President Burns Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis celebrate a decade of excellence at OSU
V. Burns Hargis was unanimously chosen by the Oklahoma State University/A&M Board of Regents as the 18th president of Oklahoma State University in December 2007 and took office on March 10, 2008. Since that time, President Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis have created a campus culture of collaboration, innovation, wellness and success.
During Hargis’ presidency, OSU has set historic enrollment and fundraising records, with pledges and cash surpassing the Branding Success campaign $1 billion goal nearly two years ahead of schedule. The funds have provided student scholarships, faculty endowments and funding support for much-needed facilities and vital programs.
A firm believer in the power of imagination and collaboration, President Hargis has been guided by a bold vision of a modern land-grant university that cuts across disciplines to better prepare students for success.
As OSU is one of the nation’s most comprehensive land-grant university systems, taking charge of it has been no small task. President Hargis has support from OSU First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, who partners with him on activities with students, faculty, alumni and donors. You can often find her giving students rides to class in her orange golf cart, “Clementine.” The couple also take great pride in making OSU America’s Healthiest Campus® and being members of Pete’s Pet Posse with their dog, Scruff.
OSU/A&M Regents unanimously choose V. Burns Hargis as OSU president
December 4, 2007
V. Burns Hargis is named 18th president of Oklahoma State University “Burns Hargis will do a great job leading Oklahoma State University,” said Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. “He’s well respected in both the public and private sectors and has the vision and intellect to take OSU to even greater heights in the state’s second century. More than anything, Burns loves his alma mater, and he will work harder than anyone to see that it succeeds at all levels. I think he will be a perfect fit for OSU.”
Boone Pickens makes historic $100 million academic gift
May 21, 2008
A crowd of more than 3,000 gathered on the south library lawn for the announcement of a $100 million academic gift to endow faculty chairs and professorships from alumnus T. Boone Pickens. The gift is the largest single academic donation to a university or college in Oklahoma, is eligible for a dollar-for-dollar state match, and is a matching gift incentive for OSU donors. Burns Hargis said, “This gift launches us on our way to achieve big dreams, and will ignite a bold vision of a new era in land-grant universities.”
Garth Brooks, Barry Sanders and Robin Ventura inducted into OSU Alumni Hall of Fame
October 17, 2009
The OSU Alumni Association inducted into its Hall of Fame three of the most celebrated and famous names in OSU history when Garth Brooks, Barry Sanders and Robin Ventura participated in Homecoming events. The award “recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement in society and professional life and few have reached the heights Garth, Barry and Robin have reached,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “They have entertained and thrilled millions around the world. They have made their fellow Cowboys proud.”
$100 million from Pickens helps launch $1 billion Branding Success campaign
February 26, 2010
Before an orange-clad crowd in the packed atrium of the Student Union, OSU President Burns Hargis unveiled the five-year, $1 billion Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University to fund scholarships, faculty positions, research, programs and facilities. “This campaign marks the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the history of OSU,” Hargis said. The campaign is chaired by Ross and Billie McKnight. OSU announced it had raised more than $437 million during the “quiet phase” of the campaign, which started at Hargis’ appointment in December 2007. At the event, Boone Pickens announced a surprise $100 million challenge gift to push the total raised past $537 million.
OSU dedicates Henry Bellmon Research Center
September 9, 2011
At an event attended by members of the Bellmon family, Oklahoma State dedicated the Henry Bellmon Research Center, which will facilitate interdisciplinary research. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of a bust of the late Oklahoma governor and senator, which will sit in the lobby. “This facility is a lasting tribute to Henry Bellmon’s legacy at OSU and throughout Oklahoma,” said Burns Hargis. “It exemplifies research, discovery and economic growth — all things Henry Bellmon was passionate about.”
OG&E and OSU partner to add wind power to support sustainability efforts
December 2, 2011
OG&E and Oklahoma State University announced a 20-year agreement to provide wind power to the Stillwater campus. “As a land-grant university, we have a historic responsibility to lead the way when it comes to using our natural resources wisely and efficiently,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “The signing of this agreement with OG&E is part of our overarching sustainability initiative aimed at saving money, reducing carbon emissions and improving efficiency.”
OSU welcomes largest freshman class in university and state history
September 6, 2012
Oklahoma State University announced a historic enrollment for the 2012-13 academic year, highlighted by a freshman class of 4,289 that was the largest in university and state history. Enrollment for the combined OSU-Stillwater and OSU-Tulsa campuses totaled a record 25,554 and systemwide enrollment hit a record of more than 36,500.
