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OSU president: Announcement due Friday

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New presidents?

Two presidential candidates, Dr. Kayse Shrum and Auburn Provost Bill Hardgrave have been confirmed as finalists. Two still remain unknown.

Dr. Kayse Shrum’s journey showcases her versatility and orange roots. 

She climbed the ranks from being an OSU student to an assistant professor, before becoming dean and eventually president of the OSU medical school.

Will being president of OSU-Stillwater be the next highlight on her résumé?

Shrum told The O’Colly Thursday that she is one of the four finalists being considered for the vacant president role, which will be confirmed Friday afternoon.  When contacted, those close to the hiring process said Shrum was an “amazing” candidate.

According to multiple sources, Auburn Provost Bill Hardgrave is another confirmed finalist. Like Shrum, Hardgrave has OSU ties as he received his Ph.D. from the school in 1993.

“Oklahoma State really opened my eyes to this world of the academia and what it means to be great in the classroom and what it means to do life-altering research. It left a mark on me,” Hardgrave said in a 2019 interview with OSU’s official website.

Current President Burns Hargis expressed his desire for the new president to be an OSU alumni in an interview last November.

“That’d be great if we could find an OSU grad,” Hargis said. “It gives you instant credibility with the faculty, students, donors and alumni. I think it really helped me a lot to know that I drank the same Kool-Aid.”

Friday’s announcement will conclude OSU’s nationwide search for a new president. This process was forefronted by a 36-person search committee.

“The months-long effort has included an extensive, competitive national search and a selection process that included campus representatives from across the university system,” the statement read.

Shrum has long been seen as a frontrunner for the job. And she checks a lot of boxes with many interested in the search.

She would be OSU’s first female president. 

“It would be amazing if the next president of OSU was a woman, I would absolutely love that,” said OSU junior Beth Henderson.

Shrum has presidential experience, as current president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences. She’s also been interested in the job from the beginning.

“I absolutely love what I do here and I love Oklahoma State University and I absolutely want whatever is best in the future for the OSU system,” Shrum said when asked about her interest in the president job. “And whatever capacity that is for me in the system, I’m willing to consider that.”

news.ed@ocolly.com