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OU announces new vice president for research, vice president for executive affairs

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Joseph Harroz (copy)

Interim OU President Joseph Harroz laughs with students at the Extreme Animals petting zoo on the South Oval Aug. 23.

The university announced two administrative hires Friday, pending OU Board of Regents approval.

According to a university press release, Tomás Díaz de la Rubia will serve as vice president for research and partnerships and Sean Burrage will serve as vice president for executive affairs should the regents approve their appointment.

Díaz de la Rubia previously worked as Purdue University's chief scientific officer and senior vice president of strategic initiatives, according to the release. Before working at Purdue, Díaz de la Rubia worked with Fortune 500 energy and manufacturing companies to identify opportunities from emerging technologies.

In a letter to the OU community, interim OU President Joseph Harroz thanked Randall Hewes, who served as interim vice president for research, and welcomed Díaz de la Rubia as vice president for research.

Díaz de la Rubia was the overwhelming top choice to emerge from our formal search process," Harroz wrote, "and he has received a strong endorsement from the Faculty Senate leadership. I’m confident his breadth of experience in public, private and university research environments will provide transformative leadership in our efforts to grow OU’s national position in groundbreaking research.

Burrage, who has worked as president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University since 2014, will lead, direct, delegate or assist strategic projects for the university, according to the release. His duties will include matters involving university officials, community and government leaders.

Burrage was the overwhelming front-runner in our formal search for a vice president of executive affairs," Harroz wrote in the letter. "He brings to this critical position a vital experience in academia, an intimate knowledge of our state and a strong commitment to our public mission."

Burrage is a two-time state senator, according to the release. He is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and graduated from OU with both a juris doctorate and bachelor of arts degree in accounting.


Scott Kirker is a letters and Spanish senior and assistant news managing editor for The Daily. Previously he worked as summer editor-in-chief and as a news reporter covering research and administrative searches.

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