Sep 1st, 2015
Alumnus receives J.D. Eaton Alumni Award
Dr. Rex Gibbons, B.Sc.’67, B.Ed.’67, M.Sc.’69, is this year’s recipient of the J.D. Eaton Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions to Memorial.
Following the completion of his PhD in geology at the California Institute of Technology, Dr. Gibbons spent two years as a research associate at NASA’s Lyndon Johnson Space Center. He returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1976, bringing his expertise back to senior positions in the provincial Department of Mines and Energy for more than a decade. Moving from the role of bureaucrat to politician, Dr. Gibbons served as a member of the House of Assembly for St. John’s West and minister of Mines and Energy and Natural Resources from 1989-97. In 1990 he and then-Premier Clyde Wells signed the development agreement for the Hibernia Project, thereby laying the foundation for the province’s oil and gas industry. After his life in politics, Dr. Gibbons joined the private sector and worked for 10 years in senior positions with the Jacques Whitford Ltd. Group of Companies, from which he retired in 2007.
Throughout his career, Dr. Gibbons has received many academic and industry awards and volunteered on countless boards and committees, including chair of the Avalon Consolidated School Board, director of the St. John’s Board of Trade, chair of the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association and president of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.
What stands out among many volunteer commitments is his dedication to Memorial University. A constant throughout a long and diverse career has been service to his alma mater. Over the years Dr. Gibbons has been a consistent volunteer for numerous alumni initiatives and committees. Notable among them are his terms as an elected alumni representative on the Board of Regents. He was elected from 1979-82, again in 2008 and then re-elected for a third time in 2011. Considered one of the most significant volunteer contributions Memorial alumni can make, Dr. Gibbons has been an instrumental figure in guiding the management and administration of the university during his three terms of service.