'On Topic With Ken Starr' To Feature Conversation With Inaugural Guest T. Boone Pickens

March 28, 2011
News Photo 5086T. Boone Pickens will be Baylor University President Ken Starr's inaugural guest for "On Topic," a new series of compelling conversations on contemporary issues, during which he will welcome some of the world's leading experts to campus to share their insights about important issues facing the United States. Pickens will join the president for an engaging conversation at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in Waco Hall on the Baylor campus.
(Photo courtesy of Boyd Harris Photography)

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Baylor University President Ken Starr will debut "On Topic," a new series of compelling conversations on contemporary issues during which he will welcome some of the world's leading experts to campus to share their insights about important issues facing the United States.

Starr's inaugural guest for "On Topic" is T. Boone Pickens, best-selling author, financier and alternative energy proponent, who will join the president for an engaging conversation on these issues and more at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, in Waco Hall on the Baylor campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

"I am pleased that the legendary entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens will be my inaugural guest as we begin this exciting new conversation series at Baylor," Starr said. "'On Topic' will be an occasion for welcoming some of the world's foremost authorities to Baylor to share their expertise and opinions on timely issues facing our nation. Boone Pickens is a remarkably accomplished individual and a fixture in the U.S. and international media, whether he's talking about alternative energy or corporate America. I look forward to welcoming Boone Pickens to Baylor and enjoy what promises to be the first of many lively conversations here at Baylor."

Pickens, founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, is principally responsible for the formulation of the energy futures investment strategy of the BP Capital Commodity Fund and the BP Capital Equity Fund. BP Capital manages one of the nation's most successful energy-oriented investment funds. Pickens frequently utilizes his wealth of experience in the oil and gas industry in the evaluation of potential equity investments and energy sector themes. He has not been shy in predicting oil and gas prices and -- more often than not -- has been uncanny accurate.

Pickens also is pursuing a wide range of other business interests, from ranch development initiatives to Clean Energy, a company he founded and is the largest shareholder. Through Mesa Water, Pickens is the largest private holder of permitted groundwater rights in the United States. Clean Energy is advancing the use of natural gas as a cleaner-burning and more cost-effective transportation fuel alternative to gasoline and diesel. Mesa Power is developing energy alternatives such as wind power.

Boone grew up in Holdenville, a small eastern Oklahoma town. His father was in the oil business, and his mother ran the Office of Price Administration during World War II, rationing gasoline and other goods for four counties. Boone attributes much of his success to his mother and father.

Boone graduated as a geologist from Oklahoma State University in 1951 and started work with Phillips Petroleum Co. in Bartlesville, Okla. After three and a half years, he struck out on his own as an independent geologist. Pickens was founder of Mesa Petroleum in its various forms beginning in 1956. His career at Mesa spanned four decades. Under his leadership, Mesa grew to become one of the largest and most well-known independent exploration and production companies in the United States, producing more than 3 trillion cubic feet of gas and 150 million barrels of oil from 1964 to 1996.

From its inception, Mesa was at the forefront of change and innovation. Mesa's fitness program is a good example. Boone has long understood the benefits of physical fitness. Mesa's fitness program has become a model for corporate America, and Mesa was the first company to be accredited by the Institute for Aerobics Research.

Throughout his professional life, Pickens has been a generous philanthropist, giving away half of a billion dollars. In 2006, he contributed $175 million to a wide range of causes and the formation of the T. Boone Pickens Foundation. He has appeared multiple times on The Chronicle of Philanthropy's list of top U.S. philanthropists. The T. Boone Pickens Foundation is improving lives through grants supporting educational programs, medical research, athletics and corporate wellness, at-risk youth, the entrepreneurial process, and conservation and wildlife initiatives.

The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc. selected Pickens as a recipient of the 2006 Horatio Alger Award, which epitomizes those who overcome adversity and humble beginnings to achieve success. It is but one of many honors awarded Pickens for his achievements, including Trader Monthly's 2006 Trader of the Year award, the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Pickens lives in Dallas and is married to Madeleine Anne Pickens. He has five children and 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

For more information about "On Topic," call (254) 710-3575.

Media contact: Lori Fogleman, director of media communications, (254) 710-6275

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