TULSA (Nov. 30, 2010) – Oklahoma State University-Tulsa and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma announced a partnership today that will prepare students to be leaders in improving the health and wellness of Oklahomans.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma pledged $250,000 to OSU-Tulsa for scholarships and the creation of a lab for students studying health education and promotion.
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is providing a wonderful resource to students who share this company’s passion for promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and the OSU Center for Health Sciences. “We’re extremely grateful for this generous gift that will enhance our students’ educational experience, as well as make Oklahoma communities healthier places to live and work.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma President Bert Marshall said the gift is a result of the company’s commitment to a brighter, stronger and healthier future for all Oklahomans.
“We know that education is vital to improving public health, increasing disease prevention and lowering medical care costs. As corporations take a more active role in the health of their employees, there is a growing need for skilled health education professionals to lead wellness programs,” Marshall said. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma is proud to invest in high quality OSU graduates who will inspire healthy changes in our society and improve the quality of life for many Oklahomans.”
OSU-Tulsa will create the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma Health and Human Performance Lab with $150,000 of the gift. The funds will be used to purchase $50,000 in new lab equipment and create a $100,000 endowment that will provide ongoing maintenance to the lab.
Rachel Potter, a health education and promotion senior, said she believes working in the new lab will give her confidence for her future career.
“The new equipment in the health promotion lab will give me access to the latest technology and hands-on experience that will be useful when I first step into the clinical setting after graduation,” Potter said.
The remaining $100,000 of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma gift will create student scholarships and will be matched at a rate of two-to-one by OSU alumnus T. Boone Pickens as part of the $100 million Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match program. Therefore, when fully funded, the scholarship portion of the gift will provide $300,000 in endowed scholarship funds for OSU-Tulsa students.
Scholarship recipients will complete 20 hours of community service or an internship each semester in a health-related field for a non-profit organization, public school, church or similar agency within a five-mile radius of OSU-Tulsa.
Endowed scholarships leave a lasting impact at OSU by balancing current spending and reinvestment of market returns to ensure support of students into the future.
The Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match was initiated on Feb. 26 at the Branding Success campaign launch event where Pickens pledged a $100 million matching gift opportunity for donations or pledges of at least $50,000 to scholarship endowments before Feb. 26, 2011. For more information on the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match, visit OSUgiving.com/PickensMatch.
Throughout its 70-year history, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma has been committed to meeting the health care financing needs of Oklahomans. As the state's oldest and largest private health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma provides benefit plans for more than 600,000 Oklahomans. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve company, an independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.