Texas A&M petroleum engineering scholarship honors memory of oil recovery expert Paul Crawford

Photo of Paul and Bernice CrawfordInternational oil recovery expert Paul B. Crawford was a Renaissance man: innovative engineer, celebrated educator and visionary civic leader. For more than 50 years, his life furthered technology, touched students and enhanced communities.

This fall a new dimension of his legacy will begin at Texas A&M University when the Dr. Paul B. Crawford Memorial Scholarship in Petroleum Engineering is awarded for the first time.

"Dr. Crawford established himself as a prolific researcher in the 1950s and greatly influenced the petroleum engineering department at Texas A&M for over five decades. Everyone loved being around Paul," said Dr. Stephen A. Holditch, head of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering and holder of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Chair.

Numerous gifts from family, friends, students and associates endowed the Crawford scholarship through the Texas A&M Foundation. Recipients will be full-time students pursuing a petroleum engineering degree from Texas A&M at College Station.

"I know of no other man who valued education more than my father. Before traveling to Italy, we studied Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci. We memorized 'Santa Lucia' so we could sing it on a gondola in Venice! From the Pergamon museum in East Berlin to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, we toured the world and studied its culture. Daddy loved to recite poetry to his grandchildren and often, he gathered them close to him as he quoted his favorite poem. Daddy's love of learning is now close to our hearts and this scholarship is a wonderful tribute to him," said Becky Crawford Russell, the eldest of Paul and Bernice Crawford's three children.

A native of Stamford, Texas, north of Abilene, Paul Crawford lived most of his childhood in nearby Haskell. He received three chemical engineering degrees: B.S. from Texas Tech University in 1943 and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 1947 Mobil Oil Research Laboratories employed Crawford to work on enhanced oil recovery methods. Four years later he joined the Texas A&M petroleum engineering faculty where he served as associate director of the Texas Petroleum Research Committee and directed research activities in the high pressure laboratory. From 1952 until retirement in 1988, Crawford was a professor of petroleum engineering and served as a worldwide consulting engineer. He held the title of professor emeritus from 1991 until his death in 2008.

Crawford's research led to numerous innovations in the oil recovery process, including in situ combustion and carbon dioxide injection techniques. The methods he developed have remained important to the oil and gas industry as the needs for energy sources have increased.

A Distinguished Lecturer of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, he was an invited speaker in more than 25 countries. His honors included the 1982 Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal, one of SPE's highest awards, and the 1977 Italian Interpetrol World Award for American Science.

Crawford held a long-standing appointment to the Interstate Oil Compact Commission and served on its research committee, directing the collaboration of oil-producing states in recovering oil and gas resources. He authored more than 300 publications in petroleum literature and published papers in dozens of the world's oil producing countries.

He was a Distinguished Engineer of Texas Tech University and recognized by the Texas Senate for his many accomplishments.

As a civic leader Crawford was honored as one of the Community Leaders of America for 14 years of volunteer work at Sul Ross Elementary School, Bryan Public Library, United Chest, Junior Museum and other projects. He led the effort to fund and build the Bryan Public Library's current location. The State of Texas recognized him as 1973 Library Trustee of Year for his initiation of the Old Masters Art Lending Library and Worldwide Children's Art Exchange Program in Bryan.

Crawford was married for 60 years to Bernice Lydia Murray. The couple had three children—Becky Crawford Russell, Janice Anne Hall, Patricia Grace Crawford—eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

"Professor Crawford's impact on others is highlighted by the many donors who came together to support and fund this scholarship. Now even more students will be impacted by this generous scholarship that bears his name," said Brady Bullard, director of development for petroleum engineering with the Texas A&M Foundation.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises major gifts and manages endowments for the sole benefit of Texas A&M University.