T. Boone Pickens, oil tycoon and Oklahoma State University alumnus and super booster has died. Pickens was 91.
Pickens was born in Holdenville, Oklahoma. His final resting place is planned as Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater. According to an official statement from his website, there are memorials services planned for Dallas and Stillwater.
Just last month, Pickens published his annual address to the media prior to football season, which took the form of a letter or blog post in the last few years as his health prevented him from doing press conferences at his namesake stadium. Then, Pickens said he believed the finish line was now in sight.
"Back in 2007, prior to the University of Georgia game with Oklahoma State in Athens, I sat with the media and gave my perspective on all things OSU football," Pickens wrote. "I’ve carried that tradition forward annually, putting my thoughts in a letter in recent years as health issues have gotten the better of me. It’s a tradition I hope to continue as long as I can.
“'As long as I can …' That’s a sobering notion, more, I suspect, for me than for you. I’m a lifelong geologist, and, as a whole, we’re a pretty optimistic bunch. I love to tell the story – over and over – about the geologist who fell off a 10-story building and, whizzing past the fifth floor, hollered, ‘I’m not dead yet.’ At 91, I’m grateful for every added day, week, month and year.”
Pickens formed several start-up oil companies after working at Phillips following his graduation from Oklahoma A&M. He founded Mesa Petroleum, which grew into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world. He was a wildcatter turned corporate raider who became known as the “Oracle of Oil.” Pickens sold Mesa and began the hedge fund BP Capital Management in 1997, which he ran until January 2018.
He was worth billions by the early 2000s and that’s when he began his philanthropy in earnest, wanting to take his alma mater to new heights.
Pickens donated $20 million to Oklahoma State University in 2003, but in 2006 made one of the largest gifts ever received by a university's athletics department with $165 million as part of his Next Level Campaign. In 2008, Pickens made $100 million challenge gift to endow faculty positions.
“All of us in the Oklahoma State University family are deeply saddened by the passing of Boone Pickens," OSU President Burns Hargis said in a statement released by the university. "At the same time, we join in celebrating his incredible life. He was the ultimate Cowboy. It is impossible to calculate his full impact on Oklahoma State. His historic gifts to academics and athletics not only transformed the university, they inspired thousands of others to join in the transformation. OSU will not be the same without the legendary Boone Pickens, but his mark on our university will last forever.”
This story is developing.