Oklahoma State University has announced a $50 million gift from the Ferguson Family Foundation in support of its College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
The gift — one of the largest in OSU's nearly 130-year-history — from alumni Larry and Kayleen Ferguson includes a $25 million endowment for the college's operations and $25 million toward construction of a teaching and research facility. The Fergusons' gift boosts to $30 million the total raised toward the campaign goal of $50 million in private support for the $100 million building, which will feature flexible teaching and research labs and classrooms as well as faculty offices. (The state's 4-H headquarters also will be located in the building.) Pending approval from the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, the college will be renamed the Ferguson College of Agriculture.
"Not only will we have the right tools in place with this wonderful new building, but the Fergusons' gift ensures we can always recruit and support the brightest minds in the world," said Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis. "That impacts the way we teach, the way we research, and how we share that information with others through OSU Extension who will benefit from our findings. The Ferguson College of Agriculture will be a destination for researchers, professors, and students. One can only imagine what discoveries will be made and how the world will change because of the work being done in OSU Agriculture."
Through their foundation, Larry Ferguson, retired president and CEO of Schreiber Foods, and his wife, Kayleen, a retired educator, have given nearly $55 million to the university. The couple said their faith, belief in the power of education, and love for the OSU family inspired their giving.
"I would never have become CEO without coming to Oklahoma State and going through the program here," said Ferguson. "Kay and I believe education is the way to solve the economic problems of our country. This gift is about more than just education. This is a way of helping feed the world. It is our sincerest hope that our fellow alumni will invest in the future of OSU Agriculture and join us in the New Frontiers campaign."
"We have a responsibility to the betterment of future generations," said Kayleen Ferguson. "You have to work hard, but you have to pass it on as well. It's not yours to keep. It's not yours to hold onto. It's yours to pass on."