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Oklahoma State University Names Dr. Kayse Shrum As New President

Oklahoma State University
Dr. Kayse Shrum was named the 19th President of Oklahoma State University late Friday night.

A graduate of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine who has been instrumental in fundraising and increasing student enrollment will take over as OSU’s 19th president.

The OSU Board of Regents unanimously named Dr. Kayse Shrum as the university’s next president late Friday evening. She will be the first woman to lead the school.

The announcement at the Student Union was delayed by more than five hours as the regents deliberated over the final slate of candidates.

Shrum said she was honored and humbled to be chosen.

“OSU has a special place in my heart and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to lead this vibrant university and the OSU system into a successful future,” Shrum said.

The Coweta-native said that when she was a medical student at OSU, she would have never imagined this day.

“It has been extremely rewarding in every capacity serving in Oklahoma State University,” Shrum said. “I look forward to providing an opportunity for students to achieve an education that will allow them to meet their dreams and achieve their goals in the future, just like Oklahoma State University gave to me.”

Shrum has been employed by OSU in various roles for nearly two decades, most recently as the president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS). She was named to that position in 2013, becoming the youngest and first female president of a medical school in the state of Oklahoma.

Under her direction, OSU-CHS has more than doubled its student enrollment. Shrum also worked to address a health care workforce shortage in rural Oklahoma by creating a rural primary care physician pipeline program and expanding the number of residency training programs in rural Oklahoma.

In another rural pipeline initiative, Shrum worked with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker to establish the nation's first tribally-affiliated medical school, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, which opened last fall in Tahlequah with an inaugural class of 54 students.

"Under Dr. Shrum’s direction, OSU Center for Health Sciences has become a leader in teaching and training the next generation of physicians and research scientists in our state," OSU President Burns Hargis said in 2019. "She is a terrific leader and developer of talent."

In March 2019, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt named Shrum as the Secretary of Science and Innovation. Shrum was widely seen as integral to the state during the coronavirus pandemic, as officials scrambled to secure personal protective equipment and testing kits, and increased its testing capacity. She stepped down from Stitt’s cabinet in June 2020 to return full-time to OSU-CHS.

Shrum also helped secure a landmark investment from the Purdue Pharma settlement with the state of Oklahoma in 2019. $197.5 million of the $270 million settlement went to create OSU’s Center for Wellness and Recovery in Tulsa. The center serves as an institution for research, education and treatment for addiction.

“Our world-class team will use these funds for groundbreaking research … one day leading to the end of the nation’s ongoing public health crisis.” Hargis said in 2019. “I don’t think we’d be here today but for [Shrum’s] efforts.”

Shrum also previously was provost of OSU-CHS, dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, a member of the OSU-CHS medical school faculty and a pediatric resident at Tulsa Regional Medical Center.

Shrum began her college education on a softball scholarship at Connors State College in Warner, Okla. From there, she attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., the University of Arkansas and finally the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she became Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.

Shrum will replace Hargis, who announced his retirement last fall after 13 years in the position. He will officially exit the university on July 1.


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Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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