George P. Mitchell

George Phydias Mitchell (May 21, 1919 – July 26, 2013) was an American businessman, real estate developer and philanthropist from Texas credited with pioneering the economic extraction of shale gas.[2]

According to The Economist, "few businesspeople have done as much to change the world as George Mitchell."[3]

The rise [in shale gas] has been helped along by a variety of factors ... But the biggest difference was down to the efforts of one man: George Mitchell, ... who saw the potential for improving a known technology, fracking, to get at the gas. Big oil and gas companies were interested in shale gas but could not make the breakthrough in fracking to get the gas to flow. Mr Mitchell spent ten years and $6m to crack the problem (surely the best-spent development money in the history of gas). Everyone, he said, told him he was just wasting his time and money.

— The Economist, July 2012[4]
George P. Mitchell
Portrait of George P. Mitchell in 2011
George P. Mitchell in 2011
George Phydias Mitchell

May 21, 1919
DiedJuly 26, 2013 (aged 94)
Tremont House, Galveston, Texas, U.S.
ResidenceGalveston, Texas, U.S.
Alma materTexas A&M University
OccupationFounder of Mitchell Energy & Development Corp.; philanthropist
Years active1950s–1990s
Known forHydraulic fracturing pioneer, developer of The Woodlands, Galveston restoration, philanthropic support of sustainability
Net worth$2 billion (2013)[1]
Spouse(s)Cynthia Woods Mitchell
WebsiteCynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Early life

Mitchell was born to Greek immigrant parents in the port city of Galveston, Texas in 1919.[5] His father, Savvas Paraskevopoulos, was from the village of Nestani in Arcadia, tended goats before immigrating to the United States in 1901, arriving at Ellis Island at the age of 20. He worked for railroads, and gradually moved west. When a paymaster got tired of writing his long name and threatened to fire him, Mr. Paraskevopoulos took the paymaster's name, Mike Mitchell. Mike Mitchell settled in Galveston, where he ran a succession of shoe-shining and pressing shops. When he saw the picture of a beautiful woman in a local Greek newspaper, he headed for Florida, where she had settled, according to family lore. He persuaded her to abandon her fiancé and marry him. They lived above the shoeshine shop.[6]

Oil and gas business

In 1940, George Mitchell earned a degree in petroleum engineering with an emphasis in geology from Texas A&M University. He graduated as the valedictorian in his class and was also the captain of the men's tennis team.[7]

He started an independent oil and gas company, Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. and built it into a Fortune 500 company. He participated in the development of about 10,000 wells, including more than 1000 wildcat wells.[8][9]

In the 1980s and 1990s, the company experimented with application of different techniques of hydraulic fracturing of the Barnett Shale of Texas, eventually finding the right technique to economically extract the natural gas in the formation. The new approach has been widely adopted by the gas industry and spawned a new gas boom in North America. The Potential Gas Committee estimates that U.S. recoverable reserves will last 118 years at current production levels.[10] but production is expected to more than triple by 2020.[11] Extracting natural gas from shale rock is rapidly spreading to countries outside the United States. Some consider his innovation important in the context of energy security, making the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy. Because of the technological progress in industry fracking, George Mitchell is now known as the "pioneer of shale." For this reason, it is proposed that the date of his birth -21 May 1919 – will be considered as the "Shale Day".[12] Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. was later acquired by Devon Energy.[13]

Real estate development

Mitchell was the developer of The Woodlands, an unincorporated yet governmentally structured township in Montgomery County, Texas, which he developed from timberland located 32 miles north of downtown Houston. He brought on landscape architect Ian McHarg to consult on the project. The master plan for the community called for preserving trees, protecting the environment, minimizing flooding and creating a "pleasant" urban environment. In 2010, The Woodlands was home to 97,000 people. When fully developed the population will have reached 130,000.[14][15] He and his wife Cynthia have played a major role in the revitalization of his hometown of Galveston. Mitchell had a lifelong passion for tennis, and the tennis center at Texas A&M University, where he was captain of the tennis team, was named in his honor. Built for an estimated $4.2 million, the official ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 23, 1998. In 1984, he was the recipient of an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Houston.[16]


Mitchell Physics Building
The Mitchell Physics Building on Texas A&M University's campus.

Mitchell and his wife Cynthia, along with the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, have distributed or pledged more than $400 million in grants to causes, programs, and institutions.[17][18]

The vast majority of this amount is related to science, environmental sustainability, and sustainability science-related fields, including the foundation's current grant-making programs which focus on sustainability science, clean energy, water, and natural gas sustainability.

