Pickens gives $9.4M for research at Oklahoma State - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Pickens gives $9.4M for research at Oklahoma State

TULSA, Okla. - Texas oilman Boone Pickens is making another multimillion gift that will benefit Oklahoma State University.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation announced Thursday that Pickens will donate $9.4 million to create a fund that will create a consortium between the foundation and Oklahoma State.

The Boone Pickens Digital Geology Fund will pay for graduate geology students at Oklahoma State to perform research and create digital maps detailing geologic, scientific and resource information. The maps will be made available through the foundation's online database.

"Mr. Pickens has provided funds for a unique opportunity - to merge the prowess and talents of AAPG and OSU to build a new petroleum geoscience consortium that will develop maps and data that will be seen around the world," said Rick Fritz, the foundation's executive director.

Pickens has donated hundreds of millions of dollars directly to his alma mater in recent years, including a $100 million gift in May to endow professors' positions at the university. He also donated $165 million - the largest gift ever to an athletic department - to build several new sports stadiums and renovate the university's football stadium that bears his name.

Before that, he gave $70 million split between athletics and academics. The school of geology that he graduated from in 1951 has also been renamed in his honor.

Pickens' latest gift will be sent to the geologists' foundation in $240,000 increments over the next 10 years and also includes a $7 million promise in his will.

"Boone has given a lot to the university to help it with its athletics and its academic programs because he wants to make OSU one of the premier institutions in America in both of those areas," said Jay Rosser, a spokesman for Pickens. "Boone also has a long history of backing winners and leaders. He thinks Rick Fritz is a leader who can make OSU's geology program one of the finest in the country."

Pickens has been a member of the Tulsa-based geologists' foundation since 1954, when he started his first oil and gas firm, Petroleum Exploration Inc. He now chairs the Dallas-based hedge fund BP Capital.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists Foundation recently started a $35 million fundraising drive to support educational, charitable and scientific projects that directly and indirectly benefit geologic professionals and the general public.

Fritz said the foundation has raised $23 million after Pickens' gift.

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