The University of Tulsa has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with global energy manufacturing and logistics company Phillips 66, which funds scholarships and supports programs in the Collins College of Business and the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences.
Thad Satterfield (BA ’90) is director of university relations and recruiting for Phillips 66. As he explains, “Part of our core values for philanthropic giving is around safety and education, and supporting the communities in which we work and live. When we invest in higher education, we invest in our communities and our future — especially in STEM fields.”
Phillips 66 partners with universities across the country that have strong, nationally recognized programs and embrace the energy industry. “TU is definitely one of those schools,” said Satterfield. “Within engineering, TU’s programs fit our energy manufacturing logistics environment. And within business, the oil and gas industry is interwoven as a lens throughout the energy management program’s undergraduate curriculum.”
Collins College of Business Dean Gale Sullenberger says the Phillips 66 partnership, which dates prior to his arrival to TU in 1999, has enhanced the college’s programs and benefited students in a number of ways. “Phillips 66 is one of the most important partners we’ve had in the 18 years since I’ve been here,” he said. “Phillips 66 hires more business students than any other employer. The company’s long-standing support of our programs and investment in our students has resulted in a partnership that we value immensely.”
TU is one of only 10 universities to host the company’s SHIELD Scholars program, which not only awards scholarships to top students, but also pairs them with a mentor who can offer guidance in the transition from college to career. In terms of employment, many students secure internships and full-time employment in the company’s Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Houston offices.
Satterfield echoes that sentiment. “TU has always been a strong partner for us,” he said. “We get top students who come into our company and add value quickly. They are prepared not only with technical skills and business acumen, but also soft skills — what we call durable skills — that translate to success in our organization.” He says those durable skills include being able to listen and communicate effectively, identifying problems and offering solutions, and having the ability to take lessons learned in one situation and apply to another.
He highlights the strength of TU’s computer information systems (CIS) program as the need for professionals who can combine strong information technology skills with business principles continues to increase. “These students offer a strong, pragmatic application of current trends within the IT space,” he explained. Graduate degrees such as the master of accountancy and the recently introduced MS in business analytics also complement areas of growth for the company. “As we advance our digital capabilities, we will be looking for more data scientists to join Phillips 66 to support our digital platforms.”
Phillips 66 helps fund student organizations such as Women in Business and iTU and sponsors the college’s Friends of Finance executive speaker series. “Friends of Finance represents an opportunity for our current employees to reconnect with the university and our peers in the business community,” Satterfield says. And partnering with initiatives like TU’s True Blue Neighbors goes hand in hand with the company’s commitment to give back to the community. He notes that, “TU students have a strong sense of purpose and giving back.”
And for Satterfield, it’s not just about the business relationship. “TU is where I met my wife, my son graduated from TU, and now I have a daughter there,” he says. “I’ve always been proud to be an alum, but I’m even more proud of the progress the college has made. As a business college, we are poised to excel at preparing students for the future.”