Letter to the editor, by John Bryant

The following letter to the editor was published in the Stillwater News Press, February 18, 2006.

An Open Letter to Mr. T. Boone Pickens

Dear Mr. Pickens,

Both of my parents graduated from OAMC/Oklahoma State University, as did I. My father served on the faculty of OAMC/OSU from 1942 until his untimely death in 1968. I returned to Stillwater and the OSU faculty in 1977, serving as a school head here for almost a decade before rejoining the teaching faculty. I retired from the active faculty in 2000. In total, my immediate family has been very closely associated with OAMC/OSU from 1927 until the present time: almost 80 years. Despite that history, I would not presume to speak for the OSU Old Guard or anyone else; however, I do believe that my blood is about as Orange as anyone’s.

Unlike many recent letters mentioning your name, I do not write to besmirch you, your career, reputation or your legacy. Quite the reverse: I am a real and true fan of T. Boone Pickens. I became a fan some years ago, after reading your first autobiography, Boone (1987). Of course, like any other autobiography, Boone told the story from your own viewpoint. Nevertheless, I came away thoroughly impressed by a young Holdenville kid of modest means who garnered almost uncountable success through hard work and the application of an unusually creative mind. The fact that your success came in an already mature industry, dominated by giant corporations, rather than in an infant but burgeoning industry (Gates and Turner), speaks clearly to your own unparalleled achievements. I was and continue to be very proud of the fact that you graduated from OSU. I became even prouder when you gave so generously to the OSU Geology Department that now bears your name. Bravo and Well Done! And thank you for putting academics first in your generosity to our university.

It must be bewildering and saddening for you to see the negative responses of so many of the OSU Community to your truly unprecedented generosity. It is hard to imagine that someone who gives almost a third of a BILLION dollars to a university could become a target of such continuing anger and vituperation. It must be startling to find ones self a laughing stock and a target of highly uncomplimentary editorial cartoons in the student newspaper and – internationally – on the internet, after setting such an excellent example of gratitude to your alma mater. You cannot but wonder “What in the world has gone wrong here?”

What has gone wrong, Mr. Pickens, is that you (and OSU) have been astoundingly poorly served by President Schmidly and his administration. Dr. Schmidly and his minions have been literally bullying and threatening many defenseless elderly citizens of Stillwater. They have used tactics that have been rarely seen in this country (I hope) and remind many of us of the horror stories of Occupied Europe. Dr. Schmidly, his hand-picked assistants and incompetent consultants have been successfully forcing innocent citizens out of their homes and costing them substantial portions of their life savings, using very unethical tactics…. all in your name, Mr. Pickens. Perhaps some of the early miss-steps of the current OSU administration could be forgiven in their excitement and gratitude at your unprecedented largess. However, the utter lack of integrity and the unethical bullying behavior of this administration continue to this very day. It is policy, led by a man who has stated publicly that he does not care about “process,” only about “results.”

Upon his arrival at OSU, Dr. Schmidly instituted an administrative bloodbath, the likes of which this institution had never seen. Highly regarded Vice Presidents and Deans were fired wholesale and replaced with hand-picked people whose first loyalty was to Dr. Schmidly, not to Oklahoma State University. Far more than any other, in this administration, the Buck Stops at the Top.

The bungling of Dr. Schmidly and his regime in this entire affair is seriously damaging your legacy! Your generosity, like that of Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, should be publicly celebrated for generations into the future, not publicly ridiculed.

Mr. Pickens, you have never tolerated this startling lack of competence in your business affairs. Why tolerate it now?

John H. Bryant

{Moderator’s note: I do not know why the Stillwater Newpress sometimes fails to put all the published letters to the editor online. However, John Bryant had sent this letter to me earlier and I told him I would wait until it was published and then include the link on the website. I have emailed the newspress several times to ask why some letters were not included online and have never gotten an answer.

Since this is one of several that have not appeared online with the Newpress Website, I will put it on this site for those of you who do not subscribe to the Stillwater NewPress.}

This entry was posted in Stillwater NewsPress. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>