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Q&A: OSU President Kayse Shrum and First Cowboy Darren Shrum

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The Shrums

OSU President Kayse Shrum and First Cowboy Darren Shrum schedules look different.

Kayse and Darren Shrum met over 32 years ago in Walmart.

Now, after years of marriage and different occupations, they are in a new situation being the first family of OSU.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?

Kayse: It’s pretty busy. It starts differently every day, sometimes 7 a.m. - whenever that (time) is. I could come to the office, and you know I could go anywhere really in the state. Sometimes here, sometimes I’m in the city, sometimes I’m in Tulsa, just all over depending what's going on that day.

Darren: I tell everybody that I get to life Kayse’s best life, cause’ I get to do all the fun parts. And so, I usually work out with the guys over at football every morning. Go to lunch usually with Scott Sutton and Barry Hanson at least once a week because they're a lot of fun. Then try to attend every event I can.

Q: Any fun pastimes at all?

Kayse: You know, mostly we both work out. Fitness is probably something that has always been important to us. Really, prior to this role that we’re in now, we would come watch OSU sporting events for fun… We have six kids so probably most of our hobbies are really, kind of, around watching them and supporting the kids.

Darren: It’s kind of a good point because everything we’ve always done involves here (OSU). So now that we’re here it’s much easier to see anything else.

Kayse: You like to collect classic cars.

Darren: I do. I have hot rods and cars and things like that. I had a shop in Coweta for about 11 years, almost 12 years, and we built hot rods and show cars. Not stuff people would need, just stuff people would like to have.

Q: How did you guys meet?

Kayse: Oh, well we met at Walmart.

Darren: Right out of college, I graduated from the University of Central Arkansas. So, I took a job at Walmart We were in Broken Arrow, it was a long time ago, 32 years ago, the first time I ever saw her probably. I was just standing at the front with the store manager...until Kayse walks through the front door. And she’s just holding this little girls’ hand and I said, 'that’s the girl right there I’m going to marry…' Then about two or three days later she’s back in the store about the same time 2:30/ 3:00 and here she would come. It turns out she was good friends with one of our employees there and that’s how we met. Is that how you recall it?

Kayse: Yeah. Back when I was in High School, if you had all of your credits and if you had a job, you only had to go to school half a day. I used to babysit as my half day job… We didn’t actually meet then. It was probably six months later that we actually met.

Q: If there is anything for you, as the First Cowboy, is there something you're passionate about here at the university?

Darren: I want to see every inch of the campus starting out in the wheat fields in everything that we do and just work our way in. Because a lot of the bigger things you know... But there’s a lot of smaller areas of this campus that don’t always get a lot of publicity and so that’s kind of what I want to do. Just draw some attention to those. To see what we can do to help everyone get recognized because there’s so much going on here, it’s kind of unbelievable when you think about it. It’s huge. I’ve got a few ideas, but I don’t think we’re ready to say anything just yet.

Q: Your first 100 days have passed (as OSU president), what is one of the highlights?

Kayse: Obviously there've been a lot of great moments. I enjoy being out across campus and meeting students. That’s the best thing about this job honestly. And from a campus wide perspective, I’m really proud of the resilience and the way people pulled together when the numbers started increasing... Probably one of the neatest moments for me, and probably just a moment that you're a little overwhelmed, was when I did orange power before the football game.