Larry R. Grillot, a geophysicist who guided the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy from its inception through its first eight years, has announced his plans to retire from the University of Oklahoma, effective June 30, 2015. Grillot joined OU in 2006 after working in leadership positions with Phillips Petroleum for 30 years.
“Larry Grillot combined outstanding academic credentials with experience leading America’s energy industry at the highest level to guide the development of the College of Earth and Energy,” said OU President David L. Boren. “He provided excellent leadership and direction to this new college. His wife, Judy, has been a great partner in leadership at the college. They will always be part of the OU family, and we hope that Larry will continue teaching in the College and continue contributing to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.”
Boren will recommend a search committee to the OU Board of Regents for their consideration at the board’s June meeting. A national search will be conducted for a permanent replacement to lead the Mewbourne College.
The college was established in 2006 as a result of talks between OU representatives and alumni in both the oil and gas and the weather industries who determined that OU should restructure its assets in the areas of energy and meteorological education and research. OU historically has been at the forefront in educating petroleum engineers, petroleum geologists and geophysicists through a program consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top five in the nation.
Since the college was created, Grillot has worked to maintain the heritage of geosciences and petroleum and geological engineering in the areas of energy education (oil and gas), while providing strong ties to engineering fundamentals and the science base in geology and geophysics.
During those eight years, enrollment has increased from 450 to 1,300, total scholarship awards have doubled, and graduates of the college have achieved an almost 100 percent employment rate.
Encouraged by a challenge gift from OU alumnus Curtis Mewbourne, Grillot oversaw a successful capital campaign for scholarships and fellowships. Total gifts to the college during the past eight years, including the campaign, are at $100 million.
With Grillot’s leadership, $20 million in facilities improvements were made, including upgrades to student computer labs, classrooms, meeting areas and the student lounge as well as a remodel of the energy library. A drilling simulator was acquired to provide students with the opportunity to simulate being on a modern drilling rig, and a geology field camp was established near Canon City, Colo., to allow geology and geophysics students to convert concepts they have learned in the classroom into hands-on geological interpretation and mapping.
Grillot’s 30-year career with Phillips Petroleum included almost 15 years in Bartlesville, where he served in a variety of technical and managerial posts in exploration and production. His assignments took him to Canada, Europe, and Africa in successively more responsible roles, the last of which was as manager of E&P Technology and Services, Upstream Technology and Project Development. Before that, he was manager of International Exploration and Worldwide Exploration. Other positions he held at Phillips include president and region manager for Phillips Petroleum Canada Ltd., Calgary (a subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum Co.), and manager of E&P Planning.
Grillot is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.