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Oklahoma State University

Dean Emeritus Richard Poole dies at 91

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Dean Emeritus Dr. Richard "Dick" Poole (front row, center) was recognized in 2014 as one of the "Spears School Tributes: 100 For 100" during the 100th anniversary of OSU business education.

Dr. Richard “Dick” Poole, who spent 33 years as an Oklahoma State University faculty member and administrator, including serving as dean of the College of Business for seven years, died March 14, 2019, at the age of 91.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 6, at the Brill Chapel of Epworth Villa in Oklahoma City. Interment will follow at Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater.

Richard W. Poole
Dr. Richard "Dick" Poole

“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the Poole family,” said Ken Eastman, dean of the Spears School of Business. “Dr. Poole was a daring and engaging human being who lived a full life and served OSU in numerous ways. It was an honor to get to know him and we will miss his humor, compassion and vibrancy. He was a true gentleman, and the world could certainly use more people like him.” 

Poole joined OSU as an instructor in the Department of Economics early in 1960, a few months later becoming the first person to earn a doctoral degree from the business school. It didn’t take long for the school’s leadership to realize what they had in Poole as he was promoted from instructor to assistant, associate and full-time professor to dean in just five years.

Poole served as dean for what was then known as the College of Business from 1965 to 1972 when he accepted an appointment to the newly created position of OSU vice president for university relations, development and extension in 1972. His tenure as vice president was remarkable for innovative initiatives, new and expanded programs, and integrated marketing of OSU.

Upon relinquishing his position as vice president in 1988, the OSU Board of Regents named him Regents Distinguished Service Professor. He is the only person ever recognized with this title. From 1988 to 1993 he taught honors classes and provided leadership for OSU’s international programs, including creation of the School of International Studies.

He has been honored with numerous honors and awards, including being named to the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame (1998), the Spears School of Business Hall of Fame (1993) and the City of Stillwater Hall of Fame. He was the recipient of the OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award (1995), and OSU’s Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Service Award and was included in Who’s Who in America. 

He was honored after retiring when business leaders and friends endowed the Richard W. Poole Professorship that is awarded to the dean of business in assisting in promoting excellence in teaching, research and outreach. Poole was recognized in 2014 as one of the “Spears School Tributes: 100 For 100” during the 100th anniversary of business education at OSU.

Memorial gifts may be made to the OSU Foundation for the Richard W. Poole Professorship, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749.

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