Phil Mani ’80

Rock Solid and Remembering Dr. Roy

By Donna Parker


This profile is dedicated to Edward Carl Roy Jr.
Born on Oct. 17, 1936, and died on Nov. 9, 2007

Phil Mani ’80 never met a rock he didn’t like – especially if they happen to fall from the sky as meteorites.

“I was born with this love for geology.  It always came to me so easily.  During my first geology lab at Trinity, I took one look at the mineral samples and had them memorized, along with all the criteria about them you’re supposed to know,” laughs Phil.

“Working with Ed Roy, department of geosciences, instilled confidence in my abilities.  He was the type of professor who encouraged critical thinking.  I was encouraged by him to solve problems through a thought process, rather than he just giving me the answers.”

Phil, along with fellow geology majors, went on several summer field trips with Ed, looking at rock outcrops, fossils, and the geology of the Southwest.

“My senior year at Trinity, I was actually a teaching assistant.  It was so cool. I got to drive the University van through Oklahoma, New Mexico, and into Colorado.  At one point, Ed pointed to an outcrop and said, ‘OK, Phil, this one is yours,’ and on the spot I had to teach my fellow geology majors about that outcrop.”

“He was always patient, considerate, and very kind.  Ed always had a smile on his face.”

Phil, who now owns his own law firm, became reacquainted with Ed after moving back to San Antonio in 1999.  They met for breakfast. Phil brought him a few meteorites and something funny happened.

“Suddenly, I was the teacher!  Ed told me I needed to tell people about my findings.”

He did – in Ed’s last three-hour geology lab last May.  Phil brought 40 specimens, some from a recent meteorite find in Brenham, Kan., and educated the students on the emerging science of meteoritics and planetary sciences.  Professors from the chemistry, physics, and geology departments all attended.

“I passed around meteorite samples from the Moon and Mars, even some asteroids.  Meteorites are exceedingly rare objects, so meteoritics and planetary sciences are not usually taught in geology programs, so this was a real honor.”

“Before my lecture, Ed and I had lunch in the Skyline Room.  He knew I was nervous about talking for three hours.  He simply told me, ‘Phil, you love this topic.  Don’t worry – it will all be good.  And it was over before I knew it and very enjoyable.”

Phil says he has more rocks in his office than law books and that he will never stop being a student of geology, something that Ed always nurtured.

“During Ed’s viewing at the funeral home, I told his wife Carol that I was heading up to North Texas to give a meteorite presentation.  She agreed with me that it was something that would have brought a smile to his face.”

You may contact Phil Mani at philipcmani@msn.com.