D.C. Jackson, professor of history, will be the keynote speaker at the Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary Celebration Oct. 22 in Las Vegas, Nev., and also received an international honor from the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE).
Part of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 140th annual Civil Engineering Conference, the Hoover Dam symposium will celebrate the engineering marvel that still remains the highest concrete dam in the Western hemisphere. Jackson will present his research, “Politics and Dam Safety: The St. Francis Dam Disaster and the Boulder Canyon Project Act.”
Jackson traveled to London Oct. 8 to attend an international meeting of the ICE, where he was presented with the Overseas Prize. The prize is given for the best paper published in one of the institution’s numerous academic journals that focuses on a topic outside the British Isles. Jackson’s article, “Structural Art: John S. Eastwood and the Multiple Arch Dam,” appeared in the August 2009 volume of Proceedings of the ICE – Engineering History and Heritage. The institution, which is headquartered in London, is comprised of more than 80,000 members worldwide.
Much of Jackson’s research and teaching focuses on the history of water resources, specifically dams, and their political, social, and environmental catalysts. He is the author of Big Dams of the New Deal Era: A Confluence of Engineering and Politics (2006), which tells the story of how major water-storage structures were erected in four western river basins: the Colorado, Columbia, Missouri, and Sacramento-San Joaquin. He is also the author of Building the Ultimate Dam: John S. Eastwood and the Control of Water in the West (1995) and Great American Bridges and Dams (1988).
In 2007, as part of an 11-member scientific panel organized by the National Research Council, Jackson helped compile a report focusing on the dwindling water resources of the Colorado River Basin. Sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and state and local agencies, the study was presented to representatives of the Bureau, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee, the White House, and the Department of The Interior.
Jackson has appeared as an on-camera expert about dams on the History Channel program Modern Marvels and in an episode of the acclaimed five-part PBS miniseries Building Big.
A member of the Lafayette faculty since 1989, Jackson is the recipient of the College’s Thomas and Lura Forrest Jones Lecture Award for excellence in scholarship and teaching, the Mary Louise Van Artsdalen Prize for outstanding scholarly achievement, and the Student Government Superior Teaching Award. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in engineering from Swarthmore College.