Stephen and Susan Rector: Enjoy the journey

From an early age, Stephen W. Rector, PetE’72, MS PetE’73, knew the value of education, though he was uncertain what path he would take.

Rectors.jpg
Stephen and Susan Rector | photo by Susan English

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be, but I knew what I didn’t want to be,” Rector says. “I grew up on the working end of a shovel. My mother and father owned a greenhouse and nursery in Lebanon, Mo. From an early age I worked in the nursery, before and after school, weekends and summers. It was back-breaking work that never seemed to end, and a powerful motivator for me to get a good education.”
Being an engineer is what Rector does best and he enjoys doing it, but he didn’t set out to become a petroleum engineer. At first, it was all about finding a means of financial support. Interested in UMR’s programs, Rector called on his brother who was a UMR civil engineering student at the time. “I asked him what department had the most money for scholarships,” Rector remembers. “He said ‘that’s easy, petroleum engineering.’ I didn’t know a thing about petroleum engineering but it sounded interesting.” It happened, he says, “almost by accident.”
That accident turned into a lucrative lifelong career that would take him far from the small-town comforts of southern Missouri. Semi-retired, Rector is currently president and co-founder of RIM Operating Inc. in Englewood, Colo., producing oil and gas properties in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Texas.
From his early beginning at Shell Oil, Rector has been a co-founder, president, and chairman of nine separate companies in the oil and gas business, traveling all across the western United States.
With a $1 million gift, Rector and his wife, Susan, are providing scholarships to petroleum engineering and geological engineering students. The decision to endow a scholarship is a testament to the life and career Rector has enjoyed, in large part, because he was also a UMR scholarship recipient. “That scholarship sent me down a path that I have enjoyed for more than 30 years, one that I have never regretted.”
Rector’s wife agreed with the decision.
“Susie has always had a passion for learning and has been a proponent of education at every level,” Rector says. “She also preferred to fund scholarships because of the opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life, and perhaps a difference in the world, with education.”
According to Rector, enjoying what you do is the most important thing in life, and that is the advice he would give to future engineers. “Enjoy the journey. A career is a big part of life’s journey and if you don’t enjoy what you are doing you will be disappointed with the outcome.”

Around the Puck

Generous partners complete ACML fundraising

Thanks to an investment from the University of Missouri System, major gifts from industry partners and alumni support, S&T will break ground on the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) on Oct. 12, during Homecoming weekend.

[Read More...]

Alumni help with sesquicentennial planning

Seven alumni, including three Miner Alumni Association board members, have been named to Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial advisory committee. The group is made up of graduates, students, faculty, staff and community members who are involved in planning the university’s upcoming 150th anniversary celebration.

[Read More...]

Using big data to reduce childbirth risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications during pregnancy or childbirth affect more than 50,000 women annually, and about 700 of them die every year. Steve Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is working with researchers from Phelps County Regional Medical Center through the Ozarks Biomedical Initiative to reduce […]

[Read More...]

Bogan solves Benton mural mystery

Missouri State Capitol muralist Thomas Hart Benton wrote in his memoir about being called into then-Gov. Guy Park’s office and told that a prominent St. Louis politician objected to Benton’s portrayal of black people, especially depictions of slavery.

[Read More...]

Breaking bias

According to Jessica Cundiff, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T, women who consider careers in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are deterred by stereotypes that impose barriers on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in STEM.

[Read More...]