Former University of Oklahoma All-America running back Adrian Peterson pledged a $1 million donation to the OU Athletics Department today. The donation will support the construction of Headington Hall -- OU's new student housing facility -- and will also establish the Adrian Peterson Football Scholarship Endowment.
Peterson's financial gift is the largest ever to OU Athletics from a former Sooners football player.
"This was something that I had been thinking about doing for a long time," said Peterson, who played at OU from 2004 through 2006 and is OU's third-all-time-leading rusher. "I always hoped to be in a position to be able to donate back to the University of Oklahoma and make it an even better place; do whatever I could to help the university that did so much for me. It was something that I always wanted to do and there just came a time when I got established and comfortable enough to make it happen. It was a no-brainer to do it and I am thankful that I'm in a position to give back to OU and to show my appreciation."
In recognition of his gift, the football team meeting room, currently referred to as "The Red Room," will be renamed "The Adrian Peterson Team Meeting Room." Plans are also being finalized for Peterson's name to be associated with Headington Hall's academic area and study lounge.
"I am extremely grateful for the gift from Adrian Peterson, which will be of great benefit to future student-athletes at OU," said OU President David L. Boren. "I not only appreciate his generosity, but also the example he is setting for others by giving back to the program in which he was an outstanding participant. He is helping to assure that OU's excellence in athletics tradition will continue."
"All of us here at the University of Oklahoma are grateful for Adrian's generosity," said Joe Castiglione, OU Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Programs and Director of Athletics. "As great of a player as he was in a Sooner uniform, he was always thoughtful and respectful of everyone from coaches, teammates, fans and fellow students. Moreover, he fully recognized the great tradition here at OU and what former student-athletes did to make it possible for him to have a wonderful experience. This special act of kindness furthers the tradition of making it possible for future student-athletes to enjoy the same opportunities to pursue greatness like he was afforded."
OU head football coach Bob Stoops added, "Adrian is certainly special. He possessed great natural ability, but never took that ability or his teammates for granted and it was common for him to place the interests of others above his own. I'm excited that his name will appear in Headington Hall to remind others of his example of selfless dedication and generosity. I'm also grateful to him for helping us continue the great Sooner legacy."
Headington Hall is a $75 million, 230,000-square-foot housing center for OU students and student-athletes being constructed on the corner of Jenkins Ave. and Lindsey St., southeast and across the street from Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Scheduled to open in fall 2013, it will have 392 beds in two- and four-bedroom units. The building will include central dining, computer labs and study rooms, as well as a faculty-in-residence unit.
The new facility, which will replace Wilkinson, Jones and Jefferson Houses, is being privately funded.
Peterson accumulated 4,045 career rushing yards during his three seasons at OU and was a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He earned All-America honors as a freshman when he ran for a school-record 1,925 yards and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. He set NCAA freshman records for rushing yards, 100-yard rushing games (11), consecutive 100-yard rushing games (nine) and rushing attempts (339).
Peterson was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and went on to be named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Peterson, who that year set the NFL record for single-game rushing yards (296), became only the fifth player in NFL history to run for more than 3,000 yards through his first two seasons. In 2010, he became the fifth fastest player to reach the 5,000-yard plateau, doing so in his 51st game. Currently, Peterson boasts the third highest rushing-yards-per-game average in NFL history (minimum 50 games) at 95.5, trailing only Jim Brown (104.3) and Barry Sanders (99.8). A four-time Pro Bowler, Peterson was named the Pro Bowl MVP as a rookie in 2007.