$1 Million Gift Benefits the Department of Geosciences in Fulbright College
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Since graduating in 1982 from the University of Arkansas, Maurice F. Storm Jr. has built a successful career and made an impact on his chosen field of petroleum geology. His impact on the field will only be multiplied by a $1 million gift toward establishing the Maurice F. Storm Endowed Chair in Petroleum Geology in the department of geosciences within the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.
“As you look back over your career, you realize you didn’t get where you are by yourself,” said Storm. “And you think back even further to when you received your education, learned to think critically and learned to problem-solve. I am so appreciative of the foundation I was given at the University of Arkansas.”
“All of us are extremely grateful to Maurice for this gift,” said G. David Gearhart, university chancellor. “Through his action, he is generously sharing the fruits of his personal and professional success in ways that will benefit and enhance the university’s academic quality and reputation as a nationally prominent research university.”
Storm’s relationships with faculty members Harold MacDonald, who retired in 1998 as an emeritus university professor, and Doy Zachry, who continues to teach, planted the seed for his interest in petroleum geology, and he hopes this gift will open doors for future students to gain exposure to the great science and great teaching that was so influential in his life and career path.
“People have asked why I would give so much to a university,” he said, “and I explain that I’m really giving to the students.”
In addition to Storm’s $1 million gift, the remaining $500,000 required to endow a faculty chair was provided by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation matching gifts have helped endow 79 professorships and chairs at the university.
Along with the newly endowed chair, the geology department has long discussed the creation of a doctoral program to grow and strengthen its graduate studies — an expansion that would greatly improve the university’s reputation and recruitment efforts as a leader in the area.
“Having an endowed chair in petroleum geology and eventually a Ph.D. program sends a message that this is a field worthy of support,” said Storm. “It can also go a long way toward raising additional funding for student and faculty research.”
When Storm talks about the tangible effects of his gift to the University of Arkansas, he hopes others will consider making a difference, too.
“I hope other people recognize the debt they owe to the universities they came out of, and that they would give consideration to giving back in some way,” he said. “They should go back and visit if they haven’t done so in awhile. It’s amazing how quickly things grow and change around a campus, and people may be surprised to learn about the ways they can help.”
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree with honors in geology from the university, Storm continued his studies through graduate work and began his professional career in 1984 as a petroleum geologist in Tulsa. He later moved to Barrett Resources Corporation and managed the exploration team as vice president of the mid-continent division, eventually becoming vice president of business development, and he operated from offices in Tulsa and Denver. In 2002, Storm and his partners formed Crow Creek Energy, where he served as president and CEO. Crow Creek Energy was sold to a public company in June 2006. In October 2006, Storm and his partners formed Crow Creek Energy II, which was sold in May 2011 to a public company.
In addition to managing Crow Creek and sharing experiences with colleagues in the oil and gas business, since 2010 Storm has volunteered his expertise to the Department of Geosciences by serving as a member of the Geosciences External Advisory Board.
Storm has three children. He and his wife, Leah, live in Tulsa.
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