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Hargis leads Oklahoma State to success

During his first three years as president of Oklahoma State University, Burns Hargis has guided the university to record fundraising through the $1 billion Branding Success Campaign. He has also worked to improve enrollment and retention and to promote creativity and innovation.

BY DARLA SLIPKE Published: April 24, 2011

encourages students, staff and faculty to devise creative solutions, like a student recycling initiative to clean up cans and bottles after home football games.

Cares about students, university employees

Robert Sternberg, OSU’s provost and senior vice president, said one of the main reasons he took the job at Oklahoma State last year was so he could work with Hargis. Sternberg, who has a background in psychology, has studied leadership. He said Hargis possesses the qualities of a great leader, including creativity, intelligence, wisdom, analytical skills and passion.

Hargis cares about his students and employees and takes a personal interest in their lives, Sternberg said.

“Easily he’s the best person I’ve ever worked for,” he said. “You don’t feel like you’re working for him. You are, but he makes people feel like they’re working as part of a team.”

Hargis said Oklahoma State’s mission as a land grant school is to serve the state by developing great talents. He said he is proud of the fact that freshman enrollment this year was the highest it has been since 1982 and this year’s freshman class was the university’s highest ranking class academically.

Next year’s class looks to be strong, too, Hargis said.

“We need more college graduates and OSU wants to do its part,” Hargis said.