Maxwell-Hanrahan Fund for Education and Research established to honor former WHOI Provost Art Maxwell.
The 50th anniversary of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, and the desire to honor her father’s scientific legacy, inspired Delle R. Maxwell SM ’83 and her husband Patrick M. Hanrahan to make a $1.5M gift to EAPS, endowing the Maxwell-Hanrahan Fund for Education and Research. The new fund ensures students will be able to carry out oceanographic research at sea, benefiting from the kinds of field experiences that sparked renowned geophysicist Arthur (Art) E. Maxwell’s lifelong passion for oceanography. Additionally, the couple made a $1M gift to WHOI to support the Arthur E. Maxwell Fellowship Fund, established by James A. Austin PhD ’79 (XII), a graduate of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program honoring his mentor.
“My father always had a love of the sea and spoke about the transformative experience of being an explorer and researcher. The interesting challenges he faced—from equipment breakdown to stormy weather—taught him to work as a member of a team, across disciplines, and to problem-solve,” she reflected, remembering her father’s stories of life at sea, including early work in the Pacific with Dr. Roger Revelle and Sir Edward Bullard. Onboard the Glomar Challenger as a member of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, Art explored the depths of the southern Atlantic and helped to shape our understanding of continental drift. “Pat and I wanted to help provide that experience to students in EAPS and the MIT-WHOI Joint Program to enrich their education, and to develop their sense of awe and respect for the sea, and to drive their research to answer important questions about our oceans and climate.”
Art, now 93, spent 16 years at WHOI where, in his final role as provost, he helped launch the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. He went on to direct the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas, Austin, where he is now an emeritus professor of the Jackson School of Geosciences.
EAPS Assistant Professor and oceanographer Andrew Babbin, whose recent pilot course “Field Oceanography” sailed the Florida Straits with 17 students to study marine chemistry, physics, and biology, was delighted to learn about the fund: “Fieldwork inspires young scientists. There is simply no substitute for sailing beyond the horizon to appreciate the immensity of the oceans and their critical role in sustaining human life on Earth. The Maxwell-Hanrahan Fund will help provide this kind of life-changing opportunity and ensure that we maintain a healthy pipeline of aspiring oceanographers.”
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