Public Release: 

$50 million gift from T. Boone Pickens Foundation to benefit UT Southwestern

UT Southwestern Medical Center


IMAGE: From left, Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern, Mark Yudof, chancellor of the UT System, Madeleine Pickens, T. Boone Pickens, James Huffines, chairman of the Board of Regents of... view more

Credit: UT Southwestern Medical Center

DALLAS - May 16, 2007 - The T. Boone Pickens Foundation, named for the Texas icon and energy entrepreneur who founded it in 2006, has donated $50 million to ensure the continued excellence and prominence of UT Southwestern Medical Center into the future.

The gift, made to Southwestern Medical Foundation, will create a special investment fund projected to grow to $500 million within 25 years, at which time the funds will become available to support UT Southwestern programs in perpetuity. The $50 million for UT Southwestern is part of a total commitment of $100 million announced today by the Pickens Foundation, with an identical $50 million donation being made under the same terms to UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The combined donation, which ultimately will generate $1 billion for the two organizations, is the largest the foundation has ever given and the largest one-time charitable contribution made by a living donor in Texas.

In recognition of the landmark gift, a recently completed 800,000-square-foot medical research and education facility on UT Southwestern's North Campus will be named the T. Boone Pickens Biomedical Building. Completed in 2005, it is the largest research building ever built for a Texas university. The ultra-modern $240 million facility provides scientists with custom-designed space that promotes close contact and the exchange of ideas between researchers in the dozen departments and research centers that occupy the 14-story tower.

"It is my desire, through these gifts, to build major legacies, which will help ensure the excellence of UT Southwestern and M.D. Anderson in decades to come," said Mr. Pickens, who has been recognized by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as among the nation's most generous benefactors. "My foundation will get a ten for one yield on its money, and that's good for all of us."

Mr. Pickens is chairman of BP Capital, which manages one of the country's most successful energy investment funds. He also pursues a wide range of other business interests, from water marketing and ranch development initiatives to Clean Energy, North America's largest provider of vehicular natural gas.

The Holdenville, Okla., native founded Mesa Petroleum, which he grew into one of the country's largest independent natural gas and oil companies before leaving it in 1996 to establish BP Capital. In 1986 he established the nonprofit United Shareholders Association to help shareholders and inform them of corporate abuses, and in 1987 he wrote his autobiography, Boone, which became a New York Times best-seller.

Mr. Pickens has donated hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to a long list of organizations. He has been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and the Texas Business Hall of Fame. He received the coveted Horatio Alger Award in 2006.

"Boone Pickens is a legendary businessman and philanthropist who is known for his farsighted and innovative ideas," said Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of UT Southwestern. "Throughout his career he has dealt with challenges in fresh and novel ways, and it is entirely in keeping with his creative approach to life that his foundation is raising UT Southwestern's philanthropic sights in this unique way. We are tremendously excited about what his generous gift will mean for our long-term future, and we feel sure we can achieve the 25-year half-billion-dollar goal."

Based in Dallas, the T. Boone Pickens Foundation is focused on supporting educational programs, medical research, athletics and corporate wellness, at-risk youth, the entrepreneurial process, and conservation and wildlife initiatives. In the five years before 2006, when he established his foundation, Mr. Pickens had given a $1 million endowment fund to support heart research plus $2 million to establish the Boone Pickens Fund for Cancer Research and Treatment, Honoring Dr. Eugene Frenkel at UT Southwestern.

"Mr. Pickens has long been in the business of giving and helping people," said Paul M. Bass, chairman of Southwestern Medical Foundation. "His foundation's groundbreaking philanthropic approach will help our foundation significantly increase our long-range fundraising capabilities and provide a challenge for other donors to ensure their giving has much greater, collective impact. On behalf of thousands of people who will benefit from Mr. Pickens' generosity, we are extremely grateful to him."

The gift from the Pickens Foundation contributes to UT Southwestern's Innovations in Medicine campaign to raise $500 million to help attract the world's best scientists and clinicians and to support basic and clinical research as well as patient care and services.


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