Research & development
U.S. oil baron gives $2 million to
U.S. oil tycoon Boone Pickens has given a gift of US$2 million to
Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Calgary. It’s said to be the largest
donation Pickens has ever given to a Canadian cause, and will be used to
establish the Boone Pickens Centre for Neurological Science and Advanced
Technologies at the University of Calgary’s Health Research Innovation
Centre (HRIC), adjacent to the Foothills Medical Centre.
The announcement was made by Reach!, the joint fundraising initiative of
the University of Calgary and Calgary Health Region.
Said Pickens: “I made a lot of money in Canada from 1959-79, and it is
important for me to give back to the communities where I’ve been
The US$2 million gift will finance a floor of the Hotchkiss Brain
Institute, bringing together top brain researchers from Calgary and
other parts of Canada to conduct programs in such areas as ‘brain
pacemakers’, neurosurgery robots, and brain-cell silicon chips. The
programs are expected to have an impact on neurological conditions like
Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
“We are grateful for the generosity and commitment to brain research
Boone Pickens demonstrates with this significant gift,” said Dr. Samuel
Weiss, director, Hotchkiss Brain Institute and professor of Cell Biology
at the University of Calgary. “This gift reinforces the importance of
integrated medical research and excellence in care, and brings us a step
closer to understanding, preventing and curing brain diseases and
Harley Hotchkiss, a prominent Calgary philanthropist and a lead
volunteer with Reach!, and his family, made a contribution of $15
million to establish the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in 2004. He and
Pickens formed a lifelong friendship when Pickens found himself in
Calgary looking for oil patch opportunities in the 1950s.
(Pictured above: Harley Hotchkiss, left, and Boone Pickens.)
Hotchkiss was aware of Pickens’ philanthropic support to health and
medical research and educational institutions in the United States, and
he approached Pickens. “I had no hesitation in asking him to donate to
this project; he’s a generous guy,” said Hotchkiss.
“We are thrilled to have the support of Mr. Pickens for our initiative,”
said Brenda Mackie, co-chair of Reach!. “This is our first American gift
to Reach! and we are honoured that Mr. Pickens chose to support the
Calgary community in this way.”
One in four Canadians, or about eight million people, is affected by at
least one of the more than 1,000 brain diseases and disorders.
Reach! is a five-year, $300 million joint fundraising partnership
between the University of Calgary and the Calgary Health Region designed
to raise targeted philanthropic dollars to build on excellence within
Calgary’s existing health system. Projects included within Reach! span
the continuum of the healthcare system, from research and education to
patient care and community health. The vision is to “build a new world
standard of health”.
About Hotchkiss Brain Institute
The Hotchkiss Brain Institute, established by the University of Calgary
and the Calgary Health Region, is dedicated to neurological and mental
health research and education, leading to new discoveries and their
translation into improved patient care. It is the only research
institute of its kind in Western Canada.
About Boone Pickens
Mr. Boone Pickens is a widely recognized business leader in the oil and
gas sector. A native of Holdenville, Oklahoma, Mr. Pickens achieved
global recognition 25 years ago when he was featured on the cover of
Time and Fortune magazines for his accomplishments as the founder of a
highly successful oil company from the Texas panhandle. He is listed on
the Forbes 2005 “400 Wealthiest Americans” list with an estimated wealth
of $1.5 billion. Mr. Pickens spent
considerable time in Canada from 1959 – 1979 and maintains Canadian ties
through his business interests. He oversees more than $3 billion in two
funds as Chairman of BP Capital LLC, which have a large stake in
Canadian oil sands through investments in Suncor Energy Inc. and
Canadian Oil Sands Trust. The American
Chronicle of Philanthropy lists Boone Pickens as the fifth-largest
charitable giver in 2005. He has donated nearly a half a billion dollars
to philanthropic causes during his career. In 2005 Mr Pickens’ total
giving was nearly $230 million, including $7 million to the Hurricane
Katrina relief effort and $165 million to Oklahoma State University.