Born and raised in Wisconsin, James “Jim” Mulva attended the University of Oklahoma in the mid-1960s, where he was active in the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. After earning his undergraduate degree and a Master of Business Administration, Mulva was commissioned as a lieutenant junior grade and served four years as a U.S. naval officer before beginning an almost-four-decades-long career with Phillips Petroleum Co. and ConocoPhillips, culminating in being named chairman and CEO from 1999 until his retirement in 2012.
On Sept. 22, 2018, Mulva and his wife, Miriam, announced a transformational $20 million gift in support of the OU ROTC program, with the goal of making a difference in the lives of countless young people who have decided to serve their country through military service. The gift through the Mulva Family Foundation will continue to have a far-reaching impact on ROTC programs and cadets at OU, as it has been used to create a scholarship endowment and to renovate the historic OU Armory, home to both OU’s Army and Naval/Marine ROTC, and the fourth floor of Cate Center 4, headquarters of OU’s Air Force ROTC.
The Mulva Family Foundation ROTC Scholarship Endowment offers scholarships for tuition and room and board for students who are enrolled in the Army, Naval/Marine or Air Force ROTC. The impact of these scholarships, along with the significant facility enhancements, will enable the university to continue serving its student service members for generations to come.
Mulva and his wife are known for their philanthropy and generosity toward youth programs, education, their alma maters and the Catholic Church. The couple have also supported OU’s David L. Boren College of International Studies, the Donald W. Reynolds Performing Arts Center and the President’s Associates.
Throughout his lifetime, Mulva has received many awards and honors, including selection as the International Petroleum Executive of the Year in 2002 and the American Petroleum Institute’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in 2012. In 2005, he was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by King Harald V of Norway. He also is a recipient of a presidential citation from the University of Texas and the Order of St. Gregory from the Vatican.