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1955 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Hugh R. Cullen*

Quintana Petroleum Corporation

"My advice to young people is to have more faith-more faith in yourself, in your country, and in God."

Born in 1881, Hugh R. Cullen started working in a candy factory at the age of 12 to support his mother. Eventually he became a respected cotton buyer in Houston. Later, he became interested in the exploration of oil using the "creekology" method, which required digging deeper for oil. His search led to profitable discoveries, and in 1928 he formed the South Texas Petroleum Company. He sold his company to Humble and used the proceeds to start Quintana Petroleum in 1932. Within a year, he discovered the Tom O'Connor field, the largest oilfield in Texas. In 1936, after his only son was killed by a falling oil derrick, Cullen funded a building in his son's name at the University of Houston. Eventually, he took the school from one building to nine colleges with 45 buildings on 250 acres. By the time of his death in 1957, Cullen had given away 93 percent of his fortune.

* Deceased