NORMAN —The University of Oklahoma's next president, James Gallogly, says he has big plans for the school.
"There are so many things we can do across the board," Gallogly said during a Monday afternoon appearance at OU-Tulsa. "Yes, I have a lot of ideas. But before I put those ideas in place, I would like to sit down with our professors and our students and our administrative people and make sure I understand all of the issues, hear from them, and then together we can prioritize a plan."
A 1977 graduate of the OU College of Law, the 65-year-old Gallogly will become the university's 14th president on July 1. He will be paid $500,000 a year.
Gallogly will succeed David Boren, who Gallogly considers a friend and who he says talked to him about the presidency long before Gallogly retired from the corporate world.
Nevertheless, Gallogly — pronounced GAH-luh-glee — did not apply for the OU presidency. He was recommended for it — and couldn't say no.
"I'm one of those people who can never say no to his university," Gallogly said. "I have a feeling the people who asked me knew that."
That said, Gallogly said he looks forward to building on Boren's work to make OU a "reputation" university.
"I want to work with you to make this an absolute pinnacle school," Gallogly said.
OU regents announced their decision Monday morning, although word leaked out several days earlier. A few observers questioned his lack of academic experience, but Gallogly said Friday he plans to follow Boren's practice of being active in the classroom as well as the administration building.
Gallogly was born in Newfoundland, where his father was stationed in the Air Force, but grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, and said Friday that gives him a special appreciation for campuses like OU-Tulsa.
"I know how important a campus like this is to the university," he said.
Following Monday morning's board meeting in Norman, Chairman Clayton Bennett said Gallogly was long seen as the frontrunner.
“He was a clear standout and compelling choice,” Bennett said.
Gallogly has held executive positions with Phillips, Chevron Phillips Chemical and ConocoPhillips before being named chief executive officer of LyondellBassell Industries.
He led the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, transforming it into what is now one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies.
He was a director on the board of DuPont, which merged with Dow Chemical in 2017, and currently serves as a director of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources.
Watch video from the news conference celebrating the announcement:
The new president has been a major donor to the university, with the new Gallogly College of Engineering and the $43 million, 70,000-square-foot Gallogly Hall, set to open in fall 2019, named for him.
He was officially introduced as the university’s president designate in the Molly Shi Boren Ballroom. A gathering of OU donors and figures such as athletic director Joe Castiglione and football coaches Bob Stoops and Lincoln Riley made the sense of importance palpable.
When Gallogly finally stood at the dais, the first thing he did was recognize Boren, who was seated only a few feet in front of Gallogly and the ballroom’s stage.
Boren stood and took a few steps, and Gallogly leaned down to hug the man he will succeed.
Boren, who turns 77 in April, has served as OU's president for 23 years.
“Make no mistake,” Gallogly told the Norman audience. “I did not come just to be a student, or a teacher, or an administrator. I came to help continue the 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.”