Oklahoma State University alumni and benefactors Ross and Billie McKnight have been named grand marshals of OSU’s 2019 homecoming festivities by the OSU Alumni Association.
The couple served as co-chairs of OSU’s Branding Success campaign from 2007 to 2014, which raised $1.2 billion. In 2010, they made one of the campaign’s largest gifts of $10 million establishing the McKnight Scholars Leadership Program, which provides scholarships and unique leadership-development opportunities for 50 out-of-state students annually. In 2016, they donated $25 million to create a program endowment for The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, which opens Friday with a visit from The New York Philharmonic.
“The McKnights’ tremendous impact on their alma mater can be seen across campus including right across the street from the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center,” said Blaire Atkinson, OSU Alumni Association president. “With the grand opening of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 11, now was the perfect time to recognize this Cowboy couple as homecoming grand marshals, an honor that has been bestowed upon some of OSU’s most servant leaders.”
The McKnights met while students at OSU in 1970, while Ross was an animal science senior and Billie was a freshman working toward a degree in business administration. They built their home in Throckmorton, Texas with extremely successful careers in ranching, oil and gas, and banking. They have two grown children, Trent and Meggan, who are third-generation OSU alumni.
“Oklahoma State University is a central theme in our life’s story,” Ross McKnight said. “The McKnight Center is our latest chapter, and we are thrilled to share our passion for music with the entire Cowboy family. What we envision here will provide enjoyment for many generations of Oklahoma citizens and Oklahoma State supporters.”
As grand marshals, the McKnights will take part in several homecoming events on Saturday, Oct. 19 including the Sea of Orange Parade and the presentation of homecoming awards during the Baylor vs. OSU football game.
“It is such an honor to serve as the homecoming grand marshals,” Billie McKnight said. “Oklahoma State has been an integral part of our lives that we have enjoyed sharing with family and friends.”
OSU alumni and friends can learn more about this year’s homecoming festivities and register at ORANGECONNECTION.org/homecoming. Events for alumni begin on Sunday, Oct.13 with the Sign Competition and Orange Fountain Dyeing in front of the Edmon Low Library, which is also when this year’s Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned.