David L. Boren, president since 1994 of the University of Oklahoma, announced on Wednesday that he planned to retire on June 30, 2018, unless his successor had not been named by that date.
Mr. Boren, a centrist Democrat, has engaged in public service for more than 50 years, including terms in the Oklahoma Legislature, as governor of Oklahoma, and as a U.S. senator from his home state before he became the university’s president.
His years as president were noted for the creation of 30 academic programs, the raising of more than $3 billion in private donations, the expansion of student scholarships and endowed faculty chairs, and improvements in a range of gauges of student quality and success. Mr. Boren also taught an undergraduate course in political science, which he will continue to teach after he retires.
Perhaps the most notable event during his presidency, however, was his response to an ugly incident in 2015, when members of the university’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter were recorded singing a racially offensive anthem. Citing the university’s code of student conduct, Mr. Boren assailed the fraternity’s activity, expelled two participants in the song, and shut down the chapter. Critics of his response said the First Amendment barred a public university from taking such steps in response to an exercise of free speech.
A year later he took a similar approach to a student who had sent racist text messages to students at the University of Pennsylvania in the aftermath of the 2016 election.Return to Top