OSU welcomed Dr. James Halligan as its 16th president on August 1, 1994, following his resignation as president of New Mexico State University.
Twelve years of declining enrollment were reversed under Halligan and OSU was named America’s Best College Buy and a Truman Honor Institution.
Halligan emphasized student success, increasing retention and graduation rates as well as scholar development, and invested more than $200 million in facilities that included multi-media classrooms and suite-style student housing.
Focusing OSU research efforts on economic development and homeland security, Halligan also supported OSU’s first capital campaign, which topped $260 million—more than double the original goal.
He oversaw the renovation of Gallagher-Iba Arena, construction of new campus research centers, and the launch of OSU-Tulsa. He led the university community through the aftermath of the tragic plane crash in Colorado that claimed the lives of 10 members of the OSU family.
Halligan retired in 2002, he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 2008.