Endowed Professorships

The Richard R. Hallin Endowed Professorship in Natural Sciences

The Richard R. Hallin Endowed Professorship in Natural SciencesThe Richard R. Hallin Endowed Professorship in Natural Sciences was established by Mr. Jeff Fortune, a member of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees since 1990 and a generous benefactor of the College, and his wife, Sherry, to honor Dean Emeritus Richard R. Hallin. This generous gift by Mr. and Mrs. Fortune was the first major commitment made to The Campaign for Eckerd College.

Mr. Fortune's investment in education is evident in his contributions of time and resources to Eckerd College as well as to Academy Prep Center for Education. Mr. Fortune and his late wife, Joan, founded Academy Prep, a fifth through eighth grade private school for low-income students, in 1997 in St. Petersburg. Eckerd students and alumni help to further the mission of Academy Prep through their service as volunteers and teachers, respectively. As a recipient of the Liberty Bell Award, Mr. Fortune was recognized by the St. Petersburg Bar Association for advancing justice and freedom in Pinellas County through his work with Academy Prep.

Mr. Fortune shares his passion for equal opportunity education with Dr. Hallin who also contributed to the success of Academy Prep. Dr. Hallin served as Dean of Admission and Financial Aid at Eckerd College from 1978 until his retirement from full-time service in 2004. During his tenure as Dean, the enrollment of residential undergraduates increased from 850 to more than 1,600. Dr. Hallin came to Eckerd College in 1975 as Provost and Dean of the Faculty before assuming responsibility for the Recruitment, Admission and Financial Aid programs. As Dean Emeritus of Admission and Financial Aid, he continues to help students gain a competitive advantage for undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships and fellowships.

Professor Peter Meylan, a member of the Eckerd College faculty since 1989 and a longtime leader of the Biology discipline at the College, was appointed the first occupant of the Hallin Professorship. His study of marine turtles has brought him and the College an international reputation in this area of Marine Science, and his courses in biodiversity and zoology have served as the point of entry for generations of Eckerd Science students. Dr. Meylan has engaged numerous students in his research over the years, notably in the field research he conducts each summer in Panama and Bermuda. Many of them have presented at professional meetings and been the winners of Hollings, Goldwater and Fulbright Scholarships and National Science Foundation fellowships.

It is clear that the establishment of this professorship has enriched the spirits of not only Mr. and Mrs. Fortune, Dean Hallin and Professor Meylan, but also the many who have been transformed by their generosity and service, a sentiment best explained by Mr. Fortune: "I give in a way that is transforming. I give at a level to make a difference at the College; in so doing, I myself am transformed through that gift."