Jack Wahl

Lynn and Jack Wahl

Jack Wahl (BSPE '49) has always given of himself in ways few could ever imagine - to his country, to his family, and to his alma mater. In 2011, Wahl and his wife, Lynn, made a campaign commitment resulting in the single largest individual gift in the history of The University of Tulsa. The result will transform the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences and can improve lives globally.

Wahl's selflessness and sense of duty dates back to the day he joined the U.S. Army to fight in World War II. He served in an infantry division in Belgium, Germany, and Austria and received a Purple Heart after he was wounded by mortar fire in France. At Landsberg, Germany, his unit captured a large concentration camp. The atrocities he saw there were the most disheartening scenes he ever witnessed. These horrific scenes shaped the man Wahl would become. His experiences during the war heightened his sense of humanity and planted within him an unflinching desire to change the world.

Realizing that his dreams required him to receive a top-notch formal education, Wahl enrolled in TU's petroleum engineering program after World War II ended. After graduating in 1949, he began working as a reservoir engineer for Atlantic Refining Co. in Dallas. He was then hired by the consulting firm James A. Lewis Engineering in 1952. The company provided a wide range of oil and gas reservoir analyses, but its specialty was enhanced oil recovery by water injection.

During his distinguished career, Wahl went on to serve as president, consultant and petroleum engineer for James A. Lewis Co. Ltd. in Alberta, Canada, for more than 10 years. Using the expertise gained there, Wahl formed a private oil company, Columbian Northland Exploration Ltd. in 1967. When this company merged with Great Basins Petroleum Co. in 1970, he became CEO and majority shareholder and managed all operations in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Africa. He later sold Great Basins in 1980, a company listed on the American Stock Exchange, and retired to Bermuda with his wife, Lynn and their daughter, Stephanie.

He took up golf with great enthusiasm, winning several amateur tournaments in Bermuda and the Mid Ocean Club. His two most memorable golfing achievements were winning the Bermuda Stroke Play at age 66 and again at age 68, and being selected to represent Bermuda five times in the Eisenhower World Amateur international tournament. Having traveled many parts of the globe with his wife by his side, he believes the most interesting and exciting trips were the hunting safaris in Kenya, Botswana and Tanzania.

Wahl emerged from retirement and is now president of a private oil company, Richmond Oil & Financial Holdings Ltd. Wahl enjoys spending time at his Bermuda home with Lynn, who has been his partner in so many of his ventures. For his personal and professional achievements, Wahl was inducted into the Engineering and Natural Sciences Hall of Fame in 2010.

Lynn Wahl is an accomplished artist and mother. Her unique and innovative "art to wear" cigar box handbags have been featured in Bermudian Magazine and can be found in collections all over the world including South America, Japan, all across Europe and even in Tulsa. Her handcrafted work was recently selected for display at the Bermuda Society of Arts.

Throughout their lives, Lynn and Jack have actively supported initiatives that have a positive impact and that are close to their hearts, never forgetting the inspiring professors and passionate students at The University of Tulsa.

Two years ago, they received a Vision newsletter from the college that featured stories about TU student groups such as Sustainable Energy for North Eastern Asia (SENEA) and Engineers Without Borders that are working to build water purification systems for tiny villages around the globe.

"When I read those stories and saw what these students were doing, I knew my alma mater could change the world," he said. With that thought, Wahl began discussing how he could best meld his desire to improve access to affordable water around the world, with his abilities to support progress at TU.

"The university gave me the tools I needed to succeed, and I am pleased to be able to provide similar opportunities for today's students to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others," he said.