March 8, 2012

In Louisiana, engineering is critical to the economy and environment. In North America, LSU is the only university where future petroleum engineers can get hands-on training in well control by working at a full-scale research and training facility. On Monday, March 5, the LSU College of Engineering held a groundbreaking ceremony to add a new classroom at the LSU Petroleum Engineering Research & Technology Transfer Laboratory (PERTT).

Donald W. and Gayle A. Keller established the Petroleum Engineering Building Fund to fund the construction of a new classroom at the PERTT Lab and support ongoing facility needs following its construction. The combination of increased consumption of energy, accompanied by an increasing emphasis on frontier areas and new technology, will result in exciting opportunities for petroleum engineers in the future. The new Donald W. and Gayle A. Keller Well Facility Classroom, being supported by private donations made through the LSU Foundation, will have a significant and positive impact on those who use the facility, especially LSU’s petroleum engineering (PETE) students, in addition to research and industry as LSU addresses relevant challenges in the petroleum engineering field.

“Giving back to our alma mater has always been an important consideration to me and my wife, Gayle,” Keller said. “I feel that it is my responsibility to do what I can to provide educational opportunities to new engineering students at LSU and to assist the Petroleum Engineering Department to recruit the very best students and faculty. I urge all alums to become more involved in the continuing efforts of LSU to excel in the quality of education and life for future generations.”

Mr. Keller is a 1957 PETE graduate and former President and CEO of Enerfin Resources Company. The Keller’s cumulative generous support has made possible many educational enhancements in PETE, including the Donald W. and Gayle A. Keller Distinguished Professorship. The naming of the Donald W. and Gayle A. Keller Well Facility Classroom honors their dedication and philanthropic legacy.

”The Kellers' investment strengthens the future of our flagship university,” said Rick Koubek, dean, College of Engineering. “This groundbreaking marks an important commitment to helping LSU maintain its status of a highly competitive institution. This project is truly a partnership between the private sector and the public sector, and it demonstrates our shared vision of producing first-class engineers of the next generation right here in Louisiana.”

“We are proud to have the premier laboratory for well-control testing and education,” said Karsten Thompson, chair, Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering. “The new Keller Classroom Building is an on-site facility that will enable us to train both current and future engineers in a modern and comfortable environment.”

The PERTT Laboratory - also commonly referred to as the Well Facility - is an industrial-scale facility with full-scale equipment and instrumentation related to borehole technology. All LSU petroleum engineering students are exposed to well control with real equipment and realistic situations instead of just using simulators, through two laboratory courses taught at PERTT. Faculty also benefit from the ability to conduct and learn from research done using the full-scale systems at the lab, while industry representatives conduct training at the lab.

"We believe it's a really important and unique resource that we have here at LSU," said John Rogers Smith, associate professor, LSU Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering. "We're the only school in the United States that offers and requires hands-on training in well control and understanding hydrostatics and pressure control in wells using actual wells. Industry recognizes LSU as one of the best petroleum engineering schools in the country and that makes its graduates more desirable to companies."

Since its inception in 1929, the Craft & Hawkins Department of Petroleum Engineering has set the standard by which petroleum engineers are judged. LSU has a reputation for turning out engineers who are innovative yet practical.

For more information about the LSU College of Engineering, please visit


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • Reddit