Dr. Mack Gipson, Jr., was born in Trenton, South Carolina, on September 15, 1931. He graduated from A. R. Johnson High School in Augusta, Georgia, in 1949. In 1953, he earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in natural sciences from Paine College. He earned a Master of Science degree in 1961 and a Ph.D. in 1963 from the University of Chicago, becoming the first African American to receive a doctorate in the field of geology.

Dr. Gipson worked in a number of different jobs. For example, he served as the director of a special program for high school scientists, a project of the National Science Foundation. He also worked for several oil corporations such as Exxon, NLERCO Industries, the Aminoil Company, and Phillips Petroleum. Dr. Gipson started the geology department at Virginia State College (now called Virginia State University). He joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina as a professor of geology in 1986.

Dr. Gipson was the founder of the National Association of Black Geologists and Geophysicists. He served as a member of the National Academy of Science Study Group on Geological Training and Research in the Republic of Zaire. NASA commissioned Dr. Gipson to research the pyramids on the planet Mars. U. S. Secretary of Energy Hazel B. O’Leary appointed him to the National Petroleum Council.

Dr. Gipson received many honors during his career. Among other awards, he was honored by Paine College with the Alumni Achievement Award, the President’s Award, and the Presidential Citation. A teacher for many years, he was recognized as a member of the Outstanding Educators of America.

Dr. Gipson was greatly respected and dearly loved. As a loyal alumnus of Paine College, he was a dedicated supporter of his alma mater. Dr. Gipson also served with distinction on the Paine College Board of Trustees.

During a ceremony to dedicate the Center’s new location in the Gipson Building in June 2006, Paine College renamed the TEC to honor Dr. Gipson and his contributions to the school. Dr. Gipson serves as a wonderful role model for Paine College students.