OSU benefactor helps Holder realize his vision

By Andrea Cohen Published: June 27, 2008
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STILLWATER — This fall, under the impression he was selling a west end zone football suite, Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder met with alumnus Malone Mitchell.

As Holder was giving his usual OSU sales pitch, the one where the AD gives his vision of the future and talks about the athletic facilities he plans to build, Mitchell stopped him.

"He interrupted me and said, ‘Look, here's what I have in mind,'” Holder recalled. "I about fell out of my chair.”

What Mitchell and his wife, Amy, had in mind — with a few minor tweaks — came to fruition this month. The couple donated $57.2 million in stock to OSU, half of it to academics and half to the athletic department. While the Mitchells earmarked the academic portion to create an entrepreneurship program in the school of business, the athletic gift is less specific.

"Malone and Amy said to just use it wherever we want to,” Holder said.

Holder said the plan is to hold the donated SandRidge Energy stock and borrow against it, "to speed up the process of building all these facilities.”

OSU is in the midst of a $185 million football stadium renovation. The school has plans to break ground on a $40 million to $50 million indoor practice facility this fall and plans to build new stadiums for several more sports.

"We think (the stock) is a good investment,” Holder said. "Malone and Amy built a good company, and they sold it to a person who lives in Oklahoma, Tom Ward, and we have confidence in the company. Why sell the stock? That's a great investment, and it's an Oklahoma company.

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