen in
Groningen, author of "Marine Geology".
Since Alex was the man who had hired me specifically
to set up a marine science program for PA State Colleges,
I semi - facetiously said we could call him
"The Father of PA Oceanography" -
which he apparently liked and adopted thenceforward.
I so much respected Alex that I tenaciously persisted in
calling him: "Doctor Henderson" for years, even though
he repeatedly asked me to call him "Alex"...
It was also very easy to persuade him of the risky proposition
to establish a non-profit corporation (ESRA) to circumvent
the then powerful and autocratic DPI (Department of Public Instruction)
with its oceans of red tape and to take advantage of his old
friend Dr. Breidenstine to help us get the next non-profit
launched: The Marine Science Consortium.
It was Alex who prepared a list of 50 relevant items
to help me when Dr. Christie called me on the carpet
to justify ESRA though it was a slip of paper I had kept that saved us..
Together we called on Senator Snijder to help overrule
the PA Governor's moratorium on spending, and save the
$64K HEW matching Fund Grant we had received for the
MSC oceanography program, including a catamaran,
two 60 ft lab trailers and lots of simple oceanographic
instruments and sampling devices.
We kept working together for decades and in our retirement
went for many Chinese and Oysterpie Dinners with our
good friends Ken Miller, Harry Ashley, Luis Freily,
Paul Billeter and others.



Alex's demise was a great shock and we send our sincere
condolences to his lovely wife Adeline and son
Alexander III and family.
I guess that from now on I have to try and fill Alex's
seaboots and settle for the title of
"Stepson of Pennsylvania Oceanography"...
LINKS:
Initial Letter Sent to All PA STATE COLLEGES
Environmental Science Research Associates website
A narrative of the first years of The Marine Science Consortium
The Marine Science Consortium - List of Documents
TMSC Preluders 1965-8
R.V. "Lydia B" and ESRA - Christie
Atlas of the Fishes of Chincoteague Bay
APSCURF Newsletter article by Alex on the occasion of TMSC's
40th Anniversary in Dec. 2008


BLO fecit 20100226 added 20100522 - stories