Fall Commencement Insulting

Dear Regents:

At the meeting last Friday, you heard much opposition to OSU’s new Master Plan. As you know, most of the opposition is directed at the land acquisition for the athletics village. It is that purchase, supported by a recent donation by T. Boone Pickens, that will displace Stillwater residents. It is that purchase that will result in a vacant lot in the core of Stillwater, because OSU can’t even find the funding to finish the construction of the football stadium, much less find funding for a new athletics village. It is that purchase that sends more funds to athletics facilities, while the library – the center of any academic institution – houses archives in a grocery store building.

This land acquisition was specifically opposed in the comments of the representatives of what President Schmidly likes to call the “OSU Family” – official representatives of the Faculty Council, the Staff Council, and the graduate and undergraduate students. At last Friday’s meeting, the mayor of the City of Stillwater also outlined the history of OSU’s changing demands for the closure of Hall of Fame, about which the City is informed, not consulted, to accommodate the expansion of T. Boone Pickens Stadium.

Now it appears that T. Boone Pickens is the speaker for next Friday’s Fall Commencement exercises. Inviting this donor to be honored at OSU, at this time, is not the action of an effective leader. It is not the action of a man who listens to the concerns of the people he leads or the town he leads them in. It is not the action of a man who has the sensitivity and skill to build support for his vision – much less create a vision that is worthy of support.

Regents, I urge you: please encourage President Schmidly to discover a sudden conflict that will prevent Mr. Pickens’s appearance on behalf of OSU at this sensitive time. Please help the “OSU Family” understand that you hear and share their concerns about the quality of their campus leadership – and that you, as leaders of the OSU System, share a vision for long-term excellence at OSU that is worthy of an institution of higher education.


Marion Agnew

Former Stillwater resident

Daughter of OSU Emeritus Faculty

Sister of OSU alumni

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2 Responses to Fall Commencement Insulting

  1. I am of 2 minds when it comes to this. While it would be nice to let people know how we feel, this event is for the students and mostly for the family of the students. I would be really up for a protest at the airport or the road coming into the event if we could get his itinerary.

  2. Judy White says:

    I’ve submitted this “Open Letter” to the O’Collegian and the NewsPress.

    Dear Mr.Pickens, As you give your commencement address at OSU this week, think of how your name will be remembered in Stillwater. Your name adorns the school of geology and the football stadium. Maybe you could fund a processing facility and fueling station for alternative fuels, on undeveloped land, right here in Payne County. Travelers to Stillwater, around town and around campus, would benefit from less polluting, renewable energy resources. Betting on sustained athletic success is risky business. Betting on renewable fuel sources would seem to be a possible legacy worthy of support. There are many ways to be remembered, Mr. Pickens. Remaking a university in your image is not worthy of you. Pickens University, P.U. What’s in a name? How will you be remembered?

    Judy L. White

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