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Oklahoma State benefactor donates $165 million

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T. Boone Pickens is already on record for betting his Poke posterior that Oklahoma State would start winning after giving a $165 million gift to the university's athletic program two years ago. What will Pickens bet now that he's given a record-breaking $100 million for academics at his alma mater?

"It's my money," Pickens told HBO's "Real Sports" program in 2007. "I'll give it wherever I want to give it. I don't need any help " somebody to tell me, 'You should give it here, or here.'"

The HBO segment that aired during a previous administration's leadership mentioned two then-OSU students, Chris Stellman and Garrett Hellman, the creators of a comic strip that changed the school's name to "Boone State." Also interviewed was Lionel Raff, a chemistry teacher for 43 years in Stillwater, who said Pickens would have made a "vastly greater" contribution by investing in academics instead of athletics.

 "There's all kinds of things that people spend money on, and I respect that, but our purpose is education, and nothing else," political science professor Bob Darcy told HBO.

Think Pickens got the message? It should be noted that the newest donation, which is not for competitive sports, will help endow professorships and major faculty chairs.

"This most recent gift from Boone is indescribable in terms of what it means in our committed pursuit to advance and elevate OSU's academics to a new level of excellence in the world," OSU President Burns Hargis said in a release. "Without question, Boone's gift will enable us to retain and attract extraordinary faculty members, better ensuring OSU students will be inspired by exceptional and accomplished professors and researchers. It launches us on our way to achieve big dreams.

"I believe this unparalleled gift from Boone will inspire others to step forward with gifts to further our pursuit of academic leadership and our vision to become a new land-grant university, one that cuts across disciplines to form a truly new structure that will better prepare students for a new world, and will expand our menu of outreach missions across our state and around the globe. Today is indeed a great day for the future of OSU."

Pickens, the founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, hopes the Pokes can be more competitive in the classroom and the locker room.

"I believe my donations to athletics and now this gift to academics will do just that," Pickens said. "OSU has an excellent faculty and I am pleased that this gift will create higher expectations and promote greater achievement in learning and research.

"This gift is due in large part to the vision and leadership of Burns Hargis. He is absolutely the right person at the right time to be OSU president, and I believe he will guide OSU to levels of success we have never seen before."

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