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A History of Excellence

The Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering has a long history of excellence. As one of the first petroleum engineering programs in existence, it has garnered mass attention and renown for the innovative programming it offers, leading research it produces, and the quality of its graduates upon entering the field.

The history of the school and the history of the petroleum industry are tied closely together. Oklahoma had been a leader in oil production since before statehood with the sinking of the first commercial oil well. Following World War I, there arose a greater demand for petroleum products. As a result, the industry started to formalize and seek out those who had specialized training in geology and engineering. In 1916, OU founded the School of Geological Engineering and, in 1919, conferred its first degree in that discipline.  1919 also marked the first time petroleum technology courses were offered at OU, and, in 1924, the School of Petroleum Engineering was founded with H.C. George as its director and four students declaring Petroleum Engineering as their major.

In 1927, the School of Petroleum Engineering conferred its first five degrees. By 1933, the school had a total count of 140 graduates and comprised the largest number of students in the College of Engineering with an enrollment of 162. OU’s School of Petroleum Engineering had representation from all states and even international students enrolled in it--of the 18 international students at OU in 1933, 7 were in Petroleum Engineering.

Since that time, the school has continued to grow expand just as the petroleum industry. A number of the school’s graduates have become top leaders in the industry, and the work and research of the faculty has shaped petroleum engineering and petroleum engineering education.

In 2000, to honor industry leader and alumnus Curtis W. Mewbourne, the school was renamed the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering. And, in 2007, along with the ConnocoPhillips School of Geology and Geophysics, formed the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, a ground breaking institution that placed the various energy disciplines into one college.

Today, the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy and the Mewbourne School of Petroleum and Geological Engineering thrive and are leading the energy industry with groundbreaking research, collaboration, and, as always, producing the finest graduates to lead the industry into the future.