Jack Battle
NSM Alum
Peggy Bay Battle
UH Business Alum
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Compiled by Peggy Sheehan
Jack Battle didn’t recognize much of the University of Houston campus when he returned to his alma mater for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex (SERCC) on December 5, 2003. That’s because the alumnus graduated from the university in June 1937 when most of the classes were held at San Jacinto High School. “Things certainly have changed,” Battle said. “This is wonderful. It is really a beautiful campus.”
Battle is considered one of our first graduates, having earned his BS degree in chemistry. His former boss at Humble Oil (now ExxonMobil) urged him to begin his UH education.
Classes were much different then and there were only a few faculty members in the Department of Chemistry, headed by Dr. George Drake. “I think there were maybe five or so instructors in the chemistry department, so we had a lot of the same teachers for our classes,” Battle said.
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After graduating Battle returned to UH, and from 1938 to 1942 took engineering courses while assisting in the chemistry and physics laboratories. He passed the professional examinations for his engineering license in 1942 and became one of 5500 professional engineers in the state of Texas at that time.
Upon receiving his degree, Humble transferred him to the Petroleum Engineering Division of the Production Department and he later became the Director of the Petroleum Engineering Service Laboratories. Here he met his wife, Peggy Bay, who is a University of Houston graduate from 1942 with a degree in Business Administration.
Upon retirement in 1978 after 45 years' service, he signed a multiyear consulting contract with Exxon Production Research Co. which took him through the continental US, Alaska, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Australia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Throughout his career, Battle has been involved with numerous engineering organizations and chaired the local chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers at one time. He is a member of API, AIME, and ACS.
Reflecting upon his career in the petroleum industry, Battle said, “I am so grateful to my old boss who urged me to go to the University of Houston. I did not realize it at that time but I believe I have enjoyed every day of it, and I sincerely hope all members of the profession enjoy it as much as I have.”
© University of Houston 2004