november 13, 2002

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Early-day OU Graduate and Tulsa Couple Leave University Gifts In Excess of $10 Million

A deceased former University of Oklahoma College of Medicine graduate and a Tulsa husband and wife have recently given monetary gifts totaling more than $10 million to the university.

Dr. Frances Palmer Olson, a psychiatrist who graduated from OU’s College of Medicine as one of two women in the Class of 1940, left the OU medical school an estate gift valued in excess of $4 million. She earned four degrees from OU and died May 28, 2002, at the age of 94 in St. Paul, Minn., where she had lived for many years. She left the bulk of her estate to OU in the form of an unrestricted endowment to the College of Medicine.

"We are deeply grateful and honored to receive such a generous and meaningful gift from an OU graduate who really paved the way for today's women medical students," said OU President David L. Boren. "The endowment created by her gift will enrich the lives of generations of OU medical students and the people they go on to serve."

The university is working on plans for special recognition of Dr. Olson's generosity and her professional and personal achievements at the OU Health Sciences Center.

Vintage Petroleum chairman Charles Stephenson and his wife, Peggy, have committed $6 million – one of the largest gifts ever made to OU by a Tulsa family – which will go toward the construction of a cutting-edge interdisciplinary research facility on OU's new research campus. OU President David L. Boren announced the Stephensons' gift at the OU Board of Regents' October meeting held in Tulsa. The contribution was previously announced as an anonymous donation.

OU President David L. Boren said, "The university expresses its deepest thanks to Peggy and Charles Stephenson for their generosity. This gift will benefit Oklahomans for years to come.

"The new research facility will provide a unique cross-disciplinary environment that allows us to join biologists and computer scientists, engineers and physicists," he added. "We are so pleased that Charles and Peggy Stephenson have allowed us to announce that they have made this generous and visionary contribution. It is my intention to seek permission from the OU Regents to name the new facility in their honor.

Among the initial tenants of the research facility will be OU's world-class faculty and program in gene sequencing and new efforts in functional genomics, which is the next step to understand the functions and interactions of our complex gene structure, and the College of Engineering's growing program in robotics.

OU's sponsored research programs have been growing at a steady 10 percent annual pace over the past decade as OU has led the Big 12 in research growth, and have increased from $28.3 million in 1994 when Boren came to OU, to $58.9 million.

CONTACT: OU Public Affairs