Alumnus receives honor in field of petroleum geology

Bei Hu

The world’s largest geoscience organization will honor a University alumnus at its 1997 meeting.
Robert D. Gunn, a 1949 University graduate, will receive the Sidney Powers Memorial Medal on Sunday from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists as its annual convention opens in Dallas.
Larry Nation, the association’s communications director, said Gunn was named for the award after the organization’s leadership screened a number of candidates.
“Bob Gunn has been a pre-eminent geologist for the past two decades. And he continues to perform and do all the things that require excellence,” Nation said.
The association, founded in 1917, has a membership of more than 31,000 in 110 countries.
The Sidney Powers award is named after the association’s first president and is the organization’s highest citation. Gunn is the 50th recipient of the honor since its creation in 1944.
Gunn is president of Gunn Operating Corporation, owner of Gunn Management Corporation and head of the board for Gunn Oil Corporation. All three are based in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Gunn has discovered about 45 oil fields with more than 300 wells in King County, Texas since 1969. He is also credited for successfully lobbying for scientific research in geology and geophysics. He headed the American Association of Petroleum Geologists during 1978-79.
Gunn is also known for his enthusiasm for civic services. He served on advisory boards at several colleges and universities. He also led the Texas Department of Corrections for five years during difficult days of litigation and reform.
Gunn was born in St. Paul and was brought up in Minneapolis. He attended the University briefly before reporting for duty in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Upon completion of his military service in 1946, he returned to school and graduated from the University with a bachelor of science degree in geology in 1949.
Frederick Swain, a University professor of emeritus in geology and geophysics who once taught Gunn, described him as an average but always hardworking student with a pleasant personality.
“It was just a matter of his personality and persistence that enabled him to obtain such a high position in the industry,” recalled Swain.
In May 1992, the University’s Board of Regents conferred an Outstanding Achievement Award on Gunn for his accomplishments.