Charles Nearburg '72, '74Th: Dartmouth Alumni Award Recipient, 2006-07


Charles Nearburg '72, '74Th was presented the 2006-07 Dartmouth Alumni Award

How does one even begin to describe Charles Nearburg?Texas oil producer, family man, professional racecar driver, aviator, outdoorsman...

Hanover, New Hampshire is a long way from Texas, but you easily made the transition your freshman year.Your enterprising personality was apparent to all as you immersed yourself in hands-on engineering classes and studio art. Hours outside the classroom were spent rowing with the crew team, tutoring in the "A Better Chance" program, and participating in the interdormitory council, Bones Gate fraternity, the Dartmouth Society of Engineers and, last but not least, as Motorcycle Club President. Your passionate interest in machine parts and race cars was already apparent and you relished the opportunity to expand upon this at the Thayer School of Engineering.

After graduating from Thayer in 1974 you returned to your home state; accepting a position as project engineer for the Henry C. Beck Co. and then engineering sales manager for Q-Dot Corporation. Obtaining a solid sense of business from these companies, in 1978 you founded the Nearburg Producing Company in Dallas, Texas. This very successful independent oil and gas exploration and production company now also has offices in Denver, Midland, Houston and Artesia, New Mexico. Your company has been recognized by the Bureau of Land Management with the very prestigious annual Environmental Award. In addition, you own the Denver Rocky Mountain subsidiaries, Nearburg Exploration LLC and Rincon Exploration, LLC.

You are quick to admit that your first years following graduation were spent working long days during the week to establish your business, while evenings and weekends were spent on your second career in racing. The motivation for success in business was to make enough money to support your race car passion. And what a racing career you have had - participating in the 24-hour Daytona; racing the Indy car owned by Chicago Bear Walter Peyton; and receiving the "Most Improved Racer Award" from the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series. This lifelong passion continues today with vintage racing, land speed records, and hosting the Thayer School Formula SAE team each spring in Texas where you advise them on driver training and maximizing the effectiveness of their car in preparation for the national collegiate race.

Guidance of the Thayer racing team is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your volunteerism for Dartmouth. You have said that you feel an obligation to "give back to those who have provided for you" and this is very evident in your ongoing commitment to your alma mater.Over the last 35 years you have served your class as an executive committee member, reunion giving committee chair, leadership agent and class agent. Very involved in the Thayer School, you have been a member of the Deans' Fund, class head agent, and a member of the Dartmouth Society of Engineers Executive Committee. You are now a member of the Thayer School Board of Overseers, the Thayer Development Committee and vice chair of the Campaign for the Dartmouth Experience.

Your community involvement is no less extensive: trustee for St. Mark's School and The Maryland Institute College of Art; board member of the Hockaday School, and member of the University of Texas Southwest Medical Foundation Board.

All who know you realize that the most important thing to you is your family. You and Dana have been married for 28 years and have been true partners during this journey together. Your daughter, Anna '10, has followed in your footsteps to the Hanover plain. The three of you have been a true inspiration to others as you dealt graciously, lovingly, and compassionately with the illness of your son, Rett, who lost his long battle with Ewing's Sarcoma in 2005. Your family has honored the memory of this courageous young man with the establishment of the Rett Nearburg Initiative at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and the creation of the Rett Nearburg International Ewing's Sarcoma Symposium, the first of which was held at Dartmouth College.

Charlie, whether flying a back-country bush plane, driving race cars throughout the world, or spending time at your Orvis-endorsed fly fishing ranch in Colorado, you have a boundless sense of energy that seemingly has no limits. In appreciation for your dedication to your family, society and your alma mater, we are honored to present you with the Dartmouth Alumni Award.

Martha Beattie
Dartmouth Alumni Council