The Oklahoma State University Foundation Board of Trustees has named Blaire Atkinson as the organization’s seventh president, concluding an extensive search. Atkinson is the current president of the OSU Alumni Association, and has served as the organization’s leader since October 2018, after four months as its interim president.
Prior to her role at the Alumni Association, Atkinson served as the senior associate vice president of development services at the OSU Foundation, where she had been providing strategic direction and oversight in human resources, marketing and communications, donor relations and special events. She began her career at the Foundation in 2011.
Atkinson will replace long-time Foundation President Kirk Jewell, who will formally retire in 2020 after 16 years leading fundraising efforts for the university. Atkinson will continue as the acting president of the OSU Alumni Association through the end of the fiscal year and will assume her new position at the Foundation on or before July 1, 2020. The Foundation and Alumni Association will work together to establish a smooth transition over the next several months.
“During the extensive search process, it became evident Blaire was the best person for the position,” said Lyndon Taylor, head of the search committee, which was comprised of OSU executives, Foundation Board of Trustees and staff. James Farris Associates, an international human resources firm, facilitated the process.
“There is tremendous momentum at the Foundation, and we are excited that Blaire will continue the outstanding legacy of strong leadership,” said Taylor, who is past chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Atkinson graduated from OSU in 2004 with a degree in business administration and holds Senior Professional in Human Resources and SHRM Senior Certified Professional certifications. Prior to joining the OSU Foundation in 2011, the native of Vici, Oklahoma, spent several years overseeing human resources at various organizations within the state.
“I am overwhelmed with excitement about the opportunity to serve the University as the next Foundation President,” Atkinson said. “I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to serve in an organization that has such far-reaching impact at my beloved alma mater. The decision to transfer back to the Foundation from the Alumni Association was not made lightly, as I have tremendous enthusiasm and respect for the work done by the Association and believe I can continue to support their mission in partnership from the Foundation.”
Atkinson is dedicated to improving Oklahoma through quality education and is passionately devoted to OSU. She is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class 30 and an Oklahoma Achiever Under 40 honoree. She has also been involved in various community volunteer organizations over the years. Atkinson and her husband, Matt, met at OSU and have three young children, Wyatt, Westin and Morgan.
“I have been blessed to serve Oklahoma State University for the past 16 years,” said Kirk Jewell. “I am thrilled with the appointment of Blaire to this position and am confident she will continue to exceed expectations by building upon the Foundation’s mission of uniting donor passions with university priorities to achieve excellence.”
The President of the OSU Foundation provides general supervision and ensures appropriate control over the affairs of the OSU Foundation. The President also serves as a senior advisor to OSU administration on matters relating to the development, implementation and integration of Oklahoma State University’s private fundraising programs and activities. The President serves at the direction of the Board of Trustees of the OSU Foundation.
“The Foundation employs incredibly talented people, all passionately committed to supporting quality education in the next generation — a passion I share and care deeply about,” Atkinson said. “I fully believe in the mission of our land-grant university to improve the lives of people in Oklahoma and the world through teaching, research and outreach. I am excited to help inspire others to support the impact Oklahoma State makes.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Jennifer Kinnard | Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Oklahoma State University Foundation | 405-385-5185 | firstname.lastname@example.org