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The University of Texas at Austin

11 May 2006
For Immediate Release

J.B. Bird
UT Public Affairs

University of Texas at Austin Names Eric Barron New Dean
of Jackson School of Geosciences

AUSTIN, Texas-Dr. Eric J. Barron, dean of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Pennsylvania State University, has been named new dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

Barron replaces Dr. William L. Fisher, who was instrumental in securing the major bequest that created the school. Fisher, who agreed to serve as inaugural dean while the university searched for his replacement, will remain on the faculty.

"The University of Texas at Austin has a celebrated tradition in the geosciences," said Barron. "I look forward to the challenge of taking the Jackson School to the next level of achievement. True to the vision of its founding benefactor, the school will strive to make a lasting impact on Texas and the world."

Barron is a distinguished professor at Pennsylvania State University and former director of the university's EMS Environment Institute. He has chaired several national research boards, including the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the National Academies (1997-2003). His research interests are in climatology, numerical modeling and Earth history.

"Eric Barron accomplished great things at Penn State," said William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin. "Working within a large state university, he developed a student-centered culture that placed a premium on teaching, while advancing his college's research leadership. I am thrilled he will be leading the Jackson School."

Barron assumes leadership of the Jackson School as it aspires to become one of the world's top institutions in the geosciences. In 2002, the school received the largest gift ever made to a United States public university, a bequest of $232 million from the late John A. Jackson, a 1940 geology graduate. As a result of the gift, which carried a charge of advancing the earth sciences, the university made the Jackson School a separate academic unit at the level of a college.

The Jackson School unites one of the largest academic departments of geological sciences with two world-renowned research units, the Institute for Geophysics and the Bureau of Economic Geology. U.S. News & World Report ranks the school's earth science graduate programs No. 9 in the nation.

Note to editors: A high-resolution photo of Barron can be found at the Jackson School Web site at



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