Petroleum Engineering Honors Six Distinguished Alumni

Since its first graduating class in 1931, the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering has graduated some of the most influential world leaders of the oil and gas industry.

PGE Department then and now

Since the first graduating class of two people in 1931, the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering at the Cockrell School of Engineering has graduated some of the most influential world leaders of the oil and gas industry.

From its founding era of the 1930s through the 1950s – when wildcatting or running an oil company was often a family affair – the university focused on creating a new kind of engineer – the petroleum engineer.


Over the next few decades, from the 1950s through the 1980s, the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering experienced growth and expansion. The university's petroleum engineering family grew, bringing in some of the best and brightest faculty from across the country – people like Bill Wade, Ben Caudle and Bob Schechter. This was the era of corporate oil and the emergence of Texas onto the energy world stage.

Now, the PGE Department has reached a new era – the age of energy as the primary driver of world economies, and an era of being ranked the No. 1 program in the country. With cutting-edge research, world-renowned faculty and a generation of innovative students, petroleum engineering is defining the future of energy education and innovation.

PGE Distinguished Alumni honorees pose for a photo at the event.

Distinguished Alumni honorees gather for a photo.
Click to enlarge.

To celebrate a few of its prestigious alums, the PGE department hosted its inaugural Distinguished Alumni reception Nov. 12, and inducted six alumni into its inaugural class of Distinguished Alumni.



The honorees included:

Dan C. Williams

Dan C. Williams Jr., B.S. PE '35
Williams started his career in the oil fields working for Magnolia Petroleum Co. and was promoted to assistant chief petroleum engineer before he left to become an independent oilman in 1947. During his career, Williams served as president and chairman of the board for Southland Life Insurance (1953-84), and served as Southland Financial Corp.'s chairman of the board (1971-86). Williams was also president of the Life Insurers Conference, American Life Convention and the Texas Life Convention.

Ernest Cockrell Jr.

Ernest Cockrell Jr., B.S. PE '36
Having been a graduate of one of the first petroleum engineering classes at The University of Texas at Austin, Cockrell long shared a strong sense of gratitude for the school. After working a short time for Texaco, Cockrell formed both an oil company, Producer's Oil, and a drilling workover company. He went on to serve as president of Production Maintenance Co. and Oil Production Maintenance Inc. (1942-55), president of Texas Production Co. (1948-72), chairman of the board of the Cockrell Corp. (1966-72). He also was a director of Bank of the Southwest, Southwest Bancshares Inc., Pennzoil Co. and Duval Corp.

W. A. 'Tex' Moncrief Jr.

W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr., B.S. PE '42
Immediately following graduation from The University of Texas at Austin's Petroleum Engineering Department, Moncrief went to work for Consolidated Vultee, which had a bomber (B-24) plant in Fort Worth. Soon after, Moncrief landed a job with Stanolind Oil and moved to Greggton, Texas, where he worked as a field engineer. When the U.S. entered WWII, Moncrief trained at Harvard University as a communications officer and was commissioned to the U.S. Naval Reserve. Upon his return, he joined his father in the oil business and currently serves as president of the William A. and Elizabeth B. Moncrief Foundation.

Robert L. Parker Sr.

Robert L. Parker Sr., B.S. PE '44
Parker became very involved in the Cockrell School of Engineering about 10 years after graduation. In 1957 he helped establish the Engineering Advisory Board (then called the Engineering Foundation Advisory Council) under the leadership of Dean John McKetta. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, Parker joined Parker Drilling, and 10 years later purchased the company from his father, later to become chairman and CEO of the company. He has been named a Distinguished Alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin and a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of the Cockrell School.

Lois K. Folger

Lois K. Folger, B.S. PE '84, M.S. PE '95
Originally from Houston, Folger started her career as a field engineer with Texaco, where she worked for 13 years before leaving to join the startup company, Concho Resources. Folger stayed with Concho Resources until the sale of the company in 2004, and then became president of Folger Energy LLC, an independent oil and gas company. In 1996, Folger was given the Cockrell School’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. She has also received the Texas Society of Professional Engineers Young Engineer of the Year Award and the Society of Petroleum Engineers Young Member Outstanding Service Award.

Russell E. Parker

Russell E. Parker, B.S. PE '00
Starting his college career in aerospace engineering, Parker was convinced two years later by his roommate to switch majors to petroleum engineering. He quickly discovered a new found interest in reservoir engineering and geology. While in college, Parker interned at Platt, Sparks and Associates in Austin and continued to work there briefly after graduation. For the past 10 years, Parker has worked for Hilcorp Energy Co., holding four positions – reserves engineer, reservoir engineer, evaluations engineer and most recently, asset team manager.




A special thanks to the sponsors of the PGE Distinguished Alumni Dinner. Photos from the dinner and the Alumni Reunion will be available soon online at

Underwriters: Chevron; A friend of UT PGE

Premier sponsors: Anadarko Petroleum Corp.; Fancher Resources LLC; Halliburton; Jerry & Cherry Windlinger; Afren Resources USA Inc.; and Ernest & Janet Cockrell

Sponsors: Marathon Oil Corp.; Platt, Sparks, & Associates; Consulting Petroleum Engineers Inc.; Sunflower Oil Inc.; Steve & Debbie Pruett; and J. Charles & Dana Farmer