Biography Thomas Jackson was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1950. He studied studio art at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, where he received a B.A. in 1972. He attended the University of Notre Dame where he earned an M.F.A. in 1974. Jackson would eventually be offered a teaching position at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and would teach a variety of art courses at the college from 1974 to 1978. In 1978 Jackson became Designer/Illustrator with a small ad agency in Iowa. This experience led to a position in 1980 as a Designer at Stamats, Inc, based in Cedar Rapids.