Peggy and Charles Stephenson

Peggy and Charles Stephenson made their mark in the petroleum industry and are using their good fortune to open doors for TU students and faculty - and countless others across Tulsa and the state.

Charles Stephenson, Jr. has spent 50 years deftly navigating the changing energy industry and understands the importance of giving students access to learning environments that will prepare them to think critically, adapt to a fluid and often volatile industry, and eventually stand as the next generation of oil industry leaders. In generously donating the lead gift for a new building that will house the petroleum and mechanical engineering programs, Stephenson Hall, the couple has demonstrated their commitment to TU and to the future of the industry they helped build.

"Peggy and I are honored that our efforts can help further the advancement of engineering education at TU, which benefits our students, our community, and our great state," Stephenson said.

Stephenson's TU ties date back to the days when it was known as Kendall College and spans four generations. His grandfather, a Presbyterian minister, was a teacher and preacher on campus. In 1982, the couple's son, Steve Stephenson, received his petroleum engineering degree from TU.

Charles began his storied career with Amerada Petroleum Corp. in 1960. Between 1973 and 1982, he was an owner and president of privately held Andover Oil Co. In 1983, he founded Vintage Petroleum Inc., a Tulsa-based independent energy company that was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1990 and raised his profile as an international leader in the energy industry. For the next 16 years, he served as chairman, president and CEO for Vintage, which grew from three to more than 750 employees with worldwide operations when it was acquired in 2006 by Occidental Petroleum.

Even in "retirement," Charles is still in active exploration mode. He is a co-founder and chairman of Premier Natural Resources, an independent oil and gas company, and is a partner of Regent Private Capital and co-founder and director of Growth Capital Partners, both of which are venture capital companies. He also is president of Stephenson Investments Inc.

Charles has been active in many community affairs including serving on the boards of the Salvation Army, Indian Nations Council of the Boy Scouts and Philbrook Museum of Art.

Peggy serves as executive director of the Charles and Peggy Stephenson Family Foundation and co-manages their personal philanthropic activities. She is particularly celebrated for her volunteer work with the First Presbyterian Church, American Red Cross, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, American Cancer Society, Philbrook Museum of Art, and Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and she serves on the board of Goodland Academy, a private school for disadvantaged youth near Hugo, Oklahoma.

She was twice honorary chairwoman of Tulsa Project Woman, which provides breast cancer screenings and education for women with limited financial resources.