Sun Sentinel: NSU gets big gift, widens scope of marine school June 10, 2015

Renowned for its work to preserve corals and protect sharks, Nova Southeastern University is expanding the scope of its marine school to include several science areas.
To offer students a broader range of courses, it’s merging biology, chemistry, geology, ecology, math and physics – along with oceanography – under one college as of July 1. The school’s new name: The Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography.

The change honors local businessman Steve Halmos and his wife Madelaine, who provided NSU with an unspecified financial gift to be used for undergraduate scholarships and to allow students to move seamlessly into their graduate areas of study.

“For me, this investment made perfect sense,” said Halmos, who declined to reveal the amount of the gift. “I’m proud to be associated with NSU and the work it is doing, particularly in the area of ocean sciences.”

Although one school, the Halmos College will include two campuses. The facility at John U. Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach will offer marine and environmental sciences. The main NSU campus in Davie will offer chemistry, math and biology.

NSU already has built a reputation for its projects to protect marine life. Among them: The school conducted studies to see how corals react to oil spills in hopes of improving dispersants in the event of a disaster.

It also studied a colorful yet dangerous species of underwater sponges that are spreading and threatening coral reefs. And it tagged sharks with special satellite-linked devices to monitor their movements and migration patterns.

Steve Halmos and his wife Madelaine donated a large gift to NSU for undergraduate scholarships. (Courtesy/Nova Southeastern University)
“Our mission really is the same,” said Dick Dodge, the school’s dean. “We’ll continue to focus on teaching and research and community service.”

About 1,400 students are enrolled in the Halmos College – 80 percent are undergraduates; 20 percent graduate students. The new school and its 65 faculty members will offer some enticing perks, Dodge said

Those include a “dual admittance” program, where undergraduate students who meet certain academic standards are guaranteed admittance into the NSU graduate program.

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