Skip to Main Content

Apply Now to the University of Wyoming apply now

UW Petroleum Professor Appointed to Le Norman Chair

Philanthropist David Le Norman and Professor Vamegh Rasouli

Dr. Vamegh Rasouli, a professor with expertise in petroleum engineering, has been announced as the University of Wyoming Le Norman Endowed Leadership Chair in Petroleum Engineering, starting in the fall of 2022.

In 2018, the UW College of Engineering and Physical Sciences received a gift of $2.5 million from UW alum David Le Norman, an energy and investment entrepreneur, which established the chair.

“My wife Cory and I are thrilled with the hiring decision to bring Vamegh aboard,” says David Le Norman. “Vamegh brings with him a wealth of academic and industry experience as well as an all-star team of supporting professors and graduate students to take our program to a new level. We are especially pleased with his focus on creating the proper environment and opportunities for our students. When it comes to staff, students, and representing UW, Vemegh believes that success hinges on people. Vamegh and UW will be successful based upon this core value.”

This gift was doubled by Wyoming state matching, bringing the fund to $5 million. These funds were then split to fund the Le Norman Endowed Leadership Chair in Petroleum Engineering and the Le Norman Family Excellence Fund in Petroleum Engineering.

The gift from Le Norman is transforming the University of Wyoming STEM programs, specifically in petroleum engineering. Le Norman’s goal was to support students in STEM-related degrees.

This support also advanced the goals of the UW Tier-1 Engineering Initiative, which works to transform the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences in a nationally recognized institution of academic excellence and world-class research institution.

Dr. Rasouli is looking to accomplish the same goals set out by Le Norman and the university.

“I want to put in all my effort and to make this program well known, and that means I have to provide the best services to students,” says Dr. Rasouli. “I am here to provide my services to students and let them know that they have a future here.”

Before coming to UW, Dr. Rasouli served as the Department Chair and the Continental Resources Distinguished Professor in the Department of Petroleum Engineering at the University of North Dakota. There, he helped develop petroleum engineering programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

He also served as the head of the Department of Petroleum Engineering at Curtin University in Australia before moving to the United States. At Curtin University, Dr. Rasouli was responsible for the support and delivery of the Master of Petroleum Well Engineering degree.

He performed research and established the Curtin Petroleum Geomechanics Group, where he supervised numerous doctorate and master’s students, as well as serving as an Assistant Professor of Petroleum Engineering in Iran.

Dr. Rasouli has proven to be successful in his research, with his publications dating back as far as 2000 while completing his Ph.D. at Imperial College in London, U.K. His research has included petroleum geomechanics, hydraulic fracturing, fractured reservoir characterization, and hard rock drilling.

With his extensive experience across the globe, Dr. Rasouli brings a new outlook and new opportunities to the Department of Petroleum Engineering.

“Wyoming is a state with a lot of opportunity,” says Dr. Rasouli. “It is a place that has huge potential for development of science, technology, and innovation. I see lots of exciting things that can be done here.”

Philanthropist David Le Norman graduated from UW in 1986 with a degree in petroleum engineering. He also studied chemical engineering at Oklahoma State University and earned an MBA from Oklahoma City University. 

Le Norman has more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas industry. His experiences range from various engineering and business development roles with Texaco to creating and carrying out successful build and monetization strategies across multiple companies. He is now founder and managing partner at Reign Capital Holdings, an investment company based in Oklahoma City. The firm is opportunistically investing in both early and late-stage capital across an assembly of long-time business interests with primary investments in upstream and midstream oil and gas.

The Department of Petroleum Engineering has a widespread impact at UW and throughout the state. Research is being done in three different labs across campus, including the Drilling and Completions Simulator Lab, Peabody Energy Advanced Coal Technology Lab, and the High Bay Research Facility. In these labs, students can learn and master important techniques that can later be used out in the field.

For more information about giving to the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, contact Teddi Freedman at 307-766-3967 |


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
UW Operators (307) 766-1121 | Contact Us | Download Adobe Reader

Accreditation | Virtual Tour | Emergency Preparedness | Employment at UW | Privacy Policy | Harassment & Discrimination | Accessibility Accessibility information icon