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OU Board of Regents selects new chair effective March 2020

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Gary Pierson

OU Regent Gary Pierson.

The OU Board of Regents held a lunch meeting at noon where it chose Regent Gary Pierson as the board’s chairman and reelected Renzi Stone as vice chair beginning March 2020.

Pierson was appointed to the board by Gov. Kevin Stitt in April 2019 to finish Bill Burgess' term after he died in February. 

NonDoc reported that the selections were made during a lunch meeting in Gould Hall Room 345 that consisted of the seven regents, Anil Gollahalli, OU legal counsel, Drew Neville, contracted attorney, and Chris Purcell, board secretary.

"I'm very honored," Pierson told The Daily on Tuesday. "I'm extremely confident some good days are ahead of us, we're going to move this university forward."

Chair Leslie Rainbolt said in a press release that Pierson was appointed because Burgess "would have become chair next year."

"It seems fitting we maintain the sequence in honor of Regent Burgess by appointing his replacement, Regent Pierson, to serve as the next Chair," Rainbolt said in the release. "Since joining our Board, Regent Pierson’s expertise in business and law, as well as his experience leading large complex enterprises, has been invaluable in helping us bring resolution to some significant matters in the past several months."

In the release, Pierson said he appreciated "the confidence my fellow regents exhibited" in selecting him for the position.

"These are important times for higher education in Oklahoma and the three universities we serve as OU regents," Pierson said in the release. "We've made some difficult decisions in the past year, particularly related to OU."

Pierson added in the release that he was "excited about the future" at OU due to the "energetic leadership," financial plan and "inclusive, unifying vision" interim OU President Joseph Harroz has brought to the university.

"After I become chair in March, I will continue to work collaboratively with my fellow regents and our diverse university communities at OU, Cameron and Rogers State," Pierson said in the release, "to make sure they have the resources and support as well as decisive leadership to help them move forward their their missions and visions."

The lunch meeting was held amid special meetings of board committees that took place throughout the day Tuesday. Agendas for all special meetings beside the lunch meeting specified that no final action would be taken by the committee.

The regents' regular meeting will be held Wednesday.

Correction: This story was updated Oct. 22 at 5:15 p.m. to show that the meeting was not closed to the public.

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