James Gallogly donned a red and black robe as he walked onto a stage at the Lloyd Noble Center, preparing to be officially installed as the University of Oklahoma’s 14th president.
Gallogly’s inauguration ceremony was in conjunction with New Sooner Convocation Aug. 16 and was attended by incoming freshmen, returning students, faculty, staff, the OU Board of Regents and a plethora of state officials.
It’s been 23 years since OU inaugurated a new president, and this ceremony is nearly a year in the making after longtime OU President David Boren announced his retirement on Sept. 20, 2017.
“We sought someone who clearly indicated a vision for our university… Our newest president had to love Oklahoma, and they had to love OU,” said Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, one of OU’s regents, as she prepared to install Gallogly as president.
“We charge you, James Lawrence Gallogly, to maintain the presence of all those who have come before us, to give of yourself and your talent, to preserve the strength of this great institution and to lead our faculty, students, staff and alumni as one community united in one pursuit of excellence.”
As the ceremonial presidential collar was placed around Gallogly’s shoulders by the Student Government Association presidents from each of OU’s campuses, the crowd cheered.
James Gallogly is now officially installed as the president of the University of Oklahoma. The SGA Presidents from all three OU campuses presented Gallogly with the Presidential Collar. pic.twitter.com/NZxMsSEa8I— Jana Allen ✨ (@janaabananaax) August 16, 2018
“With profound humility, with great enthusiasm and confidence in the future, I accept your charge, and I accept the responsibilities as president of the University of Oklahoma,” Gallogly said. “I can think of no greater privilege than the opportunity than to lead this community of outstanding faculty, students and staff.”
Leaders present at the ceremony spoke of Gallogly’s strengths and OU’s bright future.
Glen Johnson, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education, said there are many challenges a university president faces but he has confidence in Gallogly’s ability to lead OU.
“The president has the authority, and ultimately the responsibility, to set the tone and the vision, which in turn shapes the goals and the benchmarks for the institution that he or she leads,” Johnson said. “Six weeks into this endeavor, President Gallogly, you are soaring with very high marks.”
After the official inauguration ceremony, Gallogly took to the podium to address OU’s class of 2022.
His speech was directed to his granddaughter Ella, who listened from the front row. Gallogly listed the qualities he believes a Sooner possesses and what OU can offer to students, faculty, staff and the world.
“Ella, Sooners are scholars,” Gallogly said. “They come from schools all over Oklahoma, all over our nation and all over the world. They are among the best and the brightest.”
Gallogly said there was a record 17,334 applications for this year’s freshmen class, of which 4,400 were admitted. He said 556 came with perfect grade point averages, 261 were ranked first in their classes and many new freshmen are National Merit Scholars.
“Our incoming class is one of the largest, best and most diverse classes ever,” he said.
"A great education to students should be more convenient to students in and around Oklahoma," Gallogly says. "What we will not do this year is increase tuition. We want to always ensure an affordable, high quality, high value Sooner education."— Jana Allen ✨ (@janaabananaax) August 16, 2018
Mathematics freshman Livia Dvoracek said she enjoyed Gallogly including his granddaughter in his speech. Biomedical engineering freshman Gina Engle said she felt motivated and excited to be a Sooner after Gallogly’s speech.
“You now know a little about the sooner spirit. The same spirit that believes in a little magic, a lot of passion, to change the world, to love each other and to do it all as one,” Gallogly said to his grandchildren. “But there’s one word that I don’t think you understand, Ella. Could you come up on stage with your grandpa for just a moment to help me with something?”
The audience waited to see what Gallogly would do as he picked up Ella, leaned into the microphone and shouted: “Boomer!”
Without a moment’s hesitation, the audience roared back: “Sooner!”
Gallogly brings his grandchildren on stage to participate in the "Boomer, Sooner" chant. He says he just made sure they'd be sooners for the rest of their life.— Jana Allen ✨ (@janaabananaax) August 16, 2018