Jack Oliver 1923-2011
I missed this sad news when it happened last month, but a great Columbia scholar-athlete passed away in January.
His name was Jack Oliver ’47. And his story is extraordinary.
He started playing serious football at Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio where a man you MIGHT have heard of, Paul Brown, was the head coach of the football team.
After playing for the freshmen in 1941 and the varsity in 1942, Oliver left school to join the U.S. Navy and became a Seabee in the Pacific theater.
He came back to play on the 1946 team that went 6-3 with historic wins over Navy, Yale and a 59-31 thrashing of Syracuse.
Then things got really interesting.
Oliver went on to become one of the world’s leading geologists, putting a realistic spin on the so-called “Rocks for Jocks” stereotype.
His work eventually proved the once controversial theory of continental drift.
He went on to teach at Columbia and then Cornell for many decades.
Thank you Professor Oliver for your years of service to Alma Mater and your country.
And thank you Columbia football for making it all possible.