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January / February 2004


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UMaine Today Magazine


University of Maine Foundation

Darling Marine Center Director Kevin Eckelbarger
Darling Marine Center Director
Kevin Eckelbarger
 

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At the Center

Come any time of year to Wentworth Point on the Damariscotta River and you'll find many of Maine's leading marine scientists at work. In the summer, their research ranks double with visiting scientists and students from throughout the country and the world.

The 170-acre Ira C. Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine, is part of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture at the University of Maine. Tucked into its forested waterfront are the most modern marine science laboratories and classrooms in northern New England. In addition, built to the contour of Wentworth Point is the Darling Conference Center.

While scientists are dispersed widely throughout the state-of-the-art research facilities, it's at the conference center that they regularly congregate.

The $1.6 million Darling Conference Center, completed in 1999, was made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation and the Ira C. Darling funds that are held at the University of Maine Foundation. The center's features include a large dining room and meeting area, and housing for almost 70 researchers and students. "The conference center has allowed us to significantly expand our educational and research-related activities, and it has opened the Darling Marine Center to the world at large by attracting leading international marine scientists to our scientific meetings," notes Kevin Eckelbarger, director of the Darling Marine Center.

The Ira C. Darling property was donated to UMaine in 1965. In addition to the property, the University of Maine Foundation holds the operating funds for the facility, which ultimately allowed UMaine to leverage other sources of funding, including the National Science Foundation, to benefit the facility.

"This was the ultimate gift," according to Amos Orcutt, president/CEO of the University of Maine Foundation.

Ira C. Darling, a retired Chicago insurance executive, also established two endowment funds at the University of Maine Foundation, the Agatha and Clare Darling professorships in oceanography.

 

UMaine Today Magazine
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