CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Good food and company brought together Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Science and Engineering (COSE) alumni, faculty and staff during the annual Alumni Shrimp Boil on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Laguna Madre Field Station.
“This event originally started with us trying to develop more connections with our alumni,” said Dr. Frank Pezold, Dean of the COSE. “This event is a great venue for that because it brings them back to enjoy something that’s unique and reconnects them with their former faculty.”
Those attending the event gathered at Mile Marker 37, where boats were stationed to bring them to the Laguna Madre Field Station. In addition, a ceremony is always held in celebration of a deserving faculty member or alumnus who has contributed greatly to the college.
“This is a wonderful event and I have a blast every year,” said Polly Hajopsky, Islander alumna and current Master of Fisheries and Mariculture student. “We don’t have a lot of events to honor our faculty, so it’s a great way to show our appreciation for all the work they do.”
This year the college recognized Dr. Wes Tunnell, Endowed Chair for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, whose research has focused primarily on coastal and coral reef ecosystems. Tunnell received a plaque and his name on the wall of the Laguna Madre Field Station, as well as a personal gift from Pezold, a convertible cooler/duffle bag embroidered with the phrase “Dr. J. Wes Tunnell, Professor, Scientist & Visionary Pirate.” While all may be well aware of his contributions as a professor and scientist, the dean pointed out that Tunnell, a huge Jimmy Buffett fan, is also a visionary leader at the university.
“It’s humbling to be recognized for my work here,” said Tunnell. “My time at the University has been great and it’s nice to have it culminate with something like this.”
Tunnell, who came to the Island University in 1974, continues to be a great asset to the college. Throughout his long career, Tunnell has contributed to the development of many local gulf research institutions, including the Center for Coastal Studies and the HRI. He also assisted in the development of A&M-Corpus Christi’s Bachelor of Science degree programs along with four master’s programs and two doctoral programs.