STILLWATER — Standing on the plaza just outside the newly renovated Oklahoma State University Student Union, billionaire philanthropist T. Boone Pickens said Wednesday that the university is a different place than it was in 2005.
It's no surprise. An extra $1 billion has a tendency to change a place.
Branding Success, OSU's fundraising campaign, reached its $1 billion goal 18 months ahead of schedule, university officials announced Wednesday. The campaign is scheduled to wrap up at the end of 2014.
Although it's already reached its mark, the campaign will continue until the 2014 end date, said OSU President Burns Hargis. The university still needs to raise funds to build a number of new buildings, including a new facility for the Spears School of Business and a performing arts center OSU officials plan to build at the southeast corner of campus.
“We have a lot to do,” Hargis said.
Included in the $1 billion raised was $515.9 million for student support, including student scholarships. Funds from the campaign created nearly 1,000 new scholarship funds, which will generate scholarships for thousands of students, Hargis said.
A large portion of that total came from Pickens, who pledged $120 million in matching funds for student scholarships.
Those scholarships have contributed to enrollment growth at OSU, Hargis said, including among students from outside Oklahoma. OSU's freshmen make up the largest first-year class in state history, and Hargis said about 30 percent of those students come from other states.