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Surprise $25M bequest for dedicated brain research centre


Calgary, AB – Texas businessman Boone Pickens was the guest of honour at a luncheon last week hosted by the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary when he surprised guests with the unexpected announcement that he was making a bequest of $25 million.

He was being honoured for a previous gift of $2.25 million made two years ago to the Hotchkiss Brain Institute. In addition, he was in town for the official opening of the dedicated floor. The Boone Pickens Centre for Neurological Science and Advanced Technology brings together Canada’s top brain researchers to conduct neurological and biomedical engineering research.

Mr Pickens credits his respect for long-time friend Harley Hotchkiss as the impetus behind his announcement. Mr Hotchkiss and his family made the lead gift of $15 million to establish the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in 2004. He and Mr Pickens formed a lifelong friendship when the latter found himself in Calgary looking for oil patch opportunities in the 1950s.

“This surprise announcement is not out of character for Boone Pickens. He is among the top five philanthropists in the United States,” says Harvey Weingarten, president, University of Calgary. “We consider it an honour to have inspired his confidence. This investment in health care, education, and research is appreciated. It helps us build a stronger health care system, a stronger economy and a workforce of skilled professionals.”