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Karen Poindexter became a major gift donor to the New Frontiers campaign because of her late husband’s devotion to education and agriculture. Pictured are the late John Poindexter and wife Karen with their three children: Kara, Jacob and Kirstin. (Photo Provided)

Family honors loved one’s memory in new home for OSU Agriculture

Monday, August 21, 2023

Media Contact: Mandy Gross | Senior Manager of Strategic and VP Communications | 405-744-4063 |

As avid Oklahoma State University fans, the Poindexter family spends most weekends wearing orange and supporting OSU Cowboys at athletic events.

After the late John Poindexter, a 1980 OSU agricultural economics graduate, and his wife, Karen, married in 1984, they followed the Cowboys wherever they went.

“When we had our three kids, there was no question that they would go to OSU,” Karen Poindexter said. “When they were younger, they understood that’s what their mom and dad do — go to OSU football and basketball games.”

All three of their children — Jacob, Kirstin and Kara — followed in their dad’s footsteps, graduating from OSU.

Karen Poindexter said education was always important to her husband, and they made sure to instill that in their children.

Because of her husband’s devotion to education and agriculture, she decided to become a major gift donor to the New Frontiers campaign to build a state-of-the-art teaching, research and Extension facility for OSU Agriculture.

Karen Poindexter named the Quantitative Analysis Teaching Lab, located on the third floor of the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall. The John Poindexter Lab will be a 48-seat, multi-purpose computer class and laboratory that will provide the OSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management with a state-of-the-art learning environment for hands-on computer instruction.

“My kids and I thought naming a space in his memory would be a great tribute to their dad,” she said. “John enjoyed agriculture so much, and he had a tremendous impact on the industry during his time at Farm Credit."

After graduating from OSU, John Poindexter launched his career in 1981 as a trainee at Farm Credit in Pauls Valley.

In 1998, he and his family moved to Broken Arrow where John Poindexter worked his way up the ranks of Farm Credit of East Central Oklahoma. He became president and chief executive officer in April 2007 and was described as a driver of many changes in the association.

In a tribute to John Poindexter in a Farm Credit publication, Patrick Zeka, who succeeded him as CEO, wrote that the cooperative grew loan volume from $396 million to more than $737 million, an 86% increase, under John Poindexter’s leadership.

“This growth allowed the cooperative to become more efficient, resulting in improved earnings, a stronger capital position and larger patronage distributions,” Zeka said.

To honor his legacy, Karen Poindexter initiated a memorial fund with the OSU Foundation in honor of her husband after his passing in 2014. In 2020, she established the John Poindexter Memorial Endowed Scholarship in the Ferguson College of Agriculture to support students in agricultural economics.

“With Karen’s support to OSU, she is very determined to honor John’s legacy and recognize how he cared for students and impacted them in ways that would propel them to be successful in future careers,” said Megan Smith, associate director of development for the OSU Foundation. “This is what led her to establish the scholarship and name the space in the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall as it would benefit students in agricultural economics.”

Karen Poindexter’s gift to New Frontiers helped OSU surpass the $50 million campaign goal in record time.

“It’s an honor to be able to contribute to OSU in memory of my husband and to help the future of agriculture,” Karen Poindexter said. “The future is very bright, and the New Frontiers name says it all.”

Visit New Frontiers to learn more about getting involved in the campaign, naming opportunities, 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.

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