On December 7, 2010, he joined the Giving Pledge sponsored by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, making public his and Cynthia's long-held private intent that the majority of their wealth would be donated to charitable causes.[19]

According to the National Academies of Science, "In the 1970s [Mitchell] helped sponsor the work of Dennis Meadows, whose Club of Rome study The Limits to Growth was a global wake-up call on the pressing need for sustainable energy technologies and food sources worldwide."[20]

Working with Meadows and other national leaders Mitchell created The Woodlands Conference series and the International George and Cynthia Mitchell Prize, both dedicated to sustainable development. He was particularly interested in the role of the business community in creating sustainable societies and he himself is "a model of linking entrepreneurial success to the sustainability movement".[21] The Mitchells also underwrote the National Academies' Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability,[22] the 1999 report that defined the role of science and technology in moving toward sustainability. As a follow-up to Our Common Journey, Mitchell donated $20 million to create the George and Cynthia Mitchell Endowment for Sustainability Science at the National Academy of Sciences committed to advancing science and technology in support of sustainable development.[23][20] Mitchell also founded the Houston Advanced Research Center that explores strategies for sustainable development at the regional level. He donated $25 million to the Endowment for Regional Sustainability Science to support HARC's work in sustainability science. Mitchell donated part of his wealth to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, which supports programs for the efficient and wise use of Earth's resources.[24]

Enabled by Mitchell's donation of $35 million, the Texas A&M University Physics department relocated to two new buildings in late 2009: The George P. and Cynthia W. Mitchell Fundamental Physics and Astronomy Building and the George P. Mitchell Physics Building. In 2012, he committed an additional $20 million to the Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. This donation is the latest in a series supporting science and the physics department in particular. With previous gifts supporting academic chairs, professorships and the Giant Magellan Telescope project, the Mitchells are Texas A&M's most generous modern benefactors, with donations totaling nearly $100 million; by 2011, his total contributions to universities and research organizations had reached $159 million.[9]

Mitchell and his wife were also major supporters of Texas A&M's marine studies orientated branch campus Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG), donating the land for the main campus and the main campus is named in honor of Mitchell's father.[7] Mitchell made numerous other gifts to the university over the years, including the donation of a yacht named S.V. Cynthia Woods named after his wife Cynthia.[25]

Personal life

In 2004, Forbes magazine estimated his net worth as $1.6 billion, placing him among the 500 richest people worldwide.[26][27] Mitchell died at the age of 94 on July 26, 2013, at his home in Galveston of natural causes, while surrounded by relatives.[28][29] He was predeceased by his wife, Cynthia, who died on December 27, 2009,[30] and his two brothers, Christie and Johnny. He was survived by his sister, Maria Mitchell Ballantyne; his ten children, daughters Pamela Maguire, Meredith Dreiss and Sheridan Lorenz, and sons Scott, Mark, Kent, Greg, Kirk, Todd and Grant; 23 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren and 19 nieces and nephews.[31][3]


