For Hometown News
FORT PIERCE -- The public is invited to a special event on March 6 to commemorate a couple of important milestones and celebrate a remarkable visionary and the extraordinary gift he left behind for future generations.
"A 60/40 Homecoming" will celebrate 60 years of the Link Foundation, established by Edwin A. Link and his wife, Marion, in 1953 and 40 years of FAU Harbor Branch's summer intern program.
A presentation will be given from 4-7 p.m. highlighting some of the people and projects that have been fostered over the years. There will be a reception following each presentation from 5-8 p.m. respectively. On hand to meet the public and answer their questions will be some of the very first Link Foundation interns and fellows.
The event will take place at the Johnson Education Center on the Fort Pierce campus of FAU's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.
Sixty years ago, Mr. Link set into motion a plan that has since helped launch and nurture the careers of more than 1,000 new scientists and engineers and will continue to do so for many decades to come.
Born in 1904, only a year after the Wright brothers' first flight, Mr. Link became fascinated with flight. With aviation in its infancy, he earned his pilot's license while still in his 20s.
Acutely aware of the high cost and hazards involved in flight training, Mr. Link's inventive nature led him to create the world's first flight simulator, the Link Trainer. This breakthrough spurred the advancement of both aviation and space exploration, and elevated him as an icon in aviation history. He also became an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of ocean technology.
In 1953, Mr. Link and his wife, Marion, established the foundation..In 1963, the Link Foundation began funding doctoral candidates at universities around North America to study ocean engineering. In 1967, he established summer internships enabling undergraduate students to obtain hands-on experience designing and building subsea systems.
Throughout the rest of the 1960s, he was instrumental in establishing ocean engineering departments at the University of Hawaii and Florida Atlantic University.
In 1971, he persuaded his friend, J. Seward Johnson Sr., to invest in the establishment of Fort Pierce's Harbor Branch Foundation (now Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University).
As vice president of Harbor Branch, Mr. Link designed their Johnson-Sea-Link manned submersibles, which served as premier undersea vehicles for exploring the world's oceans until their retirement in 2010.
The informal summer internship program begun by the Link Foundation in 1967 was taken over by Harbor Branch in 1974 where it has grown and flourished, and has since mentored 520 students.
This year marks the 40th year of the FAU Harbor Branch summer intern program that allows competitively selected college students to spend 10 weeks of their summer at FAU Harbor Branch gaining vital hands-on experience in their chosen field.
Similarly, the practice of funding a few doctoral candidates has since evolved into three internationally recognized Link Fellowship programs, currently hosted at FAU, Florida Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College. Each year, up to a dozen doctoral students, competitively selected from hundreds of applicants from North America's top universities are funded by the Link Foundation to pursue research in the areas of ocean engineering and instrumentation, advanced simulation and training, and energy resources
Link scholarships have also been established at Indian River State College and fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution Marine Station in Fort Pierce.