A seventh generation Texan, Grand Master Michael L. Wiggins was born on October 5, 1956, in Liberty, Texas. He is the oldest child of Dempsey and Glenda Reid Wiggins. All four of his grandparents were descendants of settlers coming to Texas prior to statehood. The earliest, William Ponton, arrived with his family in DeWitt Colony on December 17, 1829, from Boonesville, Missouri. William was later killed by Comanches in 1834. Grand Master Wiggins is quick to point out that while one ancestor was killed by Comanches, another ancestor was related to the last Comanche chief, Quanah Parker.
The Grand Master attended public schools in Liberty, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Liberty High School in 1975. While a high school student, he began working summers and holidays in the oilfield. Many of his early co-workers were Freemasons and he often speaks of the positive influence they had on him. In the Fall of 1975, he enrolled at Texas A&M University in College Station to pursue a degree in Petroleum Engineering. During his first four years at A&M, he was elected to the Petroleum Engineering Honor Society Pi Epsilon Tau and served as an officer in the student chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE). He graduated in 1979 with honors and began his professional career with Sun Oil Company in Lafayette, Louisiana.
From 1979 through 1987, Grand Master Wiggins worked for various oil and gas producers along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. In what one of his professors referred to as the “four, eight, and four plan,” the Grand Master returned to Texas A&M in June 1987 to pursue advanced degrees in Petroleum Engineering. He completed Master of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1988 and 1991, respectively.
From 1991 through 2005, the Grand Master taught at the University of Oklahoma, receiving tenure in 1997 and full professor status in 2003. In this role, he taught courses and conducted research related to reservoir engineering, production operations, and petroleum project evaluation. He has authored numerous papers in his areas of expertise and received research funding from various governmental agencies, national oil companies, and international oil companies. In addition, he has conducted short courses in the areas of reservoir management, reservoir engineering, waterflood design and evaluation, well completions, production operations, and petroleum project evaluation.
In January 2006, the Grand Master joined William M. Cobb & Associates, Inc. as Vice President and in January 2011 he was named President of the company. While at Cobb & Associates his expertise in petroleum reservoir management and improved oil recovery took him to every continent but Antarctica. In March 2013, he joined the Mid-Con Energy Companies where he was named Executive Vice President of Mid-Con Energy Partners, LP. On August 1, 2014, Grand Master Wiggins was named President of all Mid-Con Energy entities.
During his career, Grand Master Wiggins has been active in his professional society. He has served on several program committees for SPE technical meetings and served as the General Chairman for the 2003 SPE Production and Operations Symposium. He has served as a technical editor for SPE since 1991, receiving the Peer Apart award in 2007 for reviewing over 300 papers. He was the Executive Editor for the journal SPE Production and Facilities from 2001 to 2004. The Grand Master was elected a Distinguished Member of SPE in 2003. With over 80,000 international members at the time, he was elected to the SPE Board of Directors for the years 2004 to 2006.
On January 5, 1980, Grand Master Wiggins and Tanya Nannette Steed, a majority member of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls, were married in Liberty. Their daughter Jordan Michael was born in 1983 and son Joel Daniel Ponton was born in 1984. Jordan and Joel were no strangers to Freemasonry as they attended open Masonic events with their parents from birth. Jordan is married to Donelo George Lopez, Jr., a member of Bellaire Lodge No. 1316. Joel is a Past Master of St. Alban’s Lodge No. 1455 and is married to Melinda Ann Colin. The Grand Master and Tanya are the proud grandparents of two grandsons and three granddaughters. The legacy of Texas Masonry continues in the Wiggins family.
Grand Master Wiggins has applied the lesson of Masonic participation in local activities serving as an Adult Leader of the Boy Scouts of America from 1994 to 2006 and assisting with Thanksgiving Day deliveries for Meals on Wheels from 1995 to 2005. In addition, he served on the Liberty County Historical Commission from 1985 to 1987, being cited for distinguished service in 1988. A member of the Church of Christ, he has served as Bible class leader and deacon in several congregations where he and his family have worshipped.
The Grand Master’s Masonic journey began on Texas Independence Day in 1978 when he received the Entered Apprentice degree in Liberty Lodge No. 48. His father, a member of Liberty Lodge No. 48, conferred all of his degrees, a fact of which the Grand Master is most proud. In addition, Tanya’s father Warren B Steed, also a member of Liberty Lodge No. 48, gave the charge for all three of his degrees. Grand Master Wiggins was raised to the degree of Master Mason on June 8, 1978.
After working in Lafayette, the Grand Master and Tanya returned to Liberty at the end of 1980 and he quickly became involved with his home lodge. He was elected Treasurer in 1981 and Junior Warden the following year. He progressed through the chairs and served as Master of Liberty Lodge No. 48 during 1984 to 1985, the youngest Master of the Lodge. He became an Endowed Member in 1985. Notwithstanding the heavy demands upon his time and energy, he found opportunities for study in Freemasonry and held a Certificate of Proficiency for several years. In 2007, Liberty Lodge No. 48 awarded the Grand Master the Golden Trowel award for his contributions to Masonic education.
