Colo. School of Mines School of Petroleum Newsletter 2014, Page 16

Colo. School of Mines School of Petroleum Newsletter 2014, Page 16



Some of us on mountain top June 28 this summer, and my son Sam and I at the

same place in 1978 when he was 9 years old

It is my pleasure to contribute my part to the annual PE Department Newsletter with updates over the past 12 months, along with look-backs from the past. My wife Denice and I continue to enjoy good health and good fortune with our kids and their spouses and our 7 grandkids. I hope you and yours are healthy and happy too.

This past school year I “substituted” for several classes and taught several sections, providing me with the normal high levels of satisfaction. Teaching was the main reason I wanted to be a professor, and I have not been disappointed at all since I started teaching at CSM in 1978. This coming school year I expect to accept some invitations to teach some sections of some classes.

This year 2014 marks 40 years since I started traveling internationally in 1974 working with global partners on integrated teams. These days I continue to be very much engaged with long-standing partners globally, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. My first time in Iraq was 1975, and during the subsequent years many times in Libya, Egypt, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. I continue to be engaged with all of these countries, as well as China and Russia, and others.

1. Multiple perspectives. If your only perspective in life is

the rear end of the lemming in front of you, then you

have no chance; but, not all lemmings participate in this

annual stupid behavior. 2. Growing up with the Morongo Cahuilla Indians in southern

California taught me many good lessons about life. The

one that comes to mind right now is “self-determination

and control one’s own destiny”. 3. Bullies. At age five I learned how to deal with an 8-year

old bully, and that lesson, along with others that soon

followed taught me 3 important and useful ways to do

this: how to run fast, how to talk with humor, and how to

fight. And when to choose which one(s) to use.

In 2011 I wrote a paper and made a presentation at an SPE conference in Bahrain, and here is an excerpt that I want to share with you:

“With the world’s population now at 7 billion ….. need for good education of the youth, preparation for the workforce needs, training of personnel at all levels, international cooperation and partnerships….. and leaders and decision makers to act as role models…..”

“Those of us in the petroleum industry have always had these kinds of opportunities (for more than 100 years) to create ….. international teams, more so than most of the rest of the members of our societies. We know what to do and how to do it; and it is our responsibility to show others how to form healthy international partnerships…..”

In closing this annual news update, I hope each of you is engaged with a variety of people working for the common good, far above and beyond your “job responsibilities”. You can rest when you get old, just like I have been planning to do all my life, and I expect I will do so someday.

I look forward to hearing from you or seeing you at a conference or alumni function.

My best wishes to you and yours, sincerely, Craig Van Kirk

For the first time in my life I am less optimistic about the chances for success for “world peace”, after 39 years of real and measureable progress. Many of my international partners can no longer plan for the long-term, being consumed by the daily task of survival. Even though my personal life is stable and fully satisfied, my global engagements and ongoing projects are more disjointed than ever. This news article I am writing now feels disjointed too.

These days there are so many people suffering at the hands of “bad guys”, and the good people are losing ground in many ways. My own thoughts go to my life experiences that pertain. Here are a few which are at the forefront.


Sacred Mount San Jacinto between my home town Banning and nearby Palm Springs, about 100 miles east of LA. Elevation 10,834 feet. Eleven miles round

trip hike. Son Sam, wife Amy, Ellie 13, Gus 18 (2 of Sam and Amy’s 3 kids).

Camera view is looking northeast toward Las Vegas and Denver.