ConocoPhillips supports TU students, careers with $375,000 gift

Monday, June 01, 2009

A special collaboration with ConocoPhillips has opened up a world of opportunity for University of Tulsa business and engineering students and faculty.

ConocoPhillips recently presented TU with a $375,000 check for a number of strategic initiatives, including scholarships, research projects, student organizations and faculty programs.

“ConocoPhillips is extremely proud of The University of Tulsa graduates who work in our company. They bring a wealth of knowledge and breadth of experience that continues to create a lasting impact on our businesses,” said Merl Lindstrom, ConocoPhillips vice president of research and development.

Along with Lindstrom, ConocoPhillips representatives Mark Abbott and Nikki Benson met with TU faculty, administrators and students April 20. The day culminated in a ConocoPhillips SPIRIT Scholars recognition dinner held at TU’s newly renovated H.A. Chapman Stadium.

ConocoPhillips SPIRIT Scholars are the focus of the gift, with $200,000 allocated to the scholarship and career-development program. TU is one of only eight universities chosen to participate in the program, with 21 scholars in 2008–2009 and 17 scholars for 2009–2010.

The SPIRIT Scholar program provides $8,000 in education funding and includes service projects, industry mentors and student-focused activities. In addition to school-year events, scholars have the opportunity to intern with ConocoPhillips throughout the company’s enterprise. Nine SPIRIT scholars from TU are gaining valuable on-the-job experience through ConocoPhillips internships in Houston and Bartlesville this summer.

ConocoPhillips also selected two faculty members from the Collins College of Business to participate in its faculty sponsorship program. Only 16 faculty members were chosen nationwide for the program, which is designed to expand research and student opportunities.

Akhilesh Bajaj, Chapman Associate Professor of Management Information Systems, was awarded $35,000 to expand and increase ongoing MIS research. Ted Jacobs, director of the Energy Management Center, received $40,000 to augment funding for both the academic and practical side of the energy management major.

“The Collins College of Business is honored to work with such a world leader in energy,” said Gale Sullenberger, dean of the Collins College of Business. “Their support shows that ConocoPhillips recognizes the quality of TU’s MIS and energy management programs.”

The funding also will support work in petroleum engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, finance and accounting. Student groups in engineering and business will receive funds for field trips, competitions, awards, diversity initiatives and more.

Through this innovative collaboration, TU and ConocoPhillips have partnered in academic achievement, mentorship and community service, providing an energy-focused future to outstanding students.

Amethyst Cavallaro