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OSU Foundation begins search for new leader

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Organization’s new president will continue to unite donor passions with university priorities

The Oklahoma State University Foundation has proudly supported the university’s fundraising needs for more than half a century with a cadre of strong executives. This fall, the organization is working to find its new leader as current President Kirk Jewell has announced his 2020 retirement.

As one of the top higher-education fundraising organizations in the Big 12, the OSU Foundation started out with one development officer raising just a few thousand dollars in 1961. The momentum built and milestones continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including in 1976, when gifts in a single year surpassed $2 million for the first time. In 1982, T. Boone Pickens made his first $1 million gift. He later made the three largest gifts in Oklahoma State University’s history, with each totaling $100 million or more.

In June 1994, the OSU Foundation launched its first comprehensive campaign, Bringing Dreams to Life, which ended in June 2000, surpassing $260 million after an initial goal of $125 million. In December 2007, the OSU Foundation launched a subsequent campaign,Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University. More than 100,000 donors helped the campaign exceed its audacious $1 billion goal nearly 15 months ahead of schedule with a historic $1.2 billion raised in gifts and commitments in December 2015.

The organization has come a long way over the past 58 years, thanks to the Cowboy family and legacy-building Foundation presidents. Today, the Foundation is home to nearly 200 employees who wholeheartedly believe in the organization’s mission to unite donor passions with university priorities to achieve excellence. Thanks to the tremendous generosity of donors, the leadership of OSU President Burns Hargis and the hard work of many, including the OSU Foundation, OSU’s transformation continues.

There have been many game-changing additions to campus over the past few years, such as The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, which will open this fall. The new wing for the College of Human Sciences opened in 2016, and the new building for the Spears School of Business was dedicated in 2018. The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology also opened its new, state-of-the-art ENDEAVOR lab in 2018. All of these projects were made possible by generous donors.

The future is bright for OSU with many more exciting projects on the horizon. Construction on the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music is underway and the building is expected to open in 2021. Major capital campaigns for Aviation and the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, among others, are also underway. And this fall, the organization is launching the $375 million Brighter Orange, Brighter Future scholarship and student support fundraising campaign.

Today, the need for private funding for OSU and its students has never been more important. A search committee, made up of OSU executives and Foundation Board of Trustees, is overseeing the hiring of a new president. Jewell’s successor will be tasked with continuing the impressive momentum created over the past 15 years.

Well Content

Help the OSU Foundation continue its legacy of transformational leadership. Interested applicants should visit for details.


A Tradition of Strong Leadership

Layout Grid - Three Columns (thirds)
Left Column Middle Column Right Column
Robert D. Erwin
Robert D. Erwin 1961-1973
Merlin London
Merlin London 1973-1974
Charles E. Platt
Charles E. Platt 1974-1992
Ron Area
Ron Area 1992-2003
Malinda Berry-Fischer
Malinda Berry-Fischer 2003-2004
Kirk Jewell
Kirk Jewell 2004-present
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