Dr. Gibbons graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with B.A., B.Sc. (1967), and M.Sc.(geology, 1969) degrees. He then attended California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, from which he received a Ph.D. in geology in 1974.
After Caltech, he spent two years as a National Research Council (NRC) Research Associate in the Geology and Geophysics Branch at NASA’s Lyndon Johnson Space Center in Houston (1974–1976).
From 1976 to 1989, he spent about thirteen years in senior positions with the Newfoundland Department of Mines and Energy. During that period, he was an active volunteer in the local community. He was a member of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM), serving with the Newfoundland Branch, as well as Councillor for Newfoundland on the national CIM Executive, and CIM Vice-President for District 1 (Atlantic Canada). He received the District 1 Distinguished Service Award in 1992.
Rex Gibbons is also a member of the Geological Association of Canada, participating in the Newfoundland Section as well as nationally. For 2001, he is chair of the Finance Committee for the national meeting of the GAC being held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in May. He also served a three-year term on the Board of Regents of Memorial University as an elected alumni representative, as well as two terms (7 years) on the Avalon (St. John’s area) Consolidated School Board, including three years as Chairman. He served for three years as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government Managers Association, as well as participated in the Terra Nova Toastmasters Club.
From 1989 to 1997, Rex Gibbons was the elected representative for the District of St. John’s West in the Newfoundland Legislature. From May 1989 to April 1997, he was a member of the Newfoundland Cabinet, as Minister responsible for Mines and Energy, including Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro Corporation and the Canada-Newfoundland Offshore Petroleum Board. From mid-1994 to early 1996, he also had ministerial responsibility for Forest Resources, Wildlife, and Crown Lands.
Since mid-1997, Dr. Gibbons has been executive vice-president and senior geoscience consultant for Jacques Whitford Environment Limited and its affiliated company, Newfoundland Geosciences Limited, based in St. John’s. The Jacques Whitford Group is an employee-owned, multi-disciplinary firm of consulting engineers, environmental scientists, and associated professionals, which has offices from St. John’s to Vancouver in Canada as well as several international locations. He is a member of the Corporate Board of Directors of the firm.
In 1998, he was named a Director of ATL - JW Consulting, a joint venture between Jacques Whitford and ATL Consulting of the United Kingdom; he also serves as chairman of the Board and president of this joint company. In 2000, when Jacques Whitford and EM&I of the United Kingdom formed a joint venture, EM&I Jacques Ltd., he was appointed a director and chairman of the Board.
Rex Gibbons is a Registered Professional Geoscientist (P. Geo.), as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1991, he was given the "Award of Merit" by the association. In the 1980s, before he was elected to the legislature, Rex chaired a committee of geoscientists which spearheaded the registration of geoscientists in association with the existing professional engineering group; he was a Minister when the new joint legislation was proclaimed by the Newfoundland Legislature, and he became one of the first geoscience registrants.
Since 1997, Rex Gibbons has continued his very active volunteer activities. In January 1998, he was elected to a two-year term as a director of the St. John’s Board of Trade. He has also served on the Board of Directors of several associations and companies.