Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis has been named the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award by Leadership Oklahoma. He will receive the honor at the annual Excellence in Leadership Gala at The Skirvin in Oklahoma City on February 27, 2016.
Leadership Oklahoma also announced three other winners: Don Betz, president of the University of Central Oklahoma, Distinguished Graduate Award; Cotton Electric Cooperative, a member-owned electric utility serving eight counties in southwest Oklahoma, Business Leadership Award; and George Kaiser Family Foundation, focused principally on reducing the cycle of poverty, Statewide Community Award.
“Each year we are privileged to recognize the individuals and organizations that make a meaningful difference in Oklahoma,” said Marion Paden, President and CEO of Leadership Oklahoma. “We honor them for elevating quality of life and empowering our state for greater prosperity.”
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have used their leadership abilities to improve the quality of life for Oklahoma's citizens and its future generations. Hargis has had several high profile and impactful roles in the leadership of Oklahoma, including key positions in higher education, banking and the law.
As leader of the Oklahoma State University system, President Hargis oversees a comprehensive land-grant university system with more than 35,000 students, 7,400 employees, and campuses located in Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Okmulgee. Under President Hargis’s guidance, OSU has reached record levels of enrollment, and reached its $1billion “Branding Success” campaign two years ahead of schedule.
He has inspired a building boom on the campus, overseeing construction developments that have provided innovative and high quality academic, athletic, and residential facilities. Prior to becoming president at OSU, Hargis had a distinguished career in business, including service as Vice Chairman of the Bank of Oklahoma; he practiced law for 28 years, most recently with the McAfee & Taft law firm.
In its news release announcing the winners, Leadership Oklahoma said of Hargis: “He has lived a life of tireless service to others. Whether inspiring civil political discourse on Flashpoint or spending countless hours promoting the educational, financial or personal well-being of his fellow Oklahomans through service on several advisory boards – President Hargis is a role model of how to contribute one’s knowledge, time and talent to better the futures of one’s fellow citizens.”
Leadership Oklahoma is a statewide organization with more than 1,430 graduates from 167 Oklahoma communities whose mission is to create, inspire and support a dynamic network of leaders whose increased awareness and commitment to service will energize Oklahomans to shape the Oklahoma’s future.