  1. ^ "The World's Billionaires: George Mitchell". Forbes. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Airhart, Marc (January 26, 2007). "The Father of the Barnett Natural Gas Field: George Mitchell". Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The father of fracking: Few businesspeople have done as much to change the world as George Mitchell". The Economist. August 3, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  4. ^ "America's bounty: Gas works". The Economist. July 12, 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2015. (Registration required (help)).
  5. ^ Hays, Kristen (August 2, 2008). "George Mitchell still pushes energy conservation: Oilman has worked for conservation since the Arab embargo more than 30 years ago". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  6. ^ Martin, Douglas (July 27, 2013). "George Mitchell, a Pioneer in Hydraulic Fracturing, Dies at 94". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Texas A&M Mourns Legendary Houston Philanthropist And Distinguished Former Student George P. Mitchell". Texas A&M Today. July 26, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Kutchin, Joseph W. (2001). How Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. Got Its Start and How It Grew: An Oral History and Narrative Overview. Universal Publishers. ISBN 978-1581126631.
  9. ^ a b Steward, Dan B. (August 2, 2012). The Shale Oil Miracle: A Tribute to George P. Mitchell (video). The Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science. Retrieved April 30, 2015 – via Youtube.
  10. ^ Potential Gas Committee (December 31, 2008). Potential Supply of Natural Gas in the United States (Report). Colorado School of Mines. Archived from the original on March 26, 2015.
  11. ^ "Facts About Shale Gas". American Petroleum Institute. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  12. ^ Perez, Andrea V. (May 21, 2014). "A "Shale Day" in honor of the sustainable research". Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Devon Energy Hits 1 Tcf Milestone in Barnett Shale". Devon Energy. July 26, 2005. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  14. ^ Morgan, Jr., George T.; King, John O. (1987). The Woodlands: New Community Development, 1964-1983. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-0-89096-306-7.
  15. ^ Galatas, Roger; Barlow, Jim (2004). The Woodlands: The Inside Story of Creating a Better Hometown. The Urban Land Institute. ISBN 978-0874209310.
  16. ^ "Biography: George P. Mitchell". University of Houston. July 7, 2003. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  17. ^ "About the Foundation". Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  18. ^ Graczyk, Michael; Fahey, Jonathan (July 26, 2013). "George P. Mitchell, billionaire philanthropist, dies at 94". The Huffington Post. The Associated Press. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  19. ^ Mitchell, George P. (December 7, 2010). "Letter stating Mitchell took the 'Giving Pledge'" (PDF). Archived from the original (pdf) on February 26, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  20. ^ a b "Mitchell Gift to Endow Academies' Efforts in Sustainability Science". InFocus Magazine. The National Academy of Science. Summer–Fall 2002. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  21. ^ Schmandt, Jurgen (2010). George P. Mitchell and the Idea of Sustainability. p. ix. ISBN 978-1-60344-217-6. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  22. ^ Board on Sustainable Development; National Research Council (1999). Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability. National Academies Press. ISBN 978-0-309-08638-7. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  23. ^ "Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS)". The National Academy of Science. September 15, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  24. ^ Schmandt, p. 111
  25. ^ Suayan, John (March 2, 2010). "Mitchell company settles wrongful death suit from capsizal of 'Cynthia Woods'". The Southeast Texas Record. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  26. ^ "Forbes 500 in 2004". Forbes. February 6, 2004. Archived from the original on May 27, 2005. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  27. ^ Miskedaki, Anastasia (March 14, 2011). "2011 Forbes Rich List Includes 8 Greeks". Greek Reporter. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  28. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy (July 26, 2013). "Oil giant, developer George Mitchell dies at 94". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  29. ^ Американский миллиардер Джордж Митчелл скончался в возрасте 94 лет [The American billionaire George Mitchell had died at the age 94 years] (in Russian). Voice of Russia. July 27, 2013. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  30. ^
  31. ^

External links

2002 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships

The 2002 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships were the 56th annual championships to determine the national champions of NCAA Division I men's singles, doubles, and team collegiate tennis in the United States.

USC defeated defending champions Georgia in the championship final, 4–1, to claim the Trojans' sixteenth team national title.

2005 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships

The 2005 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships were the 59th annual championships to determine the national champions of NCAA Division I men's singles, doubles, and team collegiate tennis in the United States.

UCLA defeated defending champions Baylor in the championship match, 4–3, to claim the Bruins' sixteenth team national title (and first since 1984).

Bryan, Texas

Bryan is a city in Brazos County, Texas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 76,201. As of May 2017, the estimated population was 84,637. It is the county seat of Brazos County and is located in the heart of the Brazos Valley (southeast Central Texas). It borders the city of College Station, which lies to its south. Together they are referred to as the Bryan–College Station metropolitan area, which has a population of more than 250,000.

Club of Rome

Founded in 1968 at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, Italy, the Club of Rome consists of current and former heads of state, UN bureaucrats, high-level politicians and government officials, diplomats, scientists, economists, and business leaders from around the globe. It stimulated considerable public attention in 1972 with the first report to the Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth. Since 1 July 2008 the organization has been based in Winterthur, Switzerland.

College Station, Texas

College Station is a city in Brazos County, Texas, situated in East-Central Texas in the heart of the Brazos Valley, in the center of the region known as Texas Triangle. It is 90 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of Houston and 87 miles (140 km) northeast of Austin. As of the 2010 census, College Station had a population of 93,857, which had increased to an estimated population of 119,304 as of August 2018. College Station and Bryan together make up the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area, the 14th-largest metropolitan area in Texas with 255,589 people as of 2015.

College Station is home to the main campus of Texas A&M University, the flagship institution of the Texas A&M University System. The city owes both its name and existence to the university's location along a railroad. Texas A&M's triple designation as a Land-, Sea-, and Space-Grant institution reflects the broad scope of the research endeavors it brings to the city, with ongoing projects funded by agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.

Due largely to the presence of Texas A&M University, College Station was named by Money magazine in 2006 as the most educated city in Texas, and the 11th-most educated city in the United States.

Conroe Independent School District

Conroe Independent School District (CISD) is a school district based in the Deane L. Sadler Administration/Technology Center in Conroe, Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area.CISD serves the cities of Conroe, Oak Ridge North, and Shenandoah, and the towns of Cut and Shoot and Woodloch. It also serves unincorporated communities in Montgomery County, including almost all of The Woodlands, the Montgomery County portion of Spring, Texas (extreme south and west parts of The Woodlands are located in Tomball ISD and Magnolia ISD, respectively), the settlement of Tamina, the community of River Plantation, and a portion of the Porter Heights CDP.

