Stahl award

C. Drew Stahl

August 28, 1923 - July 2, 2011

Teaching. It wasn’t something C. Drew Stahl did – it was who he was. A teacher, mentor and friend to more than a thousand students who entered the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Program at Penn State, Drew Stahl was the textbook that educated and inspired a generation of students.

He came to Penn State from his hometown of Altoona in 1942. In 1947 he received his bachelor’s degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering at the commencement exercises held on Saturday. Two days later, Drew Stahl began his teaching career – a career that spanned more than five decades and touched the lives of innumerable PNGE students. That same year he began graduate studies in petroleum and natural gas engineering, eventually earning both Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Penn State.

Although Dr. Stahl officially retired in 1984 he continued to teach – without pay – for thirteen years. In 1997, faculty, staff, students and alumni from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences joined together in celebrating a remarkable milestone: fifty years of teaching. During those fifty years, Stahl taught 95 percent of the PNGE students who had ever passed through the program. Inspired by his outstanding teaching, encouraged by his belief in their abilities, and tutored by countless references to well-worn notebooks carefully scribed during his 8:00 a.m. lecture periods, today many of them are top executives in the oil industry. Others own companies or followed the example of their mentor and became teachers themselves. Many of them work overseas – their excellent qualifications enhancing the reputation of Penn State’s petroleum program around the world. Many will tell you they would not be where they are today without the dedication and leadership of Dr. Stahl.

Not only did Dr. Stahl excel as a teacher, for 35 of the fifty years he taught, he was head of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering Program. Although the energy crisis of the 1970s and the Arab Oil Embargo in the 1980s forced many schools to dismantle their petroleum and natural gas engineering programs, Dr. Stahl was able to build and maintain a strong and vibrant program. In fact, during his tenure he managed to double the number of courses offered by the department and increased student numbers tenfold.

Dr. Stahl was honored three times for his outstanding teaching and mentoring activities. In 1956 the Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors recognized his efforts to interest engineering students in the techniques of drilling oil. In 1982 he received the Wilson Award for Outstanding Teaching from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State. And in 1987 the Society of Petroleum Engineers bestowed on him the prestigious Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty recognizing excellence in classroom teaching and contributions to petroleum engineering.

But for Stahl it wasn’t about awards or money or recognition. It wasn’t even just a job. For Drew Stahl it was all about the kids and teaching them what he knew. In an interview with Lisa Rosellini marking his fifty years of teaching Stahl said, “It’s magic when you see the lights come on and a student solves a problem. It’s magic when they suddenly get it and it all makes sense.” For the students, the magic was a man who elevated teaching to an art form through his caring and concern for the education of each and every one of them who passed though his door.

Award Recipients 

Year Recipient Position
David A. Minemier Deputy Country Manager, Chevron Brazil
Paul J. Dudenas General Manager, Chief Technical Officer, East Management Services, L.P.
Gary D. Packer Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Newfield Exploration Company
2015 J. David Payne Vice President, Drilling and Completions, Chevron
2014 David L. Stover CEO, Noble Energy
2013 Robert W. Watson Professor Emeritus, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, Penn State
2012 William A. Fustos former Chief Operating Officer, East Resources
2011 Timothy L. Hower Chairman, MHA Petroleum Consultants; Co-Founder and Director, Bayswater Exploration and Production Company
2010 Martin S. Craighead Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Baker Hughes Incorporated
2009 Timothy N. Magner General Manager for Reservoir and Production Engineering, Chevron Energy Technology Company
2008 Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi Director of Oil and Gas Ventures, Qatar Petroleum
2007 Terrence M. Pegula President and CEO, East Resources, Inc.
2006 Robert W. Chase Professor and Chair, Department of Petroleum Engineering and Geology, Marietta College
2005 John A. Leone Chief Executive Officer, Chairman and owner of Bonney Forge Corporation
2004 Steven B. Hinchman Senior Vice President of Worldwide Production, Marathon Oil Corporation
2003 David Donohue President, IHRDC
2002 G. David Golder Senior Vice President, Commercialization and Development, Marathon Oil Corporation
2001 John A. Comet Director (retired), National Fuel Gas Company
2000 James Brannigan Senior Vice President of Worldwide Exploration and Administrative Services, Marathon Oil Corporation
1999 S. M. Farouq Ali Professor of Petroleum Engineering, University of Alberta
1998 Carl W. Sherman Retired Lecturer, Penn State
1997 C. Drew Stahl Professor Emeritus, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University (inaugural award recipient)