A Charter Member of the Masters, Wardens, and Secretaries Association of Masonic District 107 formed in 1983, the Grand Master served as its second President in 1984 to 1985. He is also a plural member of St. Alban’s Lodge No. 1455 in College Station.
While serving as a Lodge officer, Grand Master Wiggins became interested in the history of Liberty Lodge No. 48. From his research, he prepared a narrative for a Texas Historical Marker for Liberty Lodge. This application was approved and the marker was dedicated by Grand Master Kelly in 1987. This interest led him to Texas Lodge of Research (TLR). After three years as an associate member, he was elected to membership in TLR in 1989 after presenting his paper, “The Role of Freemasonry in the Development of Liberty County, Texas 1826-1848.” For this effort, he received the James D. Carter Award for Literary Excellence.
The family’s move to Norman, Oklahoma in 1991 did not prevent the Grand Master from continuing his involvement in TLR. He served as an appointive officer from 1991 through 1993 and in March 1993 was elected Junior Warden. This culminated in his March 1995 election and installation as Master of Texas Lodge of Research. His installation was attended by thirteen Past Masters of TLR. In 2007, Grand Master Wiggins was elected a Fellow in Masonic Research, only the sixteenth member to be elected to receive that honor since 1961 when the first Fellow was recognized.
Grand Master Wiggins was a Charter Member of Guildhall Lodge No. 555 when it was set to work by the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma in 2002, serving as Charter Senior Deacon. He was elected and served as Junior Warden in 2005, Senior Warden in 2006, and Worshipful Master in 2007. As a Past Master of both a Texas Lodge and an Oklahoma Lodge, he is a plural member of the Grand Lodge of Texas (1985) and the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma (2007).
The Grand Master’s involvement in Texas Grand Lodge activities began with his appointment in 1987 by Grand Master John E. “Jack” Kelly as District Deputy Grand Master for District 107. In 1999, Grand Master William M. “Mike” Gower appointed him to a seven-year term on the Committee on Masonic Education and Service, serving as Chairman of the Committee from 2002 through 2005. In 2005, Grand Senior Warden Donny W. Broughton appointed him to serve as Grand Pursuivant. Grand Master Broughton appointed the Grand Master to a seven year term on the Committee on Purposes and Policies in 2007, where he served until his election as Grand Junior Warden in December 2011.
The Grand Master was named Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of New South Wales in 2007. In addition, he served on Grand Master planning teams for the Grand Lodge years of 2002, 2004, and 2007. Grand Master Reese L. Harrison, Jr. presented him with the John Sayles Award in 2004 for his contributions to Masonic education and in 2007 Grand Master Broughton presented him the Grand Master’s Cup for outstanding service during the 2007 Grand Lodge year. Grand Master Wiggins strongly believes in the mission of the Grand Lodge Library and Museum of Texas. He is a member of the Sam Houston Hall of Fame (2005) and is a Patron of the Library and Museum (2008).
Grand Master Wiggins is an endowed member of the Houston, Guthrie, and Dallas Scottish Rite Valleys. He has served as Venerable Master of the Lodge of Perfection in both the Guthrie and Dallas Valleys and is President of the Guthrie Scottish Rite Educational and Charitable Foundation. He was honored with the Knight Commander of the Court of Honor in 1995 and received the 33o Inspector General Honorary in 2005. He currently serves as the Personal Representative for Education of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Texas and is a charter member of the Scottish Rite Research Society. He is a member of Dallas Chapter No. 47 of Royal Arch Masons, Dallas Council No. 18 of Royal and Select Masters, and Dallas Commandery No. 6 of Knights Templar.
The Grand Master is also a member of Arabia Shrine, Chinar Grotto, and Caddo Mills Chapter No. 82, Order of the Eastern Star. He holds dual memberships in the Oklahoma and Texas Colleges, Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. In addition, he is a member of Saint Mark Conclave, Order of the Red Cross of Constantine; Holy Grail Council No. 287, Allied Masonic Degrees; Trinity Chapel No. 12, Order of St. Thomas of Acon; and, Southwest Lodge of St. Andrew, Great Priory of America CBCS.
Grand Master Wiggins is a man of close family ties, strong and enduring friendships, and decided beliefs. His careers in engineering and education as well as his Masonic service have been marked by drive, determination, and unalterable integrity. Well-grounded by past experience with attainable plans for the future and a heart for Freemasonry that throbs with sincerity, the Masons of Texas can look to the leadership of Michael L. Wiggins with confidence.
Leonard P. Harvey
Past Grand Master – 1989