Wednesday, July 02, 2008
900 OSU Donors “Cowboy Up” to Provide $66.8 Million in Private Funding for Endowed Faculty Positions
40-day fundraising blitz following T. Boone Pickens’ historic $100 million gift garners significant academic support prior to changes in state’s matching program STILLWATER - In an incredible demonstration of loyalty and support, Oklahoma State University announced today approximately 900 individuals, companies and foundations donated $66.8 million the last six weeks to create a multitude of endowed faculty positions that will touch nearly every college and campus across the OSU System. Once fully matched dollar-for-dollar by T. Boone Pickens’ $100 million chair match commitment, as well as the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the total impact of the historic initiative will be $333.6 million for endowed chairs and professorships at OSU. All the gifts were made prior to the July 1 change in the state’s endowed chair matching program. The unprecedented number of gifts could increase OSU’s current number of professorships and faculty chairs of 101 by more than 175 positions. With the new donations and matches, the OSU endowed chair program will have three-and-a-half times the amount that was available for endowed chairs prior to the Pickens gift on May 21. “The response from our alumni and friends exceeded our wildest expectations,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Inspired by Boone Pickens’ astounding generosity, donors answered the call to make a lasting difference and open a new and exciting chapter at Oklahoma State University. We can’t thank them enough.” Hargis said, “These gifts will allow us to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty as we pursue a bold vision of creating a modern land-grant university that cuts across disciplines to better prepare students for a new world and expands outreach across our state and around the globe. “To raise the money we did in 40 days is a testimony to the passion people have for OSU and higher education, as well as the tireless hours and work of the OSU Foundation and academic leaders from across the campus,” Hargis said. “There is great enthusiasm building at OSU, in academics and athletics,” said Pickens. “Burns has done a phenomenal job leveraging my $100 million gift. Give Burns an axe and he’ll do some chopping, and he really whacked away on the opportunity to improve our endowed chair program.” “We are absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we have received in recent weeks,” said Kirk A. Jewell, OSU Foundation President and CEO. “Boone provided a tremendous incentive for donors to play a critical role in our future. It is clear that these individuals, businesses and foundations believe in President Hargis’ leadership and the essential part our faculty must play to transform OSU while we prepare our students to thrive in today's dynamic and competitive world.” Jean Van Delinder, chair of the OSU faculty council, said, “Like everyone else, OSU faculty members have been amazed and delighted at the generous response of OSU supporters. I commend Boone Pickens and President Hargis for their leadership on this initiative. Endowed positions allow OSU to attract and retain the best faculty and we look forward to the tremendous impact this will have on academics at OSU.” Some of the professorship and chair gifts involved pooling of donations from individuals or organizations, while many were single gifts from individuals, couples, corporations and foundations. OSU has announced many of the gifts and will be making additional announcements in the coming weeks to recognize those supporters who quickly and generously responded to Pickens’ May 21 gift. The $66.8 million in new endowed faculty funds includes $22 million of the recent gift of $57.2 million by Amy and Malone Mitchell 3rd, which also included $28.6 million for athletics and $6.6 million for the new OSU entrepreneurship program. On May 21, OSU alumnus Pickens made the largest single academic donation in Oklahoma history, a $100 million donation to dramatically transform OSU academic advancements by endowing major faculty chairs. Once combined with the state’s match, Pickens’ gift value doubled to $200 million. Pickens’ gift also served as a matching gift incentive for other OSU donors. He agreed that if other donors funded a chair or professorship, they could name the chair and determine the academic program to be supported. With $66.8 million already secured and matched against Pickens’ challenge, more than $33 million remains eligible for OSU donors to utilize for future chair and professorship gifts. Even with the changes to the state’s matching chair program, OSU donors may still triple a gift to the endowed program by taking advantage of Pickens’ match plus the state’s match on Pickens’ gift. Endowed professorships and chairs are academic designations which provide support for faculty salary, graduate assistantships, equipment and research needs, as well as other support. These endowed faculty positions allow a university to attract and retain the best and the brightest academic minds in the world.