Dr. Wann Langston, Jr., formerly Curator at the National Museum of Canada, joined The University of Texas at Austin in 1969 to become the second director of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory. At that same time, VPL was transferred to the administrative umbrella of the Texas Memorial Museum. Dr. Langston directed the first major phase of computerization of our collections under the auspices of a National Science Foundation grant. With his students, he also built a major collection of fossil vertebrates from Cretaceous rocks of Big Bend National Park, and he acquired teaching and research materials from all over the world. He was also responsible for taking on the orphaned collection from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Langston and his students published extensively on Permian and Mesozoic reptiles, and on the geology of associated sediments. Dr. Langston and his students made significant and noteworthy paleontological discoveries in Big Bend National Park, including the giant pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus northropi and the gigantic alligator Deinosuchus riograndensis.
VPL eventually became a separate administrative unit during Dr. Langston's tenure. Dr. Langston was responsible for the establishment of an endowment to supplement VPL's operating budget, and for tremendous growth of its excellent library. He directed VPL until his retirement from the University in 1986. Dr. Langston remained an active researcher until the few weeks preceding his death at the age of 91, on April 7, 2013.
Dr. Ernest Lundelius, Jr. became the third director of the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory in 1986. Dr. Lundelius was an undergraduate at The University of Texas at Austin and he had worked with Dr. Wilson in 1949 and 1950 to assemble the collections that had become scattered across the University, and so he was a part of VPL from its inception.
Dr. Lundelius and his students amassed large and significant collections of Quaternary vertebrates from the American Southwest. He also made an outstanding collection of Holocene vertebrates from Australia, where he had been a Fullbright Fellow in 1954. Dr. Lundelius returned to The University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor of Geology in 1957.
As VPL Director, Dr. Lundelius continued the effort to computerize collections records and he installed new cabinetry under two National Science Foundation grants. He also directed a two-year long $600,000 building repair project. This slowed all collections activity considerably, but lab operations resumed thereafter. Dr. Lundelius facilitated the transfers of the East Texas State University and the Midwestern State University collections to VPL.
Dr. Lundelius retired from the University in 1998, but he remains an active researcher and he continues to work with students and to do field work.