A University of Oklahoma law school graduate who has nearly three decades of experience in the oil and gas industry will take over as the university’s fourteenth president.
The Board of Regents named James Gallogly, who graduated from OU Law in 1977, as the university’s next president on Monday morning. He will replace David Boren, who is retiring after 23 years.
At a ceremony in the Student Union, Gallogly said he will push hard to achieve greatness.
“I came to help continue that work that David Boren started, that great foundation, to take the University of Oklahoma from a great institution to absolutely the pinnacle of academic success,” Gallogly said.
Gallogly told the audience that he will see himself as a student who will learn from the university’s faculty and students.
“I’m a true Sooner and if we lose a game or two I’m just as upset as you because we expect perfection. And we’re going to have that same standard in everything we do at this university,” Gallogly said.
Chairman of the OU Board of Regents Clay Bennett said the search committee initially interviewed 13 candidates, which as later whittled down to 7 finalists.
“There was very quickly a clear choice, a person of remarkable skill, unmatched track record of success, of energy, of sophistication in terms of finding answers to problems, of inspiring people to greatness, of building teams, of moving organization to the next level,” Bennett said.
Gallogly most recently worked as chairman and CEO of the Dutch firm LyondellBasell and led the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He previously worked for 29 years for ConocoPhillips, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company and Phillips Petroleum Company.
Gallogly is a donor to OU and he has donated millions to the university’s school of engineering, which bears his family’s name. When asked about the perception of donating large amounts of money to the university and later being named president, Gallogly said he was not concerned about it.
“I may have given money to the university, but I don’t think of it as giving money. I think of it as investing. And right now I’m investing way more than treasure. I’m investing that time that I have. I’m not a young person, and I’m here to help this university in any way that I can,” the 65-year-old Gallogly said.
David Boren, who will retire as president on June 30, 2018, said he did not know Gallogly was the final selection until Friday.
“I was elated because he has been my friend for over 25 years. I’ve watched him. I know what a talent he is. I’ve seen him turn around a company that was in terrible shape that he took out of bankruptcy. I’ve seen him succeed at so many things,” Boren said.
On Monday afternoon, many students at OU were still learning about the incoming president. Senior Stephanie Krawczyk is a chemical engineering student from Tulsa, and she is interested to watch the transition from Boren to Gallogly.
“I am really excited that the engineering department will be represented. I feel like he will do a great job,” Krawczyk said.
Claire McNabb, a freshman creative media production student from Comfort, Texas, said she likes that Gallogly has extensive business experience.
“There’s a lot of turmoil surrounding education and funding,” McNabb said. “He has that background to understand the economy and understand funding and understand budget cuts and how to pull the funds and use them resourcefully.”
Other students were not as enthusiastic about the selection of Gallogly, citing his extensive career in the oil and gas industry and his large donations to OU.
Dedrick Perkins is a junior social work major from Lawton, Oklahoma. He is concerned about Gallogly’s donations.
“If he’s donated money to the university, it kind of feels like maybe he paid for his job,” Perkins said.
And, Perkins says, anybody would have a difficult time following David Boren, also known on campus as D-Bo.
“D-Bo is kind of amazing,” Perkins said. “So I think this guy has a lot of expectations.”
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