Don R. and Patricia Kidd Boyd Lectureship in Petroleum Exploration
Don R. and Patricia Kidd Boyd with the first Boyd Lecturer, Dr. Rufus J. LeBlanc, Sr., President, School of Clastic Sediments, in 1988.
The Don R. and Patricia Kidd Boyd Lectureship in Petroleum Exploration was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on August 10, 1984, for the benefit of the UT Department of Geology, now the Jackson School of Geosciences. Gift funds were provided by Mr. and Mrs. Boyd as an expression of gratitude for the profound impact that UT has had on their lives.
Don R. Boyd and Patricia Kidd Boyd were both born in Tyler, Texas, where the two met in high school. Don earned his BS in geology in 1958, and Patricia earned a BBA in 1957 both from The University of Texas at Austin. Their marriage of 43 years produced three children, a daughter and two sons, all of whom also graduated from the University. By Patricia's count, her two granddaughters are currently the 24th and 25th members of their family to attend UT Austin.
After graduation, Don earned a MS degree in geology from Louisiana State University. He began his distinguished career as a geologist in Corpus Christi, Texas with Pan American Petroleum and later joined Texas Eastern. In 1966, he became an independent petroleum geologist and continued his work in petroleum exploration and production. Don was the author of numerous publications on the geology of the Gulf Coast Basin, including two classic and often-cited papers. He was a past President and an Honorary Member of both the Corpus Christi Geological Society and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS).
Don and Patricia decided to create this endowment because of Don’s own University experiences. While a student at UT Austin, he was deeply impressed by a series of lectures given by Dr. Grover Murray, a geologist who held the Boyd (no relation) Professorship at Louisiana State University. This influenced Don's decision to attend graduate school at LSU, where Dr. Murray was his major professor. He became not only Don’s mentor but a lifelong friend. As Don wrote in a letter to Dr. Robert J. Weimer, a good friend and internationally respected authority on stratigraphy, who was a Boyd lecturer in the 1993-94 academic year, “When I first had the thought of endowing a lectureship, it was with the idea that we could invite guests down that not only had something vitally interesting to say, but hopefully we could expose the students to geologists of national stature in our profession and that the experience would not only be long remembered by our students, but be motivating as well. Such was the case with my university experience.”
Of this endowment, Dr. William L. Fisher, former dean of the Jackson School says, “The Jackson School has trained more petroleum explorationists than any school in the nation and Don Boyd wanted that historical reality to continue into the future. Bringing in distinguished people in the field of petroleum exploration was his way of assuring the continuing importance of petroleum exploration at UT. Don nearly always attended at least one of the lectures given by Boyd Lecturers.”
Don held many positions with the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. He received the Association's Distinguished Service Award in 1983 and was elected to Honorary Membership in 1989. He was an Honorary Life Member and three-time Chairman of the Geology Foundation Advisory Council (1980-83). He was honored as a Distinguished Graduate of the Department of Geological Sciences and received the College of Natural Sciences’ Hall of Honor Award. Don was also a Charter Member of LSU's Geology Endowment Advisory Council.
Don’s lifelong love of cattle and land grew into his favorite avocation. Don and Patricia purchased their first ranch when their children were young and established a longtime family presence in Goliad, Texas. Don had a strong passion for conservation and the environment and taught his children and grandchildren, “To always leave things better than you found them.”
In October 2000, the GCAGS honored Don with a newly established medal that carries his name. The Don R. Boyd Medal for Excellence in Gulf Coast Geology is awarded for excellence in research, professional leadership, and oil and gas exploration. The medal is the highest honor bestowed by GCAGS, reflecting Don's unparalleled commitment to excellence in petroleum geology.
After a courageous 16 year battle with cancer, Don passed away on December 20, 2000, at his home in Corpus Christi. A geologist, rancher, devoted husband, and adoring father and grandfather, Don was loved and admired for both the way he lived and the way he bravely fought his illness. His life reflected his deep love of the land, his family, his church, and his profession.
On April 24, 2003, the main auditorium and lecture hall in the Jackson Geology Building on the campus of UT Austin was named the Don R. Boyd Auditorium. Dr. Fisher, of whom Patricia says that Don felt “was one of the best friends he ever had,” is especially proud of this dedication. “He was like a brother,” says Fisher.
Both Don and Patricia served as lifetime members of UT Austin’s Chancellor’s Council, the President’s Associates, the Littlefield Society, and the Texas Exes. After his death, the Don R. Boyd Endowed Fund was established from funds given to the Jackson School in memory of Don, matched by funds from Patricia. In 2010, an additional gift from Patricia to the Boyd Fund established three Endowed Presidential Scholarships in Don’s name.
Patricia Boyd resides in Houston and continues to actively support UT and the Jackson School.