LL&D Law
Burns Hargis, President of Oklahoma State University, visits the Rotary Club of Edmond

by Andy Lester
9/5/2011 10:23:00 PM

  Burns Hargis, the 18th President of Oklahoma State University, oversees one of the nation’s most comprehensive land-grant university systems. With campuses located throughout the state, OSU has more than 35,000 students and more than 7,000 employees.

President Hargis received his degree in accounting from Oklahoma State University and his law degree from the University of Oklahoma. Before becoming OSU’s president, Hargis had distinguished law and business careers, and was exceptionally active in leading civic and philanthropic efforts on many fronts.
Hargis was Chairman of the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services, and served as vice-chairman of the Oklahoma State Election Board and of the Oklahoma Constitutional Revision Commission. He is a former member of the Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. He is also a former member of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges (quick – can you name the person who replaced him on that board?). In 1990, Hargis was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Oklahoma.
Before assuming his current post, Hargis was Vice Chairman of Bank of Oklahoma, N.A.  He practiced law in Oklahoma City for 28 years, and is a former president of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, a former president of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He also is familiar to many Oklahomans through the political perspective and wit he provided on the award-winning television program, “Flashpoint”.
Although he has been OSU’s president only since March 10, 2008, Hargis has already accomplished much. He has guided Oklahoma State University to record fundraising and is leading the $1 billion Branding Success campaign, focused on student scholarships, faculty and other vital resources and programs. To date, the campaign is way ahead of schedule, having raised over $750 million.
He also is overseeing a construction boom that is transforming the OSU campus to be more competitive in academics and athletics. If you haven’t been to the Stillwater campus lately, you will be amazed at the transition that has taken place. And take a look at the latest facilities in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and even Ardmore.
The number of students has steadily increased as well. For several years before he became president, OSU suffered from declining freshman enrollments. That has changed dramatically. For the third consecutive year, freshman enrollment has increased, this year by 10% from a year ago.
Perhaps what impresses me most about his tenure as OSU’s President is the enthusiasm Burns Hargis has instilled in OSU’s various and divergent constituencies. The feeling is palpable. His vision has been contagious. Anywhere you go in the OSU family, you will find a strongly felt love for OSU and, with Burns Hargis as President, high expectations for where OSU is headed.
Burns and Ann Hargis have two married children and three grandchildren. Hargis is a recipient of the State’s highest honor, having been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2009.
Please welcome Burns Hargis to the Rotary Club of Edmond.


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