New Chancellor of Oklahoma Higher Education To Visit RSU

Paul Risser, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, will visit Rogers State University on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 29-30.

During his visit, the chancellor will meet with RSU President Joe Wiley, tour the Claremore campus, meet with faculty and participate in a question-and-answer session with RSU students.

“We are very pleased to welcome the new chancellor to Oklahoma and show him why RSU is the state’s fastest-growing university,” Wiley said.

Before assuming the role of chancellor in November, Risser served as president of Oregon State University in Corvallis, where he led the university to record enrollments and impressive growth over the last seven years.

He previously was president of Miami University in Ohio and also has held the positions of vice president for research, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Mexico, and chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey.

Risser is a native Oklahoman born in Blackwell, where both he and his twin brother attended school. Risser played high school basketball, participated in track and was selected as outstanding senior man. His mother taught school and grew up in Billings, Okla., where the family still owns a farm. His father operated a farm in Blackwell, and his grandfather was a doctor and owned the hospital in Blackwell. His mother still lives in Tulsa and one of his sons lives in Norman.

Risser has an academic background in Oklahoma where he served as a faculty member from 1967-81 at the University of Oklahoma. Risser joined the OU faculty as assistant professor of botany, and 10 years later was promoted to full professor and chair of OU’s Department of Botany and Microbiology.

Risser holds a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College, Iowa, a master’s degree in botany and a doctor of philosophy in botany and soils from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He serves as program director of ecosystem studies for the National Science Foundation and has served as president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (1991-1992) and president of the Ecological Society of America (1984-85).

He is married to Les Risser, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University. Mrs. Risser will accompany the chancellor on his visit to RSU. She is a former English teacher and served as coordinator of university events at Miami University.