Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a birthday party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Mary Land & Exploration Co. The Denver-based firm held its soiree in the stylish Brown Palace Hotel's Grand Ballroom in downtown Denver. St. Mary had a lovely spread of hors d'oeuvres and cocktails; various dignitaries, including Tony Best and Mark Hellerstein, talked about the history of the company. More than 400 people attended, from St. Mary employees and their families to vendors, oil industry peers, friends and acquaintances. One of the themes the speakers emphasized was how St. Mary has continually reinvented itself as business conditions changed over its long life span. The company has been nimble, most recently moving from a successful acquire-and-exploit operator to a resource-play specialist. At the same time, it has been fiscally conservative enough to ride out the tumultuous ups and downs of our cyclical business. The appreciative audience was also treated to a slide show of wonderful photographs and historic documents that traced the 100 years of the company's existence. St. Mary has a number of regional offices, and it is having parties during the coming week at its Billings, Shreveport, Tulsa, Midland and Houston locales. Finally, it will close out its centennial celebration by ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Happy birthday to an upstanding firm! --by Peggy Williams, Senior Exploration Editor, Oil and Gas Investor. Contact me at