Lafayette Professor D.C. Jackson

D.C. Jackson, professor of history at Lafayette College, will appear in the “Grand Coulee Dam” episode of the acclaimed PBS series American Experience as an expert on hydropower history and on the construction of the dam. The segment is scheduled to air nationwide at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3.

Jackson was interviewed in New York City by a crew from Insignia Films last fall for the 90-minute segment, which highlights the origins of the project in the 1920s as well as the innovative technologies used during construction. The film also features the men and women who lived and worked at Grand Coulee in the midst of the Great Depression, and the Native people whose lives were forever changed as the dam’s rising reservoir obliterated their ancestral homeland.

In addition to offering a historical perspective on Grand Coulee, Jackson provided Insignia Films with a rare photograph from his private archives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt during a visit to the dam. “She wasn’t that impressed with the early stages of the dam, but her husband reveled in his association with the project. Later the reservoir was named Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake in his honor,” Jackson says.

“In the film I provide context for dam-building in American history and I also offer commentary on issues involving the dam’s construction. They were many top scholars from the Pacific Northwest who made contributions to the film and I was honored to be included in their company.”

Last year, Jackson delivered the keynote address at the Hoover Dam 75th Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas, Nev. In 2010 he also received the Overseas Prize, an international honor from the Institution of Civil Engineering, given for his article “Structural Art: John S. Eastwood and the Multiple Arch Dam,” published in the August 2009 Proceedings of the ICE – Engineering History and Heritage. He is co-author (with David Billington of Princeton University) of the 2006 book Big Dams of the New Deal Era published by the University of Oklahoma Press.



Lafayette is a top liberal arts college with 2,400 students and 200 full-time faculty that offers a wide variety of undergraduate degree programs including engineering. With close proximity to New York City and Philadelphia, Lafayette has one of the highest endowment-per-student rates in the nation. This means ample resources to fuel student research, and provide opportunities for study abroad, internships and field work. It means outstanding facilities, Division I sports, funding for 250 student groups on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

Kathleen Parrish
Associate Director of Media Relations
Lafayette College, Easton, PA 18042
(610) 330-5524