(STILLWATER, Oklahoma, June 16, 2022) — The Cowboy family is invited to celebrate the inauguration of Oklahoma State University's 19th president — Dr. Kayse Shrum. The ceremony will be at 2 p.m., Aug. 26, at Gallagher-Iba Arena and serve as a ceremonial milestone for Shrum’s presidency, which began July 1, 2021.
The historic event, which was delayed due to pandemic considerations, is free and open to the public. It will feature messages from special guests, the presentation of the presidential medallion, live music provided by the Greenwood School of Music and a State of Orange address from Shrum highlighting OSU’s deep-rooted tradition as a premier land-grant institution, resiliency, progress and her vision for the future.
Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend. The celebration will also be livestreamed for alumni around the globe at insideosu.com. Following Shrum’s inauguration, a student celebration is planned for Aug. 30. For updates about these and other campus events, visit calendar.okstate.edu.
On April 2, 2021, the OSU/A&M Board of Regents voted to appoint Shrum OSU president, making her the first woman to lead the institution and the first woman to lead a Tier 1, four-year public research university in Oklahoma.
Dr. Trudy Milner, OSU/A&M Board of Regents chair, said Shrum has proven to be an excellent leader, forging a new strategic vision for the university while adeptly navigating through difficult challenges.
"Dr. Shrum's appointment was historic as we welcomed the first woman to lead Oklahoma's premier land-grant university and the first woman to lead a major research university in Oklahoma,” she said. “There was no honeymoon. She faced two monumental crises less than a month into her presidency — conference realignment and the pandemic. I was incredibly impressed with how Dr. Shrum and her leadership team rose to the challenges and led with conviction, tenacity and steadiness.
“Her engaging style has brought new energy and excitement to our campus and system. More opportunities and challenges are no doubt ahead. I genuinely believe Oklahoma State's future is as bright as ever because we have the leadership to drive success."
Navigating the realignment of the Big 12 Conference in her first few months as president highlights notable achievements, including: the launch of a systemwide strategy process to guide the future of the university, securing a transformative gift to establish the world-class Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University and establishing the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE).
“This is an exciting time for our university,” said OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson. “I hope the campus community — students, faculty, staff and alumni — will join us to recognize this important milestone and celebrate Dr. Shrum’s leadership, the incredible impact she’s already had on our university and the bright future that lies ahead.”
Shrum expressed excitement and gratitude following her selection announcement, noting the special place OSU holds in heart and calling the opportunity the “greatest challenge and honor of her professional career.”
After her first year in office, Shrum is focused on coming together as a community behind a set of long-term goals to take OSU to new heights of academic and research excellence.
“I want to thank our students, faculty and staff, who continue to inspire me every day,” Shrum said. “Working together as a Cowboy family, we will continue to build sustained success, strategically positioning our university with bold and visionary ideas to cement OSU as the nation’s premier land-grant institution.”
Shrum formerly served as president of OSU's Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS), which more than doubled its enrollment under her leadership. Her selection in 2013 made her the youngest and first female president and dean of a medical school in Oklahoma. Before beginning her academic work at OSU-CHS, she served rural Oklahoma as a pediatrician.
As OSU-CHS president, Dr. Shrum secured a landmark investment in 2019 from Purdue Pharma for $197.5 million to create the National Center for Wellness and Recovery for addiction treatment and research to address the national opioid addiction epidemic. A strong supporter of collaborative partnerships, Shrum also worked with former Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and his administration to establish the nation's first tribally affiliated medical school — the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation — which opened in the fall 2020 semester.
Shrum led the construction of the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Medical Academic Building — a state-of-the-art learning facility which houses the state’s largest and most technologically advanced hospital simulation center, and, in March 2019, was appointed Oklahoma's first secretary of science and innovation. In that role, she played a critical part in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and her innovative leadership approach and medical expertise helped the state secure much-needed PPE supplies and led to the formation of a COVID diagnostics lab — Oklahoma's largest — on OSU's Stillwater campus.
A fervent champion of rural health and primary care medicine, Shrum has made the creation of a sustainable, rural primary care physician pipeline a top priority. While leading OSU-CHS, she launched innovative high school recruiting programs like Operation Orange and Blue Coat to White Coat; created the Rural Medical Track curriculum; and expanded the number of residency training programs in rural Oklahoma by securing support from the Oklahoma Legislature, Oklahoma Health Care Authority and Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.
Her long list of awards and accolades includes induction into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame (2022), being named The Journal Record's Woman of the Year (2019), and, most recently, DO of the Decade by the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association.
Dr. Shrum and her husband, First Cowboy Darren Shrum, have a farm near Coweta. They have six adult children — three of whom have already graduated from OSU.