Family and friends of Dr. Leonard Kent (Kent) Thomas created this scholarship in his memory in 2020. Kent was born in Miami, OK and attended Miami Public Schools prior to NEO Junior college where he was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus in 1999. Dr. Thomas continued his education at the University of Oklahoma where he received a degree in Chemical Engineering and later was offered a fellowship to the University of Michigan where he earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering.

Kent was known to be a good listener, loved solving problems and had a “we can do it” attitude. All of these characteristics made him an effective algebra teacher with OSU Extension, as well as a successful engineer during his career at Phillips 66. In 1966, Dr. Thomas began his career at Phillips 66 as Reservoir Engineering Analyst in Bartlesville, OK. In 1971, Kent and his family moved to Caracas, Venezuela for 15 months for a work assignment with Phillips 66. Kent was later promoted to Manager of Engineering Sciences where he oversaw major projects in the North Sea. He authored and co-authored over 50 technical papers throughout his career and served on 45+ Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) committees. Kent received the 1993 SPE Reservoir Engineering Award in recognition for Major contributions to the reservoir simulation technology. He served as Distinguished Lecturer which allowed him to visit many countries to hold scholarly speaking events. Kent was selected as an SPE Distinguished Member in 1995. In 2002, Kent received the prestigious Robert Earl McConnell Award from the American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME) which recognizes beneficial services to mankind by engineers through significant contributions in the advancement of the nation’s standard of living and replenishment of its natural resources.

After retirement, Kent contracted with ConocoPhillips and during that time, he received a ConocoPhillips Technology Innovation Award for his lifetime of achievement for excellence in reservoir engineering. In 2012, Kent received the SPE and AIME Honorary Member Award for his “brilliant 40-year career encompassing the depth and combination of physical concepts and sound mathematical modeling in all his work and publications, for his contributions and concepts significantly advancing reservoir simulation, and for his work on reservoir simulation of fractured reservoirs, the most important piece of work on dual-porosity modeling.”

In 2016, Kent’s superior achievements were recognized by his peers, and he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington, D.C.

Away from the office, Kent enjoyed playing, watching and coaching sports. He participated in the Phillips baseball and volleyball leagues, coached the First United Methodist Church’s Y Basketball and his son’s Overlees Little League Baseball team. Kent enjoyed attending Boy Scout campouts and summer camps with his son’s troop and attended countless Phillips swim meets to cheer on his children on their team.

The outdoors always beckoned Kent as he could be found fishing and caring for his acreage when he wasn’t with family on their many camping and nature trips. Through work, he was able to explore much of the USA and other countries, many of which made for great family vacations.

Kent’s genuine kindness and generosity were well known by all he met. He was the most loving and caring husband, father and friend that anyone could ask for. He truly walked in the footsteps of Jesus, always putting others first.

Award Details:

$2,000 payable to the college or university during the student’s first semester.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Bartlesville High School graduating senior
  • Unweighted high school GPA of 3.2 or higher
  • Planning to attend a four-year college/university
  • Majoring in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, math)
  • Strong demonstration of community involvement as exemplified in the answers to the application questions

Required Addendums:

  • 500-600 word essay written by the student answering the question, “What do you want to study and why?”
  • Letter of recommendation from an individual (teacher, counselor, mentor, community member, family friend) who can provide background around things such as your character, your interest in the STEM area of study, your outside school activities (volunteering, community involvement, clubs) and why you would be a good fit for this scholarship.
  • Official Bartlesville High School transcript


This application is now closed.