Feature Stories Campus Events All Stories

T. Boone Pickens Scheduled to Speak at W&L

Oil billionaire and philanthropist T. Boone Pickens, an outspoken advocate for alternative energy, will speak at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, April 30, at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

Pickens’ speech is sponsored by the Contact Committee, a student organization that brings prominent speakers to the campus each year. A reception will follow the speech in the Great Hall of the Science Center. The public is invited, and admission is free.

Founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, one of the nation’s most successful energy-oriented investment funds, the 80-year-old Pickens has gained the reputation as the “Oracle of Oil” for his accurate predictions of oil and gas prices.

In July 2008, he launched an ambitious, self-funded grass-roots campaign aimed at reducing America’s dependence on imported oil.  He has argued in a national television ad campaign, in personal appearances and on his Web site that the nation’s dependence on foreign oil threats the economy, the environment and national security.

The Pickens Plan, which has more than a million supporters, calls for wind generation facilities to produce 20 percent of the nation’s electricity and for natural gas to fuel vehicles.

In his 2008 book, The First Billion is the Hardest, Pickens details what the country must do to win back its energy independence. He is aggressively pursuing a wide range of other business interests, from water marketing, wind power and ranch development initiatives to Clean Energy, a company he founded. Through Mesa Water, Pickens is the largest private holder of permitted groundwater rights in the United States. Mesa Power is planning the world’s largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle. Clean Energy, which went public in 2007, is advancing the use of natural gas as a cleaner-burning and more cost-effective transportation fuel alternative to gasoline and diesel.

Pickens earned a degree in geology from Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) in 1951. He has been a generous philanthropist throughout his life, giving away more than $600 million. The T. Boone Pickens Foundation is focused on improving lives through grants supporting educational programs, medical research, athletics and corporate wellness, at-risk youths, the entrepreneurial process and conservation and wildlife initiatives.

The recipient of dozens of major awards, Pickens was the 2006 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award from The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc.  The award epitomizes those who overcome adversity and humble beginnings to achieve success.