With the passing of T. Boone Pickens on Wednesday, we immediately reflect on the kind of impact he had on Stillwater and the Oklahoma State University family. He is well known for his success in the oil industry. He built a few startups into an eventual powerhouse, earning billions along the way.
But Pickens’ success is not the sum total of the man.
He is also known for his contributions to Oklahoma State University and Stillwater as a whole. He donated $20 million to OSU in 2003, but in 2006 made one of the largest gifts ever received by a university’s athletics department with $165 million as part of his Next Level Campaign. In 2008, Pickens made a $100 million challenge gift to endow faculty positions. He also donated $7 million in relief following Hurricane Katrina, as well as sending planes to transport dogs rescued from the floodwaters.
His name is prominently displayed on OSU’s football stadium, and made an impact on the athletics departments that are unmatched by any other university. He was always seen at OSU sporting events, including in the Cowboy locker room celebrating with the team following the school’s first Big 12 championship in football in 2011.
He will always be remembered as one of OSU’s more well-known alumni, as well as being a high profile proponent for what the university has to offer. He even made an impact with Stillwater Public Schools in 2006, when he donated $25,000 to the Stillwater Public Education Foundation, and made a point of the importance of giving back to local school systems.
Many high-profile people released statements on Wednesday regarding Pickens, which included former President George W. Bush, our U.S. Senators, various state legislators, sports personalities and others who wanted to share their thoughts on a legendary human being.
He will be missed by all who knew him, as well as be remembered for giving back a tremendous amount of money toward OSU and his support of the university and its athletics.