Oklahoma State University surpasses $1 billion in fundraising campaign
April 24, 2013
Five years after launching its $1 billion Branding Success fundraising campaign to support students, faculty, programs and facilities, OSU held an event on the north plaza of the Student Union to announce the goal was surpassed nearly two years ahead of schedule. Burns Hargis said the campaign would continue through its scheduled completion date of December 31, 2014. As of April 1, 2013, more than 85,000 donors had participated. “We began the campaign not long before the nation’s economy collapsed, but the incredible generosity of our supporters kept us moving forward,” Hargis said.
OSU launches nation’s most comprehensive universitywide pet therapy program
September 17, 2014
Backed by 13 lovable, highly trained dogs, OSU launched Pete’s Pet Posse, the nation’s most comprehensive, full-time, universitywide pet therapy program. “As America’s Healthiest Campus®, one of our biggest priorities is the emotional health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff. The dogs from Pete’s Pet Posse have already made an impact on the emotional health of the OSU campus and we’ve only just begun,” said First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, a Pete’s Pet Posse handler.
Chickasaw and Choctaw leaders help launch OSU Center for Sovereign Nations
August 21, 2015
OSU President Burns Hargis welcomed Chickasaw and Choctaw nation leaders to officially launch the OSU Center for Sovereign Nation Engagement and Partnerships. “As a land-grant institution, OSU has an important role to play in creating initiatives to increase engagement and educational opportunities,” Hargis said. “We hope this center will not only strengthen relationships between the university and sovereign tribal nations but will also increase the number of American Indian graduates from OSU
Government leaders announce nonstop American Airlines service to Dallas/Fort Worth
February 5, 2016
The City of Stillwater, American Airlines and Oklahoma State University announced the arrival of nonstop American Airlines jet service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport during an overflow event at Stillwater Regional Airport. “Oklahoma State sees tremendous opportunity to reduce air travel costs, improve efficiencies and greatly enhance personal travel for our students and employees,” said OSU President Burns Hargis.
Ross and Billie McKnight give $25 million to establish Performing Arts Programming Endowment
March 30, 2016
OSU’s planned performing arts center received a major boost with a $25 million gift from alumni Ross and Billie McKnight to establish a programming endowment. The 93,000-square-foot center will be named The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University. “This visionary gift from the McKnights will ensure our new performing arts center truly maximizes the opportunities for cultural enrichment that the magnificent modern facility will afford,” said OSU President Burns Hargis.
OSU joins elite group as national Diversity Champion
August 30, 2017
INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine named OSU one of 11 Diversity Champions, which honors unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels. The magazine’s publisher called OSU “a visionary leader” that “exceeds everyday expectations.” As a Diversity Champion, OSU is in the top tier of this year’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award recipients. OSU has won the award six consecutive years.
OSU celebrates 10 years of energy savings
January 25, 2018
The university celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its nationally acclaimed Energy Management Program during a Decade of Excellence ceremony. OSU President Burns Hargis congratulated the energy management team, as well as all employees and students, for making the behavior-based energy management program a huge success. Systemwide energy savings from the program are approaching $50 million, with nearly $40 million of that on the OSU-Stillwater campus.
By the Numbers: The Hargis Era
67,000 new donors
$1.7 billion in private support
Doubled OSU endowment
200 new $1 million-plus donor
6,696 new Alumni Association members, a 26% increase
77 new Alumni Association chapters, a threefold increase
53,881 degrees granted (including all-time highs each of the last four years
$1.2 billion external grant funds for research, other sponsored programs
$22 million license/royalty income for OSU intellectual property
194,628 citations of OSU research publications in scientific literature
64 dogs in Pete’s Pet Posse pet therapy program
$38 million energy savings on Stillwater campus
$48 million energy savings across OSU System
More than 2 million square feet of new or updated facilities
Nearly 3 million bricks for campus projects
More than 10,000 tons of steel for campus projects
OSU Stillwater/Tulsa (2013)
OSU System (2013)
38,447 new freshmen (including five largest classes in OSU history)
Doubled out-of-state new freshmen enrollment
73% increase in minority student enrollment
261,461 course offerings (sections
More stories like this are available for members of the OSU Alumni Association. STATE magazine is a benefit of membership in the OSU Alumni Association. To join or update your membership go to orangeconnection.org/join or call 405-744-5368.