Burns Hargis was named the 18th President of Oklahoma State University and the OSU System in December 2007 and took office March 10, 2008.
Hargis oversees one of the nation’s most comprehensive land-grant university systems with more than 36,000 students, 7,400 employees, and campuses located in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Okmulgee.
He has guided OSU to record enrollment and record fundraising, surpassing the $1 billion Branding Success campaign goal in April 2013, nearly two years ahead of schedule. The campaign focused on student scholarships, faculty and other vital resources and programs. He also is overseeing a construction boom that is transforming the OSU campus to be more competitive in academics and athletics.
Hargis has a bold vision of creating a modern land-grant university that cuts across disciplines to better prepare students for success.
Hargis, who holds degrees in accounting from Oklahoma State University and in law from the University of Oklahoma, is the second OSU graduate to lead the university as president. Oliver S. Willham, who served as president from 1952 to 1966, graduated from then Oklahoma A&M in 1923.
Before being named OSU President, Hargis had a long and distinguished legal and business career, with active civic and philanthropic leadership across many fronts. He also is familiar to many Oklahomans through the political perspective and wit he provided on the award-winning television program “Flashpoint”.
Prior to coming to OSU, he was Vice Chairman of Bank of Oklahoma, N.A. Before joining Bank of Oklahoma in 1997, Hargis practiced law in Oklahoma City for 28 years, most recently with the firm of McAfee & Taft. He is a former president of the Oklahoma County Bar Association, former president of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Hargis served as vice-chairman of the Oklahoma State Election Board, the Oklahoma Constitutional Revision Commission, and served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Commission for Human Services. He is a former member of the Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Hargis was a candidate for the Republican nomination for Governor of Oklahoma in 1990.
A firm believer in the power of imagination and collaboration, Hargis was the first chair of the Oklahoma Creativity Project. He has served and chaired many boards, including the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges of Oklahoma State University.
Hargis received the state’s highest honor when he was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2009. Hargis and his wife, Ann, have two married children and three grandchildren.