IN THE NEWS: Oklahoma State University has been given a $165 million "boon." Oilman Boone Pickens, 77, made the generous gift to his alma mater, giving specific instructions that the money be used to expand OSU's athletic complex. The donation, which is the largest ever made to an NCAA athletic program, will be used to build a new sports complex, including the planned Boone Pickens Stadium, a multi-purpose facility. Pickens has told the press that developing such facilities will bring OSU's sports program to the next level, and help the university develop stronger ties with its alumni. Go Cowboys... After years of wrangling over an $11 million gift, Florida State University has decided to return the money. FSU Professor Robert Holton, the creator of a synthetic chemotherapy drug marketed under the name Taxol, brought in millions for the university, and, in turn, wanted his gift to be used to build a specialized chemistry laboratory. FSU officials questioned using the money for such a specific purpose... After several months of alumni calling for his resignation, the president of the University of Richmond (Va.) has decided to step down. Alumni and others criticized President William Cooper for referring to the university's students as "mush" in an address that called for the IHE to attract more talented students.
APPOINTED AND PROMOTED: Vassar College (N.Y.) has tapped an academic leader from Williams College (Mass.) to be its next president. Catharine Hill, also an economist, will take office July 1, 2006, succeeding Frances Fergusson, who was president for 20 years and who led the college through its transition from an all-woman's institution to a co-ed IHE... The State University of New York has named John Ryan to be chancellor. He had been acting chancellor since April 2005... Trustees at Simmons College (Mass.) are turning to public health scholar and academic Susan Scrimshaw to be president. She is currently dean of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois, Chicago. --J.M.A.