OSU celebrates historical inauguration of Dr. Kayse Shrum

STILLWATER, Okla. — Friday afternoon Oklahoma State University celebrated the official Inauguration of its 19th president, Dr. Kayse Shrum.

The historic event was delayed due to the pandemic; Dr. Shrum’s presidency began on July 1, 2021.

Dr. Shrum is the first woman to lead the institution and the first woman to lead a Tier-1 four-year public research university in the state of Oklahoma.

Despite the delay, the event was marked with a lot of excitement and ceremony.

Shortly after 2pm, Gallagher-Iba arena was filled with the sounds of bagpipes, the national anthem, and the Oklahoma State song.

There was also the bestowing of the presidential medallion.

“I do like jewelry,” Dr. Shrum remarked after the large medallion was placed around her neck.

On Friday afternoon, the Cowboy family held the official inauguration ceremony for Dr. Shrum on the Stillwater campus.

Dr. Shrum, who was appointed by the Board of Regents back on April 2nd, layed out her vision for the land-grant institution:

“Oklahoma State University intends to become the nation’s pre-eminent land grant university.”

She went on to say that

“OSU intends to bring teaching, research and extension to bear to meet Oklahoma’s greatest challenge better than any other land grant university ever has for its home state.”

In November of last year Dr. Shrum announced a process to guide the university in obtaining pre-eminence as a land-grant institution.

Now after months of listening, hundreds of hours of information gathering, and diligent service from steering committee working groups she said the plan is nearly complete.

She said the university’s strategy committee will unveil the blue prints for the next era of OSU in the coming weeks.

Just this week OSU welcomed its largest, freshman class in history with more than 4,600 first time freshmen enrolled.

FOX23 asked students on the Stillwater campus what issues matter to them right now.

“Honestly what I’m most worried about while I’m here is the pandemic,” remarked sophomore Shantia Jamison, “my safety while I’m here and getting through all of it, so I just want to see her stay on top of that, maybe bring some more protocols.”

“Oklahoma State has [a] massive football program,” noted Owen Woodside, a freshman, " but I’d also like to see a lot of representation and attention given towards other sports, other activities, clubs you know.”

Dr. Shrum had to navigate the pandemic and the realignment of the Big 12 Conference in her first few months as university president.

The pediatrician and mother of six is also the former president of OSU’s Center for Health Sciences. She called this new role the privilege of a lifetime.

“Today I invite all of you to join me in embarking on a new era of ambitious progress at Oklahoma State University,” she said. “It is a great day to be a cowboy God Bless you and go pokes!”

The ceremony included a number of special guests including Governor Kevin Stitt. Dr. Shrum is a former member of Governor Stitt’s cabinet, where she served as the Secretary of Science and Innovation.

A student celebration is planned for August 30 following Dr. Shrum’s inauguration on the Stillwater campus.