3 inducted into TU Engineering and Natural Sciences Hall of Fame

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Decker Dawson and Ali Moshiri are leaders in the energy industry, while Dr. Patrick McKee is a top medical researcher.

Three internationally renowned leaders in their respective careers have been named to the 2012 class of The University of Tulsa's College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Hall of Fame.


L. Decker Dawson is founder and chairman of Dawson Geophysical Company in Midland, Texas. With 1,500 employees, Dawson Geophysical is the undisputed leader in the continental United States when it comes to seismic surveys and geophysical data gathering that is critical in the preliminary stages of petroleum exploration. "I still love what we do. It is fascinating," he said.

A Tulsa native who graduated from what is now Oklahoma State University in 1941, Dawson attended TU from 1937 to 1939 and fondly remembers his time on campus where, among other things, he was a proud member of the Sound of the Golden Hurricane marching band.

"The only job I could find when I graduated was on a seismograph crew with Magnolia Petroleum," Dawson recalled, even though he didn't know at the time what a geophysicist did. "I was an instant doodlebugger, and I loved it," he said. "I thought, ‘You mean you can find oil down there below the surface?'" His job involved "lugging jugs," or laying electrical devices that record sound waves generated by explosive charges.

Dawson served in the Navy in World War II. After his discharge, he accepted a position at Republic Exploration, traveling throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. He settled in Midland and married Louise "Lou" Loper. The couple had one daughter, Mary.

In 1952, Forrest Oil asked Republic to place another crew in the Permian Basin, but Republic declined. Dawson called Forrest Oil to see if they would hire him if he were to start his own crew. Forrest said yes. Within one month, he opened Dawson Geophysical.

Beyond the Permian Basin, the company now works in every major basin in the United States, from the Bakken to the Marcellus, from North Dakota and Wyoming to Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


Dr. Patrick A. McKee is the George Lynn Cross Professor of Medicine and Laureate Chair of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He was born in Tulsa, attended The University of Tulsa, and graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1962.

"TU was a game changer for me," he says. "My three years at TU had a profound effect on my life. One of the most important things I learned at TU was how to learn on my own."

McKee went to Duke University Medical Center, where he performed his internal medicine residency training and accepted a fellowship in molecular/cell biology. He was a clinical research associate at Framingham Heart Program in Massachusetts, and then served as chief resident in internal medicine at OUHSC.

After a fellowship in hematology, he joined the Department of Medicine faculty at Duke in 1969. There, he was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator while doing molecular studies of human proteins. McKee was founder and first chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine until leaving in 1985 to become professor and chairman of the OUHSC Department of Medicine.

Besides funding from HHMI, he has received grants from the National Institutes of Health, the William K. Warren Foundation, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Defense. In 1995, McKee accepted an endowed chair at OUHSC and devotes most of his time to biomedical research. He lists more than 120 original publications in first-line, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Most recently, McKee helped lead the development of the new Laureate Institute of Brain Research, which includes collaborative research with TU and OU's Tulsa College of Medicine. His older brother, petroleum engineer Calvin (BS '48), was inducted into the TU Engineering Hall of Fame in 1980.


Ali Moshiri is president of Chevron Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company in Houston. He was born in Iran and received his bachelor's degree from TU in 1976 followed by his master's degree in 1978.

He credits Tulsa's reputation as an oil city and TU's excellence in petroleum engineering with equipping him to succeed in the energy industry. "I came to the United States about 40 years ago. The first place I called home was Tulsa. It's in my heart," Moshiri says. "My family still lives there. If you ask me what I call home, I say, ‘Tulsa.'"

In 1978, he joined Chevron as a reservoir engineer, later becoming a drilling engineer and then a senior production engineer. From 1983 to 1987, he served as supervisor of Reservoir and Facilities Engineering for Chevron Energy Technology Company in Houston. In 1991, he became manager of Petroleum Engineering for Chevron Overseas Company.

Between 1992 and 1997, Moshiri held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility as manager of Petroleum and Facilities Engineering operations. He was named general manager of Strategic Planning and Assets Evaluation for Chevron Overseas in 1997, with responsibility for 10 international strategic business units, including mergers and acquisitions and new business development.

In 2000, he assumed the position of general manager and adviser to the vice chairman of the board for Chevron Corporation. In 2001, Moshiri was appointed managing director of Chevron Latin America Strategic Business Unit in Caracas, Venezuela, where he was responsible for upstream operations in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela.

Moshiri is the president of Spindletop International Charities, was chairman of the Venezuelan Association of Hydrocarbons from 2005 to 2006 and is a member of the Jones Graduate School Council of Overseers at Rice University. He is married to Maria Luisa Breisacher-Moshiri and has five children.

Mona Chamberlin