Dear Jackson School Friends

Mora HeadshotWe have just kicked off another academic year and everyone at the Jackson School is fully engaged in our special brand of education and research. Our spirits are profoundly buoyed by the presence of students on campus again!

Jackson School scientists were in the field this summer, including a full complement of students in our Geo 660, Hydrogeology, and Marine Geology & Geophysics field camps, and graduate students working on much-delayed thesis efforts. Earlier this summer, a team of Jackson School researchers returned from a Rapid Response mission to Calcasieu Lake, southwestern Louisiana, where they collected data on damage and impacts to the environment due to two of last summer’s hurricanes, Laura and Delta. For others, field work was more remote: Mars, Europa, even far West Texas!

Throughout the pandemic and last winter’s Big Chill, the strength and resiliency of our faculty, students, scientists and staff has been nothing short of amazing, despite the palpable stress. Your generous donations to the student emergency and provided truly critical help to students in need, and your long-term support for the Jackson School helped keep many programs running despite the extra costs driven by the pandemic. We are deeply blessed to have such supportive alumni and friends!

This edition of Advancing Excellence is filled with outstanding examples of how you have enabled the Jackson School to thrive.  I hope you enjoy learning about the unique contribution of the Petty family to the field of geophysics, and their positive impact on so many aspects of UT geophysics (page 2), from the Scott Petty Jr. Endowed Director’s Chair, which helped us attract the immensely talented Demian Saffer to be UTIG Director, to keeping the MG&G field camp students afloat— literally!— aboard the R/V Scott Petty.  Meet Kameel Kisheck, the first Jackson School Masri Fellow, supported by an extraordinary gift from the Munib and Angela Masri Foundation (page 4), and learn more about Ed and Karen Duncan and their planned gift. Enjoy an update on our bustling GeoFORCE program and an enabling new challenge match for the program. Start your reading with a brief story about our enterprising new Chief Development Officer, Andrew West, and his plans for the development team.

Our job at the Jackson School is to tackle society’s biggest issues through leading-edge research and to assure that the next generation of Longhorn geoscientists is knowledgeable, capable, and well-prepared for the future.  We can only achieve this vision hand-in-hand with all of you.  Thank you for all that you make possible!

Hook ‘em!

Claudia Mora, Dean