Stillwater, OK (PRWEB) May 24, 2008
A historic $100 million academic gift from legendary energy executive, philanthropist and Oklahoma State University (OSU) alumnus T. Boone Pickens will dramatically transform OSU academic advancements by providing funds to endow major faculty chairs and professorships.
The gift, the largest single academic donation ever made to a university or college in Oklahoma, will be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar match through the State of Oklahoma's endowed chair program, doubling the gift's value to $200 million. The unprecedented gift will more than double the current endowed faculty chairs at OSU.
With the beautiful OSU Edmon Low Library in the background, OSU President Burns Hargis and Pickens stood on the library lawn in the heart of the 250-acre campus where faculty, students, staff, alumni and leaders in government and business gathered to celebrate the announcement of Pickens' $100 million academic gift.
"This most recent gift from Boone is indescribable in terms of what it means in our committed pursuit to advance and elevate OSU's academics to a new level of excellence in the world," commented Hargis. "Without question, Boone's gift will enable us to retain and attract extraordinary faculty members better ensuring OSU students will be inspired by exceptional and accomplished professors and researchers. It launches us on our way to achieve big dreams."
Hargis continued, "We cannot say enough about the generosity and impact Boone Pickens is having on Oklahoma State University. The scope and magnitude of his generosity is astounding and we are deeply appreciative.
"I believe this unparalleled gift from Boone will inspire others to step forward with gifts to further our pursuit of academic leadership and our vision to become a new land-grant university, one that cuts across disciplines to form a truly new structure that will better prepare students for a new world, and will expand our menu of outreach missions across our state and around the globe. Today is indeed a great day for the future of OSU," Hargis said.
"I am privileged to give even more to my alma mater," said Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, who previously has donated about $300 million to OSU. "It gives me great pleasure to make a gift, that when matched by the state, will transform academics at OSU.
"My goal has always been to make OSU more competitive in all areas. I believe my donations to athletics and now this gift to academics will do just that. OSU has an excellent faculty and I am pleased that this gift will create higher expectations and promote greater achievement in learning and research," Pickens said.
"This gift is due in large part to the vision and leadership of Burns Hargis," said Pickens. "He is absolutely the right person at the right time to be OSU president and I believe he will guide OSU to levels of success we have never seen before."
"Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University are blessed to have a great friend like T. Boone Pickens," said Governor Brad Henry. "With his philanthropy, he's taking OSU to new heights and bringing exciting opportunities to students, faculty and staff. His latest gift to the endowed chair program is historic and will provide a lasting benefit for generations to come."
The $100 million gift is one of the largest ever to a United States university and is nearly double the largest non-bequest donation to a U.S. university so far in 2008. The previous high non-bequest gift this year was $55 million to the University of Texas.
Pickens' $100 million gift and the state match will have a tremendous impact on OSU academics. The minimum amount to establish an endowed chair is $500,000 and a professorship is a minimum of $250,000. The $100 million gift will endow more than 150 chair and professorship positions in academic programs identified as priorities by the university. OSU has 101 fully funded and matched chairs and professorships today.
The gift also serves as a matching gift incentive for other OSU donors. Pickens has agreed that if other donors match a chair or professorship, they may name the chair and determine the academic program to be supported.
Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, said, "We commend Boone Pickens for his vision and incredible commitment to Oklahoma State University. This is truly a historic day for Oklahoma higher education and for the outstanding faculty at OSU. We also congratulate President Burns Hargis for his leadership in securing this transformational gift which will provide our students at OSU even greater educational opportunities in the future."
"This is an incredible gift and it underscores Boone's deep desire to not only foster athletic excellence but also academic excellence at Oklahoma State," commented the Chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents Lou Watkins. "This gift will benefit faculty and students for generations to come and will certainly enhance Oklahoma State University's standing nationally."
"Mr. Pickens' gift makes a powerful statement about supporting OSU academic advancements and the OSU faculty," said Bob Miller, Regents professor and chair of the General Faculty. "His gift challenges us to further excellence and it greatly enhances our efforts to recruit and retain outstanding faculty. Endowed chairs represent the backbone of a university that is achieving at the highest academic level. On behalf of the OSU faculty, I want to thank Boone Pickens and congratulate Burns Hargis on this monumental gift."
"My accomplishments at OSU are due in large part to faculty members who have inspired, challenged and supported me," said Cortney Timmons, a junior from Ada and 2008 Truman Scholarship winner. "OSU faculty are truly deserving of this unbelievable gift. On behalf of all OSU students, I want to say thank you to Mr. Pickens and also thank President Hargis for his leadership and the excitement he has brought to OSU."
Pickens's $165 million gift to OSU in 2006 was the nation's largest single gift to a university athletics program. With this latest academic gift of $100 million, Pickens, who graduated with a geology degree from OSU in 1951, has donated approximately $400 million to OSU through gifts, pledges and waived fees.
Pickens has now given more than $700 million to philanthropy. He has established the T. Boone Pickens Foundation and in recent years has regularly appeared on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of top U.S. philanthropists. His foundation focuses on improving lives through grants supporting educational programs, health and medical research and services, athletics and corporate wellness, the entrepreneurial process, at-risk youth, and conservation and wildlife initiatives.