OKLAHOMA CITY – The University of Oklahoma today dedicated the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business at a ribbon-cutting ceremony overlooking the Oklahoma City skyline at 865 Research Parkway. The recently renovated facility is now home to the Michael F. Price College of Business full-time and professional MBA programs, growing executive education programs and the Oklahoma City locations for the Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth and the Office of Technology Development, two components of the college’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Division.
“This new facility is an important step toward the continued growth of the Oklahoma economy and development of future leaders of Oklahoma,” said OU President David L. Boren. “The university is deeply grateful to the Rainbolt family for this historic and extremely generous gift made in tribute to Gene Rainbolt, who has dedicated his life to the cause of equal opportunity for all young people. He is truly a visionary leader for our entire state and a worthy model for the business leaders of the future.”
The Rainbolt family recently made a leadership gift to the university in support of the Graduate School of Business at the Michael F. Price College of Business. In appreciation of the gift, the second largest in Price College’s history, Boren recommended that the donor be recognized by naming the Graduate School of Business as the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business in honor of H.E. “Gene” Rainbolt. The recommendation was approved in September by the OU Board of Regents.
Gene Rainbolt is an Oklahoma native, well known businessman, civic leader and philanthropist who embodies the American Dream. Raised during the Dust Bowl, Rainbolt graduated from Norman High School in 1947 and earned his bachelor’s (1952) and master’s (1957) degrees in business from OU, before graduating from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin. He received the Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal during the Korean War and returned to Oklahoma to become the president and CEO of Federal National Bank in Shawnee in 1967. He also was president of the Oklahoma Banking Association and formed the first statewide multi-bank holding company before organizing BancFirst Corp. in 1989 in Oklahoma City. Rainbolt currently serves as chairman emeritus of BancFirst Corp. His two children are also OU graduates and have made this gift as a tribute to their father’s impact on their family, state and nation. His son David Rainbolt serves as executive chairman of BancFirst Corp., and his daughter Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, M.D., is a long-standing member of the OU Board of Regents.
“The university has been a major influence in our father’s life. It is fitting that his name be connected with it in the years to come,” said Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes.
“The new location for the Graduate School of Business in the Innovation District is good for both prospective students and the city of Oklahoma City. We are pleased to be a part of it,” said David Rainbolt.
The Rainbolt family’s leadership gift to name the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business catalyzes a new era for Price College’s graduate and executive programs. The university recently opened the 27,000 square-foot flagship facility for the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business in the heart of Oklahoma City at OU’s University Research Park on the Health Sciences Center campus, strategically anchoring it between the downtown energy and financial sectors to the west and the growing healthcare and aerospace sectors to the east.
“Since returning to Oklahoma over a decade ago, I have taken great inspiration from the vision of statesmen like Gene Rainbolt who dedicated their professional lives to strengthening our state for all our citizens to pursue a brighter future,” said Daniel Pullin, Dean, Michael F. Price College of Business, and Vice President, University of Oklahoma. “Through his tireless mentorship of future business leaders, Gene inspires Oklahoma’s workforce to reach higher and challenges our students to do the same. There could not be a more fitting namesake for our world-class graduate school of business school than Gene Rainbolt,”
Gene Rainbolt has served in numerous capacities through corporations, nonprofits and civic engagement to ensure a better future for all Oklahomans. He was previously state highway commissioner, chairman of the State Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairman of the Oklahoma State Chamber. He is currently active in the leadership of Calm Waters, the Moran Museum, Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Tomorrow, Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform and the Charles and Peggy Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center. His selfless advocacy has earned him many awards and recognitions, including induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and, most recently, he received the E.C. Joullian Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
The Rainbolt family’s generosity to OU touches almost every area of the university and includes endowments of faculty chairs in finance, cancer, child psychiatry and education. In 2008, the family made a large gift in honor of Gene Rainbolt’s late wife to name the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education – making the college the first in OU’s history to be named for a woman, and forever linking the Rainbolts’ name with the education and support of future teachers. Both Gene and his son David serve on the Price College of Business board of advisors. David also serves on the OU Foundation board of trustees.
Established in 1928, the Michael F. Price College of Business ensures the enduring global competitiveness of Oklahoma and the nation. As OU’s second-largest college, the Price College of Business educates over 4,000 students through undergraduate, master’s, executive and doctoral programs across six academic divisions in Accounting, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Finance, Management and International Business, Management Information Systems, and Marketing and Supply Chain Management.
The college boasts 26 nationally ranked programs. The Price College full-time and professional MBA programs are among Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best B-Schools and ranked as a Tier I program by The CEO Magazine the past two years. The Executive MBA is also ranked as a Tier I program by The CEO Magazine and among the top three in the world by Find-MBA.com the past two years. U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the college’s undergraduate program in the top 50 (#48) on its list of "Best Undergraduate Business Programs." The Steed School of Accounting is consistently ranked in the top 10 at both the undergraduate and graduate level among other business schools of its size by Public Accounting Report. The Center for Entrepreneurship is consistently ranked second in the nation among public universities at the undergraduate level and among the top 10 by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine. The International Business program ranks in the top 30 by U.S. News & World Report for the 11th consecutive year.