George Phydias Mitchell

1919 - 2013


The latest villain of the cult of catastrophe

TORONTO - At the age of 94, George P. Mitchell died last month. Who's that you say? Not to worry, I didn't know who he was either. Quoting energy guru Daniel Yergin, the Wall Street Journal's obituary describes him as the man who "more than anyone else, is responsible for the most important energy... Read More >

Stephen Hawking Eulogizes George P. Mitchell

Two weeks ago, Galveston born and raised George P. Mitchell passed away at age 94. He was well-known as a Texas oil billionaire but less well-known as a keen advocate of science. He not only funded basic research, he was a driving force in getting President Ronald Reagan to support the... Read More >

A fracking pioneer's environmental dream

MASSACHUSETTS PROGRESSIVES may dream of stopping climate change by subsidizing clean-energy companies like Evergreen Solar and promoting affordable housing by requiring developers to rent or sell some units at below-market rates. In Texas, George P. Mitchell did much to achieve both those ends in... Read More >

George Mitchell: A man who quietly helped bankroll the Superconducting Super Collider and saved the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for George Mitchell, the billionaire wildcatter who died last month. My reasons are simple: He was a thoughtful man who cared deeply about the Houston region, and who was genuinely curious about the natural world. He was different than a lot of us in that... Read More >

How a goat-farming immigrant changed everything

In the dozens of articles and obituaries written about George Mitchell, who died late last month at 94, the Texas oilman, entrepreneur and philanthropist was remembered mostly as the "father of the fracking boom," whose innovations led to the shale-gas revolution. But Mitchell was much more than... Read More >

Money made in oil, Mitchell dreamed of the stars

George Mitchell had an epiphany as he watched PBS a decade ago. There was Stephen Hawking, the world's most famous living scientist, being asked about his greatest disappointment. His answer? The U.S. government's failure to complete construction of the Superconducting Super Collider, near... Read More >

Few businesspeople have done as much to change the world as George Mitchell

THE United States has of late been in a slough of despond. The mood is reflected in a spate of books with gloomy titles such as “That Used to Be Us” (Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum) and “Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent” (Edward Luce). For the... Read More >

The energy visionary

For decades, the Barnett Shale was an enigma. Oilmen knew that the formation, which stretches for miles under north Texas, contained vast quantities of natural gas. But they wrote it off as too difficult and expensive to extract. One man thought the opposite and spent 17 years figuring how to get... Read More >

Mitchell's gamble changed an industry, his philanthropy changed the future

“Whatever you do, make sure you do it for the right reasons.” That’s the last thing the late George P. Mitchell said to me when last May he was kind enough to grant me an hour-long interview by phone from his offices in The Woodlands. Last week, at age 94, Mitchell died of... Read More >

George Mitchell: A father of sustainability

Legend has it that, when the shocking MIT study called The Limits to Growth was published in 1972, George P. Mitchell, who died last week at 94, bought hundreds of copies and sent them to every member of Congress and the President. “I read the book and it just impressed the hell out of... Read More >

George P. Mitchell and the entrepreneurial edge

You may have missed the obituary the other day of George P. Mitchell, who died at 94 and was someone of genuine consequence for the future of America and perhaps the world. He is not to be confused with George J. Mitchell, the former U.S. Senate majority leader (1989 to 1995), who is still alive... Read More >

George P. Mitchell: Houstonian of the century

In a December 2011 Chronicle editorial, we allowed that George Mitchell "long ago made our short list of candidates for Houstonian of the Century - the 21st century." He most certainly did. But those words of praise require an update. On Mitchell's death at 94 last week, we choose to elevate the... Read More >

George P. Mitchell: A Visionary Life

Every great American industry has had visionary leaders as a part of its history.  Electricity had Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.  Railroads had William Henry Vanderbilt.  The auto industry had Henry Ford.  Steel had Andrew Carnegie.  On and on it goes. The American oil... Read More >

Dot Earth: Daniel Yergin on George Mitchell's Energy Innovations and Concerns

On a hunch, George Mitchell began drilling shale rock formations in the Texas dirt fields where he had long pumped oil and gas. As news spread over the weekend of the death of George P. Mitchell, the 94-year-old Texas oil man widely credited with playing a pivotal role in unlocking the shale energy... Read More >

