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Longtime OSU supporter Neal Patterson passes away
Thu, July 13, 2017
Oklahoma State University has expressed its sorrow and condolences on the passing of one of the university and athletic department's top alumni and donors. Neal Patterson died July 9 at the age of 67 from unexpected complications from a soft-tissue cancer that was diagnosed in January 2016. His funeral service was held today in Leawood, Ks.
“The OSU family extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Neal Patterson,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “Neal was one of OSU’s most successful graduates. He was a passionate visionary who helped revolutionize the computerization of hospital records. His generosity and support of OSU extended across many interests. We will miss him dearly.”
Patterson grew up near his family's farm in Manchester, Okla. He earned a bachelor's degree in finance and a master's degree in business from Oklahoma State. He co-founded Cerner Corporation with two colleagues in 1979. Today, Cerner is the world's largest publicly traded health information technology company. FORTUNE recently named Cerner one of the world's most admired companies.
Patterson was instrumental in the creation of the OSU Center for Health Systems Innovation with gifts totaling $6 million. The Center for Health Systems Innovation, a collaborative effort of the Spears School and the OSU Center for Health Sciences, focuses on creating a comprehensive and coherent vision for health care problem-solving through market-based solutions.
Most recently, Patterson made a major gift to completely renovate the OSU Cowgirl Soccer Complex. The new facility will be a showcase for college soccer with club seats, plaza and upper bowl gathering areas and a north end zone terrace area and seating designed specifically for OSU students. The new facility will be named after Patterson. He also made major contributions to OSU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
“A little over three years ago, the Center for Health Systems Innovation was initiated through the generous financial support of Neal Patterson,” William Paiva, executive director for the Center, says. “Growing up in Manchester, Oklahoma, he believed passionately and personally about the need to improve rural health care through innovation and information technology. He also knew his alma mater, Oklahoma State University, could be a national player addressing this critical market segment of the health care industry.
“During that brief period and building off his initial support, the Center has grown to over 30 full-time employees and over 10 graduate students working every day to transform rural and Native American health. Mr. Patterson was always generous with his time, passion, and both personal and business connections to make this effort a success and making Oklahoma State a national player in rural and Native American health innovation. We will always be grateful for all he’s done for OSU and the Center for Health Systems Innovation.” Earlier this year, Patterson was announced as the main benefactor for the construction of a new stadium for the OSU Cowgirl soccer program, a $20 million project scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018.
“Neal’s passing is a tremendous loss on multiple levels,” Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder said. “He challenged everyone to reach for the stars and set an example of what can be accomplished by working hard and dreaming big. He’s given generously to athletics in an effort to inspire the next generation of students to change the world.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Holder said. “His passing leaves a void for all us who loved and admired him. One can only imagine what he would have done given a few more years. There is never enough time for the great ones.”
Cowgirl soccer head coach Colin Carmichael said, “We were deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Neal Patterson. Neal’s love and passion for OSU and our soccer program were very evident, and the generosity of he and his family will leave a lasting legacy on our program for years to come. He will be sorely missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with Neal’s family at this time.”