Larry Grillot

Larry Grillot

Larry Grillot

By: Claire Winesett

For Larry R. Grillot, Mississippi State University was the launching point that led to a very successful academic and professional career. A native of Crystal Springs, Mississippi, Grillot received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in physics from MSU in 1968, and describes his time at MSU as an experience that would impact him for many years to come.

“Mississippi State was very good to me. It provided a solid foundation and background to move forward with my academic career. I thought highly of all of my professors, and was proud of my degree,” said Grillot. 

Following his graduation at MSU, Grillot was awarded a National Science Foundation traineeship to attend graduate school at Brown University. He completed his Sc.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Brown in Geological Sciences with a geophysics specialty.

After completing his Ph.D. in 1973, Grillot began his career in the oil and gas industry in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, with Phillips Petroleum Company – the company with which he would work for the next 30 years.

Throughout his 30-year journey with Phillips, he had the opportunity to work in a variety of technical and managerial positions in Bartlesville, as well as in London, England, and Calgary, Canada.

Grillot stayed in Bartlesville until 1981, processing and interpreting seismic data and applying electrical methods to geothermal exploration as a research geophysicist, completing seismic stratigraphy studies in California and on the Alaska North Slope, and serving as the team leader for the data processing group for the Rocky Mountains and offshore California as the senior geophysicist. He then moved to London to be the geophysical supervisor for West Africa.

In this position, he supervised geophysical operations in Ivory Coast and Ghana, Africa. A year later, in 1982, Grillot became the chief geophysicist for Africa Exploration, where he supervised geophysical operations in countries such as Egypt, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

In 1985, Grillot moved back to Bartlesville to be the director of seismic stratigraphy, and later became the planning manager for exploration and production (E&P).

Five years later, Grillot moved to Calgary to become the president and region manager for Phillips Petroleum Canada, Ltd., Calgary, which is a subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum Company, before moving back to Bartlesville in 1992 to be the manager of international exploration. In this position, his active areas included China, Australia, North and West Africa, South Africa, the Middle East, South America and former Soviet Union. He later became the manager of E&P technology and services. In 2003, Grillot retired from Phillips Petroleum Company.

Following his retirement from Phillips, Grillot was appointed Dean & Lester A. Day Family Chair of the Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy at the University of Oklahoma, and he served in this position from April 2006 until June 2015. Through Grillot’s leadership, student enrollment numbers increased each year and scholarships doubled for the program.

When asked how he continued a solid track of success throughout his career, he noted the importance of hard work and surrounding yourself around motivated and intelligent people.

“I have truly been lucky to work for good people, and to have the right people supporting and motivating me throughout my career,” said Grillot. “Maintaining a strong work ethic, along with being part of a strong team, will allow you to benefit significantly from your combined contributions.”

Until his appointment at the University of Oklahoma, Grillot served on the Advisory & Development Council for the College of Arts and Sciences and the External Research Advisory Board of MSU. Grillot was also named the 2003 Alumni Fellow and 2008 Alumnus of the Year for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Throughout his academic and professional career, Grillot realized that different phases in his life attracted different interests, and he advises current and future students to remember an important piece of advice when they begin pursuing higher education:

“While there is, and should be, the obvious focus on your academic work, there are also changes in maturity, interests, and ambitions between your freshman and senior years,” Grillot said. “College is a time not only to ‘learn how to learn’, but to develop your goals and long-term interests that can go with you through life. Your time at college is to be enjoyed, but it is also an educational opportunity that, at least for most, comes only once.”  

Grillot now resides in Florida with his wife Judy. He is a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He also serves on the Board of Directors of Pioneer Natural Resources.

The Grillots’ loyalty and support to MSU is still recognized each year through the Grillot Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund was established to provide financial support to students majoring in physics, and helps the Department of Physics and Astronomy recruit top students to continue the enrollment growth within the department and the College of Arts and Sciences.

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