MILWAUKEE — The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences is getting a new research vessel thanks to an anonymous donor of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation that has committed $10 million to the project.
A news release says the $10 million gift equals the largest gifts ever received by UWM. In recognition of the gift, the vessel will be named the Research Vessel Maggi Sue.
The university continues to raise funds for this $20 million project, which includes $15 million to construct the research vessel and $5 million to sustain its operation.
Officials say the Maggi Sue will be the most advanced research vessel on the Great Lakes and the first designed specifically for conducting sophisticated research on these bodies of water. It will replace the Neeskay, a converted Army T-boat that is more than 65 years old. The 71-foot Neeskay was purchased by UWM in 1970 – nearly 50 years ago.
The Maggi Sue, measuring 120 feet in length, will possess onboard technology that will open new avenues of research and increase scientists’ ability to understand, explore and manage our freshwater resources. The vessel will feature sensors that collect real-time data, interchangeable lab pods that can be switched out depending on scientists’ needs, and a dynamic positioning system that allows the vessel to stay in one place despite the current, wind and waves.
The lab spaces will enable scientists to conduct experiments on the water. Classrooms aboard the vessel will allow groups of university students as well as K-12 students the opportunity to learn at sea. Unlike the Neeskay, the Maggi Sue will have sleeping accommodations for up to 18 people, allowing scientists and crew to remain on the water for longer periods of time to gather continuous readings without needing to return to shore.