Prof. Mack Gipson, Jr. (September 15, 1931 – March 10, 1995) was an American geologist who became the first African-American to obtain a Ph.D. in Geology. His career spanned decades in the petroleum industry as well as decades in academia.
Prof. Gipson was born in Trenton, South Carolina, on September 15, 1931 and grew up on his grandmother’s farm. After persuading his grandmother to move to Augusta, Georgia, so that he could complete high school, he continued to college, financed initially by his mother who borrowed money to get him started at nearby Paine College, Georgia. Mack also worked part-time while pursuing a major in science and mathematics, receiving the bachelor of science degree in 1953. Mack was drafted into the army in June 1954, and served as a radio technician during his service from 1954 to 1956. He then went on to attend the University of Chicago and received his Master of Science degree in 1961. He then began research for the Ph.D. degree, with his research based on studying the deep sedimentary rocks near the central Illinois coal fields. Prof. Gipson received his Ph.D. in Geology in 1963, after submitting his doctoral dissertation entitled “A Study of the Relations of Depth, Porosity, and Clay Mineral Orientation in Pennsylvanian Shales”.