At the 1995 meeting of the Academy in Alva, retiring president Professor Jack D. Tyler was honored for his three years service as President. On November 8, 1996 in Oklahoma City Jack was honored as the OAS Educator of the Year for 1996.
Jack was educated in Oklahoma beginning with study at Cameron State College, where he received an A.A. in 1960; he completed a B.S. (Biology) at Southwestern State College in 1962; at Oklahoma State University he worked with Bryan Glass on birds and received a M.S. in Zoology in 1965; he then moved to the University of Oklahoma and received a Ph.D. in Zoology in 1968 with George Sutton, working on mammals. Jack notes that he picked his mentors backwards because Glass is, of course, known for his work on mammals and Sutton for his work on birds. He has taught at Cameron University since 1967 except for one summer at Kansas State Teacher's College in Emporia (1968). He was Assistant Professor 1967-72, Associate Professor 1972-78, and has been Professor since 1978. He is an excellent example of productive (scientist/teacher)s who are trained and employed within Oklahoma.
Jack has taught biology courses from A to Z including anatomy, embryology, general biology, ichthyology, mammalogy, ornithology, natural history of the vertebrates, and zoology. While the research interest is vertebrate ecology, he has migrated mainly to the birds. He has directed numerous independent and special topics courses. One reflection of his success as a teacher is the large number of his students who have pursued professional and graduate degrees.
He has been an advocate and mentor for undergraduates conducting research projects. He has assisted them in presenting their work in the Collegiate Section of the Academy and at Tri Beta meetings, and in publishing their results in POAS.
With respect to the Academy Jack, a member since 1965, has demonstrated a willingness to serve. He was chairman of the Biology Section 1979-80, recording secretary 1979-80, President-elect 1992, and President 1993-95. He ably served an extra year as President because the preceding President, James Estes, accepted a NSF appointment. He awakened the membership with his stand concerning rock climbing and the public use of the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge; his stand galvanized the membership, elicited debate, and resulted in the Academy adopting a position. His leadership provided the guidance for our membership through some of the Academy's most difficult years. Field meetings of the Academy and the Oklahoma Ornithological Society wouldn't be the same if Jack wasn't there to share his knowledge of the birds and other animals of Oklahoma.
Jack's major research interest has been ornithology. In 1977, he prepared a book Birds of the Wichita Mountains and in 1979 he wrote Bird of Southwestern Oklahoma, and subsequently a supplement. He was a coauthor with William Caire, Bryan Glass, and Michael Mares of the classic book Mammals of Oklahoma, a 567-page opus
published by the University of Oklahoma Press. His research has been published in more than 130 articles and they continue, e.g., check the table of contents of this volume. A work in progress is "Doc" Sutton: Scientist, Bird Artist, Enduring Mentor. The Oklahoma Years of George M. Sutton.
The Cameron University Museum of Zoology was established by Jack in 1967 and he has been the curator during the collection of more than 3000 vertebrate specimens in the intervening years. Since 1982, Jack has been editor of the Bulletin of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society. He is a past-president of the organization. Professional affiliations and memberships include: American Society of Mammalogists, Oklahoma Ornithological Society, Phi Theta Kappa, Tri Beta, Phi Sigma, Sigma Xi, National Geographic Society, Wilson Society, Oklahoma Academy of Science, National Audubon Society, Southwestern Association of Naturalists, American Ornithologist's Union, American Birds, Oklahoma Wildlife Society, Texas Ornithological Society, Kansas Ornithological Society, Cooper Ornithological Society, Nature Conservancy, Museum of the Great Plains, and New Mexico Ornithological Society.
Other accomplishments include: cofounder of the Lawton-Fort Sill Bird Club, founder and sponsor of Cameron Biological Society, coordinator of the breeding bird survey of Cotton County, coordinator and compiler of the Wichita Mountains Audubon Christmas bird count, and regional reporter for American Birds.
As was noted by one of his nominators, Dr. Tyler is a well-vested teacher whose acumen and service to the scientific community should be recognized throughout the state of Oklahoma. That has now been done - congratulations, Jack.
Franklin R. Leach
Ronald J. Tyrl