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About UCMP : History of UCMP
Jere H. Lipps, ninth director of UCMP
By Joseph T. Gregory1
Dr. Lipps was born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1939. By age six he developed an interest in rocks and fossils and went on field trips with his father, who encouraged his interest in nature. He wrote an essay for his 6th grade class that began, "I want to be a geologist when I grow up," and that is what he did.
As an undergraduate at UCLA, he and Ed Mitchell took many field trips, including one to the Channel Islands where he found a fossil bird skeleton, described in his first paper (1961). The two collaborated on several papers, Jere working mainly on the geology and invertebrate fossils, Mitchell on marine mammals. His advisor in the geology department at UCLA discouraged him from trying to become a geologist, as there were few opportunities for employment at that time. Instead he talked to avian paleontologist Loye "Padre" Miller, who encouraged him to ignore his advisor and follow his interests. Good advice! He was also influenced by Jim Valentine, who encouraged him to write papers on various paleobiological topics. This relationship has continued to the present day and Jere and Jim still have joint projects underway. His graduate work at UCLA in micropaleontology with Helen Tappan and Al Loeblich included invertebrate, evolution, ecology, and protozoology courses. He had summer jobs measuring sections and collecting from the classic Tertiary microfossil localities in California. In 1966 he received his doctorate in geology, and in 1967 was appointed Assistant Professor of Geology at UC Davis (Professor, 1975).
Jere has diverse scientific interests, working on vertebrates and metazoan invertebrates as well as foraminifera. He is a Director and past President of the Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research, and served as President of the Paleontological Society in 1997. He served as chairman of Integrative Biology from 1991 to 1994.
Leading UCMP into the 90s
In 1994, Jere was active in helping to organize the Berkeley Natural History Museums, a consortium of previously independent units: the Museum of Paleontology, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University and Jepson Herbaria, UC Botanical Garden, Essig Museum of Entomology, and Hearst Museum of Anthropology.
Jere is still actively teaching and doing research, and in recent years has taken an interest in astrobiology.
1From UCMP News, September 1998, with minor modifications by Dave Smith, 2008. Photo by Jane Scherr, UCMP Archives.
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