Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


William Murray

William “Bill” Murray, Jr. grew up in the oil fields of northwest Texas by his father’s side where he became interested in the oil business.  He went on to Simmons College, now Hardin Simmons University, in Abilene, and after two years transferred to The University of Texas at Austin where he received his BSPE in 1936.  He went on to earn his MSPE in the first graduating class from the program in petroleum engineering from the university in 1937.  While completing his MSPE, Murray also taught and graded undergraduate courses as an instructor.

After graduation, Murray went to work for Brannon Oil and Gas in Coleman as an engineer, geologist, and lease superintendent and in 1939 returned to Austin to work for the Railroad Commission of Texas as a Conservation Engineer & Chief Examiner for the Oil and Gas Division.  In 1941, Murray left the Commission to work for the Petroleum Administration for War during World War II but returned after the war to work as Chief Engineer for Wheelock & Collins in Corsicana, then as General Manager for Houston Industrial Gas Company.  Thanks to his work on gas conservation prior to and after World War II, Bill was appointed as Railroad Commissioner by Governor Beauford Jester in 1947, serving until 1963, including a six-year stint as Chairman.  He became a well-known industry speaker, addressing the Dallas Petroleum Club at its annual meeting for 54 consecutive years.  In 1973 he became the chairman of the Voluntary Gas Allocation Committee which later expanded into the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

A avid participant and leader in civic life, Murray is broadly known as the first professional engineer to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission and is considered by many, including Texas oil industry historian David F. Prindle , to have been the most influential and visionary commissioner in history.  His expertise and technical leadership during the 1950s resulted in policies that helped strengthen the Texas oil and gas industry, enabling the transformation of the state from an agricultural base to the world’s energy leader.  In addition to these accomplishments, Murray served as president of the Capitol Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, as a trustee of the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, was an active member of University Presbyterian Church for over sixty years, and served as one of the founding members of the Cockrell School of Engineering’s External Advisory Board.  In 1989 alumni and friends of Murray established the William J. (Bill) Murray, Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering to honor his commitment to the University of Texas community.

Bill passed away on August 3, 2004.  His wife of 65 years, Jo Newton Murray, currently resides in Fischer, Texas.  He and Jo had four children:  Jo Anna Schultz Osterman, Marsha Wilson (deceased), Janice Stoley, and Bill Murray, III—all UT graduates—and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

 

Questions?

Contact Catherine Campbell at 512-471-3208