The TRAILER

MOBILE MARINE LABORATORY


Sometime in Fall, 1966, I happened to be in Prof. William McIlwaine's office at the same time as an equipment salesman. Bill was not only chairman of Earth Sciences, but also director of Grants. The salesman asked him if he had put in a proposal to USOE (U.S. Office of Education, subsequently HEW- Health Education and Welfare) for instructional equipment. Bill did not know about it, and the deadline for submission was . . . next week. He asked if I might be interested, and I took him up on the challenge.

I spent the entire weekend, together with Earl Frederick - one of my students and a good draftsman - putting together a $ 64,000 matching funds proposal requesting two 60X12 ft mobile laboratories, a 34 ft research catamaran and supplementary laboratory and shipboard equipment. We submitted it in time, after Dr. Christie, the President signed it , having been assured by Mr. Ermon Postles - the College's business manager - that the College would match the required half of 64K, i.e. $ 32,000 in case we would get the grant.

Well, surprise extraordinaire! we got it, and on top of that honor we received special mention for the proposal's imaginative approach. But that was only the beginning.
First, I had to go around to all my science colleagues to ask them to forego part of their approved budget items for a total of $ 32,000 - since that was the way the Commonwealth would match...
Then the PA Governor slapped a moratorium on spending, which would put an end to these problems and to the Oceanography program at Millersville.
Instead, I wrote a personal letter to PA Senator Richard Snijder - a recognized "foe" of PA professors "working merely 12 hours a week", pointing out that the Commonwealth would lose $ 32 K if it did not accept the Grant. Senator Snijder came across and talked the Governor around.
Shortly afterward, the Director of DPI (Department of Public Instruction) questioned the Oceanography Program at tiny Millersville (he was from big Penn State University) and was about to sink it when he was succeeded by Dr. Breidenstine, the former Dean of Millersville State College who happened to be very much in favor of the program.
Anyhow, because of all these delays we lost one of the mobile laboratories, but on the other hand, the grant allowed Millersville the leverage to become the lead in establishing "The Marine Science Consortium," discussed elsewhere.

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