Dr. George A. Jackson

Former Assistant Dean of the Graduate College (1994-2009)

Dr. George Jackson arrived on campus in 1978 as the first director of the newly formed Office of Minority Student Affairs, changing the office and the campus climate for years to come.  He worked closely with the Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students on campus through intentional recruitment and retention efforts.  In a very short time, the Office of Minority Student Affairs became the center for prospective, new, and currently enrolled college students and their parents.  

After sixteen years in the Division of Student Affairs, Dr. Jackson moved to the Graduate College in 1994 as Assistant Dean where he focused on the recruitment and retention of underrepresented graduate students.  In the early 90s, Dr. Jackson solicited state funds to support the recruitment efforts of academic programs and proposed the creation of an initiative where funds could be requested from the Graduate College.  The program was named GMAP (Graduate Minority Assistantship Program) and became a branded name across campus as a viable financial resource for eligible students. 

In 2006, three graduate students approached Dr. Jackson about supporting a forum that brought all underrepresented graduate students together to present their scholarly work.  Dr. Jackson fully supported the idea and charged the students with the planning.  The first annual GMAP Research Symposium took place in 2007.  The 2019-2020 graduate student planning committee unanimously agreed to change the name of the Symposium to the George A. Jackson Research Symposium to acknowledge Dr. Jackson’s commitment to students.

In 1997, Dr. Jackson proposed to the Dean of the Graduate College a fellowship program named in honor of Dr. George Washington Carver called the George Washington Carver Doctoral Fellowship.  The first recipient received the PhD in August of 2000.  In 2003, Dr. Jackson was approached by the chair of the Department of Statistics and faculty from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Iowa about developing and implementing the student development component of the newly NSF funded grant called the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate or AGEP.  The purpose of AGEP was to recruit, prepare and graduate underrepresented graduate students in STEM fields.  The AGEP grant ended in 2008; however, Dr. Jackson was behind the push for its institutionalization alongside the GWC fellowship.  Although both programs ended in 2019, close to 100 recipients have received PhDs through these initiatives.

The Graduate College is continuing Dr. Jackson’s diversity and inclusion legacy in 2020 with a funding initiative called the George A. Jackson Assistantship (Jackson Assistantship), which provides fully paid stipends to underrepresented graduate students and will assist master’s students with their tuition.  

Dr. Jackson was passionate about student success throughout his 31-year career at Iowa State.  He was known for being a strong student advocate and for working tirelessly to change the campus climate for students from groups historically underrepresented in American higher education.


 “Know your talents and surround yourself with people who can help maximize your talents and minimize your limitations!”  Dr. George Jackson