Education: B.S Wittenberg University; M.S. University of Memphis; Ph.D. University of Mississippi
Cat haters step back. It's time to meet Dr. Stan Galicki.
"You know, I really like cats," said Dr. Galicki. "I was never very fond of dogs." Galicki's love of felines led him to acquire an unusual pet, a 9 month old cougar named Mara. "You can get a cougar for under $800," he said.
Galicki, who kept the cougar in a secure cage and had a permit to own her, reminisces fondly on his life with Mara.
"Cougars are social just like housecats, and they'll rub you raw when they lick you," he said. "Her tongue was like 80 grit sandpaper. Also, she was very possessive with me and wanted me to herself.
"She would have killed a child if I had let her," Galicki said. "I mean, she would have just mauled it to death if she had an opportunity."
Life with Mara ended when Galicki made the difficult choice to give her to new owners in Florida who had more space for her to prowl.
Galicki summed up the experience noting that it was "kind of traumatic" and that he doesn't really like to see such animals kept in captivity.
"If people want an exotic pet they should get an endangered species permit and enter the breeding program. That way you can have a positive impact on the population," he said. "But I have no desire to get back into exotics."
Such enigmas surrounding Galicki serve to make him one of the most popular professors on the Millsaps Campus.
"I was a petroleum geologist for about seven years and then I was a 'Mr. Mom' for about three," Galicki said. "But I have been a professor at Millsaps since the spring of 1993."
Millsaps attracts high quality students and teaching them is fun, he said.
"Because our classes are so small, a professor can easily get to know the students. That's an intangible benefit for students."
Galicki notes that while most geology majors go on to graduate school, some follow in his old path to the petroleum industry. Some students worry about getting into an industry with a bad rap.
"Geologists are not bad because we find oil. Just because we find the minerals doesn't mean that we want to conquer the earth. If you're a geologist you can't get any closer to the earth, we respect it" says Galicki.
Galicki enjoys each year taking students to the Millsaps Yucatán campus to explore geology and hydrology of the peninsula.. He particularly interested in the environmentally friendly research facility at the Moyers Biocultural Reserve..
"At the Center for Research and Learning everything is solar powered. Because we handle our own waste water management, we aren't contributing to groundwater contamination in the area. We chose to design and build structures that look like the traditional Mayan house. We are learning how to live within the constraints of the environment. At the moment we rely on well water, but would like to move towards rainwater harvesting as well."
Galicki would like even more environmentally friendly changes to occur at the main Millsaps campus as well. One initiative that recently came to fruition was the student-led initiative to reduce the use of trays in the cafeteria.
"I knew the trayless movement was out there. And then all the sudden I just learned that we were going trayless in the Caf. It seems that students can get things done sometimes when faculty can't. We need to see more of that."
Galicki stands behind his students 100 percent.
"What you hope for every student is that they find their passion. If you are pursuing a course of study for your parents, stop. You have to do what you really enjoy. I am so happy doing what I do now."
-- Written by Nell Knox