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Oklahoma State University

Cherokee nation first Native American tribe to endow scholarship at Oklahoma State University

Tue, May 03, 2011

$333,334 gift amplified to $1 million through Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match

The Cherokee Nation Foundation gave $333,334 to Oklahoma State University to endow Cherokee Nation Foundation scholarships as part of Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University. This represents the first time a Native American Nation has endowed a scholarship at OSU. With a match from OSU alumnus and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, under the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match (PLSM), the gift will total $1 million.

“OSU is a national leader in Native American graduates, with a large contingent of Cherokee Nation students," said OSU President Burns Hargis. “This scholarship will provide life-changing support to generations of Cherokee Nation citizens who pursue their academic dreams at OSU. We applaud the Cherokee Nation Foundation for stepping forward in a momentous way to benefit its citizens and their educational pursuits at OSU.”

The Cherokee Nation Foundation’s mission is to provide higher educational assistance to Cherokee citizens and help to revitalize the Cherokee language.

“Education has always been a cornerstone of Cherokee values,” said Kimberlie Gilliland, executive director of the Cherokee Nation Foundation. “The Cherokee Nation built the first institution of higher learning for women west of the Mississippi River, and was the first tribe to develop a written language. Partnering with Oklahoma State University through the Pickens Match in our education initiatives allows us to multiply the impact of our donors’ dollars in a significant way, while continuing our proud history of educational excellence.”

“This gift is a perfect example of the impact the Pickens Match will have in perpetuity on not only OSU students but the entire state. Everyone benefits when people are provided the opportunity to pursue a college education,” said Kirk Jewell, president and CEO of the Oklahoma State University Foundation. “OSU is fortunate to have such great friends and partners as the Cherokee Nation Foundation. We are grateful to the people of the Cherokee Nation for this gift and we commit to advancing our mutual goals. Branding Success has brought us together with many of Oklahoma’s constituents to achieve greater access to higher education.”

The Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match was announced on Feb. 26, 2010, at the Branding Success campaign launch event where T. Boone Pickens pledged a $100 million matching gift opportunity for donations or pledges for scholarship endowments. He later further expanded the program to have even more impact for current and future students across the OSU system by extending the deadline for commitments to Feb. 28, 2011, and increasing the match. This program included 2,665 donors committing $71.5 million, for a total impact of $191.5 million. A total of 316 new scholarships were added and 80 existing scholarships were increased by this program.