The Cowboy Way: Loughridge reflects on his career as a servant-leader
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Media Contact: Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations | 405-744-5540 | firstname.lastname@example.org
A day of relaxation for Jerome Loughridge includes trading in his suit and tie for a pair of rubber boots, loading up his yellow Labrador and escaping to the great outdoors to fly fish and wing shoot.
Those days don’t happen often, though. His life is dedicated to service.
As senior vice president for systems operations at Oklahoma State University, Loughridge serves as a strategic advisor to President Kayse Shrum and serves a key role in sharing the strategic vision to elevate OSU as the preeminent land-grant institution.
His upbeat personality and passion for inspiring future leaders allow him to navigate the fast-paced velocity and motion of OSU. But it’s in the peacefulness of the outdoors, listening to the whir of birds’ wings that Loughridge reconnects with his roots. It helps keep him grounded.
“I think part of humility is standing beside great things,” Loughridge said. “And so for me, the outdoors represents grandeur and a sort of magnificence and creation and a reminder toward humility.”
The Duncan, Oklahoma, native watched his parents — Bill and Sue Loughridge, both OSU graduates — model servant leadership in their community through their careers as a carpenter and a teacher.
“That’s what I esteem as the highest calling is the servant-leader,” Jerome said. “So that’s what I’ve tried to do with my career at every possible point.”
A Harvard and Baylor University educated Truman Scholar, Loughridge’s studies led him to fall in love with the concept of a story. He enjoys reading about history or biographies of historical figures such as Winston Churchill, whose leadership in the face of daunting challenges continues to inspire Loughridge.
With career highlights spanning from the White House to Oklahoma state government and the oilfield service industry, Loughridge has cultivated an accomplished career. What drew him to OSU was the opportunity to inspire students. Loughridge sets out to be an exemplar of the servant leadership he was raised in — both for students and his two sons.
On Wednesday mornings, he can be found on the first floor of Old Central teaching a course on Public policy during times of crisis to 22 undergraduate students. For him, teaching is the single most important thing he does because it reminds him of his ‘why’ in life.
“It just reminds me that we’re not here making widgets. We’re here trying to grow young people into ethical leaders and engaged citizens,” he said.
Photo By: Phil Shockley
Story By: Sydney Trainor | STATE Magazine