In 1958, the first petroleum land management program in the world was established at the University of Oklahoma. Under the visionary leadership of OU President George Lynn Cross and the first director of the PLM Program, William H. Keown, the business college collaborated with the oil and gas industry to create a set of courses focused on developing a broad understanding of the commercial aspects of the energy business, including land, legal, title and negotiations. Today, the historic PLM program is known as the Robert M. Zinke Energy Management Program and is still one of the largest programs of its kind, which has outlived oil booms and busts (the program went from 800 students in 1981 to only six students during the industry downturn in 1995) when other prominent programs across the country were shutting their doors. On April 27, 2018, 500 students, alumni and friends of the program gathered together at the Embassy Suites in Norman to celebrate 60 years of successfully graduating more than 2,000 students from the Robert M. Zinke Energy Management Program.
The festivities began that Friday evening with a reception that included alumni class photos from each decade. Nostalgia was high that night as “golden oldies” music played throughout the ballroom, a slideshow of old photos from over the years flashed on the walls and old friends from across generations delighted in old memories as new ones were made. The reception was followed by the dinner program, where the highlight was the toast given by the program’s namesake, Bob Zinke. A hearty “Boomer!” reverberated from the crowd when he gave his ending salute to the first, best and number one energy program in the nation. The jubilant night concluded with a rousing keynote address from OU’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics, Joe Castiglione, who shared several hilarious anecdotes that proved even leaders and vice presidents are never above the call of duty when answering to angry, albeit confused, fans and employees. The next morning, alumni were treated to an official campus tour that included a stop at the Barry Switzer Center and an update of the advances being made within Price and Adams Halls.
Visit the 60th celebration web site to find a comprehensive history on the program, photos from the evening’s celebration and more.
1960s Class Photo (Top):
Back Row (left to right): Charles Stanford, Gordon Marcum, Kent Harrell, Pete Brown, Paul Thompson, Mike Harris
Front Row (left to right): Jack Sweeney, Frank Spooner, Warren Young, Philip Houser, Bud Goza
1960 First Graduating Class Photo (Right):
Back Row (left to right): Philip Houser, Bill Brodnax, Gary Boren and Frank Spooner;
Front Row (left to right): Program Founder William H. Keown and Dean Horace Brown