Community reacts to death of entrepreneur, OSU alum T. Boone Pickens

VIDEO: OSU staff recalls meeting T. Boone Pickens

TULSA, Okla. — The community around Oklahoma State University is mourning the loss of alum and oil entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens on Wednesday.

Pickens died Wednesday at age 91.

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OSU is holding a memorial service for him on September 25 at 3 p.m. at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Pickens had an impact on several people in the oil industry as well as those from his alma mater.

Burns Hargis, Oklahoma State University President, released the following statement following the announcement:

"All of us in the Oklahoma State University family are deeply saddened by the passing of Boone Pickens. At the same time, we join in celebrating his incredible life. He was the ultimate Cowboy. It is impossible to calculate his full impact on Oklahoma State. His historic gifts to academics and athletics not only transformed the university, they inspired thousands of others to join in the transformation. OSU will not be the same without the legendary Boone Pickens, but his mark on our university will last forever."

The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association also shared condolences for Boone's passing:

The Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents and Chairman Tucker Link released a statement of their own.

"On behalf of the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, we remember today the remarkable life of our alumnus Boone Pickens. His eternal optimism, kindness and competitiveness inspired us always to reach higher. He never forgot his roots and his love for Oklahoma State University was incalculable. We will be forever thankful to Boone Pickens for his big ideas, bold vision and unshakable spirit. There is no question that Boone Pickens put the 'Bright' in America's Brightest Orange."

Pickens, a massive supporter of OSU, posted his annual letter to the school and football team's fanbase on August 29 in what would be his final LinkedIn post before his death.

"I'm realistic about being close to the finish line. And I'm working diligently to complete projects as quickly as I can and tie up any loose ends," Pickens wrote.

"But I'm in it to win it. My first goal for 2019 is to win a Big 12 football championship…again. Then to make the final four playoffs. Fingers crossed Mike Gundy can make that happen this year. The window is closing for me."

OSU football coach Mike Gundy tweeted his reaction to the loss of the man whose name is on the stadium his team plays their home games in:

Gundy also released a statement on the passing.

"Mr. Pickens is a big part of our success and we're all thankful for the lasting impact he's had on Oklahoma State, both athletically and academically. It would have been difficult for us to climb as high we have without him. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who has had a greater impact on a university than Mr. Pickens has had at Oklahoma State. He'll be missed, but his legacy here will live on for a long time to come." ​​​​​

According to Stadium College Football Insider Brett McMurphy, OSU football will honor Pickens with a helmet decal for the remainder of their season.

OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder released his statement on Pickens's passing:

"The greatest Cowboy of them all has taken his last ride.  It will never be the same again.  We could never thank him enough for all that he did for our university.  He gave us everything he had and all that he asked in return was that we play by the rules and dream big.  He was living proof that anything is possible if you're wearing orange.  'Great ride Cowboy, great ride!'"

Pickens donated more than half of the $1 billion he gave to charity to the school, splitting it almost evenly between athletics and academics.

The passing hit both sides of the football field as University of Oklahoma Athletic Director offered his condolences on Twitter:

State officials also offered up their respects to Pickens's passing.

Governor Kevin Stitt issued a statement Wednesday night after the announcement:

"Oklahoma has lost a legend with the passing of Mr. T. Boone Pickens," said Gov. Stitt. "T. Boone Pickens' love and pride for Oklahoma overflowed through his contribution to job creation and economic growth and his generous philanthropy to Oklahoma's finest institutions. I considered him a friend and mentor, and his strong legacy will long be remembered and celebrated by Oklahomans."

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter released the following statement on Wednesday:

"T. Boone Pickens, a legendary Oklahoman, embodied the American dream and what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication. Although he was known as an incredibly successful, self-made businessman and entrepreneur, one of the most impressive things I witnessed in my years of knowing him was his profound sense of generosity. Boone's seemingly limitless charity over the years to different philanthropic endeavors will have a lasting impact on our state, and serve as an inspiration to future generations. While we mourn his passing today, let us always remember his gregarious personality, intellect and indelible impression he left on Oklahoma. My wife Cheryl and I offer our deepest condolences to the entire Pickens family."

U.S. Senator James Lankford released this statement:

"Today the world said goodbye to T. Boone Pickens with gratitude for an incredible legacy that will continue to live on after his passing. His vision and entrepreneurship forever changed the energy industry, making it a driver of our nation's economic engine and kick-starting American energy independence. Those who were recipients of the billions of dollars he gave through philanthropic efforts will be forever changed by his generosity. At the next home game, we will wear orange in the stadium that bears his name, and we'll remember the favor of Oklahoma State University's biggest fan. Cindy and I pray for his children and family as they grieve his passing. We are forever grateful for the lessons he provided our nation and Oklahoma during his lifetime."

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