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News|College of Engineering and Applied Science

Helping Students through the Likwartz Endowment


August 5, 2010 — Friends and family of Don J. Likwartz have set up an endowment to honor the contributions of Don to the petroleum industry. Don retired in January, 2009, after 11 years of service to the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Don, now 69, is originally from Rock Springs, Wyoming. He earned a B.S. in 1963, and M.S. in 1966, in petroleum engineering from the University of Wyoming, where he was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Along with his studies at UW, Don was the lead guitar in a rock bank which played at local night clubs, basketball tournaments, and school dances. The tips and scheduled gigs helped him and his friends, Joe Meyer (sax), Vern Swain (bass), Jim Georgis (piano) and Art Greeno (drums), supplement their college tuition while gaining friends and having a lot of fun at the same time.

While attending UW, Don received most of his inspiration from two professors. “Professor Don Stinson put us under a lot of pressure and made us think and search around for answers instead of making things easy which really had a positive impact and influence on my studies,” says Don. “Stinson often left out information for exams, so we had to find the clues and justify our answers, which led to using critical thinking and problem solving skills.” Don taught labs and wrote his master’s thesis under the guidance of Professor Charlie Smith. “Smith challenged me to do the very best on every task while providing support and encouragement for my efforts. We reconnected in 1998, since he owns an oil field near Casper, and he and his wife Beth graciously entertained Judy and me in Houston when I began my original chemotherapy treatments for colon cancer.”

With an interest in the sciences, Don turned toward petroleum engineering after learning from several faculty members that it was one of the highest paying disciplines. He shared that he has never regretted that decision and working with the Commission was the best job a person could have. Prior to his retirement, Don served as supervisor of the Commission, where he ensured that the State recovered the maximum value for its oil and gas resources.

Before working for the Commission, Don had the opportunity to travel the world for 33 years as an engineer for some major international oil companies as both project manager and project development engineer. His journey included a stop in the Caribbean, where he served as chief engineer for the American Oil Company or Amoco (now BP) offshore oil drilling program for many years. He worked with Amoco in Iran and other locations in addition to his work in the North Sea oil fields. He is a licensed professional engineer, a Senior Member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and former Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission Vice Chairman.

Don married his grade school friend, Judy Cox, (B.S. Sociology 1994, B.S. Social Work 1995) in 2004. Don has three children and six grandchildren. Both are active in their church, and Judy has been an ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church for over 10 years. Judy was also the first graduate from online Education for Ministry. When asked about their obvious love and caring for one another, Judy replied, “Don has more integrity than anyone I have ever known. He is the love of my life.”

Honored and surprised about the endowment set up in his honor, Don admitted that he is proud of his education at UW and feels that another Wyoming resident should have the same opportunities. The endowment will offer student support for any student from Wyoming entering the petroleum engineering discipline.

The endowment fund is still in need of support to reach its full potential. Please consider your gift to the Don J. Likwartz Endowment. Gifts may be mailed to the UW Foundation, 1200 East Ivinson Street, Laramie, WY 82070.

 

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