February 14, 2023


Like many siblings, Mike ’55 and Pete Miesch ’55 ’62 ‘63 have a tight bond. Growing up on a rural cotton farm in the Texas Blackland Prairies, the brothers’ rapport was forged out of love and respect. They grew even closer while facing societal challenges and limitations that emerged because of Mike’s severe hearing impairment.  

Fortunately, Pete, who is 18 months younger, developed the ability to intuitively understand his brother. Because of this shared understanding, Pete began serving as Mike’s interpreter, a devotion that continued at Texas A&M University as they earned their degrees—Mike in entomology and Pete in petroleum engineering. 

Both brothers have lived full and rich lives while remaining close over the years. Each earned advanced degrees, married and raised families, and enjoyed significant professional success, which Pete has channeled into a gift to support Texas A&M’s Geology and Geophysics Department. And it all started with a bond of brotherhood.  

Against All Odds 

The Miesch brothers’ deep relationship took root in a three-room house on their grandmother’s cotton farm in Clarksville, Texas. Living without electricity or indoor plumbing, the family pumped water from a cistern, took pride in a two-hole outhouse and maintained a garden, smokehouse and chicken house on the property.  

Busting Through Barriers 

When it came time to consider college, Mike faced considerable discrimination because of his hearing loss. “State employees who worked with the handicapped tried to discourage me from going to college. They said I could never make it,” he said. “I could hear vowels, but not consonants. I did not move my lips or tongue but talked with the back of my throat. Only my immediate family and close friends could understand me. I depended on lip reading but could not read lips and write at the same time.”  

Yet Mike was determined to continue his education and had an important advocate: his mother. She had also overcome barriers, becoming valedictorian of her high school class and earning a full college scholarship during a time when women weren’t encouraged to pursue higher education, though her father forbid her to go. 

Mike’s grit and resilience led to Oklahoma State University’s doctoral program, where he researched roach bait and earned his doctorate in 1964. He went on to a 36-year career with National Chemsearch, where he headed the pesticide and agronomy section.   

Pete started his career with Humble Oil working as a roustabout in the oil field before attending the company’s Reservoir School. He eventually returned to Texas A&M to earn his master’s and doctorate degrees. After graduation, he worked at Conoco before joining International Computer Operations (Intercomp), Core Lab & Alcore S.A. in Algeria, Ocean Drilling & Exploration Company (ODECO),Tomlinson Offshore, Sedco Energy and Prospect Exploration. In 1985, he founded Miesch Exploration. Over his career, he’s worked in India and supervised wells in the United States, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Syria. He continues to “dabble” in the oil industry through participating in West Texas’ Eagle Ford. 

During his career, Pete collected geologic documents valued at $5.7 million. When he retired, he provided the Department of Geology and Geophysics with numerous well logs, cross-sections, maps and seismic lines across south and west Texas as a gift-in-kind to Texas A&M. “This data gives us a unique look into rocks that we cannot often study because the majority of this type of data is held by companies that will not share them with us, “said Dr. Michael Pope, the interim director of Texas A&M’s Berg-Hughes Center for Petroleum and Sedimentary Systems. “The information Pete supplied our department has helped multiple graduate students provide a more complete subsurface picture of some very important oil and gas reservoirs in the Eagle Ford and Austin Chalk.”