Petroleum Engineering Alumni Newsletter - May 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In the last month, the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences celebrated its 40th Annual Honors and Awards Assembly. Each year, we celebrate the outstanding seniors from the College of Engineering & Natural Sciences.  This year, we had several students from PE who were honored.  To be eligible, the students have to maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA.  These students include: Alec Bridge, Duc Le, Dawson Brotemarkle, Mark Mengers, Elise Carpenter, Jose Moncayo, Jonathan Cobb, David Neville, Kelsey Corrigan, Cole Walton and Hai Hoang.  Of these students, three - Alec Bridge, Duc Le and Hai Hoang - have a perfect GPA.  Considering we rarely have students with a perfect GPA, it just shows the great quality of our graduating class.   Some of these students will graduate in December.  Also, to show the diversity of this particular group, two are from Vietnam, one is from Ecuador, two are from Missouri, and one each from New Mexico, Kansas, Illinois, Montana, Texas and Oklahoma.  We are lucky to attract students from many states and countries.  This diversity, I believe, helps our students assimilate better in the work place.  Some of these students will pursue graduate studies, but most will pursue work in the energy industry.  Although the job market for the students graduating this year has been good, I am little worried about next year.  I hope that the oil and gas companies will continue to hire our students even though the prices of commodities may be low in the coming year.

In addition to honoring the students, the Assembly is also a forum for honoring faculty.  This year, Dr. Leslie Thompson won the Kermit E. Brown Award for Teaching Excellence.  Ironically, although the award is named after Dr. Brown, Dr. Thompson was the first PE faculty to win this award.  Those who know Dr. Thompson know his dedication, his ability to make any subject interesting and his interaction outside the class with the students.  It is a truly deserving honor (and mostly overdue) for Dr. Thompson’s twenty years of excellent teaching.  Congratulations, Dr. Thompson!

This month we also celebrated the Fortieth Annual Hall of Fame dinner for the College.   Each year, two or three people are inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Some are alumni and others are benefactors of the College.  This year, three people were inducted into the Hall of Fame - Carrie Kirk, a graduate of mechanical engineering, Evelyn Nienhuis, a major donor for our new Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, and Lee Keeling, a graduate of Petroleum Engineering and this month’s Alumnus of the Month.  It was a fun evening with some great speeches.  

Alumnus of the Month

This month’s featured alumnus is Lee Keeling.  Lee Keeling started his schooling at the University of Oklahoma.  His education at OU was interrupted during World War II when he joined the Air Force and served as a bomber pilot.  After WWII, he and his new wife, Aurilee, wanted to go back to OU.  Unfortunately, he could not find housing at OU.  His family volunteered temporary housing in Tulsa, and he and his wife joined TU.  Lee finished his BS in 1949 and joined Magnolia Petroleum (Mobil).  After working for five years, he decided to return to Tulsa and joined a consulting company, Keplinger and Wanenmacher.  In 1957, he started his own consulting company, Lee Keeling and Associates, which he still runs to this date.  As a consultant, Lee and his colleagues are involved in the appraisal of oil and gas properties all over the world.  He is a well-recognized figure in the world of oil & gas property evaluations.  

Even after fifty years, when I asked Lee about his fondest memory, he told me about the day he received his diploma from TU.  Lee is always willing to help out TU and the petroleum engineering department in every possible way.  Over the years, I have asked him so many favors for the department and he has never refused.   

With his vigor, energy and enthusiasm, Lee will put to shame many people who are half his age.  We are happy to have his counsel.  Lee just turned eighty-six and says that he is going to retire at the young age of ninety so that he can devote some time to improve his game of golf.   

Keep sending your comments.

Mohan Kelkar
Chairman and Williams Endowed Chair Professor

Petroleum Engineering Department
(918) 631-2533