As of August 2009, the district has 48,700 students in 60 campuses (29 elementary schools, 9 intermediate schools, 7 junior high schools, 6 high schools, and two academies). The CISD area, which covers 348 square miles (900 km2), is part of the Lone Star College System (formerly the North Harris Montgomery Community College District). The ethnic breakdown of the school district is 63% White, 26.1% Hispanic, 6.7% African American, 3.8% Other. The completion rate is 98.2%. In total, the school district employs over 5,900 employees. (3,320 professional teaching staff, 2,080 paraprofessional and auxiliary staff, 579 administrators). The average enrollment growth is 1,570 per year.

In 2005, CISD enrolled displaced Louisianans from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina who were residing in the Conroe ISD boundaries.

CISD has its own police department of over 40 officers. As of 2007, CISD PD is run by Chief William Harness.

In 2011, the school district was rated "recognized" by the Texas Education Agency.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, sometimes called The Woodlands Pavilion or simply The Pavilion, is a concert amphitheatre located in The Woodlands, Texas, an outer suburb of Houston, Texas. It caters to both the performing arts and contemporary artists and is also available for rental. It is owned and operated by The Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands and is a non-profit organization. The amphitheatre seats 16,500 people and has been the second-most heavily used amphitheater in the world.

Houston Advanced Research Center

The Houston Advanced Research Center, commonly referred to as HARC, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in The Woodlands, Texas dedicated to improving human and ecosystem well-being through the application of sustainability science and principles of sustainable development. HARC employs a staff of about 45 researchers and administrators. Revenues are projected to reach $20 million by 2008, primarily derived from projects supported by government agencies, foundations and corporations.

Ian McHarg

Ian L. McHarg (20 November 1920 – 5 March 2001) was a Scottish landscape architect and writer on regional planning using natural systems. He was the founder of the department of landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States. His 1969 book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning. It continues to be one of the most widely celebrated books on landscape architecture and land-use planning. In this book, he set forth the basic concepts that were to develop later in geographic information systems.

July 26

July 26 is the 207th day of the year (208th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 158 days remaining until the end of the year.

May 21

May 21 is the 141st day of the year (142nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 224 days remaining until the end of the year.

Michael Longnecker

Michael P. Longnecker is an American scientist and the George P. Mitchell '44 Endowed Chair in Statistics Science at Texas A&M University, and also a published author of 8 books which are held in 566 libraries, the highest held book being in 449 libraries worldwide.

New York City Police Department Detective Bureau

The Detective Bureau is one of 20 bureaus that constitute the New York City Police Department and is headed by the three star Chief of Detectives.

The Detective Bureau's responsibilities include the prevention, detection and investigation of crime.

S.V. Cynthia Woods

The S.V. Cynthia Woods was a sailing vessel owned by Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) and used by The TAMUG Sailing Team. It was manufactured in 2005 and donated to TAMUG by billionaire philanthropist and Texas A&M University graduate George P. Mitchell. The Cynthia Woods was named for his wife Cynthia Woods Mitchell.

The Giving Pledge

The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. As of 2019, the pledge has 187 signatories, either individuals or couples, from 22 different countries. Most of the signatories of the pledge are billionaires, and their pledges total over $365 billion. It does not actually dictate that the money will be spent in any certain way or towards any particular charity or cause, and there is no obligation to actually donate any money.

The John Cooper School

The John Cooper School is an independent, college-preparatory, nonsectarian, co-educational day school located in The Woodlands, an unincorporated planned community in Montgomery County, Texas, United States.

The Woodlands, Texas

The Woodlands is a master planned community and census-designated place (CDP) in the U.S. state of Texas in the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area. It is primarily located in Montgomery County, with portions extending into Harris County. As of the 2010 census, the CDP population was 93,847, up from 55,649 at the 2000 census. In 2018 The Howard Hughes Corporation estimated the population to be 116,278.The Woodlands is 28 miles (45 km) north of Houston along Interstate 45. Though it began as an exurban development and a bedroom community, it has also attracted corporations and has several corporate campuses, most notably Chevron Phillips Chemical, Anadarko Petroleum, Huntsman Corporation, Woodforest National Bank, Baker Hughes, Chicago Bridge & Iron Company, McKesson Corporation, Aon plc, Maersk Line, Safmarine, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and Southwestern Energy. It won a Special Award for Excellence in 1994 from the Urban Land Institute.

The Woodlands Resort

The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center is a resort in The Woodlands, Texas. The resort is operated by the Woodlands Development Company and was founded in 1974 by George P. Mitchell, an American businessman and real estate developer.

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