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ConocoPhillips Oklahoma State University Alumni Center dedicated

Friday, August 19, 2005

It doesn’t get any better for Oklahoma State University alumni — a beautiful new 52,000 square-foot home, brimming with OSU history and traditions, and all the Hideaway pizza you can eat.

Friday, the OSU Alumni Association thanked donors and dedicated the privately funded $17 million ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. OSU also announced plans for a spectacular “Housewarming” event before the first home football game on Sept. 3.

OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly said building an alumni center was one of the university’s top priorities and that a $6 million gift from ConocoPhillips launched the campaign and inspired other donors to help make the center a reality.

“It is a fitting tribute that we name our new Alumni Center in recognition and appreciation of ConocoPhillips’ longstanding support of OSU,” Schmidly said. “We are also grateful to all donors who came forward to make this center a reality. The new Alumni Center is one of the finest facilities in the nation and will no doubt become a hub for campus activities for generations to come.”

James Mulva, ConocoPhillips chairman and CEO, spoke at the dedication.

“We are especially pleased to have the ConocoPhillips’ name associated with this beautiful facility," he said. "It underscores how much OSU and its alumni mean to our company. ConocoPhillips employs more graduates from Oklahoma State than from any other university in the nation. Almost anywhere in the world where ConocoPhillips is at work, it’s likely you’ll find a Cowboy connection.”

The Alumni Center is located in the heart of OSU’s historic district, near the Student Union and Old Central, the university’s oldest building.

“It’s a great location, and it’s only fitting that it is next to Old Central, a symbol of OSU’s proud history and heritage,” said Jerry Gill, Alumni Association executive director. “There is a connection between our association and Old Central that has only grown stronger with time. The first gathering of our alumni in 1897 was in Old Central. The association was housed there from 1930-55 and since then, the love and appreciation of our alumni have for their heritage has not diminished. We are looking forward to the synergy our proximity will allow us. We will be able to continue to strengthen our connection by sharing our exhibits and resources with Old Central.”

Gill said the crown jewel of the Alumni Center is the Southwestern Legacy Hall, which features photographs, electronic exhibits and interactive demonstrations that provide a glimpse into OSU’s rich history and traditions. Southwestern Legacy Hall also features a “Wall of Fame” to recognize alumni that the association and the university have honored over the years.

“The goal of Southwestern Legacy Hall is to represent the people, places and events that have shaped our university. I think it truly captures the traditions, heritage and personality of this institution,” he said.

The Alumni Center also features the Click Family Alumni Hall, a spacious facility for alumni banquets, meetings and other events. It also includes offices for Alumni Association staff, a new home for the OSU Emeriti Association of retired faculty and staff, and an OSU Visitor Center for prospective students, their families and other visitors to the campus. Meeting rooms for student and faculty organizations also will be available. The center will rent conference facilities to on- and off-campus clients.

Leonard Court, Alumni Center project chairman and past national president of the OSU Alumni Association, said the center will bring the OSU family together and provide a connection for life.

“We now have a place to honor our alumni, a place to celebrate our history and heritage, and a place to call home," Court said.

Sean Kouplen, president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, said the facility is a dream come true for alumni and friends of OSU.

“The center is going to make a dramatic difference in the experience alumni have when they come back to campus,” Kouplen said.

Gill said one unique attraction is a kitchen with an Italian-made Hideaway pizza oven donated by Stillwater’s legendary restaurant. The oven was delivered from Italy and installed by two Italian workmen. Pizzas will be prepared at the restaurant, but baked at the Alumni Center during game days and other special events.

“The OSU experience wouldn’t be complete without a slice of Hideaway Pizza,” Gill said. “We’ll have plenty of freshly baked pizza at all our game day celebrations.”

Gill said the Sept. 3 Housewarming and future game days will feature pep rallies with Pistol Pete, the OSU Spirit Squad and the Pep Band. The Spirit Walk — an OSU tradition in which OSU football coach Mike Gundy and the team walk to Boone Pickens Stadium as thousands of fans line Hester Street — will begin right across from the center. During the Housewarming event, the first 1,000 visitors will receive gifts, and door prizes will be given away every hour.

Inside the Alumni Center, visitors will be able to watch two 15-foot projection television screens that will carry ESPN game day programs, as well as the Big 12 and other games.

Frankfurt Short Bruza of Oklahoma City was lead architect for the project. Boldt Construction of Oklahoma City was general contractor.

Founded in 1897, the OSU Alumni Association has more then 32,000 active members and represents 180,000 alumni living throughout the world.

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