In Memoriam: George P. Mitchell -- 1919-2013

In Memoriam: George P. Mitchell -- 1919 to 2013 Philanthropist George P. Mitchell, a major benefactor to the Academies and an ardent supporter of sustainable, environmentally responsible economic growth, died July 26. He was 94. A petroleum engineer and geologist, Mitchell was a prominent U.S.... Read More >

Remembering George Mitchell and his paradox

I was traveling last week when I received the news that oil pioneer George Mitchell had died. On the long drive through New Mexico to the Albuquerque airport, I found myself thinking about the last time I visited Mitchell at his office in downtown Houston. He gave me a book that most of you have... Read More >

George P. Mitchell, philanthropist and oil and gas pioneer dies

HOUSTON (AP) — George P. Mitchell leveraged a penchant for hard work, an appetite for risk and dogged persistence in the face of futility into a technological breakthrough that reshaped the global energy industry and made the wildcat oilman a billionaire. Mitchell, the developer and... Read More >

Mitchell's tenacity led to U.S. energy boom

NEW YORK (AP) — The technological breakthrough pioneered by George P. Mitchell, the billionaire Texas oilman and philanthropist who died Friday at age 94, reversed the fortunes of the U.S. energy industry and reshaped the global energy landscape. As Mitchell was doggedly pursuing the natural... Read More >

George P. Mitchell, a champion of energy industry, dies at 94

George P. Mitchell, the son of a Greek goatherd who capped a career as one of the most prominent independent oilmen in the United States by unlocking immense natural gas and petroleum resources trapped in shale rock formations, died on Friday in Galveston, Tex. He was 94. His family confirmed the... Read More >

George P. Mitchell, 'responsible for most important energy innovation of the 21st century,' dead at 94

George P. Mitchell turned hydraulic fracturing from an experimental technique into an energy-industry mainstay, making it possible to pump oil and gas from once untappable rocks and unleashing an energy boom across the U.S. Known as the father of fracking, Mr. Mitchell died Friday at age 94 at his... Read More >

Oil giant, philanthropist George P. Mitchell dead at 94

George Mitchell, Texas oil man, real estate developer, and one of Houston's wealthiest businessmen, died Friday at his home in Galveston, according to a family statement released by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. He was 94. The son of a poor Greek immigrant, Mitchell had an uncanny... Read More >

Quintessential American George P. Mitchell dead at 94

George P. Mitchell leveraged a penchant for hard work, an appetite for risk and dogged persistence in the face of futility into a technological breakthrough that reshaped the global energy industry and made the wildcat oilman a billionaire. Mitchell, the developer and philanthropist who also is... Read More >

George P. Mitchell, pioneered energy revolution, dead at 94

George Phydias Mitchell, a petroleum engineer who transformed the natural gas industry by using hydraulic fracturing to pull the fuel out of shale formations, died of natural causes at the age of 94 on Friday. A native of Galveston, Texas, who rose from modest means to become a billionaire... Read More >

George P. Mitchell, tenacious visionary, revolutionized energy industry, dead at 94

Billionaire Texas oilman, developer and philanthropist George P. Mitchell, considered the father of fracking, died Friday at his home in Galveston, his family said. He was 94. Mitchell, the son of a Greek immigrant who ran a dry cleaning business in Galveston, became one of the wealthiest men in... Read More >

The final interview with George Mitchell

The United States is producing more of its own energy producing more of its own energy these days than ever. That's due in no small part to what's come to be called "fracking." It's not without controversy, but today we pause to remember the father of that technology, George Mitchell, who died... Read More >

Daniel Yergin Statement on the Passing of George P. Mitchell

George P. Mitchell’s life is a great American story. The son of a Greek goat herder, he worked his way through university and, starting out with nothing, built a major company. He is also a great American innovator. For he is responsible for what is the most important innovation in world... Read More >

Texas A&M mourns legendary Houston philanthropist and distinguished former student George P. Mitchell

Houston businessman George P. Mitchell, a 1940 distinguished petroleum engineering graduate of Texas A&M University, legendary oil and gas pioneer and real estate developer, and all-time most generous donor in Texas A&M history, has passed away at the age of 94. Memorial service... Read More >

The Big Story: George P. Mitchell, billionaire Texas oilman, developer, and philanthropist, dead at 94

Billionaire Texas oilman, developer and philanthropist George P. Mitchell, considered the father of fracking, died Friday at his home in Galveston, his family said. He was 94. Mitchell, the son of a Greek immigrant who ran a dry cleaning business in Galveston, became one of the wealthiest men in... Read More >

PASSINGS: George P. Mitchell, billionaire oilman, developer and philanthropist

George P. Mitchell, 94, a billionaire Texas oilman, developer and philanthropist who is considered the father of fracking, died of natural causes Friday at his home in Galveston, his family said. Mitchell, the son of a Greek immigrant who ran a dry cleaning business in Galveston, became one of the... Read More >

Visionary oilman and philanthropist George P. Mitchell dead at 94

George P. Mitchell leveraged a penchant for hard work, an appetite for risk and dogged persistence in the face of futility into a technological breakthrough that reshaped the global energy industry and made the wildcat oilman a billionaire. Mitchell, the developer and philanthropist who also is... Read More >

Philanthropist and Edwards Aquifer Steward George Mitchell Dies at 94

George P. Mitchell, a friend of the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs, died this morning at the age of 94. Mr. Mitchell was a geologist, an independent oil and gas and real estate developer, and a major Texas philanthropist. Mr. Mitchell understood the vulnerability and importance of the Edwards... Read More >

Report: Renewable energy, natural gas should work together on the grid

Renewable energy and natural gas should work together as sources of electricity generation, rather than as competitors on the Texas grid, according to a new report produced for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition. “The bottom line is that Texas is going to require a significant source of... Read More >

George Mitchell's 17-year mission to crack the Barnett Shale

Everything George P. Mitchell did flew in the face of convention. It’s no wonder that the process he pioneered is commonly called “unconventional” drilling. The wildcatter tried for 17 years to find the right cocktail of chemicals that would crack the Barnett Shale. He did it in... Read More >

Governor, lawmakers honor oil field pioneer George Mitchell

The Texas House of Representatives honored a shale drilling pioneer Monday, calling George Mitchell a man who has changed the world. Mitchell, who will turn 94 later this month, wasn't at the ceremony, although his daughter Sheridan Lorenz and representatives of Mitchell Energy and the Cynthia and... Read More >

George P. Mitchell: Planting seeds of his legacy in Texas

The revitalization of oil and natural gas production in the United States can largely be traced back to one man, George Mitchell, who spent a decade trying to figure out how to employ refined hydraulic fracturing techniques to coax more gas out of the tight Barnett Shale formation. But Mitchell's... Read More >

Scientists see promising blips in underground dark matter search

Three potential signatures of exotic dark matter particles have been found hidden in the readings from an underground lab in Minnesota  — and although the results are too tentative to be classified as a discovery, scientists say they provide promising new clues to the solution of a... Read More >

Scientists may finally shine a light on dark matter

Physicists have puzzled for decades about a form of matter that makes up 90 percent of galaxies, including our own Milky Way, but which they've never seen.Now they may finally have solved the mystery of this "dark matter."  The answer may come from Sam Ting, a Nobel laureate in physics who... Read More >

OP-ED Texas Should Lead On Gas Drilling Oversight

Rarely do national environmental protests occur in Texas. Our state is a challenging venue in which to highlight environmental issues, especially those related to impacts of popular oil and gas practices. Yet, an anti-oil and gas coalition convened its first national summit deep... Read More >

Controversial 'Fracking' Drills Downs on Energy Question

George P. Mitchell, chairman of The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, addressed the issue of natural gas sustainability in the story, “Controversial ‘Fracking’ Drills Down on Energy Question,” by Tedd Cohen, published in the February 2013 edition... Read More >

Wealth Matters: Family Foundations Prepare for the Next Generation

As parents, we worry about our children. And if we have more than one, we worry about how they will interact with each other, not just when they’re young but when they’ve grown up. Independence is great; interdependence is what keeps them together when we’re gone. Families of... Read More >

In study of next generation donors, good news for start-ups, social entrepreneurs and innovators

Even as there are reports outlining how young Americans could live their entire lives strapped with debt, there is a cohort of the younger generations, particularly Generations Y and X, who stand to inherit an unprecedented amount of wealth — somewhere in the neighborhood... Read More >

The oil man who figured out fracking

He cracked the code. That's what folks in the oilpatch say about George Mitchell. In the 1970s and '80s, the country's conventional, big pools of natural gas were tapped out. Drillers looked in new geologic formations, but found themselves stumped."We knew the gas was there," Mitchell tells... Read More >

