Missouri S&T alumni John Gibson and Kristie (Capps) Gibson have contributed $1 million in support of a major arena renovation in the university’s Gale Bullman Building. Their gift will fund enhancements to the arena where Missouri S&T’s NCAA Division II men’s and women’s basketball teams play.
The arena also serves as home court for the Missouri S&T women’s volleyball team and is the site for many other events, including commencement and guest lectures. Renovations will include new flooring, practice and game goal systems, a public address system, and acoustics.
“Missouri S&T inspires excellence and transforms lives,” says Christopher G. Maples, interim chancellor. “While academics are central to those goals, athletics and other extracurricular activities also play pivotal roles. Kristie and John Gibson’s gift is a tremendous vote of confidence in our university, our athletic program — and most of all in our students and their capacity to achieve as scholars, competitors and leaders.”
The Gibsons have supported the university and its athletic program for many years. They were major donors to the Miner Dome dedicated in 2010 and the artificial turf installed on the stadium and intramural fields in 2014.
“Basketball was an important part of my life,” says John, non-executive chairman of ONEOK Inc. and ONE Gas Inc. “My athletic experience was a major contributor to the formation of my personality and values.”
The Gibsons met at Missouri S&T and both earned bachelor of science degrees in engineering management in 1974. Kristie is from Dexter, Missouri. John is from Kansas City, Kansas. After earning his associate’s degree at Kansas City Kansas Community College, where he played basketball, John received athletic scholarship offers from universities, but none offered engineering degrees.
“My coach, Walt Shublom, knew I wanted an engineering degree so he called Coach (Billy) Key,” says John. Key was Rolla’s head basketball coach at that time. “Coach Key came to Kansas City to watch me play and then offered me a scholarship. If I didn’t have those two men in my life, I’m not sure where I’d be today.”
Prior to their final semester at S&T, John and Kristie married, and after graduation they moved to Baytown, Texas, where both worked for Exxon Company USA as refinery engineers. They subsequently joined Bartlesville, Oklahoma-based Phillips Petroleum Co., where John spent 18 years in a number of leadership positions in natural gas, natural gas liquids, and exploration and production. Kristie worked for Phillips as a process engineer designing natural gas plants, then as a gas buyer and manager of the natural gas supply division, until retiring to focus on raising their daughter, Katie.
John was executive vice president of Houston-based Koch Energy before he joined ONEOK in 2000 as president of energy. He eventually was named chairman, president, and CEO of ONEOK and ONEOK Partners and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2014. ONEOK is a $25 billion Fortune 500 company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is one of the largest midstream service providers in the United States.
“Missouri S&T is unique from a scholastic and athletic standpoint,” says John. “I’ve always admired the university for making the intercollegiate athletic experience available to as many students as possible. Kristie and I started giving back because we wanted S&T players to have the best possible experience as athletes and students.”
John is a former member of the S&T Board of Trustees, a 2011 inductee into the Academy of Miner Athletics and a recipient of the Miner Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award. In 2015, he received the Dr. Charles Bertram Alumni Award of Distinction from the Great Lakes Valley Conference for his service and contributions to athletics.
“John and Kristie Gibson’s gift will ensure that our student-athletes have a playing facility where they can be the best they can be,” says Mark Mullin, director of athletics. “It will also help S&T recruit talented, prospective student-athletes. We are extremely appreciative of their commitment to enhancing a campus venue that exemplifies Miner pride.”
Missouri S&T ranks fifth in the nation among NCAA Division II schools for producing Academic All-America honorees.