Oklahoma State University will receive a $120 million gift from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, OSU President Kayse Shrum announced today.
Pickens passed away on Sept. 11, 2019. He was a legendary energy executive, proud OSU alumnus and transformative philanthropist whose giving to OSU now approaches $650 million.
A majority of the gift — $63.7 million — will go toward student scholarships, helping to ensure more students have access to higher education and can pursue their dreams without financial burden. This gift will be designated to the Pickens legacy scholarship funds and will double the impact of donor contributions.
Additionally, $25 million will support the recently announced OSU Human Performance Innovation Complex which will enhance the health and wellness among students, OSU athletes and the broader Oklahoma community. The facility will house the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute (HPNRI) and the Cowboy Football Center.
“Physical, mental and spiritual health played a big part in Boone’s life,” said Jay Rosser, T. Boone Pickens Foundation director. “Boone’s passion for health and research programs is evidenced by his philanthropic support for a wide range of worldclass institutions, including MD Anderson, UT Southwestern, the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins Univer-sity, the Center for Brain Health in Dallas and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary, among others. He would be pleased OSU is positioning itself through HPNRI to discover and apply evidence- informed solutions to improve lives.”
The gift also includes plans for renovating and reconstructing the acclaimed Karsten Creek golf course — home of the Cowboy and Cowgirl collegiate golf teams. Pickens enjoyed a long friendship with former OSU golf coach and athletic director Mike Holder. Pickens supported many of Holder’s extensive projects, foremost among them the reimagined and reconstructed football stadium, which bears Pickens’ name.
The gift includes donating Pickens’ vast personal and business archives to OSU for a museum to celebrate Pickens’ legacy as an entrepreneur and philanthropist. OSU will construct the publicly accessible museum inside the west end zone of Boone Pickens Stadium.
“We are incredibly thankful to the T. Boone Pickens Foundation for this extraordinary gift,” Dr. Shrum said. “Boone was a true leader and visionary whose investments, involvement and advocacy for energy independence drove America’s oil and gas industry for nearly seven decades. But it was his generosity that had the most significant impact.
“Even today, almost four years after his death, he continues to make an impact for good through the generosity of his foundation. As a result, a new generation of Oklahoma State students will have access to life-changing scholarships, researchers to world-class facilities, and student-athletes to outstanding academic and athletic facilities. Once again, one cannot overstate his impact on our university.”
Rosser echoed Shrum’s gratitude for the gift and Pickens’ unwavering support of OSU.
“Boone Pickens’ love for Oklahoma State University knew no bounds,” Rosser said. “His unwavering commitment to seeing the university thrive academically and athletically was inspiring. We are proud to carry on his legacy with this $120 million gift to his alma mater. We hope this contribution will inspire others to continue supporting Oklahoma State’s endeavors, just as Boone did throughout his life and beyond. We are honored to be able to continue his legacy and support the university he loved so deeply.”
Established in 2006, the T. Boone Pickens Foundation has made significant philanthropic contributions to advance health, medical research, fitness, conservation, athletics and education. But nowhere has Pickens’ generosity been more impactful than at OSU.
“Thanks to this gift, Oklahoma State will be able to provide more students with access to an excellent education while strengthening our position as a leader in research and athletics. Through his historic gifts, Mr. Pickens helped position Cowboy football as one of the nation’s winningest programs over the last two decades. OSU Athletics deeply appreciates the T. Boone Pickens Foundation’s incredible generosity and unwavering support. Health and performance were very important to Mr. Pickens personally and he was a leader in providing those opportunities for his staff and employees. Specifically, the gift to support the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute will help us advance our land-grant mission by uniting the academic expertise of our human performance and nutrition experts, led by Lance Walker, with data- informed strategies and resources that will benefit all of our athletic programs and all Oklahomans,” said OSU Athletic Director Chad Weiberg.
The OSU/A&M Board of Regents acknowledged the $120 million gift from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation at its June 16 board meeting.
“This gift will have a lasting and transformative impact on our university community, providing vital resources and opportunities to students, faculty, athletes and staff,” said Jarold Callahan, chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. “We want to thank the T. Boone Pickens Foundation for supporting Oklahoma State University in its ongoing pursuit of excellence as one of the nation’s premier landgrant universities.”