Lumberton Native, Geology Graduate Student Awarded Second Bob Woolsey Scholarship

OXFORD, Miss. – Patrick W. Niemeyer of Lumberton is the second recipient of a memorial scholarship paying tribute to J. Robert “Bob” Woolsey, late director of the Mississippi Mineral Resources Institute at the University of Mississippi.


Maxine Woolsey holds the permanent plaque that bears the name of Patrick W. Niemeyer (right) of Lumberton, second recipient of the Woolsey Scholarship for Geology and Geological Engineering, which honors her late husband. UM photo by Robert Jordan.

Niemeyer is a second-year graduate student at Ole Miss working toward a master’s degree in engineering science and geology.

“I unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Woolsey, but after all of the stories I have heard from his former colleagues and after getting to know the Woolsey family, I feel like I truly missed out by not getting to know him,” Niemeyer said. “He was obviously an exceptional geologist and a great man, so to be selected for this award by the Woolsey family and some of his former colleagues is truly an honor.”

A renowned geologist and expert in undersea mineral resources, Woolsey died in a July 2008 car accident. Memorials in his name amounting to more than $11,000 were made to the UM Foundation, and Maxine Woolsey, his widow, committed additional resources to fund the Woolsey Scholarship Endowment for Geology and Geological Engineering. The inaugural award was made last year.

A 2008 UM graduate with a bachelor’s degree in geology, Niemeyer received the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering Outstanding Student Scholarship in 2009 and 2010. He expects to complete graduate school in May, with plans to work in petroleum exploration.

Maxine Woolsey said Niemeyer’s plans fit with the intent of the annual scholarship award, which she said should recognize students who are “enthusiastic about geology and possess a proven work ethic.”

“To appropriately honor Bob, this scholarship should help students become hands-on geologists and geological engineers,” she said. “Bob always felt the best classrooms didn’t have walls. I want scholarship recipients to use the funds to have extraordinary experiences.”

MMRI director since 1982, Bob Woolsey was instrumental in founding UM’s two marine centers: the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology and the Seabed Technology Research Center, which is a division of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s National Institute for Undersea Science and Research. Through these centers, he organized an international consortium of scientists and engineers to study gas hydrates.

For more information on contributing to the Woolsey Scholarship for Geology and Geological Engineering, go to