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Oklahoma State University Secures $250 Million In Insurance Commitments


STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA - Oklahoma State University (OSU) announced today that it will benefit from more than $250 million in life insurance commitments to support athletic department initiatives through an innovative program entitled “Gift of a Lifetime.”

The announcement was made by OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder, who also serves as president of Cowboy Athletics, Inc. He said the money will be used to endow athletic scholarships, facilities and operations and will significantly advance the school’s effort to be competitive in the Big 12 Conference.

The $250 million is in addition to the more than $200 million given recently by alums T. Boone Pickens and Sherman Smith to fund the construction of new athletic facilities.

OSU’s “Gift of a Lifetime” program involves selected alums in a broad age spread who have qualified for $10 million individual life insurance policies and agreed to name Cowboy Athletics the beneficiary. Cowboy Athletics is paying the premiums. So far, 25 alums have qualified for the program, which is a form of testamentary giving.

The idea for “Gift of a Lifetime” came from Pickens, one of the nation’s most generous philanthropists and founder and chairman of BP Capital, a Dallas, TX-based energy investment fund.

It is believed to be the first time collegiate athletics has used a life insurance program on such a grand scale, Holder said.

Pickens, a pioneer in the field of corporate health and fitness, said that “Gift of a Lifetime” gives participants the ability to monetize good health. “It is an easy way for qualified individuals to give, with the proceeds from life insurance policies secured with a pool of like-minded colleagues who share a common commitment to their institution.”

“Our initial discussions with Boone on this subject quickly shifted from a ’what if?’ to a ’why not?’ conversation,” Holder said. “One thing led to another and we sought guidance of top insurance experts to research the idea. This program is evidence of our loyal supporters willingness to embrace new ways to help their university by leaving a lasting legacy that will benefit OSU Cowboys and Cowgirls for generations to come.

“We have a bold vision with OSU Athletics to build a championship-caliber program which will be self-sufficient and therefore benefit academics as well,” said Holder. “We have been behind the curve in the Big 12 in several of our sports and this helps address that problem long-term. Boone’s donation and ’Gift of a Lifetime’ are wonderful for longer term stability, but they do not address the current and projected budget deficit.”

“This program was an ambitious and creative undertaking by the athletic department and they are to be commended,” said Interim OSU System CEO and President Dr. Marlene Strathe. “We need to carefully review this and other initiatives to determine if they have application as we enhance our fundraising to provide essential support for scholarships, fellowships and scientific research.”


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