2009-01-13 11:24 AM
Albertson died at Columbine Care Center West, said family friend Mims Harris. He fell ill following a trip to Indonesia in November and did not recover.
Albertson and fellow CSU researchers Andrew Rice and Pauline Birky-Kreutzer responded to a request in 1960 from the federal government for a model to encourage the young Americans to serve in Third World countries. The three wrote a book that set up the basic design of the Peace Corp.
The program was officially launched in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. It now has more than 190,000 volunteers serving in 139 developing countries.
"Maury was an extraordinary man who truly embodied the best of America," Peace Corps Director Ronald A. Tschetter said in a statement. "The many people whose lives Maury touched will always remember him, and for those of us in the Peace Corps family, we will remain forever indebted to him for his vision and commitment to volunteerism and international fellowship."
Albertson spent 30 years at CSU, serving as the first director of its research foundation, director of International Programs and a professor of civil engineering. He was honored in 2006 with an honorary doctorate from CSU for his humanitarian work.
Albertson was born and raised in Hays, Kansas, and witnessed the economic hardship of the Great Depression and the effect of prolonged drought. The experience inspired him to focus his work and research on water resources, according to an autobiographical piece he published in 1998.
Albertson later founded Village Earth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustainable development, and remained active in the group through the final years of his life. He also served as a consultant to the World Bank, UNESCO and other agencies on projects ranging from water and sanitation to village and small industry development.
Friends remembered Albertson as someone who was dedicated to improving the living conditions of people around the world.
"He was a remarkable man," said Ed Shinn, who traveled with Albertson on his final trip to Jakarta to teach a doctorate-level class on sustainable development. "He had tremendous drive to see that the poor of this world were included in acts of development."