Dean Clark

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Dean Clark
BSc university University of Oklahoma

Dean Clark is the editor of The Leading Edge.


Contributed by Ray Brown, Oklahoma Geological Survey

We all know Dean Clark, the famous editor of The Leading Edge. Dean Clark is a University of Oklahoma graduate who has been instrumental in shaping the face of the SEG. He is also one of those people who, along with others, have helped to save portions of the precious historical heritage that OU has today.

What follows is a bit of the Dean Clark story:

Dean Clark's father spent nine years as a flour salesman, but stayed in the Army after WWII and retired as a Colonel. His home was Norman. Dean estimates that his father saw his first OU football game in 1920. Dean's father has just turned 90 this year and is still a big fan. Dean's father lives only a mile or so from the stadium and has attended a great deal of OU football. Unfortunately, he had to give up his tickets about 10 years ago. It is not as easy to attend OU football when you get older. Dean, like his father, is an avid OU fan as well. Dean does strange things like study the historical records of OU football. It was Dean who suggested to me that "Spot" Geyer, one of the OU students sent to work for E.W. Marland by Professor Irving Perrine in the geology department was OU's first official all-American football player. He got the name from the "spot" pass that required passing the ball to a particular spot to be occupied by one of his team. Dean loves OU and is OU all the way!

Dean Clark's mother was born in Texas but moved to McAlester when she remarried. Dean was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on December 7, 1944. His mother had moved back there to stay with her family while his father was sent overseas during World War II. Dean's father ended up commanding an artillery battalion under Patton. This may explain some of Dean's personality. He loves a challenge. His father's unit played a significant role in the relief of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. In fact, his father's unit led the tanks that were breaking through the German lines by dropping an artillery barrage in front of them as they advanced. This sounds like movie material!

Dean's father stayed in the Army until 1962. Dean grew up, he claims, as the brattiest of Army brats and lived all over during his father's career. This may explain why it is so easy to meet and make friends with Dean today. Dean graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1962 just as his father was retiring from the Army.

With his father retired from the Army and Dean fresh out of Phillips Exeter Academy, the family moved to Norman in 1962. He had not lived in Oklahoma since he was about six months old. He enrolled at OU. The rest, as they say, is history. He got a degree in journalism from OU in 1966. Dean claims that his academic record was so "outstanding" that he immediately received an entry-level job from one of the world's biggest organizations (the US Army). This is the typical dry wit of Dean Clark. He ended up doing three years in the U.S. Army and was sent approximately 10 miles from ground zero when the Tet offensive started on 31 January 1968. Dean was definitely following in his father's footsteps.

After leaving the Army, Dean became a sports writer for the Tulsa World (1969-81). When he left the Tulsa World, he joined the SEG where he has made a tremendous impact on that organization. Dean Clark is one of the great thinkers within the Society of Exploration Geophysics today. Do not be fooled by his modesty or joking about his academic career at OU. He hobnobs (associates) with the best minds in the Society. Some of these people are bright physicists and geophysicists representing some of the great minds from around the world. One of his close friends for years has been the great Enders Robinson. Dr. Robinson worked at MIT during World War II developing specialized radar processing methods that he later applied for the oil industry. Dean and Enders socialized quite a bit while Dr. Robinson was in Tulsa. Enders Robinson has since been a visiting faculty member at Universities around the world. So the lesson to be learned is that you should not be fooled by Dean's cavalier description of his success at OU.

Dean was a part of the SEG's effort to publish a new magazine called The Leading Edge. This magazine was to be published in addition to the professional publication for geophysicists called "Geophysics". Initially Geophysics was considered the primary publication for the SEG. Today, Dean has made The Leading Edge more popular than Geophysics. The SEG membership are wanting papers in Geophysics to emulate the clarity of papers found in The Leading Edge where Dean Clark is the Editor. Some might say the tail (The Leading Edge) is wagging the dog (the journal called "Geophysics"), but I say "nice going Dean Clark".