CORVALLIS — An Oregon State University researcher and his wife have pledged an $800,000 fellowship endowment to support graduate students at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute.

Bruce Mate, a marine mammal researcher who directs the institute, and his wife Mary Lou say they want to help graduate students. The couple named the institute as a beneficiary of their estate, a commitment valued at $800,000. The university announced the gift last week.

The Gazette-Times l the endowment will remain with the institute while its interest will help pay for monthly stipends for the institute’s first-year graduate students.

Bruce Mate is best known for pioneering the use of satellite-monitored radio tags to track endangered whales. Mary Lou Mate worked as a registered nurse before becoming a part-time research assistant.

The couple’s other jobs and business interests, such as remodeling homes and building duplexes, have led to the endowment.