b'4 Carnegie Science|Fall 2020Thomas Urban, FormerCarnegie Board Chair, DiesFormer chairman and CEO of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and former chair of the Carnegie Board of Trustees, Thomas Urban died of mesothelioma at the age of 86 on July 10, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.Urban joined the CarnegieTechnological Science board in 1986. He served as chair from 1992-2003 and remained an active board member until 2007.Solution to Among his contributions as chair, Urban undertook many fundraising initiatives to bolster Carnegies finances and expand Carnegies scientificAquatic Dead agenda. During his tenure, Carnegie Science founded the Department of Global Ecology, built the Magellan twin 6.5-meter telescopes at Carnegies Las Campanas Observatory, and upgraded facilities including theZones? construction of the Maxine F. Singer Building for the Department of Embryology.Carnegie Science benefited greatly from Tom Urbans leadership. During his tenure as chair of the board, Carnegie thrived. His business finesse, his passion for scientificC ould pumping oxygen-rich surface water into the progress, and his enthusiasm for our institution were a winning combination that helped build a path that continuesdepths of lakes, estuaries, and coastal ocean waters to generate a significant positive impact on our organization,help quell dangerous dead zones from arising? New said Eric Isaacs, president of Carnegie Science. work led by Carnegies David Koweek and Ken Urban was involved in the hiring of former CarnegieCaldeira and published open access by Science of the Total Environmentpresident Maxine Singer in 1988. During my presidency at says yes, although they caution Carnegie Science, Tom led with wisdom and grace. He wasthat further research would be needed to understand universally loved by the board and our staff. Tom oversawany possible side effects. a period of significant growth and was one of the drivingWhen excessive nutrients from agriculture and other forces behind the expansion of our institution for morehuman activities wash into waterways, it can create a than two decades. He will be greatly missed, longtimephenomenon called eutrophication leading to low-oxygen dead friend Singer said.zones called hypoxia. Born in 1934 in Des Moines, Urban attended HarvardLow-oxygen dead zones are one of the most pervasive University where he obtained an M.B.A. He then took a jobproblems plaguing both marine and freshwater systems vaccinating chickens in Minnesota for a Pioneer-ownedaround the world and a major problem for communities that company. Urban worked for Pioneer for over 30 years and wasdepend on fishing, Koweek said. appointed CEO and chairman of Pioneer Hi-Bred, now knownEfforts to fight hypoxia often focus on reducing as DuPont Pioneer. Under his leadership, the company grewagricultural runoff and on preventing nutrient overload into into an international, agricultural powerhouse.waterways. But it is slow to change farming practices, upgrade At age 33, Urban became mayor of Des Moines. It waswastewater treatment facilities, and change home fertilizer 1968, a period of great social unrest, and Urban wasusage. challenged with keeping peace in the community. He metKoweek, Caldeira and team investigated a proposed with the militant Black Panthers and, when he retired astechnological remedy called downwelling, which could mayor, he was awarded for his service to the Des Moinescomplement nutrient-reduction programs. The remedy Black community. involves pumping more oxygenated water from the surface After Urban retired from Pioneer, he taught at Harvardinto the depths of the affected water body. Business School. In addition to serving as chair of theIn theory, downwelling would create vertical mixing in Carnegie Board, he was chairman of the National Tropicalthe body of water, distributing oxygen and preventing hypoxic Botanical Garden along with serving on many otherconditions from taking hold, Koweek explained. We wanted to nonprofit and corporate boards. test this idea and see if it would really work. He is survived by his wife Mary, his children Bill Urban,The team built models to compare downwelling to the two Nina Urban, Tom Urban III, and Vikki Broer, their spouses,most commonly used technological techniques for preventing nine grandchildren, and three younger brothers. dead zonesbubbling oxygen from the bottom and spraying'