A Guiding Voice for Florida Tech, Link Foundation
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Marilyn Link, a passionate advocate for the power of education and the sanctity of the natural world who served for more than three decades on the Florida Institute of Technology Board of Trustees, passed away Monday. She was 94.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
A Glendale, Calif., native, Ms. Link headed to the classroom to earn bachelor and master’s degrees in education, and then, starting in 1945, to the cockpit to earn her commercial pilot’s license. She held ratings for both single and multi-engine planes and instrument flight.
So assisted in the education division of her family’s Link Aviation Inc., and later worked for both Mohawk Airlines and Hughes Airwest. She served as a member of the Women’s Advisory Committee for the Federal Aviation Administration and also worked for the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution. She was a contributing editor at Flying magazine.
In early 1970s, after serving as a public school teacher in New Jersey and later an instructor at the University of Nebraska, Ms. Link came to the Atlantic coast of Florida at the request of her brother, Edwin Link, to serve as the first manager of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Edwin Link helped Harbor Branch founder Seward Johnson Sr. develop the institute.
Ms. Link went on to serve as a member of the HBOI Board of Trustees and was currently serving as director emerita on the board of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Foundation.
Her brother, who invented the Link Flight Trainer and is considered the father of flight simulation, helped establish the Link family connection at Florida Tech. In 1979, the university’s trustees voted to name a building in his honor.
And a few years later, in 1984, Marilyn Link joined Florida Tech’s Board of Trustees, where she offered her steady guidance and powerful perspective for nearly 35 years. She was trustee emerita at the time of her passing.
“Marilyn never sought the spotlight, but her guidance at Florida Tech was no less important and impactful for her quiet approach,” said Florida Tech President Dwayne McCay. “Her deep knowledge of aviation and real-world experience in that industry, and her belief in the importance of the marine world, meant that two key areas of study here at Florida Tech benefited greatly from her vision, as well.”
The Link Foundation, for which Marilyn Link serves as a special advisor, has awarded nearly $15 million in grants to Florida Tech and many other non-profit organization interested in the mastery of the air and sea, and the development of energy resources and their conservation, and in simulation and training.
“FIT has a great tradition of leadership in aeronautics and ocean engineering and marine sciences and has been a great partner in our efforts,” she has said.
Ms. Link’s generosity has also helped make possible the digitalization of the Edwin A. Link Special Collection at the university library. And she has established a charitable gift annuity at Florida Tech, calling it a wise decision to “help make a lasting contribution to the university I love.”
For these contributions and many others, the university awarded Ms. Link an honorary doctorate at Fall Commencement on Dec. 16, 2017.