Curtis W. Mewbourne, MPGE alumni and namesake of our school and college, has been honored by the Permian Basin Petroleum Association as 2015’s Top Hand.
Mr. Mewbourne was born in Shreveport, Louisiana in November 1935. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma in January 1958, where he has been honored as a Distinguished Graduate, he served as an officer in the U.S. Army. He began his career as a petroleum engineer working in several different areas of the oil and gas industry, before founding Mewbourne Oil Company in 1965. Today Mewbourne Oil is one of the most successful privately owned oil & gas producers in America. Mr. Mewbourne continues to operate the company privately for the benefit of his employees and his family, which includes three married daughters and nine grandchildren.
Curtis and Joanne, his wife of 56 years, live in Tyler, Texas where he has been an active member of the community in both civic and charitable organizations as well as the Methodist Church where he severed in many leadership roles from teaching Sunday school to Chairman of the Administrative Board. One of his strong passions has been as a leader in math, science and engineering education from elementary to graduate levels.
His interest in children and education caused him to fund the building of a Mewbourne Hall for Mathematics and Science at both All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler and at St. John’s School in Houston, the largest and most prominent buildings on those campuses. He has also funded the Mewbourne Fellowship for Mathematics Enrichment at both schools. These programs offer diverse enrichment opportunities for elementary students of varying abilities and interest in mathematics, and insure an introduction to math that is fun and interesting and not intimidating. He has also made a gift to All Saints in Tyler for the construction of Mewbourne Field, a new football field and stadium which was dedicated in September, 2007 and where several of his grandchildren have played for the varsity football team.
Mr. Mewbourne’s support of the University of Oklahoma, its College of Earth & Energy, and its School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering is longstanding. In 1982 he began by endowing the Mewbourne Professorship in Petroleum Engineering, the first such endowed position at OU in Engineering. He has been a consistent and strong supporter of the School, its faculty and students through all of the industry’s up and down cycles. Mewbourne Oil Company stands alone as the largest supporter of student scholarships and internships at OU, over the past twenty-five years.
Mr. Mewbourne has endowed six additional Mewbourne Chairs in Petroleum Engineering over the years. At the same time, he endowed the Mewbourne Enrichment Fund to benefit undergraduate students and to re-energize the faculty and staff to provide excellence in teaching. He also endowed the Mewbourne Leadership Scholars Program, which provides annual scholarships for entering freshmen and continues to support them through graduation.
In recognition of his longtime support, the University of Oklahoma named the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering in his honor in May of 2000, and granted him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2002. On November 2, 2007 the Mewbourne College of Earth & Energy was named in his honor and he was given the Trailblazer Award for his professional achievements and lifetime commitment to the energy industry. His statue now stands at OU on the Sarkeys Plaza surrounded by the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy.