Hall of Distinction Class of 1998-1999

Patrick F. Taylor was born in Beaumont, Texas, and earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering in 1959 from LSU. He is chairman, president and CEO of Taylor Energy Company, an independent exploration and production company with offices in New Orleans and Houston.

Upon graduating from college, Taylor was employed by John Mecom, Sr., an independent Houston oilman. He worked for Mecom for seven-and-a-half years. In 1967, after a brief period with another company, Taylor formed his own consulting engineering company and began acquiring oil and gas properties. In 1974, Taylor and Mecom formed Circle Bar Drilling Company. The company adapted inshore technology in drilling offshore in relatively shallow water depths in the Gulf of Mexico.

Taylor sold Circle Bar Drilling in 1979 and founded Taylor Energy Company. The company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is wholly-owned by Taylor and is the only individually owned independent operating exclusively in the federal waters offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Today the company is ranked in the top 100 largest private employers in New Orleans.

Taylor and his wife Phyllis founded the 4,000-acre Circle Bar Ranch in Foxworth, Mississippi in 1979 where they operate a commercial venison business and conduct research into wildlife management.

In 1983, Taylor was nominated to serve on LSU’s Board of Supervisors and served in the post through 1986. From 1987 to the present, Taylor has been a member of the University of New Orleans Foundation Board of Directors. During this same period and into the early 1990’s, Taylor also served on the boards of the Louisiana Maritime Museum, the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. He was also the Finance Chairman for several events and organizations, including the New Orleans Commission on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and the 1988 Republican National Convention.

In 1985, Taylor was honored nationally with the Horatio Alger award. That year he also established The Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, a private, not-for-profit 501(c)3 education foundation. He serves as chairman and president of the foundation, which generously administers many philanthropic, community and educational endeavors.

This year, Taylor was named “one of New Orleans Top Ten Businessmen,” during the 15th anniversary broadcast of Informed Sources on WYES-TV. New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial honored him in 1998 with the “Mayor’s Medal of Honor” for his wide range of community services, from the renovation of properties in the Lee Circle neighborhood and his devotion to the New Orleans Police Department to his restoration of several of the city’s historic military statues. From the NAACP to Pope John Paul II who awarded him the Benemerente Medal, Taylor’s awards and honors are numerous.

An avid supporter and loyal fan of LSU, in 1989 Taylor endowed a Basic Sciences Chair in the field of environmental sciences. LSU awarded Taylor its Doctor of Science and Humane Letters degree in 1990. In 1993, he was awarded the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Public Service Award.

A history-changing event happened in 1988 for his adopted state when Taylor offered a college education to a group of academically underachieving students at Livingston Middle School in New Orleans. Within the next 18 months, he would convince the Louisiana legislature to pass and Governor Roemer to sign into law his now well-known “Taylor Plan,” so nicknamed by the Louisiana news media. Shortly afterward, Taylor appeared with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes in September 1989 and the national attention that resulted caused him to travel to more than half of the states in the Union, convincing more than a dozen others over the next few years to adopt Taylor Plan laws.

Today, the Louisiana Taylor Plan has evolved into the wildly popular TOPS (Tuition Assistance Program for Students) program and LSU “tops” the list of Louisiana colleges and universities with the most recipients: more than 7,000 students. When LSU’s newest admission standards go into effect for the high school graduates of 2000, the entire freshmen class will be able to attend LSU tuition free thanks to Pat Taylor and his desire to see that academically qualified students were not prevented from attending college because of their inability to pay for an education. Taylor continues to push for higher admissions standards at all public colleges and universities in Louisiana while simultaneously keeping an eagle eye on the legislature and its administration of TOPS. All the while, he continues to lead his company to greater successes in the oil patch.

Taylor recently celebrated his 35th wedding anniversary to the former Phyllis Miller.