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A new award has been named for Dr. Stephen A. Holditch '69. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

For the first time in more than 50 years, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) has created a new major award, and it is named after former department head Dr. Stephen A. Holditch ’69.

The Stephen A. Holditch Visionary Leadership Award honors SPE members who dedicate “significant time, effort, thought and action” to the society or the oil and gas industry, and demonstrate “exceptional visionary leadership” that creates a long-standing and powerful impact.

Holditch will be the first recipient of the award, posthumously given to him during the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in October of this year. This honor recognizes the leadership and dedication he gave the society, his business acumen and leadership within the oil and gas industry, and the academic leadership and vision he provided to the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University.

“I pushed for this new award because leaders like Dr. Holditch don’t come around often, and I wanted his legacy to continue,” said Dr. Jeff Spath, current head of the petroleum engineering department. “This award will inspire others to give their time, dedication and expertise to the society as Steve has done so generously.“

Over the years, Holditch received numerous SPE awards, including the three top technical honors: the Lester D. Uren Award, the John Franklin Carll Award and the Anthony F. Lucas Medal. He served as SPE president, as vice president of finance, and was a member of the board of directors. In recognition of his lifetime contributions, he was given honorary membership.

Holditch became a recognized expert in tight gas reservoirs, coalbed methane, shale gas reservoirs and the design of hydraulic fracture treatments, earning his consulting company respect on a global scale.

Holditch taught classes at Texas A&M for many years while working in the industry. After he retired from Schlumberger, Holditch served as head of the petroleum engineering department for several years before retiring from academia. He was inducted into the Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor and recognized as a Distinguished Alumni by the Association of Former Students for his lifetime of service to Texas A&M.