Paul M. Strunk, this year’s recipient of the AAPG Foundation’s L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal, is being recognized for something he’s done consistently over the past three decades:
Provided valuable support and leadership to the AAPG Foundation – and through those efforts, provided valuable educational opportunities to an entire generation of geoscientists.
Strunk is the tenth recipient of this award, the Foundation’s highest honor, given in recognition of extraordinary philanthropy and service directed to advance the mission of the Foundation.
“Deana (his wife) and I are proud to support and be involved with the AAPG Foundation,” Strunk said after being told of the honor. “The Foundation has done an excellent job of providing funding for a vast array of educational and research programs that benefit society and the geologic profession.
“Now, to receive the Foundation’s L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal,” he added, “is an awesome and tremendous honor.”
Strunk will formally be honored April 2 in Houston, during the opening ceremony of the AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition. And in winning the award he will join a Who’s Who list of legendary supporters.
Past recipients include fellow AAPG Members Marta Weeks, T. Boone Pickens, Larry Funkhouser, Jack Threet, Bill Barrett, Bob Gunn, Jim Hartman, David Worthington and Bill Gipson.
His Path to Success
Paul and Deana have been donors to the AAPG Foundation since 1994, when he joined the Trustee Associates, a distinguished group of donors who provide support for the Foundation’s fundraising efforts, as well as providing counsel and leadership to the Trustees.
It was the Strunks’ belief in the new Military Veterans Scholarship program – and their lead gifts to its fundraising efforts – that made the program a reality for the Foundation.
In fact, in recognition of their commitment to the program, the Trustees recently renamed the program the Deana and Paul Strunk Military Veterans Scholarship Program.
Because of their generosity, the program is beginning its third year of accepting applications for scholarships from deserving veterans.
Strunk was selected as a member of the Foundation’s Members of the Corporation in 2000 and appointed as a Trustee to the AAPG Foundation in 2011. During his time as a Trustee, Strunk also served on the Foundation’s Audit Committee.
Strunk stepped down from the Board of Trustees earlier this year and is now a Trustee Emeritus.
Strunk, a successful explorationist and CEO of American Shoreline, in Corpus Christi, Texas, received his bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University (KSU) in 1956, and began his career as a geophysicist with Pan American Petroleum Corp. One year later he returned to KSU for his master’s degree.
He was then transferred to Corpus Christi, where he worked as a geologist for Pan American. In 1960 he joined Skelly Oil Company as an exploration geologist, and in 1964 he became independent geologist. He and an associate, J.B. Clark, formed Fontana Oil and Gas in 1974. Fontana merged with Centura Inc. in 1976, and Strunk became president of Centura.
In 1978 he resigned from Centura to start American Shoreline Inc., a successful oil and gas exploration company.
A Career of Service
During his career in oil and gas exploration, Strunk has been involved with the discovery and development of over 36 oil and gas fields, most of which were in the Gulf Coast area of south Texas.
He has been an active Member of AAPG since 1960, serving on numerous committees and engaging in several leadership roles, including:
- Served as a two-term delegate in the House of Delegates
- Was a member of the Advisory Council
- Served on the Insurance Committee, Twenty-First Century Committee, Committee on Committees, Environmental Geology Committee, Headquarters Management Committee and Committee on Investments (chair in 1993-97)
- Held the office of AAPG treasurer (1988-90) and was a Candidate for President Elect (1994-95)
- Was a founding member of the Division of Environmental Geosciences and a member of the Division of Professional Affairs
- Received the AAPG Certificate of Merit in 1991 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1993
Strunk also has held numerous committee positions and offices for the Corpus Christi Geological Society and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies, American Institute of Professional Geologists and Society of Professional Earth Sciences.
A Career of Giving
Strunk’s philanthropy and service does not stop with the AAPG Foundation; he actively supports the geology program of his alma mater KSU.
Specifically, the Strunks provide support to KSU to the geoscience building program, the Strunk Geology Fellowship and other geology funds. Strunk has served on the KSU Advisory Council for the Department of Geology and is a member of the Presidents Club.
“Kansas State and the Kansas State Foundation are incredibly grateful for the generosity and leadership the Strunks have demonstrated through their continuous support,” said Shelia J. Walker, the KSU Foundation’s senior director of development.
“Paul is very deserving of the AAPG Foundation’s L. Austin Weeks Memorial Medal,” she added, “and thank you for renaming the Military Veterans Scholarship after the Strunks.”
In addition to his professional activities, Strunk has been active in civic and governmental affairs:
- He supports a number of charities in his local area, which focus primarily on programs for children and families.
- He has served on the Corpus Christi Independent School District Building Advisory Committee and on the oil industry segment of the United Way Committee.
- In 1996 he was appointed by the governor of Texas to serve on the Committee for Property Tax Relief.
- He currently is serving on the Energy Resource Committee of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, and is a member – and has served on the executive committee – of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.
In other words, a lot of people have a lot of reasons to be grateful for Strunk’s commitment, dedication and philanthropy. That goes doubly for the AAPG Foundation.