AUSTIN, Texas—Retired Dallas oilman and philanthropist John A. Jackson turned the first shovel of dirt at groundbreaking ceremonies Tuesday on a $15 million expansion of the Geological Sciences Building at The University of Texas at Austin.
The gift is the third largest in UT Austin history.
Jackson and his late wife, Katherine, donated the funds for the expansion, which will add about 25 percent more space to the building.
The building, which was built in 1967, will be renamed the John A. and Katherine G. Jackson Geological Sciences Building. About 1,200 students attend classes in the building.
"The University has long been a leader in the geological sciences," said UT Austin President Larry R. Faulkner. "This field of inquiry has played a major role in our state’s past, and will remain important to its future. The generosity of John Jackson and the late Katharine Jackson will expand our understanding of the earth and its resources. The Jackson gift will enable Texas and UT Austin to achieve even greater preeminence in the geological sciences."
The project, which will add about 60,000 square feet, will include new space for classrooms, conference rooms, faculty research, offices and the library. It is expected to be completed by December 2002.
The UT Austin department of geological sciences has the nation’s top-ranked doctoral program in stratigraphy/sedimentology. Its doctoral programs in paleontology, hydrogeology and tectonics/structure are ranked in the top 10 nationally. The rankings are based on a survey of academic geologists and reported by U.S. News and World Report.