Campaign Launched to Endow Bruce Curtis Graduate Student Fellowship at CU

Title: Campaign Launched to Endow Bruce Curtis Graduate Student Fellowship at CU

Publication: The Outcrop, December 2001, p. 18

This year a small group of Professor Bruce Curtis’s former students kicked off a campaign to endow the Bruce Curtis Graduate Student Fellowship in Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado. The committee has set a goal of raising $250,000 to endow the fellowship, and the support of the RMAG membership is crucial.

Curtis profoundly affected the careers and lives of two generations of petroleum geologists in the Rocky Mountain region. Through decades of service at the University of Colorado, in the industry, and to RMAG, he educated, mentored and led hundreds of students and professionals. Curtis is an Honorary Member of RMAG, having served as Treasurer in 1952 and President in 1956. He authored and edited several important volumes, including the 1958 RMAG Guidebook on the Pennsylvanian and AAPG’s 1968 Natural Gases of North America (with Warren Beebe). Curtis spoke at the Friday luncheons many times, and never failed to inform and amuse.

The CU program in petroleum geology is one of the very best in the country and needs the generous financial assistance of the geological community to continue to attract the best graduate students to CU. Approximately $25,000 has been raised to date, principally by grass-roots support from Dr. Curtis’s students, friends and colleagues. This effort is continuing.

Fortunately, a recent gift received by the University provides a challenge grant that will pay the full tuition for every new graduate fellowship at the $250,000 level. This will allow the income from the endowment to be used entirely for competitive stipends for top graduate students. The impact of all gifts will be multiplied by this challenge grant.

A Denver native, Bruce Curtis completed his graduate studies in geology at CU and Harvard, following service in the U.S. Navy in World War II. He worked as Rockies Regional Exploration Manager for Conoco until 1957, when he began three decades of teaching and research at CU. During that period he taught subsurface methods, geology of organic fuels, and related subjects to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Curtis directed scores of graduate theses, many focused on E&P topics that are still vital today. He retired in 1983 and lives in Boulder.

Professor Paul Weimer, one of Dr. Curtis’s former students, directs CU’s program in petroleum geology. In an unprecedented honor, a recent entire issue of the AAPG Bulletin was devoted to the research being done by this group on deepwater sedimentation and petroleum accumulations in the Gulf of Mexico. Its graduates and professional scientists are being placed in positions of responsibility throughout the industry. They have received best paper awards from AAPG and been named Distinguished Lecturer, committee chairmen and editors by that organization. BP recently gave CU a $10 million 3D visualization center, the finest facility of its kind in a university petroleum geology group. The program is expanding, with a new permanent position in reservoir geosciences being filled this year by Matt Pranter, who worked at ExxonMobil in reservoir modeling.

The outstanding program in petroleum geology at CU-Boulder has distinguished itself in the past decade in ways that few other petroleum programs have. Support for graduate studies is the key to maintaining and expanding this center of excellence in the region’s largest research university. A generous matching grant makes now the time to act.

If you have questions, please contact Matt Silverman (303-449-3761,, Dave Peterson (303-494-4420,, or Linda Bachrach of the CU Foundation (303-492-5689, For more information about the program in petroleum geology at CU, please contact Paul Weimer (303-492-7121,