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Photo by Oklahoma State Athletics - Bruce Waterfield

O'Brate Remembered by Oklahoma State and Athletics Director Chad Weiberg

January 21, 2024

STILLWATER – In our story yesterday on the passing of Oklahoma native and long-time Kansas agriculture and industrial leader and entrepreneur Cecil O’Brate we did not have any reaction from the Oklahoma State administration. It was then athletic director Mike Holder that entertained O’Brate and introduced him into the potential his support could have on the University and, in particular, the baseball program with the project and his name being on the new stadium. His flagship contribution with the financing of the project and an eventual donation to cover the stadium project was instrumental in it’s completion.

His relationship has endured with Oklahoma State, the athletics program, and baseball as both O’Brate and his wife, Frances, were well acquainted with current athletic director Chad Weiberg as well. 

Oklahoma State Athletics
O’Brate and friend, President George W. Bish at the ceremonial dedication.

"Cecil O'Brate was a remarkable person, and I was blessed to know him," said OSU Director of Athletics Chad Weiberg said in a release that came out through OSU Athletic Media Relations. "He was a fearless entrepreneur, a pioneer in business, a difference maker in his community and an extremely generous philanthropist that changed the lives of hundreds of underprivileged and orphaned youths by providing college educations, mentoring and support.

"Cecil was the ultimate game changer for the Cowboy Baseball program, our players, and fans alike, for generations to come,” continued Weiberg. “He lived by his creed of 'Make It Happen,' and that is exactly what he did every single day. He loved Oklahoma State University and would get emotional talking about this special place and the people here. We will miss him, and in his honor, we will continue to strive to 'Make It Happen' every single day."

Oklahoma State head baseball coach Josh Holliday was emotional over the loss of O’Brate.

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics
Holliday and players at O’Brate Stadium.

"Cecil O'Brate changed the lives of so many, where do you even begin?" said Holliday in the release. "He has an amazing family of loved ones who will forever cherish their loving and caring leader. There are countless individuals and organizations who benefitted and will continue to benefit from his generosity, kindness and belief in what people can accomplish if they work hard. He had an amazing business career and was a part of so many creative and successful endeavors over the years.

"As for OSU Baseball, our university, our players, fans, and staff will forever be grateful for this amazing new home he made possible. O'Brate Stadium changed our lives, and we will honor his name and his mission in life to "Make It Happen" each and every day,” Holliday added. "We will remember you and celebrate you every day we take the field. Cecil, thank you for changing the world and Cowboy Baseball forever."

Mike Holder also had his eulogy and comments about Cecil O’Brate.

Pat Kinnison - Chief Photographer
Mike Holder

"Cecil was extraordinary with a capital E," Holder stated in the release. "He did impossible things and made them look easy. He cared about others, especially those less fortunate, and invested significantly in helping them dream of a better life.

"His passing leaves a void in the lives of those fortunate enough to call him a friend,” Holder finished. We love you, Cecil."

O’Brate passed away and the news of his death came on Saturday (Jan. 20). O’Brate was 95-years-old and is survived by his wife Frances; four sons; Patrick, Michael, Steve and Mark; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life service  for O’Brate at the First United Methodist Church of Garden City, Kan. is pending. 


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O'Brate Remembered by Oklahoma State and Athletics Director Chad Weiberg

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