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Texas Couple Pledge $3 Million to OSU Athletics Gift

Monday, January 23, 2006

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State University announced today that alumni Joe and Connie Mitchell of Glen Rose, Texas, have gifted $3 million toward OSU’s Academic Enhancement Center [AEC] and the “Next Level” stadium campaign for Cowboy football.

“This is a special gift that touches both academics and athletics,” said OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly. 

“Graduation and success beyond athletics is a top priority for our student-athletes and strengthening our AEC will help us reach that objective.  Several of our colleges have student success centers that enhance the learning experience and the AEC is doing the same for our student athletes, allowing them to achieve at the highest level academically.  We are extremely grateful to the Mitchells for stepping forward and investing at a significant level in the future of Oklahoma State.”   

In recognition of the Mitchell’s generous commitment, the AEC will be renamed the Joe and Connie Mitchell Academic Enhancement Center.

“This is a far-reaching donation that will directly benefit our facility improvement needs as well as have a positive impact on scholarships, graduation rates and recruitment,”  said Craig Clemons, Associate Vice President of Development, Athletics.  “It will allow us to truly focus more resources and energies on educational development, which is critically important given the vast majority of student athletes will make a living after college in a field other than professional sports.”

The AEC provides the academic resources necessary for Oklahoma State student-athletes to succeed in the classroom, earn a degree and become successful professionals in whatever they pursue.  The center contains study rooms, teaching labs and computer centers. 

"This gift will have immediate benefits, but it will also strengthen the role academics plays in OSU athletics,” said Marilyn Middlebrook, Director of Academic Services for Student Athletes. “We are now able to devote significant attention to the testing and development of student-athletes, and provide more in-depth services, including services for students with learning challenges.”

Joe Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in architectural studies in 1974, and Connie earned her degree in business education in 1972.  The couple was formerly involved in the telecommunication industry and currently operates 10XXX Ranch.

10XXX Ranch, located in Glen Rose, houses the nation’s foremost show cattle operation, breeding champion show calves for customers across the country.  The ranch is also home to wildlife and is a corporate recreational facility for tourists to enjoy the best of the outdoors.

“We’ve always felt a rich connection to OSU, because we met and married while still students there,” said the Mitchells. “The gift to the AEC appeals to our interests in competitive athletics and, as importantly, a sound educational platform for student athletes.  Having family members with special educational needs, we completely understand how mentoring, tutoring and labs can make the difference in a young person achieving graduation and reaching their full potential.”

OSU eclipsed the original $86 million Next Level Campaign goal through donor commitments including gifts, pledges, premium seat donations and student activities.

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