John Jackson’s gift to the University of Texas at Austin, one of the most generous ever to a public university, not only enabled the creation of the Jackson School of Geosciences, it also set an example for the kind of community he wanted to create—a community with a strong spirit of generosity.
We can’t all give on the scale of John Jackson. Yet it’s clear that the future of the school can not rest on the contributions of one person. The Jackson gift is used for sustaining existing programs, while new contributions are used to enhance or create new programs. The Jackson School needs the continuing enthusiasm, vision, and stewardship of its friends and alumni. Everyone’s gift is important. Even small contributions sustained over a period of time can have tremendous impact. That fact inspired the creation of the Hill Society in 2007 to honor friends and alumni who have contributed a total of $10,000 or more over the years to the Jackson School.
Our alumni are among the most successful and well respected in the geosciences. Giving to the Jackson School, at any level, is a wonderful way to say thank you for an outstanding education, transformative experiences, and a great network of friends.
Last April, it was our turn to say thank you to the approximately 100 inaugural members of the Hill Society and welcome them into the family of friends and alumni dedicated to growing this tradition of generosity. They were inducted at a special dinner at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel in downtown
Austin. Each new member received a limited edition watercolor print of the Jackson Geology Building painted by local artist Janet Campbell. Campbell, a native of San Antonio, has been painting professionally for over 30 years.
The dinner was also an opportunity to say an especially big thank you to the inaugural members of the L.T. Barrow Founders Circle, who have contributed a total of $100,000 or more: Russ Slayback and Ralph and Sally Duchin.
Mr. Duchin (M.A., 1955), principal of Duchin Oil & Gas, said his time at the University was one of the “key experiences” of his life. One person in particular, Professor Ronald DeFord, had a big influence on him. DeFord helped him get an assistantship and scholarship, supervised his thesis, and helped him get his first job with Shell Oil Company. Duchin said his own contributions to the Geology Foundation through the years have been a way of giving back.
“The people I met and friends and specifically Professor DeFord had a significant influence on me and my career,” said Duchin. Among other gifts, he created a memorial endowment in honor of his son Michael Bruce to support graduate students and a scholarship to support students taking the GEO 660 field course.
In spring 2009, a dinner will be held to honor those whose contributions to the school in 2008 have made them eligible for the Hill Society and the L.T. Barrow Founders Circle.
Hill Society and L.T. Barrow Founders Circle
The Hill Society is named after Robert T. Hill, the first professor and chair of the Department of Geology. A biographer referred to Hill as the “Father of Texas Geology.”
Approximately 100 inaugural members of the Hill Society were inducted, including 15 whose giving from September 2006 to December 2007 made them eligible for the first time: Thomas E. Fanning, James W. Farnsworth, Peter T. Flawn, Willard R. Green, Richard A. Leach, Rolf Lundelius, Michael O. Maler, Sabin W. Marshall, Ann. M. Molineux, F. Woody Pace, Gregory P. Pipkin, Debra Sue Trinque, Virgil A. Walston, Pinar O. Yilmaz, and one anonymous donor.
The L.T. Barrow Founders Circle is named after Leonidas T. Barrow (B.S., 1921; M.S. 1923), who with his wife Laura helped found, and donated to, the Geology Foundation. He was a geology instructor in the Department (1921-24) and chairman of the board of Humble Oil and Refining Company (1948-55). During his undergraduate days, he played on the Longhorn football and basketball teams, where he earned the nickname “Slim.”
by Marc Airhart
For more information about research at the Jackson School, contact J.B. Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org, 512-232-9623.