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F. E. 'Tut' and V. Diane Ellis President's Scholarship

Tut and Diane Ellis
F. E. “Tut” and V. Diane Ellis traveled the world but in their hearts they were forever Wyoming Cowboys.

Both born in Wyoming—Tut in Thermopolis, Diane in Worland—the couple attended the state’s university. They were married prior to graduating. Tut grew to become one of the most distinguished engineers to have graduated from UW. In 1955, Tut earned his general engineering degree with petroleum option while Diane studied education. In addition, Tut would later earn a master’s degree in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tut was known for being a hands-on engineer, his ingenuity leaving its mark on the industry. Diane is described as the glue that made it all worthwhile.

Upon graduating, Tut had job offers from three companies. He chose to pursue a career with Conoco Inc. because they were the largest operator in Wyoming and staying close to home was important to both of them.

Tut spent his entire professional career of 34 years with Conoco Inc.—retiring as executive vice president and group vice president for Exploration and Production International and group vice president of E.I. Dupont de Nemours and Company. He also served on the Conoco Board of Directors. The family moved 21 times in those 34 years and their three children attended schools in five different states. Diane kept the family focused while Tut pursued his career.

He was involved in many groundbreaking projects including the remarkable development of the Hutton tension-leg platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and the first oil field automation systems in North America.

Tut was a member of a wide variety of civic and professional associations including chairing several high-profile committees for both the American Petroleum Institute and the Society of Petroleum Engineers. He was honored as a University of Wyoming Distinguished Alumni in 2001.

In 2019, the University of Wyoming received an astounding $1 million gift from the Ellis Family Foundation, which was doubled to $2 million by the state matching funds program. The gift created the F.E. “Tut” and V. Diane Ellis President’s Endowed Scholarship, supporting the best and brightest Wyoming students seeking engineering degrees at UW.

The Engineering Education and Research BuildingScholarships are vital for engineering majors who often need financial assistance to complete their degrees. Engineering is one of the most popular and expensive majors in the U.S. Students are attracted to the prestigious degree because they share a common goal: building a sustainable world. In our everchanging environment, engineers are behind much of the development that is helping shape communities.

As universities invest heavily in engineering programs, the cost for students continues to increase. The F.E. “Tut” and V. Diane Ellis President’s Endowed Scholarship will have a significant impact on recruiting Wyoming students, extending even more opportunities for those who want to enroll in the UW College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Education allowed Tut and Diane Ellis to see the world,” says Valerie Jochen of the Ellis Family Foundation. “But no matter where they roamed, Wyoming has always been home. Passing it forward is an honor.”

The $1 million gift wasn’t the first contribution made by the Ellis Family Foundation. Previously, the foundation established the F.E. “Tut” and Diane Ellis Family Foundation Endowed Scholarship in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, an award that has supported generations of future petroleum engineers.

“The Ellis Family Foundation endowment will have an immensely positive impact far beyond what I think any of us can imagine at this moment,” says Interim Dean and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Cameron H. G. Wright. “Our future students, who perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise had the chance to attend college, will be able to use this amazingly generous gift and pay the world back ten-fold by going on to solve the engineering community’s most important challenges. We are so very grateful to the Ellis Family Foundation for that opportunity.”

The generosity of the Ellis Family Foundation has had a profound impact on the university and its students. Some of the state’s best and brightest now have even more of a reason to stay right here in Wyoming.

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