Michael F. Price, OU Alumnus and Benefactor of the College of Business, Dies at 70
Michael F. Price, a 1973 University of Oklahoma business graduate and renowned global expert on value investing, passed away peacefully Monday, March 14, 2022.
Price grew up on Long Island in New York as a Sooner football fan, which led him to Norman where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. Upon graduating, Price worked for Max L. Heine as a research assistant for Heine Securities Corp. in New York. By 1982, Price and Heine formally became business partners, and upon Heine’s death in 1988, Price bought the company. Price increased the value of the company’s mutual funds to more than $17 billion before selling Heine Securities to Franklin Securities in 1996. He stayed on to manage the funds for five years as a stipulation in the exchange. In the first year alone, the funds reached $28 billion.
Price’s business success earned international attention. He was frequently featured in global publications and appeared on the covers of Fortune and Mutual Funds Magazine. He was named one of TIME magazine’s “25 Most Influential People” in 1997. Amid these achievements, Price decided to invest in a new commodity – the education of tomorrow’s business leaders.
In 1997, Price returned to his alma mater to make history with the announcement of an $18 million gift to the College of Business Administration. At that time, Price’s contribution was considered the single largest gift to a public university or any Oklahoma higher education institution. The OU Board of Regents officially designated the college as the Michael F. Price College of Business, making it the first college in OU history to be named for an individual.
“Michael Price was an extraordinary friend and benefactor of the university,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “His generosity transformed OU — both at the College of Business, which bears his name, and all across our campus. He has left an indelible impact from which generations of Sooners will benefit. We grieve with the Price family today, but we know that Michael’s remarkable legacy won’t soon be forgotten at OU. His is a legacy of ardent love for our university and our people, and we’re so thankful for how his entire family, including his children, made OU their home.”
In 2005, OU honored Price at the dedication of Michael F. Price Hall, a 55,000-square-foot building dedicated entirely to student learning. The original Price endowment was designated to fund several faculty positions, a library endowment, scholarships and graduate assistantships, as well as an MBA student support center and many other initiatives. The funding designated a portfolio of real investments to give students a hands-on finance education and provides an opportunity for OU MBA students to travel to New York as Price Scholars to participate in internships on Wall Street and take courses and live at NYU.
In addition to his tremendous gift of resources, Price also gave generously with his time to aid in the development of OU’s business students. When he visited campus, he took a hands-on approach with the Student Investment Fund class, offering his advice and critiquing the performance of their stock choices.
“Michael Price loved the University of Oklahoma and his namesake, the OU Michael F. Price College of Business,” said OU Price College of Business Dean Corey Phelps. “He showed his love by pushing OU to be better for our students and the state of Oklahoma, and by enabling us to be better by generously giving of his time, expertise and treasure. An extraordinary business dealmaker and value investor, Michael’s substantial investments in OU were a declaration of confidence in the university and what it could become. His generosity inspired others to contribute in ways the university had never experienced. As benefactor of the OU Price College of Business, Michael was our biggest champion, deeply involved in helping us with no regard for recognition. We are deeply saddened by Michael’s passing, and we grieve with his family for their loss. His legacy will live on in his children and grandchildren, in OU and the Price College of Business, and in the future generations of Sooners his generosity will support.”
Established in 1997, the Price Family Foundation focuses on causes related to education and health. Foundation grants increase opportunities for youths in New York communities with the highest concentration of poverty, and the foundation also sponsors medical research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In addition to the college that proudly bears his name, Price and his family foundation have supported a variety of initiatives at OU, including a gift to establish the Price Family Foundation Institute of Structural Biology at the Stephenson Life Science Research Center to advance biomedical research.
Price also supported the program that first drew him to OU – the Athletics Department. Most recently, Price made a gift to create the Michael F. Price Sooner Wellness System to provide comprehensive support and strengthen a holistic wellness system for student-athletes, including sports performance, sports nutrition, sports medicine and psychological resources programs. Price was also a longtime supporter of scholarships for student-athletes who are members of the football team. OU legend Roy Williams was the founding recipient of the Michael F. Price Family Football Scholarship.
“Every chance any of us had to spend time with Michael Price inspired and energized us,” said OU Vice President and Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione. “He had such a great way with people. His passion and love for all things Oklahoma was clearly evident. He was a visionary and saw greatness in many opportunities long before most could. Moreover, his action-oriented leadership style made great things happen and in a big way. His journey to OU to play football started a legacy that will live on forever and his constant support of student-athletes will endure. Jenny, Andrew, Jon, Jordan, Charlie, Gracie, Teddy and the entire Price family are deep in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Price served as a trustee for the University of Oklahoma Foundation Inc. from 2002 to 2009 and was awarded with an honorary degree – the university’s highest honor – in 1998. He served as commencement speaker that same year.
Michael is survived by his wife, Jenny, his six children, and his ten grandchildren.