A titan signs off
Having been at Mines for nearly four decades—first as a student then as a professor and administrator—Ramona Graves PhD ’82 is a familiar face for many who have spent time on campus. She retired at the end of the 2018-19 academic year but shared a few memories and nuggets of wisdom she gained over the course of her career at Mines and in the petroleum industry.
What has been the best part of working in the petroleum industry?
I’m currently the director for academia for the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The people belonging to this society are committed to making the world a better place. They are committed to being responsible producers of oil and gas. They are committed to the excitement of drilling, finding, producing energy. Plus, it’s the biggest industry in the world. The size and scale of what we do is amazing. It’s addictive. Once you get into the petroleum industry, you never want to leave.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned at Mines?
I’ve learned don’t sweat the small stuff but also make decisions from the heart. When I started teaching at Mines, I had a really good job in industry. At the time, [Petroleum Engineering Professor Emeritus] Craig Van Kirk told me, “Come to Mines—I’ll pay you half of what you’re making in industry, and you’ll work twice as hard.” But I wasn’t taking the job for the money—I was taking it because it was a passion. Your heart usually tells you what you want to do.
What’s one takeaway you’d want other people to know about Mines?
Mines has grown into a university that makes better people—not just great engineers—out of all the great students we get. We help them develop and grow their whole selves, be it through music, through athletics, through poetry, through helping people in Nepal. We’re really helping the student develop their passions. And that’s one of the things that makes Mines special.
What’s next for you?
I have no idea what I’m going to do next, but I will do something next. I’m not a goal setter. I look for opportunities and hope I make good choices.