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.

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

Seeking TBI therapies

By Delia Croessmann, Complications from TBI can be life altering. They include post-traumatic seizures and hydrocephalus, as well as serious cognitive and psychological impairments, and the search for treatments to mitigate these neurodegenerative processes is on.

[Read More...]

Understanding the invisible injury

Students advance traumatic brain injury research By Sarah Potter, “Research is creating new knowledge.”–Neil Armstrong  Research keeps professors on the vanguard of knowledge in their fields and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their area of study. For students and recent graduates researching traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Missouri S&T, the work […]

[Read More...]

Analyzing small molecules for big results

By Delia Croessmann, At only 28 years old, Casey Burton, Chem’13, PhD Chem’17, director of medical research at Phelps Health in Rolla and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, is poised to become a prodigious bioanalytical researcher.

[Read More...]

To prevent and protect

By Peter Ehrhard, Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunate but all too common occurrence during military training and deployment. Because mild TBIs often present no obvious signs of head trauma or facial lacerations, they are the most difficult to diagnose at the time of the injury, and patients often perceive the impact as […]

[Read More...]


Toughest class … ever Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked […]

[Read More...]