Independent foundation gives University of Oklahoma $20M in support of ROTC programs

NORMAN, Okla. – An independent foundation is giving the University of Oklahoma $20 million in support of the university’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.

OU president James L. Gallolgly made the announcement Saturday, saying the gift, from Miriam and James Mulva of Green Bay, Wisconsin, through their foundation, Mulva Family Foundation, will be used to create a scholarship endowment and to renovate the historic OU Armory and fourth floor of Cate Center 4.

“Through their generous gift, the Mulvas are making a difference in the lives of countless young people who have decided to serve their country through military service,” Gallogly said. “We are all deeply grateful to Jim and Miriam Mulva for making this transformative gift in support of OU’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.”

“As a family, we believe that it is important to give back to the schools and institutions that have been important to us,” Jim Mulva said. “We very much like supporting the young men and women who have decided to pursue military service.”

The Mulva Family Foundation ROTC Scholarship Endowment will offer tuition, room and board scholarships for students who are enrolled in the Army ROTC, the Naval/Marine ROTC or the Air Force ROTC.

The other part of the gift will establish the Mulva Family Foundation Renovation Fund for Cate 4 in Cate Center and the OU Armory, a nearly century-old building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The OU Armory was built in 1919, and has served as drill floor, office space, classroom and museum for the historical memorabilia collected over decades.

The fourth floor of Cate Center 4 became home to the OU Air Force ROTC program after Craddock Hall, a 70-year-old military barracks, was demolished in 2015. Cate Center was built in 1949 and was first occupied as a freshman women’s dormitory.

Jim Mulva, who was raised in Green Bay, attended OU in the mid-1960s and was part of the Naval ROTC. He transferred to the University of Texas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1968 and a master of business administration degree in finance the following year. Jim’s wife, Miriam, who also is a native of Green Bay, earned her degree in elementary education from St. Norbert College.

After graduation, Jim served four years as a U.S. naval officer. In 1973, he started work at Bartlesville-based Phillips Petroleum, culminating in being named president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board. When Phillips and Conoco merged in 2001, he was tapped to lead the company. He retired from the Houston-based company in 2012.

“This generous donation will provide for two very important elements. First, it will allow for renovations of our space at Cate 4,” said Col. David C. Smith, commander of the OU Air Force ROTC. “Second, it will provide for deferment of room and board expenses for some of our high-performing cadets.”