William L. Fisher is the interim director of the EER graduate program. He is also the Leonidas T. Barrow Chair and Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Previously, he served as the Inaugural Dean and the first Director of the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, a school he was instrumental in founding as well as securing its substantial endowment. He is a former long-time director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, former chairman of the Department of Geological Sciences and former director of the Geology Foundation.
Dr. Fisher is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and serves currently as a member of the National Petroleum Council and Chairman of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation Board of Trustees.. He served as Assistant Secretary of Interior for Energy and Minerals under President Gerald Ford. Fisher has chaired and served on numerous state and federal advisory boards, as well as committees and boards of the National Research Council and professional societies. He has also served on several corporate boards and currently serves on HRT Brazil. He served on the White House Science Council under President Ronald Reagan.
Fisher’s research has focused in the areas of stratigraphy, sedimentology, and oil and gas assessment. In 1967 he introduced the concept of depositional systems, now a household term and a fundamental part of modern stratigraphy and sedimentology, as well as the basis for modern resource assessment by class or play. In 1987 he led an assessment team for DOE that turned around the then-prevalent view of natural gas scarcity. He has championed the importance of technology in resource availability and has been a leader in the rethinking of the significance of reserve growth from existing, geologically complex oil and gas fields.
Dr. Fisher is past president of American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Association of American State Geologists, the American Geological Institute, the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, and the Austin Geological Society.
He has received the Powers Medal from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Twenhofel Medal from SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology), the Campbell Medal from the American Geological Institute, the Parker Medal from the American Institute of Professional Geologists, the Boyd Medal from the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, the Hedberg Medal for Energy from the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man, and the Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal from the American Geological Institute, among numerous other awards.
Fisher holds a B.S. and D.Sc. (Hon.) from Southern Illinois University, a M.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Kansas, and a D. Eng. (Hon.) from the Colorado School of Mines; he received the Presidential Citation (equivalent to an honorary doctorate) from The University of Texas at Austin.