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Walter Wayne Allen attended Oklahoma State University and graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a petroleum option.

Remembering Walter Wayne Allen

Monday, December 5, 2022

Media Contact: Kristi Wheeler | Manager, CEAT Marketing and Communications | 405-744-5831 |

“Be prepared — technically and professionally; Be highly focused on the job at hand, don’t worry about who gets the credit; Stay optimistic and when you detect a problem, see a solution.”  W. Wayne Allen 

Walter Wayne Allen, retired chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Phillips Petroleum Company, passed away on Friday, April 8, 2022, in Houston at the age of 85.

Wayne, as he was best known, attended Oklahoma State University and graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a petroleum option. He would later earn a master’s degree from OSU in industrial engineering. 

After college, Wayne served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and assigned to McGuire Air Force Base in the New York Air Defense Sector. After completing active duty, he continued serving in the army reserves, becoming a unit commander and ultimately attaining the rank of captain.

In 1961, Wayne joined Phillips Petroleum Company. He held assignments in the United States, the United Kingdom and Côte d’Ivoire before being named vice president in 1988. He was elected to the board of directors the following year, served two years as head of worldwide exploration and production, and was named president and chief operating officer of the company in 1991. He served in that capacity until he was named chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer in 1994, a position he held until his retirement in 1999.

During his career and retirement, Wayne was an active and generous participant on many boards and in various nonprofit philanthropies. Among these organizations were the American Petroleum Institute, the Business Roundtable, the Conference Board, the U.S. Council for International Business and the National Petroleum Council. He was a board member of the Kansas City District of the Federal Reserve. He served as a director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and as chairman of the board of directors of the State Chamber of Oklahoma. He was a trustee of the board of governors of the Oklahoma State University Foundation and led the very successful “Bringing Dreams to Life” fundraising campaign for the university. He served as chairman for National Engineers Week in 1998. Allen was a longtime supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and served as chairman of the Southwest Region and on their National Board of Governors.

Wayne received numerous honors and awards. In 1992, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association Hall of Fame. In 1996, he received the Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award from OSU. In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Also, earlier in his career when he managed the Phillips Petroleum operation in Côte d’Ivoire, he was recognized for his contributions to the country by being named Commandeur de l’Ordre National de la République de Côte d’Ivoire.

After his retirement, Wayne continued his interest in education by establishing and maintaining a premier scholarship program for outstanding engineering students at OSU — the W.W. Allen Scholars Program. Since the inception of this program, it has impacted 52 students and provided over millions of dollars in scholarships, networking, study abroad experiences and mentorships for them. A feature of the program is the Allen Scholars are given the opportunity to attend Cambridge University in the U.K. for postgraduate study. He also established and maintained a similar engineering scholarship program at OSU for members of the Boys & Girls Club, the W.W. Allen Boys & Girls Club Program.

Being an optimistic person by nature contributed to making Wayne a beloved husband, father and friend. He was caring and generous to those around him. He was quick to see the positive in people and was interested in helping them find solutions to their problems.

Photos by: Gary Lawson 

Story by: Kristi Wheeler | IMPACT Magazine

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