Former University of Oklahoma All-America running back Adrian Peterson pledged a $1 million donation to the OU Athletics Department today.
"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."
The donation is the largest ever to OU Athletics from a former Sooners football player and it will support the construction of Headington Hall -- OU's new student housing facility -- and will also establish the Adrian Peterson Football Scholarship Endowment.
"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," added Peterson. "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."
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," said OU Head Coach Bob Stoops. "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."
"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."
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.
During his three season at OU, Peterson accumulated 4,045 career rushing yards 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.