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November 1, 2011

Tulsa philanthropist Charles C. Stephenson given Trailblazer award

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy has named Charles C. Stephenson of Tulsa as the 2011 recipient of the Trailblazer Award.

OU established the award in 2003 and presents it presented bi-annually to honor exceptional individuals in the energy industry who blaze a trail for others to follow.

The award will be presented at a dinner scheduled to begin 6:30 p.m. Friday at the university.

Stephenson and his wife, Peggy, made a $6 million lead gift to OU in October 2002 to help build the Stephenson Research and Technology Center, which transformed an empty field into the OU’s burgeoning south research campus. They made another $18 million gift in 2006 to help OU build the Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center and, in October 2010, they presented OU with a historic $12 million gift to benefit cancer programs in Oklahoma.

“Charlie Stephenson is an outstanding recipient of the Trailblazer Award, based on his professional achievements and generosity,” said Larry Grillot, Mewbourne College dean. “Charlie and Peggy have given both their time and significant financial support to the University of Oklahoma and have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to the development of Oklahoma’s future in terms of people, facilities and employment. It’s an honor for me to be a part of this well-deserved recognition of Charlie Stephenson.”

Stephenson, a native of Antlers, graduated from OU with a bachelor of science degree in petroleum engineering in 1959. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army, he began his oil career when he joined Amerada Petroleum Corp.

By 1983, Stephenson co-founded Vintage Petroleum Inc., in Tulsa, and was president until 1990, when it became a public company, and as CEO until March1994. Later, he became chairman of Vintage, known as an aggressive and flourishing company in exploration for new oil and natural gas reserves. In 2006, he retired as chairman of the board, president and CEO of Vintage Petroleum Inc.

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