OSU graduate to honor mentor in New Frontiers building
Friday, March 31, 2023
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The New Frontiers campaign to build a state-of-the-art teaching, research and Extension facility for Oklahoma State University Agriculture is providing opportunities for major gift donors to name a space in the building.
For Terry Tippens — of counsel at Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey and Tippens and a 1968 OSU agricultural economics graduate — becoming a New Frontiers major gift donor is a way to give back to the university. He named a space in the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall in recognition of the agricultural economics program that benefited him so much.
“I consider supporting the New Frontiers campaign as more of an honor than an obligation,” Tippens said. “I have been very appreciative of the education I received in agricultural economics throughout my legal career as a litigator in complex commercial cases.”
During his time at OSU, Tippens met James Plaxico, who served as head of the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics from 1961 to 1977 and retired from the university in 1988 with 43 years of service in the agricultural economics field.
Plaxico left a lasting impression on Tippens. As a result, Tippens and his wife, Donna, chose to name the agricultural economics department head office in the New Frontiers building in honor of 98-year-old Plaxico.
“Dr. Plaxico was head of the ag econ department while I was there, and I appreciated his counseling, guidance and upper-level courses,” Tippens said. “As a practicing attorney, I even employed him as an expert witness and considered him a mentor. We wanted to honor his leadership of such a fine program.”
Plaxico said he met Tippens while greeting and honoring incoming OSU freshmen and quickly identified him as an excellent student and wonderful person.
“When I first heard that the naming was in the works, I was surprised, elated, appreciative, humbled and overwhelmed with fond memories of people and events of long ago,” he said. “My favorite memories as department head include observing the phenomenal growth of the ag econ department in terms of graduate and undergraduate enrollment along with student achievement. I loved being actively engaged with students, faculty and agricultural leaders in developing courses and programs to meet evolving needs and fill opportunities.”
The world-class New Frontiers Agricultural Hall will provide the needed support to allow students, faculty and staff to be their best while contributing to OSU’s mission, Plaxico added.
The agricultural economics department head office honoring Plaxico will be housed on the second floor of the new building.
The facility will help strengthen the land-grant mission while addressing two key challenges: attracting and retaining scientific leaders and students and equipping collaborative teams with cutting-edge teaching classrooms and research laboratories.
“It’s been rewarding to see so many alumni, like Terry, invest in the vision of our college and honor someone like Dr. Plaxico with a named space,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture. “It’s also been wonderful to share the naming opportunities with donors and see them select a space where their name will be on display in the building, and for many, that has evolved into a way to create a family legacy and honor a mentor or loved one.”
The New Frontiers campaign reached its $50 million fundraising goal in record time. The campaign is recognized as one of the fastest capital campaigns at OSU and the first academic capital campaign of this magnitude to reach its fundraising goal before the building opens.
To address additional building costs and added features, more support is needed to enhance teaching, research and Extension efforts. Visit New Frontiers to learn more about getting involved in the campaign or for construction updates and donor stories.
The New Frontiers campaign was launched in January 2020 to build a new state-of-the-art facility for OSU Agriculture. The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, expected to open in fall 2024, further advances teaching, research and Extension efforts that are critical to the state’s economy, citizens’ safety and quality of life. By advancing OSU Agriculture and its programs, New Frontiers is fostering innovation to help feed the world.