The Community for Education Foundation – a nonprofit education reform organization – will honor Oklahoma State University and OSU alumnus Boone Pickens at the annual Overcoming Obstacles Achievement Awards tonight in New York City. 

OSU President Burns Hargis will accept this year’s Achievement in Education Award for Oklahoma State University’s partnership with the Community for Education Foundation to bring the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program to classrooms across Oklahoma.

“OSU is honored to receive this wonderful award,” Hargis said.  “We owe special thanks to 4-H employees Lynn Null and Cathy Allen, who worked hard to bring the Overcoming Obstacles program to Oklahoma youth. OSU is proud of its heritage as a land-grant university and this is another way we serve the people of our state.”

OSU is delivering the youth skills program to some 4,500 students through the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s 4-H program. OSU’s involvement with the organization started with Null, a 4-H and family consumer science educator, who introduced it to schools in Jackson County. 

Overcoming Obstacles is aimed at middle and high school youth and is compatible with what

4-H and the Cooperative Extension Service have been doing for 100 years. Extension educators from 20 counties were introduced to the curriculum this spring and have been building local networks to implement the program. 

Boone Pickens, chairman of BP Capital Management and one of the most renowned and successful business leaders in the nation, is receiving the 2013 Lifetime Achievement award. A generous philanthropist, Pickens has made a significant impact around the world, donating more than $1 billion to charitable causes, including more than $500 million to his alma mater, Oklahoma State University.

“Boone is an extraordinary philanthropist, dedicated to improving educational opportunities and supporting educational institutions through his work,” says Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Chairman John Chalsty. “I have had the pleasure to know Boone for forty-two years, and his character, personality and philanthropy are outstanding – he is truly larger than life!” 

“We admire Mr. Pickens’s investment in the future of Oklahoma’s students,” says Community for Education Foundation Executive Director Erin Capone. “His drive and work ethic are wonderful examples for our young people to follow. With his support, we are ensuring that children across Oklahoma can make the most of life’s challenges and realize their potential, just as Mr. Pickens has.” 

Three Overcoming Obstacles students will also receive Student Achievement Awards, as well as $10,000 scholarships in recognition of their exemplary use of life skills to successfully overcome challenges in their lives.  Those students who will be honored are Jasmine Blake, Enuel Matthew Caraballo, and Renado Taylor. 

For more information on Community for Education Foundation and Overcoming Obstacles, visit 

About Community for Education Foundation

Community for Education Foundation is a nonprofit education reform organization that was founded in 1992 to ensure that all students learn the communication, decision making, and goal setting skills they need to be successful in life. To accomplish this mission, Community for Education Foundation developed the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program to provide educators with the curriculum materials, teacher training, and ongoing support that they need to teach students the skills relevant to their academic and social success. To date, Overcoming Obstacles has positively impacted the lives of close to three million students across the country. 


With many schools across the country struggling to afford vital programs like Overcoming Obstacles, Community for Education Foundation launched the Gifting Initiative to provide the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program to schools at no cost.

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