July 7, 2003

Contact Michael Cinelli for information on the Mitchell gift announcement at 713/743-8155


George P. Mitchell is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp., a Fortune 500 Company, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, prior to its merger in January 2002 with Devon Energy Corporation. A native of Galveston, Texas, Mr. Mitchell graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in petroleum engineering, with additional emphasis in geology.

Following services as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, he joined a newly formed wildcatting company, first as a consulting geologist and engineer and later as a partner. He was named president in 1959, and under his leadership the company grew and evolved into one of the nation’s largest independent oil and gas producers. During his career, Mr. Mitchell participated in approximately 10,000 wells, including more then 1,000 wildcats. He and his company found upwards of 200 oil and 350 gas discoveries.

In the 1960’s, Mr. Mitchell envisioned a real estate project on a scale never seen in the booming Houston area – a complete new town. The Woodlands, a 25,000-acre planned community located 27 miles north of downtown Houston, opened in late 1974. When sold in 1997 to the partnership of Crescent Real Estate Equities Co. and Morgan Stanley Real Estate fund II, it had a population of 48,000, led Houston’s market in new home sales for seven consecutive years, and was the state’s new homes sales leader. Today the acreage totals 27,000 and the population is 75,000.

Mr. Mitchell was personally instrumental in the founding of the Houston Advance Research Center (HARC), a contract and grant research institution headquartered at The Woodlands’ Research Forest. HARC consists of 10 collaborative universities, including the original members: the University of Houston, Texas A&M University, Rice University, and The University of Texas at Austin. He was also instrumental in bringing to the Research Forest high-tech research and commercial spin-offs of Baylor College of Medicine and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Health Science Center. He founded the Center for Global Studies, a HARC educational institute that sponsors conferences on environmental and growth issues and problems.

Mr. Mitchell and his wife Cynthia have also taken leading roles in the rejuvenation of Galveston’s historic Strand District by restoring 17 commercial buildings. In 1985, they revived the mid-winter Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston, which now draws 500,000 visitors annually.

Mr. Mitchell was an advisor to Project Independence and a member of the National Petroleum Council. He served three terms as president and two terms as chairman of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association. He is a member of the All-American Wildcatters, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and American Institute of Mining Engineers, as well as numerous other professional, business, educational, and civic organizations. Mr. Mitchell served as a member of Texas’ Select Committee on Higher Education and the Texas Governor’s Science and Technology Council. In 1988, he was elected as a trustee of the University Research Association, a director of the Gas Research Institute, and a member of the World Resources Institute Council. In 1989, he was selected as a member of the President’s Circle of the National Academy of Sciences.

Honors accorded Mr. Mitchell include:

  • Texas A&M’s Distinguished Alumni Award (1977)
  • the medal for distinguished achievement from Texas A&M Geosciences and Earth Resources Advisory Council (1980)
  • the Horatio Alger Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ first Award for Distinguished Service in the Petroleum Industry
  • and an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Houston (1984)
  • The Galveston Daily News’ Citizen of the Year and the Ima Hogg Historical Achievement Award (1988)
  • Global Tomorrow Coalition’s Lorax Award for contributions to the environment (1989)
  • Merrill Lynch, Ernst & Young and Inc. Magazine’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year (1992)
  • the Boy Scouts of America’s Hornaday Award for Environmental Achievement (1993)
  • Galveston’s Leonora Kempner Thompson Community Enrichment Award (1993)
  • the American Institute of Architects’ Jefferson Award
  • the Texas Business Hall of Fame Award, the National Preservation Honor Award
  • the Texas A&M’s Aggie of the Year (1994)
  • the Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation presented to Mr. And Mrs. Mitchell by Governor George W. Bush (1995)
  • the Houston Chapter of the Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants’ honoree, and the Mirabeau B. Lamar Award (1996)
  • The Nature Conservancy of Texas’ Lifetime Achievement honoree (1997)
  • the Texas Society of Architects’ first Cornerstone Award presented to Mr. And Mrs. Mitchell
  • the Galveston Historical Foundation’s Spirit of Elissa Award
  • and the Galveston Chamber of Commerce’s Christie Mitchell Award (1999)
  • Prevent Blindness Texas’ People of Vision Award presented to Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell
  • the World Future Society’s Distinguished Service Award (2000)
  • the National Trust of Historic Preservation’s Crowninshield Award presented to Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell
  • the Texas Society of Professional Engineers’ Engineering Dream Team member
  • the Pioneer Oil Producers Society’s Distinguished Service Award (2001)
  • and the Institute for Energy Law’s John Rogers Award (2002)

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