Oklahoma spring air welcomed guests from all over the nation to celebrate $1 billion and beyond.
The Branding Success Campaign of Oklahoma State University proudly announced it reached its goal of $1,000,724,453 yesterday on the Student Union Plaza.
Boone Pickens, Ann Hargis and members of the Board of Regents, including Andy Lester and Jason Ramsey, were present at the event. Members from the foundation board of governors and the executive campaign committee were also recognized.
The Branding Success Campaign at Oklahoma State University started in December 2007. Questioning of the set goal, with concerns of economic stress, did not stop the campaign from going beyond $1 billion.
More than 85,000 individuals and corporate partners have participated in the campaign, according to statistics Hargis told the audidence. Many include alumni giving back to their university while others are investors contributing to the future success of OSU, he said.
Boone Pickens’ $100 million gift kicked off the Branding Success Campaign in June of 2008.
“I said, ‘What the hell, let’s do it,’” he said.
Pickens says he is not through yet.
With the largest freshman class in the state of Oklahoma, the support from the campaign will help many students continue to attend OSU, including those from out of state.
More than 130 new faculty positions have been created, which allows OSU to compete worldwide for new faculty members. The campaign also allows OSU to move forward with facilities and invest in the latest technology.
Other campuses active in the campaign include OSU-Tulsa, Center for Health Sciences, OSU Institute for Technology and OSU-Oklahoma City.
Ross and Billie McKnight, co-chairpersons of Branding Success, made a significant appearance at the event.
“We didn’t find an organization that we thought was real responsive to the university’s needs, and through much hard work on many of people’s parts, many of you are here today,” said Ross McNight. “(The first thing we had to do) was clean up our own act as the foundation and make it ready and accountable for this kind money. The second thing we had to do was find proper leadership. Burns Hargis is that leader for Oklahoma State University.”
Out of hundreds of universities, fewer than 40 have reached the goal of raising $1 billion.
“We’ve had great support from the OSU family,” Hargis said.
Like the orange banner that hangs by the Student Union Plaza, the Branding Success campaign is now focusing on the “beyond” part. Because it reached its goal 18 months early, the campaign will continue until December 2014 as originally planned.
The campaign still needs to raise money for the Spears School of Business, the College of Human Sciences, a new performing arts center, a new baseball stadium, the OSU success center at OSU-Okmulgee and a new classroom facility for OSU-Tulsa, Hargis said.
“Facilities don’t transform a place,” he said. “What transforms it are the people.”