Prado del Mar Unveiling Celebrates Crutchfield Family’s Support of HRI

prado del mar family photo

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) recently hosted John H. “Crutch” Crutchfield, joined by his wife, sister, and brother-in-law, to celebrate the naming of the Prado del Mar, a boat used by HRI labs for research. In addition to the dedication of the boat, the family was able to visit with Crutchfield Fellowship recipients and tour HRI labs.

The Prado del Mar, translating to “meadow of the sea”, has already been used in the field primarily by HRI’s Conservation and Biodiversity lab while surveying coastal waterbird species. 

“I was flattered that HRI wanted to name a boat recognizing Dad’s generosity,” Crutchfield said. “When I learned what ‘prado’ was, and that the boat was going to be used in the shallows where you’ve got a lot of vegetation, like a meadow, Prado del Mar made sense.” 

The Crutchfield family has deep roots in Corpus Christi. John W., Crutchfield’s father, lived in the South Texas coastal plains for over 60 years, working as a petroleum engineer. Crutchfield says that his father helped to spearhead turning what was the University of Corpus Christi, a then two-year college, into the four-year Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. 

“There couldn’t have been more than a few hundred students then,” Crutchfield recalls about the early days of TAMU-CC. “And now it has over 11,000!” 

Crutchfield said that he appreciates how well integrated things are throughout the campus, allowing for interdisciplinary research and work between a variety of colleges and students. 

It was his friendship with Ed Harte that inspired John W. to leave a significant gift to the Institute. That same generosity led to the Crutchfield Fellowship Endowment, funding HRIgraduate student’s educational expenses including tuition, travel to conferences, and more. Since its inception in 2014, over $600,000 has gone toward education for 51 students. 

“Students are getting a special opportunity that doesn’t come to many,” Crutchfield says when asked what advice he has for HRI students. “They should take maximum advantage of what they’re getting here and that means studying hard, getting involved, and keeping your eyes open everywhere you go to find where you can apply everything you’ve learned here.”

Crutchfield says that he can see the impact that a dollar amount has on the ability to do research, especially when that research touches not just Texas, but the entire Gulf of Mexico. 

“The Crutchfield family’s support of HRI students will be seen for many years to come,” said Dr. Greg Stunz, Interim Executive Director of HRI. “Our students are the next generation of scientists and natural resource managers, and they will be the ones out working toward making a difference for a healthier Gulf.”

Those interested in supporting HRI’s work can help make a meaningful difference in the Gulf of Mexico’s future by making a donation here.