James V. Taranik, former DRI President and University of Nevada Dean, will be remembered on Sept. 12
Family, colleagues and friends will gather at 3 p.m. on Monday, September 12 at the DRI Plaza to honor Dr. James V. Taranik. With more than 29 years of service to the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), he served as president of the Desert Research Institute, dean of the Mackay School of Mines and director of the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering.
DATE: Monday, September 12, 2011
TIME: 3 p.m.
LOCATION: DRI Northern Nevada Science Center, 2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512
Dan Taranik, son
Nikolas Taranik, brother
Bob Miller, former Nevada Governor
Dorothy Gallagher, former Nevada System of Higher Education Regent
Dr. Joe Crowley, former University of Nevada, Reno President
Dr. Jack Hess, former DRI Vice President for Academic Affairs,
Executive Director Division of Hydrologic Sciences
Tim Minor, DRI Associate Research GIS/Remote Sensing Scientist
Video tribute from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Jim Taranik began his career in NSHE in 1982, when he first assumed the position of dean of the Mackay School of Mines, now the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, at the University of Nevada, Reno. Taranik’s vision helped shape the school, as he brought an awareness of the needs of the workforce nationally, as well as the technology that was being developed to address these needs. Before leaving the school to accept the position of president of DRI in 1987, Taranik helped raise $28 million for the school, which paid for the Laxalt Mineral Research Building and retrofitting of the historic Mackay School of Mines Building to make it earthquake resistant, among other projects. Besides his ability to build infrastructure and enrollment in the school, Taranik was noted for his ability to maintain a strong research program and mentor graduate students at the University.
As president of DRI, Taranik greatly increased the institute’s capability for employing sophisticated satellite imagery across many areas of research. He remained directly involved in the improvement of remote sensing for environmental applications and geological exploration. In 1994, he was on the team that prepared radar equipment that recorded some 25 million square miles of images from the space shuttle Endeavor. He also served on a national blue-ribbon panel seeking to declassify remote-sensing technologies for use in environmental research.
Administratively, Taranik instituted DRI’s strategic and budgetary planning processes that helped define the institute’s mission both internally and externally. He also reorganized the DRI Research Foundation, created DRI Research Parks, LTD., and established a long-range facilities plan that led to the construction of nearly 150,000 square feet of new facilities for DRI, including the Dorothy Gallagher Great Basin Environmental Research Laboratory, the Southern Nevada Science Center and the Northern Nevada Science Center expansion.
Taranik was internationally known for his research in aerospace remote sensing, and his professional career had already included senior positions with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Iowa Geological Survey and the University of Iowa. In 1981, he was the chief mission scientist on Space Shuttle Columbia’s second flight – the first flight with a science payload.
Taranik received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Stanford University and his doctorate in geology from the Colorado School of Mines.