John C. Calhoun, SPE, a former SPE president who dedicated his career to higher education and civil service, died 29 November 2012. He was 95.
Calhoun was born in Betula, Pennsylvania, on 21 March 1917. He attended Pennsylvania State University, where he earned his doctorate as one of the first three petroleum engineers in the United States. Calhoun pursued a career in higher education at the University of Oklahoma, Penn State, and Texas A&M University.
At the time of his death, he was distinguished professor of petroleum engineering–emeritus at Texas A&M and deputy chancellor of engineering–emeritus at the Texas A&M University System. Calhoun served both the university and the system in various capacities from 1955 to 1987, including as dean of the School of Engineering, director of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, and director of the Texas Engineering Extension Service. His subsequent roles included distinguished professor of petroleum engineering, dean of geosciences, director of the Center for Marine Resources, vice president of Academic Affairs, and director of the Crisman Institute for Marine Resources at A&M; and vice president of engineering, vice chancellor of development, vice president of programs, executive vice chancellor of programs, and deputy chancellor of engineering at the A&M system. From 1963 to 1965, he took a leave of absence to serve as assistant and science advisor to the US Secretary of the Interior and acting director of the Office of Water Resources Research.
Calhoun was designated an honorary member of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers in 1976 and a Distinguished Member of SPE in 1984. He was President of SPE in 1964, and received its DeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal in 1982 in recognition of his service to the society, the professions of engineering and geology, and the petroleum industry. He also received SPE’s Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal in 1997, in honor of distinguished achievement in the identification and development of new technology and concepts to enhance the process of finding or producing petroleum.
Calhoun received BS, MS, and PhD degrees from Pennsylvania State University and was designated a Penn State Alumni fellow in 1976. He served on the faculties and as an administrator at the University of Oklahoma (1946–1950) and Penn State (1937–1946 and 1950–1955). He was president of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) (1974), and conferred the status of ASEE honorary member (1978) and fellow (1983). He was the president of the Marine Technology Society (MTS) (1975), made an MTS fellow, and served as a member of the board of directors for both the Engineers’ Joint Council and the Engineers’ Council for Professional Development. The US President appointed Calhoun to the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere (1972). He also was a member of the Advisory Committee on Mining and Mineral Resources Research of the US Department of the Interior (1987–1995), and was a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
He is survived by Ruth, his wife and intellectual partner of 71 years, three daughters and their spouses, four granddaughters, and 10 great-grandchildren.