Lake Announces Retirement After Four Decades in UT PGE

August 29, 2023

Professor Larry Lake announced this month that he is retiring after 45 years in the Hildebrand Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (UT PGE). Even as Dr. Lake slowly scales back his teaching load over the next three years, his legacy in the department and the industry will remain ever present.

“Dr. Lake has played an instrumental role in so many people’s lives over the course of his career. He has been a mentor to countless colleagues, students and alumni — all while continuing to advance the field of petroleum engineering and preparing our students to lead the way to a sustainable energy future,” says UT PGE Chair and Professor Matthew T. Balhoff. “Dr. Lake’s contributions are immeasurable, and we are thankful for the expertise he has shared over the last four decades.”

After a career in porous media and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at Shell, Dr. Lake, an academic and researcher at heart, joined UT PGE in 1978. He pioneered the fields of EOR and reservoir characterization and has written four textbooks and more than 150 technical papers on his research. Lake, who currently holds the department’s Shahid and Sharon Ullah Chair, has twice been named a Distinguished Lecturer and Distinguished Member by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He has served on the SPE Board of Directors and was named to the Texas Society of Professional Engineers Dream Team in 2001. He has BSE and PhD degrees in Chemical Engineering from Arizona State University and Rice University, respectively.

Lake’s numerous honors also include the Anthony F. Lucas Gold MedalDeGolyer Distinguished Service Medal and Improved Oil Recovery Pioneer Award from SPE and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME); The University of Texas at Austin Joe J. King Professional Engineering Achievement Award; the Billie & Claude and Billie R. Hocott Distinguished Centennial Engineering Research Award; and the UT PGE Distinguished Alumni Award. He was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1997.

Help UT PGE honor Dr. Lake by sharing your stories and memories. Join UT PGE at an alumni happy hour during SPE’s ATCE event in October and the department’s annual alumni tailgate in November to celebrate with Dr. Lake. Plans for a retirement party will be announced at a later date.