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L.T. Barrow Founders Circle

Geology instructor in the Department (1921-24) and chairman of the board of Humble Oil and Refining Company (1948-55).

The L.T. Barrow Founders Circle recognizes friends and alumni who have given cumulative gifts of $100,000 or more since the Jackson School was established in 2005.  Named after Leonidas T. and Laura T. Barrow, creators of the first endowment in the Geology Foundation in 1953, Barrow Circle members honor the legacy of these two guiding spirits of geoscience education at The University of Texas at Austin. To see a list of members, click here.

Leonidas T. Barrow (1895-1978; B.S., 1921; M.S. 1923) was a geology instructor in the Department (1921-24) and chairman of the board of Humble Oil and Refining Company (1948-55), which later consolidated with Standard Oil to become Exxon.

Leonidas Theodore (Slim) Barrow, petroleum geologist, the son of Thomas Heskew and Sarah (Graves) Barrow, was born on June 16, 1895, in Manor, Texas. He was educated in the public schools of Austin and entered the University of Texas in 1917, but in 1918 he left the university to join the Signal Corps of the United States Army. He returned to the university upon his military discharge in 1919 and was awarded the bachelor’s degree in geology in 1921. During his undergraduate days he played on the Longhorn football and basketball teams, where he earned his nickname. He received his master’s degree in 1923 and served as instructor in geology at the University of Texas from 1921 to 1924. In 1923 he married Laura Thomson, a geology student at the university.

Barrow joined the Humble Oil and Refining Company as field geologist in San Antonio in 1924. He did surface geologic mapping in Caldwell and Guadalupe counties, where his company discovered the Salt Flat and Darst Creek oilfields. He recognized the igneous origin of the material that makes up the pay section of the Lytton Springs oilfield in Caldwell County.

By 1929 he was made chief geologist for Humble in Houston. There he became associated with Wallace E. Pratt, a member of the board of directors of the company. Pratt and Barrow, working together, established the highest type of business and professional ethics in the petroleum industry. Barrow was promoted to the board of directors of his company in 1937, to vice president in 1938, and to chairman of the board in 1948. He retired in 1955.

Barrow and his wife aided the University of Texas by helping to organize and donating to the Geology Foundation in 1952. The foundation provides loans for needy students, travel funds for teachers, scholarship and fellowship funds, library funds, and endowments establishing named professorships and chairs in geological sciences.

Barrow served on the Geology Foundation Council from 1957 to 1963 and was elected a lifetime honorary member in 1964. He was also a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Geophysical Union, as well as a fellow of the Geological Society of America.

He and his wife were the founders of the Wallace E. Pratt Publication fund of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. They also made important contributions to many other geological, charitable, and church organizations. Barrow died in Houston on March 4, 1978.

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