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Gov. Kevin Stitt, Continental Resources CEO William Berry, Harold Hamm and OSU President Kayse Shrum pose for a photo.

Visionary donations establish Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator | 405-744-5540 |

The future of American energy runs through Oklahoma State University.

On Dec. 15, legislators, business leaders, media members and OSU leadership flocked to Oklahoma City for a special announcement — one that would mean a bold re-imagining of what the future holds for OSU, the state, the nation and beyond.

“Today we are sitting in a state-of-the-art facility that was first built in 2016,” OSU President Kayse Shrum told the crowd. “And now, we’re proud to announce the long-term plan for the future of this building … the Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University.”

Cheers erupted from the gallery while orange and white confetti rained down. Joined by Pistol Pete and the OSU Pom Squad, members of the Cowboy Marching Band launched into “The Waving Song.” It was a moment worthy of celebration, one engineered by a combined $50 million gift from the Harold Hamm Foundation and Continental Resources. Forecasting the future of energy is a challenge, but The Hamm Institute’s mission is clear: to educate the next generation of energy leaders, cementing Oklahoma’s legacy as a global energy leader.

kayse shrum clapping as confetti rains down

The initial funding for the institute and project will be a gift of $50 million — $25 million from the Harold Hamm Foundation and $25 million from Continental Resources. Shrum called the creation of the new institute a “watershed moment” that will amplify the power of research and industry.

“The generous gifts from Harold Hamm and Continental Resources to establish the Hamm Institute for American Energy will have a transformative impact on OSU and the energy sector worldwide. With a state-of-the art lab featuring wells drilled below the building, an auditorium, and classrooms, this building is fit for purpose,” Shrum said. “Mr. Hamm’s and Continental’s generosity will bring together the brightest minds and future energy sector leaders from around the world, all with a goal of solving one of society’s most pressing concerns. Together, we will change the trajectory of energy security in the United States.”

The Hamm Institute will be located in what was formerly known as OSU DISCOVERY, 300 NE 9th St. in the Oklahoma City Innovation District, and will become the primary and permanent occupant of the building. The Hamm Institute will become the center of all things American energy, hosting symposiums, authors, speakers, energy summits and global energy leadership conversations.

The building will eventually house the Oklahoma Hall of Energy Legends Interactive Museum, a public exhibit highlighting the history and storied legacy of Oklahoma’s great energy leaders. Gov. Kevin Stitt noted during the announcement celebration that Hamm is certainly among them. Stitt said it was a great day to be an Oklahoman, and, of course, a great day to be a Cowboy.

“This is a transformational moment for Oklahoma and our people,” he said. “Oklahoma is an energy state and Harold is our energy icon. This collaboration between one of our great universities and one of our most innovative and successful energy companies and entrepreneurs will raise the bar for American energy innovation.”

A native Oklahoman, Hamm is recognized as a national leader and staunch advocate of America’s domestic oil and natural gas industry. He has spent over five and a half decades in the industry, from starting his own oil services business to founding energy exploration and production giant Continental Resources. He said his motivation for the donation is rooted in his desire to help secure the nation’s energy and economic security. He said the Hamm Institute will work to ensure the United States leads the world when it comes to advancing innovation and technology while responsibly producing and meeting the nation’s energy needs for decades to come.

“It’s time, once again, for Oklahoma to become a global energy leader,” Hamm said. “It’s my hope the world will look to us for the best ideas when it comes to energy stewardship, research, and education. This gift is about investing in our shared future — the future of our country and the state and people I love.

“I see the institute as a game changer — a place where the best and the brightest will come together to responsibly solve the world’s energy challenges. A third of the world lives in energy poverty. We need to fix that. And we need to make sure Americans will always have an abundance of reliable, affordable energy for generations to come.”

pistol pete

In acknowledgement of Continental’s contributions, the building’s concourse and auditorium was renamed the Continental Resources Concourse and Continental Resources Auditorium. The program fund supporting the institute also will be named in recognition of Continental.

Continental Resources CEO Bill Berry said the goal of American energy independence would not be possible without leadership, research, innovation and execution. He said he looks forward to collaborating with industry leaders, experts and the standout students at OSU to make significant progress in securing America’s energy independence. It all starts with leadership, he said. 

“We look forward to working side by side with OSU to fulfill this mission,” he said. “The Hamm Institute belongs right here in Oklahoma, not only as a celebration of our past … but also as a beacon for the future. “It is part of the Continental mission — to find, nurture and inspire the next generation of energy leaders. We envision the Hamm Institute for American Energy to be the center of learning, research and energy innovation for decades to come.”

Dr. Shrum further detailed the vision for the Hamm Institute in a Journal Record op-ed, calling it a “nexus of interdisciplinary innovation and will amplify the power of research and industry.”

“With world-class faculty joined by industry thought leaders and the bright minds of our students, we have the potential to change the world. Sustainable energy security is possible, if only we will work together. Secure energy solutions are possible, if only we will listen to each other,” Shrum said. “Imagine if you will, what’s possible when preeminent thinkers from the energy sector converge on Oklahoma City to put their heads together to create positive change. Imagine what is possible when undergraduate and graduate students, working alongside leading researchers, have an opportunity to pursue ideas to find research breakthroughs.

“Besides the progress in energy itself, the state will see an increase in workforce development. From the innovations in the institute, I am confident new jobs in the energy sector will be created, and OSU will have the graduates qualified to fill them.”

crowd at the announcement of the Hamm Institute

The announcement of the creation of the Hamm Institute is on the heels of another landmark announcement — the creation of the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education — and just before yet another — the creation of the DOD Counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) Center of Excellence (COE).

OSU Senior Vice President of Operations Jerome Loughridge said it all adds up to significant momentum for the university, which is increasingly at the forefront of crucial Oklahoma industries, such as aerospace, energy, health care and teacher education.

“This is another major milestone for OSU, which doubles as a milestone for our state and for society at large,” he said. “When we talk about the land-grant mission, what we’re really talking about is our ability, as an institution, to put research to work for Oklahoma. It means innovation, collaboration and finding solutions to real-world problems. Energy is a ubiquitous need, and OSU is perfectly positioned to be a leader in this space. We amplify the power of research, and this new institute will be at the center of energy innovation in Oklahoma for decades to come.”

OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson said these kinds of gifts go a long way to supporting the university, but they also are immensely important for supporting our state.

“Giving is about a vision for the future and creating a legacy that will live on. That’s the power of higher education, particularly a land-grant institution like OSU, which has a presence in all 77 counties in Oklahoma,” she said. “Support for OSU cascades into support for innovation, economic growth and, in this case, a global energy hub in Oklahoma City at the OKC Innovation District. When it comes to turning dollars into real impact, Orange is the Answer.”

Building a Legacy of Innovation

JULY 28, 2020

OSU announces technology collaboration with Baker Hughes and the donation of the Baker Hughes Energy Innovation Center located in the Innovation District east of downtown Oklahoma City.

OCT. 1, 2020

OSU Engineering students get first tour of OSU new facility.

DEC. 17, 2020

OSU unveils new name for facility: OSU DISCOVERY.

SUMMER, 2021

OSU DISCOVERY plays host to STEM camps organized by the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.

AUG. 18, 2021

OSU announces launch of Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education.

DEC. 15, 2021

The Harold Hamm Foundation and Continental Resources announce a combined $50 million gift to create the Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University.

JAN. 31, 2022

Hamm Institute hosts launch announcement for new DOD Counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) Center of Excellence (COE).

Photos by: Mack Burke and Gary Lawson

Story by: Mack Burke | STATE Magazine

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