think it's good for Oklahomans to hold together.”
Billionaire donor Boone Pickens attended Thursday's news conference announcing the Mitchell donation. He complimented the decision to split money between academics and athletics.
"I think it's good,” Pickens said. "I like that. There's no question that athletics is, as one of our guys said, the front porch. We all know the importance of it, and we've got athletics going. We had a great year in athletics. And we'll have an even better year next year. We're in good shape in athletics.”
Pickens, who has the football stadium and OSU's geology department named for him, said he's hoping to talk the Mitchells into having a facility named in their honor. University president Burns Hargis said the couple declined an offer to have the entrepreneurship program named for them.
"I think they should have something named for them,” Pickens said.
Hargis said the split gift reminded him of the way Mitchell invests in business.
"He looks at the whole picture — ‘Where can I put the resources to get the maximum benefit?' I think he sees both of these as critical, both to Oklahoma State and the state of Oklahoma. He's dealing with kind of both sides of the equation. In a way, the athletic side is the marketing and the exciting, entertaining side of the university. And, of course, the academic side is our core discipline. And we have to do both well.”