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Richard Agee

September 5, 2017
head portrait of man
Dick Agee. Courtesy photo

Distinguished UW Alumnus

Dick Agee embodies what the University of Wyoming is all about—he is a successful, dedicated alumnus and supporter of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The university has provided so much for us,” Agee says. “As a graduate, I never felt that any graduate from another school had a better foundation—I have frequently heard this from my classmates. Companies wanted UW engineers for their education and their work ethic. We thought our education was first class, and as a result, I always had confidence and pushed for more responsibility and moved rapidly in the several companies I’d worked for.”

Agee grew up in Cheyenne. He came to UW on an athletic scholarship—lettering both years he swam. After an injury, he earned a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering. While here, he was a member of SAE fraternity and met his future wife, Judy, who was a Tri Delt. They married a week after graduation.

After a year of oilfield engineering, Agee returned to UW to earn a master’s degree in petroleum engineering. Years later, he would be selected as a Sloan Fellow and return to university life to spend an intense year at MIT, earning a master’s in business administration from the Sloan School of Management.

After he earned his master’s from UW, he joined Skelly Oil, followed several years later with Gulf Oil Co. He moved his family through west Texas towns, then to south Louisiana. A former boss called one day with an opportunity on the remote island of Borneo, Indonesia, to manage a grassroots project that ultimately became the world’s largest LNG production and liquefaction operation. After 12 years there, they decided to return to the states for their children’s educations.

Agee began to pursue his own ventures as an independent oil and gas operator. Subsequently, he founded, created and sold several oil and gas companies. He has also built several oil and gas service companies, including a fracturing business and a workover business with state-of-the-art rig equipment to service the extended-reach wells that utilize the latest technology.

In the 1990s, the Agees reconnected with UW. Since then, he’s dedicated his time and resources. First, he spent eight years on the College of Engineering and Applied Science Advisory Board, helping to guide the college and supporting the dean. “I was reminded of the great and generous people with UW backgrounds who served on that board,” Agee says. “The breadth of their knowledge and experience was amazing. I met so many wonderful men and women.”

He adds, “My goals were always to assist the university in general—but engineering in particular—in any way that I might help.”

Agee also jumped at the chance to join the UW Foundation Board. Among other things, he served as chair of its Finance Committee, which audits foundation accounts and expenditures while budgeting and monitoring operating expenditures.

“The Foundation Board is truly a group of great people,” Agee says, “ones who have an extreme interest in seeing the university do well. They and the foundation have just been outstanding. The university has an endowment that is bigger than many schools twice the size. It’s amazing what the foundation has done.”

In 2012, Gov. Matt Mead asked Agee to serve on the Wyoming Governor’s Energy, Engineering, STEM Integration Task Force. The task force’s aim was to incorporate already planned energy and engineering facilities and programs into a new plan that included a transformed engineering facility—all with the goal of a “Tier-1 academic and research institution.” The state of Wyoming and UW were making significant capital investments, and so it was important that programs focused on areas of excellence appropriate for Wyoming.

Dick and Judy have also supported UW through donations for scholarships, engineering, athletics, the Art Museum, facilities and much more. Their most recent gift of $1 million, doubled to $2 million through state matching, supports the new engineering facility: “It was early in raising funds approved by the Legislature for matching, so I wanted to jumpstart the project by stepping up and making that commitment and being willing to publicize that—not because I wanted the publicity, but because I was hoping that it would get others to come forward.”

And come forward they have—the Engineering Education and Research Building is on schedule to be completed in 2019. Agee’s success is our success.

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