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December 16, 1999


Louis Jacobs DALLAS (SMU) -- Louis L. Jacobs, a distinguished vertebrate paleontologist, will become president of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University January 1. A member of the SMU faculty since 1983, Jacobs will continue serving as professor of geological sciences in Dedman College and director of the Shuler Museum of Paleontology at SMU in addition to filling new responsibilities as ISEM president.

Jacobs will succeed Richard J. Kruizenga, a retired Exxon executive who has served as ISEM president since January 1997.

"We are delighted to have an internationally recognized scientist like Lou Jacobs step into the ISEM presidency; he will give added impetus to the institute's research activities," ISEM Board of Trustees Chair H. Leighton Steward said in announcing Jacobs' election by the board. "We appreciate Dick Kruizenga's service as president the past three years. During his tenure, the institute's energy programs were expanded and its financial position was strengthened."

Jacobs has conducted extensive field research in Pakistan, Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Malawi and Yemen, as well as Texas and other parts of the United States. He has served the Dallas Museum of Natural History as director ad interim during 1999 and will continue to serve the museum in a new role as advisory director for natural sciences beginning January 1. He also has been president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and vice president of ISEM.

He is the author of Quest for the African Dinosaur: Ancient Roots of the Modern World and Lone Star Dinosaurs, as well as numerous scientific papers. Lone Star Dinosaurs was the basis for a museum exhibit that toured the state in 1996. The exhibit featured dinosaur fossils unearthed in Texas by Jacobs and others.

Jacobs received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Arizona in 1977. Before joining the SMU faculty, he served as head of the Division of Paleontology at the National Museums of Kenya, where he worked for Richard Leakey. Supporters of Jacobs' research include the National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, Dinosaur Society, Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society, Dallas Museum of Natural History, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and ISEM.

"Lou Jacobs is one of SMU's preeminent research scientists," said Ross C Murfin, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SMU. "He is highly respected by his campus colleagues and his international research peers. Lou will bring strong leadership and fresh energy to ISEM."

SMU President R. Gerald Turner said, "ISEM has had a significant presence on the SMU campus for more than three decades. It has provided impetus for faculty research projects around the world and has brought international leaders in energy, archaeology and other fields to SMU for conferences. As we move into the 21st century, we look forward to the institute's ongoing programs addressing global issues."

ISEM, organized in 1966, is an independent research and education institute located on the SMU campus. It supports research in the geological sciences, archaeology, anthropology, energy and the environment at SMU and elsewhere. The institute also conducts conferences, briefings and symposia in these subject areas. Its programs are international in scope, but remain closely allied with activities of the SMU faculty.