A valuable lesson on the birds and trees

This is a story about a family and its love for a plot of land. The fact that the 5,650 acre plot of land is owned by the family of oil-and-gas man, developer and dedicated philanthropist George P. Mitchell is just a matter of scale. There are lessons in this story for everyone. Sarah Mitchell,... Read More >

Q&A with Katherine Lorenz, president of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation

Almost two years ago, Katherine Lorenz took the reins of The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, becoming the third generation of family members to lead and carry on the passion of its founders — her grandparents.The foundation, which focuses on sustainability, funds high-impact projects... Read More >

Mitchell Foundation Makes Additional $20 Million Gift to Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M University

A new $20 million gift makes Houston billionaire George P. Mitchell the most generous donor in Texas A&M University's history. The contribution, established through the Texas A&M Foundation and payable over five years, will significantly boost the endowment for the George P. and Cynthia... Read More >

OP-ED Hastings: Ask the right questions about Texas' water future

Inadequate water supplies existed long before last year’s drought and will linger long after the Legislature concludes in 2013. With growing demand for Texas water from increasing population and economic activities, and strained water supplies in times of drought, prominent experts and elected... Read More >

Romney's Empathy Bypass -- and What It Means for Election Day

When Presidential candidate Mitt Romney argued that defunding the Federal Emergency Relief program FEMA was necessary he set in motion his likely defeat on November 6th, 2012. He built upon this narrative with his characterization of 47% of Americans as leeches and self-dealing... Read More >

Will Texas Lawmakers Fund the State Water Plan?

When it comes to the cost of the looming water crisis in Texas, the State Water Development Board is ready with some helpful numbers.They are generally big ones. If the state does nothing to cope with its booming population and dwindling water supply, Texas businesses will lose $116... Read More >

13% of U.S.'s Energy Goes to Collect, Prepare Water: Study

Energy used for treating, heating, pumping and cooling water in the U.S. accounted for almost 13 percent of the nation’s total annual consumption, according to a University of Texas at Austin study. The amount, about 12.3 quadrillion BTUs, is equivalent to the annual energy usage of about 40... Read More >

To Conserve Energy, Conserve Water

So you got your new compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Now you’re wringing your hands over how to dispose of them so that you don’t unleash toxic mercury into the environment. An improvement? Or just another example of politicians and environmentalists trying to push us around? Sure CFLs... Read More >

Meet Philanthropy's Next Generation

Every year a select group of entrepreneurs and business people upset the status quo. Whether their source of wealth is a hot startup like Nasty Gal or Instagram, or savvy leadership at a hedge fund, we deem them each likely to join the future ranks of The Forbes 400. And in a special twist this... Read More >

How The Next Generation of Wealth Is Revolutionizing Philanthropy As We Know It

The next generation of inherited or self-made wealth is being scrutinized and pressured to give bigger, earlier and more efficiently than ever before. And rather than measuring success based on the number of digits connected to a bank account, many of today’s next gen philanthropists also... Read More >

OP-ED Seeking the sensible center

In Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and even Texas, there is a fundamental debate over “fracking” — the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock that, together with horizontal drilling, unleashes abundant natural gas. Mostly, it’s the loud voices at the extremes who are dominating the... Read More >

Gas Works: Shale gas is giving a big boost to America's Economy

PENNSYLVANIA, THE SITE of America’s first oil wells back in the 1850s, is now home to the world’s second-largest gas field after South Pars, on the border between Qatar and Iran. At the turn of the millennium America’s conventional gasfields were in decline. The country was... Read More >

Saving the Woodpecker: How a Texas Oil Billionaire Rebuilt a Forest

One Texas oil and gas billionaire is getting special recognition for what he has done to help a little bird. The Sand County Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department picked the Cook’s Branch Conservancy for the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award, the... Read More >

George P. Mitchell is one of Foreign Policy's 100 Top Global Thinkers

George Mitchell long ago made our short list of candidates for Houstonian of the century - the 21st century. Mitchell's futuristic achievements in developing The Woodlands alone would have qualified the nonagenarian oilman for serious consideration for the title. His vision of a planned... Read More >

The Shale Gas Revolution

The United States is a country that has received many blessings, and once upon a time you could assume that Americans would come together to take advantage of them. But you can no longer make that assumption. The country is more divided and more clogged by special interests. Now we groan to absorb... Read More >



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