Former NSM dean succumbs
Cougar News Services
John Butler, a former geosciences professor
and dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, died Wednesday
after a struggle with cancer. He was 59 and would
have turned 60 on Oct. 31.
Johnny Kow/The Daily Cougar
Geosciences professor John
Butler, who died of cancer Wednesday, is seen at his retirement ceremony
during the Sept. 19 Faculty Senate meeting.
Butler retired in September after 33 years
of service to the University. His widow, Susan Butler, is associate director
for public affairs at the Texas Center for Superconductivity at
Butler received his doctorate from Ohio
State University in 1968 and immediately thereafter joined the faculty
of the UH department of geosciences. He was chair of the
department from 1975 to 1985, and NSM
dean from 1989 to 1991.
During the last 10 years of his career,
Butler focused his research and much of his energy on developing the education
uses of the Internet. His expertise as a "guru" was
recognized across campus and the country.
Among his achievements along those lines
was his Web site called "Virtual Geosciences Professor," an award-winning
site which is highly regarded by colleagues from around
A statement released by the geosciences
department read, "Above all, Dr. Butler was an educator and a teacher,
whether it was in the classroom, or the extension of his
classroom via field trips to Central Texas
or Mexico, or through his virtual classroom on the Internet."
Butler received the UH Distance Education
Teaching Excellence Award in Spring 2001.
During a special ceremony honoring Butler
at the Sept. 19 Faculty Senate meeting, Senate President H. Jerome Freiberg
presented Butler with an oversized card signed by
dozens of colleagues, students and friends.
On the card was a proclamation of the senate,
which read in part: "Dr. Butler's remarkable influence has been felt in
both his home college and throughout the University.
"Dr. Butler is widely regarded by students,
faculty, staff and administrators as a friend to whom anyone can go for
assistance, advice and good cheer.
"And … John Butler has consistently been
a really, really good guy."
A memorial service will be held Tuesday
at the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Butler's widow requests that, in lieu of
flowers, people who wish to pay their respects send contributions to: The
John C. Butler Scholarship Fund, c/o Laura Bell; Department of
Geosciences; University of Houston; 4800
Calhoun, Room 312 SR1, Houston, TX 77204-5007.