STILLWATER, Okla. - Hundreds met at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Wednesday to celebrate the life of well-known oilman and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens.
“I don’t think anything is as special to Boone Pickens as OSU,” Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said.
The nation’s brightest Orange celebrated the life of one of its most beloved Cowboys.
During a celebration of life, friends and family, along with OSU students and staff, said goodbye to Pickens. The oil tycoon passed away on Sept.11 at the age of 91.
“I just don’t know anybody in the Cowboy family that has contributed more, not just in money, but in leadership, to Oklahoma State like Boone. I mean he’s everything you could have ever asked for. We are so fortunate that Texas A&M cut his scholarship,” Hargis said.
Pickens made millions during his time working in the oil industry. He later became a philanthropist, known for donating over $1 billion.
Much of that going to Oklahoma State, where he graduated from in 1951 with a degree in geology.
The millions given by Pickens to the athletic department helped put OSU on the national map.
“We’ve had a history of not playing by the rules, NCAA violations. And he made it real clear that the only thing he expected in return for the big gift was that we work hard, play hard, that we dream big and by gosh you better play by the rules,” said Mike Holder, OSU athletic director.
Even students who never met the man, know what he did for the university.
“I think he did a lot donation wise, and just building our school up and making it better,” said Kathryn Gau, an OSU junior.
His donations and love for his alma mater will be remembered for years to come.
“Boy weren’t we lucky that he was in our life, and were we not so lucky that he was on our team,” said OSU donor Anne Greenwood.
The university has plans to create a statue on campus to memorialize Pickens. They’re taking donations from the public.