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The Stella Turk Building will establish a new centre of excellence for research and teaching

University of Exeter names new building after revered Cornish scientist

The University of Exeter has named their new £12.4 million state of the art research facility in Penryn after Cornish scientist and honorary graduate, Stella Turk.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor at the University welcomed Stella’s family and friends at the official opening today.

The Stella Turk Building will establish a new centre of excellence for research and teaching, building on the success of the Science and Engineering Research Support Facility on the Penryn Campus. The University of Exeter’s base in Cornwall is home to world-leading experts on subjects ranging from marine life to business and attracts students from around the world.

The Stella Turk building will support growth in the newly established Business School, the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Renewable Energy and Camborne School of Mines. It is also the new home for Law, Energy policy and Mathematics.

Stella Turk was born in the Isles of Scilly and spent most of her life living and working in Cornwall as a naturalist, conservationist and zoologist. She liked to be known by her first two names, ”Stella Maris”, a Latin phrase meaning “star of the sea”. With her husband Frank, Stella founded the “Cornish Biological Record Unit” at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Cornish Studies, this was later incorporated into the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

Stella served as the British Isles National Recorder for marine molluscs for the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, as well as the Strandings Recorder for marine mammals. She was a major contributor to the Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and for many years wrote a nature column in the West Briton.

In 1980, Stella was awarded an honorary Master of Science (MSc) from the University of Exeter and was awarded an MBE in the 2003 New Year Honours List, “For services to Nature Conservation, Cornwall, while holding office as Strandings Recorder”.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter said: “As one of the leading UK and global research universities, we want to continue to build outstanding facilities for students and academics to thrive. We are building strong links regionally, nationally and internationally with major benefits for the people of Cornwall and the local economy. It is a great pleasure and honour to name this new facility in Penryn after the revered Cornish Scientist Stella Turk, who was a great friend of this University for many years.”  

Date: 27 February 2019