2019 Archives

SMU Mourns Legendary T. Boone Pickens

SMU mourns the loss of legendary Texas oil and gas magnate and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, who died September 11, 2019 at the age of 91.

September 11, 2019



DALLAS (SMU) – SMU mourns the loss of legendary Texas oil and gas magnate and entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens, who died September 11, 2019 at the age of 91.

“T. Boone Pickens was the very definition of a Texas legend,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “He was larger than life, and his impact on the oil and gas industry is only part of his legacy. SMU was very proud to honor him in February 2018 with the Maguire Energy Institute Pioneer Award. His no-holds-barred business acumen was what made him famous, but we’ll remember him for his humor, too. He will be missed.”

SMU also honored Pickens in 2013 when he was named CEO of the Year in the annual CEO Sentiment Survey™ conducted by SMU Cox School of Business.

Two of Pickens’ five children are alumni of SMU, Elizabeth Pickens Cordia ’82 and Thomas Boone Pickens, III ’87, as well as grandson John William Stovall ’17. A granddaughter is a current SMU student.

Pickens was founder of Mesa Petroleum, one of the nation’s largest independent oil companies. In his 70s, Pickens reinvented himself as a successful investment fund operator with BP Capital. In 2008, he launched the Pickens Plan, a $100 million grass-roots campaign aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on OPEC oil.

SMU president R. Gerald Turner with T. Boone Pickens at the mustangs statue on the SMU campus.Pickens donated more than $1 billion to philanthropic causes over his lifetime. His support of SMU included contributions in support of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies, the Clements Center for Southwest Studies in Dedman College, the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series, various programs in the Edwin L. Cox School of Business and SMU Athletics.

In 2006 he founded the T. Boone Pickens Foundation, which focuses on health and medical research, treatment and services; entrepreneurship; at-risk children; education; athletics; corporate health and fitness and conservation and wildlife management.

In Dallas he supported the VNA Dallas Meals on Wheels, the YMCA, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Woman’s University Institute of Health Sciences – Dallas Center, Perot Museum of Nature and Science and the Baylor Health Care System, among others.

Among his many accolades, Pickens was a member of the All-American Wildcatters Association, which recognizes industry members of good character, respected by their peers and possessing inherent integrity. He had been honored by numerous industry and media organizations, including Forbes Magazine, which named him one of the 100 “Greatest Living Business Minds” in 2017, and TIME Magazine, which included him on its 2009 list of 100 of the “World’s Most Influential People.” Dubbed the “Oracle of Oil” by CNBC, he was a member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, the Texas Business Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in seven degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, communities and the world.