The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


100 Pecent Chance of Laughter

SMU Meteorology Professor Brings Smiles to the Classroom
Jackson worked at Fox-4 News for over 30 years.

Jackson worked at Fox-4 News for over 30 years.

It’s 9 a.m. and it is not surprising that all 75 students in the auditorium are yawning and rubbing their eyes before the class lecture begins. What is surprising is how the professor conducts his class. He is deceiving at first because he takes roll like many other professors. However, he then proceeds to slowly walk to the back of the auditorium, opens a folded chair, and sits back with his arms behind his head.

“Why didn’t Ben Franklin get struck by lightning when he flew a key attached to a kite in a storm?” he says with his distinct newscaster voice. All of the students are wide-awake now after hearing this provoking question.

“Anyone?” He says leaning back in his chair and crossing his arms, “It starts with an L.” The auditorium is now filled with quiet chatter as students try and figure out an answer.

He slightly chuckles to himself, leans forward, and yells, “He was LUCKY!” The entire class immediately bursts out into laughter.

“What kind of idiot goes out with a wet string and a key in a storm? He should have been fried! Not smart! I guess he was the same guy who wanted the national symbol to be a turkey, though.”

Professor Ron Jackson, a meteorology professor at SMU, needless to say is quite the character. As a weatherman for over 30 years at Fox 4 news, he has been an engaging newscaster. After five years at SMU, he seems to be an equally engaging and humorous professor.

“Although the class was early in the morning,” said Mary-Ashley Seabrook, a former student in Professor Jackson’s class, “he kept the class lively with all of his jokes and stories.”

After a science project on weather in the third grade, Jackson realized he wanted to become a weatherman. Rain, sleet, and snow did not keep Jackson from completing his dream, and he was able to graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science in meteorology from Northern Illinois University. At the beginning of his career, Jackson worked for local news stations in Iowa and Wisconsin, and finally decided to settle down in Dallas as a weatherman for Fox 4 News.

“We enjoyed the sunshine today. Didn’t we?” Jackson says as he smiles and steps in front of the green screen at the studio. He looks into the camera and begins to dramatically wave his arms in the air, in order to explain the upcoming forecast to his audience. Unlike most, he is not reading from a teleprompter. Jackson is simply having a conversation with the camera. His professional look is classic, but unique at the same time. His grey hair is slicked back and his jacket is buttoned over his ironed tie. However, the best part of his “professional look” is his comfortable black slippers that are hidden from the audience.

“[Ron is] wonderful because he is a true professional on camera, but off camera he is hilarious,” saidMax Morgan, the weekend sports anchor for Fox 4 News.

With people who have big personalities, as Ron Jackson does, there is a lot more to get to know.

“He is an interesting character,” said Hope Hagar, one of Jackson’s teaching assistants at SMU, “he seems very charismatic . . .and knows how to grab everyone’s attention.”

However, he is in fact a creature of habit. He walks his dogs every morning before 6 a.m., tends to eat only at Razzoo’s, and his ultimate vacation spot is always Vegas.

“I like going to Vegas,” Jackson said nodding his head, “I like gambling. It’s all statistics. I was a math minor in college, but I still don’t seem to do well,” he said laughing.

What he finds the highest reward in, besides winning bets, is teaching emerging adults in a college atmosphere.

“The reward that is given when [students] get good grades and enjoy the class is an amazing feeling to me . . . kids are fascinated by some theories they didn’t know about, like the atmosphere and the making, and I love teaching it,” he said.

As he slowly stands up before the end of his class, Jackson begins to walk to the front of the room toward the projector. He opens one of the folded chairs in the first row, puts one of his legs on it, and shakes his head at the class.

“None of you guys wished me a happy Weatherman’s Day yesterday. I was at least expecting a card. I made a comment on Twitter about it, too,” he said as the entire class laughed.

“Have a great day guys and I don’t want to hear that anyone didn’t know that is going to be extremely windy today,” he yells as the students stand up and leave for their next class.


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