UCSB Lecturer Dies in Car Crash

Forty-two-year-old Lex Murray, a member of UCSB’s Physical Activities Dept., was killed in an auto accident along Highway 154 on March 20. In Murray’s 15-year UCSB career, he helped found the UCSB women’s golf team, develop the UCSB Fitness Center and was briefly a women’s basketball assistant coach. He also played Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, cycled cross-country with his brother Pete, and completed the Big Sur Marathon.

Cancer Claims Life of Geography Professor

Jack Estes, a UCSB faculty member for 31 years, died on March 9 at the age of 61. Estes was the director of UCSB’s Geography Remote Sensing Research Unit, and chaired an international steering committee for the Global Map Project.

Estes focused his research on the use of remote sensors, geographic information systems and remote analysis of the earth’s resources.

92-Year-Old Retired Zoology Professor Passes Away

Retired Zoology Professor Elmer Ray Noble died March 8 in his Santa Barbara home. He was 92 years old. Noble worked at UCSB for 38 years before retiring in 1972. His positions included chair of the Biological Sciences Dept. from 1947 to 1951 and dean of the division of Letters & Science from 1951 to 1958.

“Professor Noble played an important role in the growth of this campus, particularly in graduate education,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “His contributions also included important and internationally recognized work in his field of zoology. His long and dedicated service to this institution is appreciated by all of us in the UCSB community. Our hearts go out to his family.”

Noble graduated from UC Berkeley where he received his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. He was hired at UCSB in 1936 where he became an internationally known protozoologist and parasitologist.

The former Biological Sciences Building was named Noble Hall in 1978.

Noble is survived by his three daughters, one son and a twin brother.

Professor Preserves Greek

UCSB Professor Apostolos Athanassakis was inaugurated as the first James and Sarah Argyropoulos Chair of Hellenic Studies. Athanassakis, a classics professor specializing in Greek poetry and classical linguistics, received $500,000 to continue teaching and studying Greek culture.

“Our goal is to support scholarship in classical Greek studies and to bring a greater understanding of modern Hellenic culture through activities that will touch students and the community at large,” James Argyropoulos said.

Athanassakis, a professor since 1968 in the Classics Dept. and an immigrant from Greece, will use his position to bring together interdisciplinary research and build alliances with modern Hellenic foundations.

“Of course I am honored,” Athanassakis said. “But above all, I look at the chair as a great instrument.”

“Endowments of this kind are of inestimable value in our continuing effort to extend the excellence of UCSB,” Chancellor Henry Yang said. “The Argyropoulos’ vision and commitment to the future of the university and the College of Letters and Science are truly extraordinary, and we are grateful for their generosity.”

Activist Fills Chair

Professor Eileen Boris was named the first endowed Hull Chair in women’s studies. Boris was previously a professor for the Studies in Gender and Women Program at the University of Virginia and the History Dept. at Howard University.

UCSB Foundation and alumnus Trustee M. Blair Hull donated $400,000 for the chair with the intention of spreading the study of women worldwide. He also wanted to recognize his mother, Jean Hull, and other significant contributions by women.

Boris liked UCSB’s emphasis on combining ethnic studies programs with women studies.

“That’s very important because if women’s studies is [supposed to] be about all women, it must realize that all women are not the same,” she said. “My own research is focused on the workings of what I call racialized gender within class society.”

Boris has received many awards including the 1995 Phillip Taft Prize in Labor History and the Senior Fulbright Lectureship in American Studies at the University of Helsinki in 1993-94. She plans to continue research on women’s labor and form an interdisciplinary faculty forum.

“It is very exciting to be at an institution where deans and chancellors and donors recognize the importance of women’s studies,” she said.

UCSB Donates to Local Research Center

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) received a $16.8-million renewed fund from the National Science Foundation. The center, located in downtown Santa Barbara, will receive $2.8 million a year for the next six years, an increase from a previous $2 million a year.

The center brings together 2,000 scientists from 39 countries to develop interdisciplinary solutions to ecological questions. The State of California donated $500,000 and UCSB gave $180,000 to the NCEAS for continued research.

The purpose of the NCEAS is to “advance the state of ecological knowledge through the search for general patterns and principles, and to organize and synthesize ecological information in a manner useful to researchers, resource managers and policymakers addressing important environmental issues.”

The center, established in 1995, has supported 120 research projects and gained national recognition in the process. Projects included a study of butterfly migratory patterns due to global warming, and conservation and resource management. Researchers meet together at the center for a few weeks or days every year before returning to their countries to continue individual research.

– Compiled by Sarah Healy