The University of Hawaii at Mānoa has announced a $10 million gift from the estate of Victor and Margaret Pavel in support of science education and environmental preservation.
A portion of the gift, some $2 million, will be used to create the Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Endowed Chair in Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology; professor of oceanography David Karl has been named the first holder of the chair. "This gift will be used to do pioneering research on the micro-organisms that dominate the biomass of the ocean, provide food for most of the food web, harvest solar energy, degrade pollutants, and maintain half the oxygen that we breathe," said Karl. "Our future is tied to the health of the ocean."
Another $2 million will be used to establish the Victor and Peggy Brandstrom Pavel Director's Chair in Astronomy at the Institute for Astronomy, support quality research, and provide seed research funding, particularly among promising junior faculty. "With an endowed chair we will be able to bring some of the best faculty members and graduate students here because it gives flexibility that otherwise is not possible," said Günther Hasinger, the institute's director. "IfA contributes to our very understanding of the universe. It also excites young people and inspires them to think about careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields."
The remainder of the gift will be used to fund scholarships for underrepresented students on ten campuses, support efforts to save Hawaii's endangered plants, and help build an advanced culinary training facility in Hawaii. Victor Pavel, who died last April and had given the university permission to publicize the gift posthumously, left his estate to UH programs associated with his and s late wife's interests.
"The Pavels were deeply committed to learning about and preserving our oceans, earth, and sky," said UH Foundation president and CEO Donna Vuchinich. “It was our privilege to work with Victor over the last decade to ensure that their assets help build and sustain the University of Hawai'i’s excellence in these areas."