January 28, 2011
Jack Hobart Hamilton, a retired engineering executive who funded programs for undergraduate and graduate research scholars at Southern Methodist University, has died. He was 84.
A memorial service was held January 28 at Woodcreek Church in Richardson. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials to be made to Baylor Health Care Foundation and Frontiers of Flight Museum in Mr. Hamilton's name.
Mr. Hamilton, who died January 25, created the Jack and Jane Hamilton Undergraduate Research Scholars Program in 2008. The program in SMU's Dedman College is designed to give students the opportunity to work closely with faculty members on important questions and to develop the kind of close mentor-student relationship that Mr. Hamilton felt was essential to an education.
“We’re so pleased that we can help undergraduates become more involved with research and encourage them to pursue advanced studies. That’s the whole idea of education,” Mr. Hamilton said at the time.
Caroline Brettell, director of the program and a University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, said, “Jack had the foresight and enthusiasm to launch a program for undergraduate research in Dedman College. He has been a great friend to Dedman College and a wonderfully charming and gracious man. His love and interest in undergraduate education will be sorely missed.”
Mr. Hamilton also endowed the J. H. Hamilton Visiting Scholars Program in SMU’s Huffington Department of Earth Sciences and was a longtime supporter of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at SMU in many ways.
ISEM President Louis L. Jacobs said, "Jack Hamilton was an enlightened support and firend of ISEM and the University.
Program benefactor Jack Hamilton (center) in 2009 with Hamilton Scholars (front row) Brian Jacobowski, Veronika Tkachunk, William Grozinger, Samantha Colletti, (back row) Kathryn Pocklington, Sara Gingrich, Laura Roberts and Young Hoon Lim.
At SMU, Mr. Hamilton was a longtime member of the Dedman College Executive Board and the ISEM Board of Trustees, as well as Dedman College’s Collegium da Vinci Board.
James E. Brooks, SMU Provost emeritus and Vice Chairman of the ISEM Board, said that Mr. Hamilton's support of the University dated to the 1960s, when SMU was launching its Ph.D. program in the earth sciences.
"Jack was instrumental in identifying Geotech employees to enter the program and then continuing to pay their salaries and tuition," Brooks said. "Jack's interest and support was critical in recruiting highly qualified graduate students, helping to assure the quality of the program."
Born in Jasper, Ala., Mr. Hamilton served in the U. S. Navy during World War II and earned a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from George Washington University in 1949. He joined The Geotechnical Corporation as a design engineer and successively held positions of chief engineer, vice president of research and engineering, and served as a member of the Board of Directors. In 1965, when The Geotechnical Corporation was acquired by Teledyne, Inc., he became president of Teledyne Geotech.
Mr. Hamilton also served on the boards of the Baylor Health Care Foundation and Frontiers of Flight Museum. He was on the advisory council of the Communities Foundation of Texas and the History of Aviation Collection at The University of Texas of Dallas.
He is survived by Jane, his wife of 63 years; two children, Dan Hamilton and wife, Gena, and Diane Hamilton Buford and husband, Kim; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
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