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Horse sculptures outside OSU's Student Union in Stillwater

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

President’s Fellows make an impact across campus

It doesn’t take a large group to make a lasting difference, and the President’s Fellows program embodies this idea. Generous Oklahoma State University supporters each give at least $10,000 annually, allowing OSU President Burns Hargis to address the needs and opportunities that exist within underfunded areas of OSU.

Although this group has only been established for five years, it has already surpassed the $2 million mark in cumulative contributions. As astounding as this is, the program’s work is not finished. There are still areas and students that the President’s Fellows program could benefit.

“Almost daily we are confronted with the reality that one of our outstanding students may be forced to leave school because of financial hardship, or we learn of a promising program that lacks funding for equipment,” Hargis said. “The President’s Fellows are generously ensuring that we can immediately address these needs.”

Significant Changes

The program’s impact has reached across campus. In 2016, it assisted OSU’s campus beautification efforts by accelerating the construction of the Welcome Plaza. It has also provided support for six other campus beautification projects, assisted more than 30 campus programs such as the Department of Wellness and Student Disabilities Services, funded 12 research projects via Faculty Research Awards and has provided financial assistance to more than 500 students.

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“I cannot put into words how fortunate we are to have a group of donors who contribute to this program each year,” Hargis said. “Their love and support for OSU is helping us achieve greatness in all areas.”

Bryan Close, a 1966 hotel and restaurant administration graduate and Fellows donor, said he is pleased with how Hargis examines each area and decides where to apply support.

“He, far more than any of us, is able to observe certain, often obscure, needs of the university that rarely are known to even the most ardent donors,” Close said. “I take great pleasure in knowing that my small contribution, combined with those of other members of the President’s Fellows, will be applied to projects that can create meaningful and significant changes at OSU.”


Lasting Experiences

President’s Fellows also support study abroad programs for students like Shariah James.

The psychology senior is one of seven students who received a scholarship to participate in international studies in 2018.

She was able to take part in the College of Arts and Sciences’ short-term travel course Exploration in the History of Psychology over spring break.

“Without the generous support of donors, this trip would not have been possible,” James said. During her time in Ireland, she met with locals, ate traditional Irish cuisine and visited galleries and museums. “I chose Ireland because I wanted to learn more about the country’s enchanting and rich history of psychology,” she said.

Her time abroad had such an impact that James now plans to pursue a master’s degree in international management with a focus on human resources and organizational leadership. “You have helped make a lasting impression on my life, and for that I am forever grateful.”


A President’s Fellows scholarship allowed senior Shariah James to have the experience of a lifetime in Ireland — visiting Belfast and Dublin.
A President’s Fellows scholarship allowed senior Shariah James to have the experience of a lifetime in Ireland — visiting Belfast and Dublin.

To support the President’s Fellows or get more information about the program, contact Mandy Heaps at

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