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Mulva Family Foundation pledges $20 million to OU ROTC
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OU President James L. Gallogly and Janet Gallogly (left) thank Jim and Miriam Mulva for their $20 million gift to OU ROTC during a special halftime celebration at the OU-Army game. Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy presented the Mulvas with a pistol reproduced from the collection of President George Washington.

Jim Mulva recognizes the importance that military service has played in his own life and in that of our nation. He and his wife, Miriam, are ensuring that others have the same opportunity to serve their country and earn a degree through a $20 million gift to the University of Oklahoma’s Reserve Officer Training Corps.

The Mulva Family Foundation commitment will create a scholarship endowment shared among OU’s Army, Air Force and Naval/Marine ROTC units. A portion of their gift will establish the Mulva Family Foundation Renovation Fund, which will update the historic OU Armory – built in 1919 and home to both OU’s Army and Naval/Marine units – as well as the fourth floor of Cate Center 4 that serves as headquarters for OU Air Force ROTC.

"Through their generous gift, the Mulvas are making a difference in the lives of countless young people who have decided to serve their country through military service," said OU President James L. Gallogly. "We are deeply grateful to Jim and Miriam Mulva for making this transformative gift."

The Mulvas were honored with a special dinner the evening before OU’s football game against the United States Military Academy. The couple also was recognized during halftime ceremonies by Under Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy, who presented them with a pistol reproduced from the collection of President George Washington.

The Mulvas are natives of Green Bay, Wisc., and Jim was recruited to OU Naval ROTC in the mid-1960s. He later transferred to the University of Texas and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1968 and a master’s in finance in 1969. Miriam holds a degree in elementary education from St. Norbert College, a Catholic liberal arts college in De Pere, Wisc.

Following graduation, Jim served in the U.S. Navy for four years. "I’m proud that I served in the military," he said. "You are assigned a great deal of responsibility as a young officer and I learned how large organizations worked. That was helpful to me when I pursued a career in the oil industry at Phillips Petroleum Co. in Bartlesville."

Mulva quickly moved up the ranks at Phillips, and ultimately was named president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board. He became head of Conoco-Phillips when those companies merged in 2001 and retired from the Houston-based corporation in 2012.

The Mulvas became known for their philanthropy, giving generously to the Catholic Church, youth, education and their alma maters. The couple has made several significant contributions to OU. But when it came time to decide where they could make the greatest impact, Jim realized he wanted to give back to ROTC, the program that began his journey.

"Some people have a hard time figuring out how to make ends meet to go to school, and yet they want to serve in the military. We want to help them," Mulva said, adding that he and his wife hope their gift will encourage young people to consider the importance of military service. "A strong economy grows and develops our country, but history tells us that having a strong military helps and supports what we want to do economically and politically."

"Military service is a challenging career," he said. "People don’t go into the military to make money; they go in because they feel strongly that they are doing something really important in service to their country. Clearly, the country should say thank you for what they are doing."