FEBRUARY 21, 2007

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OSU-OKC announces largest gift in history

Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City announced the largest one-time private gift in its history in January, a $1 million gift that fulfills a pledge from John E. Kirkpatrick toward a new Agriculture Resource Center.

The gift will support the construction of a new Agriculture Resource Center, a 33,000 square-foot building that will house horticulture, agriculture and veterinary classes on the OSU-OKC campus. The building will become operational in spring 2008.

“We are delighted about the opportunities that this gift will make possible,” said Dr. Jerry Carroll, president of OSU-OKC. “Our agriculture programs at OSU-OKC flourish because of the generosity of the Kirkpatrick family. This gift secures their continued growth.”

The new Agriculture Resource Center is needed due to thriving classes, particularly in “urban agriculture” – an emerging field of study that expands traditional agriculture to activities for an urban lifestyle. OSU-OKC offers programs in urban agriculture, including floral design and turf grass management.

A new building also means, for the first time, the entire Division of Agriculture Technologies will be housed within one building. Currently, a large part of the division, the veterinary technology program, is located on the opposite end of campus.

The Agriculture Resource Center will include state-of-the-art classrooms, labs and offices split into two wings. They will be joined by an open area made of a high, vaulted ceiling that will serve as a new conservatory for indoor plants and gallery exhibits.

Graduates who take classes in the new Agriculture Resource Center will be prepared for a variety of careers with retail floristry, parks, greenhouses, zoos, golf courses or veterinary clinics.

Local organizations, community groups and businesses also will benefit from the center. The space will be used by garden clubs and various other groups within the agriculture industry.

The $1 million gift adds to a long history of the Kirkpatrick family’s support for the OSU-OKC campus. In 1984 a donation from John E. Kirkpatrick established a horticulture center on campus, which now consists of greenhouses, demonstration gardens, a community garden and an arboretum. The center is also home to the OSU-OKC Farmers’ Market.

“My grandfather took great joy in his association with the horticulture program,” said Kirkpatrick’s grandson, Christian K. Keesee. “He saw the opportunities and benefits of this Agriculture Resource Center, for the community and for the students enrolled in the horticulture and veterinary technology programs.”

The OSU-OKC gift continues the legacy of John E. Kirkpatrick, an Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist, who funded charitable, cultural and civic causes in the Oklahoma City area.

Contact: Megan Sagowitz, OSU-OKC, (405) 945-9153