AUSTIN, Texas — A transformative gift has been made by the Hildebrand Foundation to support the Cockrell School of Engineering’s nationally recognized Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.
The gift will provide significant resources for student and faculty initiatives and investments in new teaching and research technologies. In recognition, the university will name the department the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.
“Regent Jeff Hildebrand and Mindy Hildebrand have a very deep connection to our university that makes this gift so special,” President Gregory L. Fenves said. “This $25 million is a remarkable investment in the future of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, the Cockrell School of Engineering and the study and exploration of new energy solutions. It will provide significant resources for student and faculty innovation, along with cutting-edge teaching and research related to the oil and gas industry.”
The department’s alumni, faculty and students are well known throughout the energy community for their accomplishments and contributions, and a new five-year strategic plan will be launched in 2018 with the goal of strengthening the department’s position as a global leader. The department is home to the No. 1-ranked petroleum engineering graduate program and No. 2-ranked petroleum engineering undergraduate program in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report’s most recent rankings.
The Hildebrand family has strong ties to the Forty Acres. Jeffery Hildebrand received his master’s degree in petroleum engineering and bachelor’s degree in geology from UT Austin, and he is currently vice chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents and serves on the Cockrell School of Engineering Advisory Board. Mindy Hildebrand, who received her bachelor’s degree in management from the McCombs School of Business, serves on the McCombs School Advisory Board and the University Development Board. The Hildebrands have three children, two of whom currently attend UT Austin.
“The Hildebrand family is honored to be a part of this great institution and knows that if anything is transformative, it is a University of Texas education,” said Jeffery and Mindy Hildebrand in a joint statement. “It is our hope that this gift will inspire the next generation of engineers, explorers and innovators to pursue an education and career in the petroleum industry. UT has the No. 1 petroleum and geosystems engineering department in the country, and this gift will provide the necessary resources to ensure its future prominence and influence in academia and industry in the world.”
Jeffery Hildebrand, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of Hilcorp Energy Company, said he invested in the department because of the powerful impact that his UT Austin education and professors had on his career. Among other things, the family’s gift will pave the way for more academic-industry partnerships that push technological advancements and help develop future energy industry leaders.
“This is a transformative gift for the school and an equally inspiring gesture, and we are grateful for Jeff and Mindy’s investment in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering,” said Sharon L. Wood, dean of the Cockrell School. “The Hildebrands are among our most dedicated and passionate supporters, and we are excited about the opportunities that their commitment provides for the students and faculty of this exceptional department.”
Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Company is one of the largest and most successful privately held oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the U.S., employing more than 1,450 people and operating in multiple areas across the country including the Gulf Coast, the Northeast and Alaska. The company has been recognized by regional and national publications as one of the top places to work in America.
“We are humbled that the Hildebrand family has trusted us with such a sizable investment in our future,” said Jon Olson, chair of the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. “This gift will create a new sense of excitement about our program, enabling us to further capitalize on our strengths of oil and gas teaching and technology development and positioning us to continue attracting the top talent from around the world to tackle the energy challenges of the future.”
Hildebrand was named a Distinguished Engineering Graduate of the Cockrell School in 2005 and a Distinguished Alumnus of the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering in 2013.