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Miller Energy Resources Inc., a high-growth oil and natural gas exploration, production, and drilling company headquartered in Knoxville has partnered with UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences to support a graduate fellowship in petroleum geology.

“This partnership is a major opportunity for positive outcomes for both UT and Miller Energy Resources,” said UT Distinguished Scientist Robert D. Hatcher Jr. “The graduate fellow will have the opportunity to work closely with seasoned scientists at one of the premier oil and gas companies in Tennessee while conducting research that could be useful to Miller in its operations in Tennessee.”

The Miller Energy Fellowship is unique in terms of industrial support commonly provided by a fellowship. While the thesis research will be directed by Hatcher, Miller Energy’s geologic staff will be involved with the department and the student during the research process. Miller Energy will provide expertise in particular areas of geology where none currently exists at UT through frequent discussions with the student and faculty as the student progresses through the graduate program.

“We are delighted to support aspiring students in our community through this collaboration with UT,” said Scott Boruff, CEO of Miller Energy. “Our company has made significant advancements since Deloy Miller started drilling in Tennessee in 1967. Those advancements would not have been possible without research partnerships with world-class institutions such as UT. This partnership signifies our ongoing commitment to supporting innovation and higher education in Knoxville.”

The first recipient of the Miller Energy Fellowship is Paul Levader (Vade) Scruggs, a native of Morgan County, Tennessee, who is currently working on his master’s in geology. Scruggs grew up around the oil industry in the Cumberland Plateau. He became interested in pursuing a career in petroleum geology before he decided to major in geology at UT, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2012. Scruggs will be working on a research project that deals with the geologic controls of ancient reefs in the rocks thousands of feet beneath the plateau.

“We are very grateful to Miller Energy Resources for their partnership in supporting a graduate fellowship,” said Theresa Lee, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Achieving our educational and research goals depends on our attracting and retaining the best faculty and recruiting highly qualified graduate students to support their work. Graduate fellowships like this one give the college a competitive advantage in graduate student recruitment.”

Miller Energy Resources is a publicly held company with long-term exploration and production activities in the heart of Tennessee’s Appalachian Basin and in the Cook Inlet area of southeastern Alaska. The company was founded by Deloy Miller of Oneida, Tennessee, who continues to serve as executive chairman of the board of directors and plays an active role in company operations.


Derek Gradwell, senior vice president, Miller Energy Resources Inc. (949-259-4995,

Tiffany Carpenter, assistant vice president of communications, UT Foundation (865-974-1476,