Lewis Austin Weeks and his wife, Marta Sutton Weeks, always have been extremely generous donors to the AAPG Foundation, as was Weeks’ father, Lewis.
And now Austin Weeks, who died in February 2005 at age 79, has added even more to the family legacy of giving with a bequest of $10 million to the AAPG Foundation, the largest gift ever received by AAPG.
In making the announcement to AAPG Foundation Trustees, Marta Weeks said “the hope is that this gift is an impetus for the Foundation to set its goals high, and that this be a prelude to new horizons and even greater achievements.”
Foundation Chairman Jack Threet said the gift indeed places the Foundation in excellent position to provide more assistance in furthering the science of petroleum geology and bringing new people into the profession as the industry enters a new, critical era.
AAPG officials said that “the fact that the gift is undesignated shows the trust the Weeks place in the Foundation.”
The funds were placed in the L. Austin Weeks Memorial Endowed Fund, with purposes being considered by the Foundation trustees.
“The impact of this generous gift is only something we can dream about,” Threet said, “and we want this to be a lasting legacy for Austin that will be a benefit to petroleum geologists for generations.”
In announcing the bequest, Mrs. Weeks also presented a copy of “End of Suburbia,” an award-winning film documentary dealing with the coming hard choices modern civilizations -- especially the energy-hungry United States -- face as hydrocarbons become more elusive and expensive.
Austin and Marta Weeks have been longtime supporter of the AAPG Foundation, with both having established named grants providing funds for graduate and undergraduate students in both the United States and internationally.
Lewis Weeks, Austin’s father, was a successful geologist who credited with developing Australia’s Bass Strait, began the family’s legacy of philanthropy. It was a bequest from Lewis Weeks that allowed building the Weeks Tower in 1975 at AAPG headquarters in Tulsa.
In 1984, the late Fred A. Dix, then executive director of AAPG and a close friend of the Weeks family, was in a meeting with AAPG Business Director Don O’Nesky.
“When we were brainstorming how to finance the Pratt Tower, an Australian entrepreneur made a run on Weeks Petroleum, which drove the stock up,” O’Nesky recalled. “Fortunately, Lewis Weeks had left the AAPG Foundation 500,000 shares of Weeks Petroleum stock.
“Fred commented later that ‘the Weeks’ family generosity has now paid for the construction of both towers.’”
AAPG and AAPG Foundation Executive Director Rick Fritz said the future of AAPG and the profession has been brightened with the latest Weeks gift -- and the Foundation will soon be announcing new and far-reaching initiatives.