Burroughs and Chapin Company, Inc., has donated $1.5 million to Coastal Carolina University for the development of a marine educational facility on Waites Island. The facility will serve as a research base for Coastal's Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, which will be renamed the Burroughs and Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, according to a joint announcement today by Burroughs and Chapin Chairman J. Egerton Burroughs and Coastal President Ronald R. Ingle at Coastal's Founders' Day ceremony.
The Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, established in 1988 by the Horry County Higher Education Commission as the community outreach component of Coastal's College of Natural and Applied Sciences, conducts research that plays a critical role in the management of South Carolina's coastal environment.
"Understanding our complex coastal environment is essential in maintaining and improving our ecological and economic well being, here on the Grand Strand and around the globe," said Burroughs.
"This gift will allow Coastal Carolina University to make significant advancements in its already widely respected programs in marine science and marine biology," said Ingle.
An on-site research facility has been central to Coastal's plans for the island since it acquired the property through a gift from the Boyce and Tilghman families in the early 1990s. Coastal's 1,062-acre tract includes a large portion of the pristine barrier island - one of very few undeveloped islands remaining on the East Coast - as well as marshland and forests. Waites Island is located north of the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach near the state line at Little River.
An on-site facility will make it possible for the Center to establish a consortium of institutes of higher learning from across the state, the nation and around the world working collaboratively on environmental education and research. The Center is already working on joint projects in marine research with the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Science Foundation, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, and other agencies.
The facility will also provide opportunities for better environmental education for K-12 students throughout the region, as well as possibilities for education programs for civic and community groups, according to Ingle.
The facility will serve as a research base for Coastal's new master's degree in coastal marine and wetland studies, which was initiated this semester, as well as for undergraduate students involved in cutting-edge analysis of beach erosion, water quality and other topics of vital importance to South Carolina and the nation.