Couple's first meeting in Adams Hall commemorated with gifts to Price College

Spring 2019

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Chip and Lisa Taylor met in an Adams Hall classroom back in 1978. Now, they are making a gift of $252,500 to benefit several areas within the Price College of Business.

Chip and Lisa Taylor met in an Adams Hall classroom back in 1978. Now, they are making a gift of $252,500 to benefit several areas within the Price College of Business.

A simple bet changed the lives of Chip Taylor and Lisa Simon Taylor. More than 40 years later, the legacy of that bet could change the lives of University of Oklahoma students for decades to come through a $252,500 gift to the OU Foundation.

F.G. “Chip” Taylor was new to Oklahoma, drawn from Mississippi by the opportunity to study in what was then called the OU petroleum land management program. In the fall of 1978, sophomores Chip and Lisa found themselves in the same accounting class.

“We met on a bet,” Lisa admitted wryly. “My cousin and I had a bet as to who would get a date with him. We just went up and introduced ourselves to him, one thing led to another, and he ended up asking me out.”

The couple graduated from OU in 1981 and made successive moves to New Orleans, Houston and Dallas. When the Taylors had an opportunity to return to Oklahoma in the late 1990s with their daughters, Jenna, Sela and Kooper, Chip jumped at the chance and soon became active on OU’s Energy Management Board of Advisers. “In my heart, I knew there was something about OU and Oklahoma and I always dreamed of moving back,” he said.

“My family is Sooner born and Sooner bred. I didn’t know that there was another school,” said Lisa, a Clinton native whose parents and numerous family members attended OU. “But Chip is actually more of a die-hard than I am, which is hilarious, because he didn’t even know where Oklahoma was before he came here to school.” Daughters Jenna and Kooper followed the family tradition and hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees from OU. Sela also attended OU before launching a career in nursing.

Now, the couple has found a way to commemorate their meeting, honor their OU friends and family, and provide opportunities for future generations by dividing their $252,500 gift among four areas in the Price College of Business.

The largest portion, $125,000, will be dedicated to outfitting a collaborative conference room in Adams Hall that is exactly two floors above the room where the Taylors first met, while $50,000 of the Taylors’ gift will be added to the V. Ross Brown Professorship in Industry and Energy Management, which is named for one of several adjunct professors who influenced Chip’s career.

“We were very appreciative of adjunct professors because they gave us exposure to the real world,” he said. An additional $25,000 will benefit the OU President’s Associates program, which provides unrestricted funding to support OU.

The final $52,500 of the Taylors’ commitment will establish the new Lisa Simon Taylor and F.G. (Chip) Taylor Endowment, which will award an annual $2,500 scholarship to an outstanding student in the Price College Center for Student Success.

“Lisa and I have always had a little softer side for the kid who maybe doesn’t have all the benefits that some others do, yet they hang in there and persevere,” Chip said.

All Price College students are required to participate in the Center for Student Success from their first semester through graduation, said executive director Shelly Grunsted. Students attend enrichment activities, workshops and presentations addressing four “pillars”: cultural competence, community, work/life skills, and leadership.

“The goal is to help our students become well-rounded and culturally competent,” Grunsted said. “Our donors, business partners and all the people who hire our graduates know that we are giving our students extra training on top of the great academics that Price College offers. We can’t thank the Taylors enough for helping us further that mission.”