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T. Boone Pickens Foundation Donates $120 Million to Oklahoma State

T. Boone Pickens’ donations to OSU and OSU athletics now exceeds $600M.



Jackson Lavarnway/PFB

Boone Pickens’ generosity is living on even after his 2019 passing, as his foundation this week made a whopping $120 million donation to Oklahoma State University, OSU president Dr. Kayse Shrum said Tuesday in a story broke by The Oklahoman.

The donation from the T. Boone Pickens Foundation pushes the late Pickens’ total combined giving to the university and the athletic department past the $600 million mark and to about $650 million, OSU senior associate AD Kevin Klintworth said.

“Even today, almost four years after his death, he continues to make an impact for good through the generosity of his foundation,” Shrum told The Oklahoman in a statement. “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.”

More than half of the $120 million will go to academics while the other half will go to athletics, per The Oklahoman.

Jay Rosser, the T. Boone Pickens Foundation director, told The Oklahoman that the $120 million gift is the largest donation of roughly 10 testamentary gifts — gifts given after Pickens’ death — to make use of the remainder of the funds within the foundation. The $120 million will be split three ways, per The Oklahoman:

∎ Student scholarships, $63.7 million. These funds will help ensure more students have access to higher education without financial burden. 

∎ Karsten Creek, $31.3 million. The money will be used to renovate and reconstruct OSU’s golf course. Pickens had a strong friendship with former OSU golf coach and athletic director Mike Holder, who envisioned a plan for a world-class golf course, then brought it to life three decades ago. Rosser told The Oklahoman the amount could go as high as $35 million.

∎ OSU Human Performance Innovation Complex, $25 million. The recently announced facility will focus on enhancing the health and wellness of students, athletes and Oklahomans. Home to the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute and the Cowboy Football Center, it is slated to be built just north of Boone Pickens Stadium.

Pickens helped transform Oklahoma State athletics in the 2000s with generous gifts that frequently exceeded $100 million, including a $165 million donation in 2006 that set the record for the single largest gift given to an NCAA athletic program. In early 2010 he announced what appeared to be the $120 million testamentary gift, which was a part of OSU’s Branding Success campaign, which was initially $100 million before adding the extra $20 million a year later.

“You know me – I want us to be the best in everything we do at Oklahoma State,” Pickens said at the time. “We are not going to be second to anyone, either academically or athletically. I know the leadership now in place at OSU with Ann and Burns has been a game-changer. We are on the move in ways I could have never imagined a few years ago. These are exciting times at OSU, and the possibilities are limitless.”

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