Wednesday, April 11, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today announced she has appointed former Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Natalie Shirley to the Board of Regents for the University of Oklahoma (OU).
Fallin appointed Shirley, of Oklahoma City, to a full seven-year term on the seven-member official governing body of OU, Cameron University and Rogers State University.
The governor earlier this year reappointed Clayton Bennett to that term. But Bennett said he preferred a shorter commitment and asked that he be appointed to fill the unexpired term of Kirk Humphreys, who resigned in January. That term expires in March 2019.
Both Shirley’s appointment and Bennett’s reappointment require Senate confirmation.
Shirley served three years as Fallin’s secretary of education and workforce development before resigning in January to become the first female president and chief executive officer of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Before that, she served as president of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC).
As secretary of education and workforce development, Shirley worked with Fallin to implement the governor’s Oklahoma Works program, designed to increase educational attainment for Oklahomans to produce a more educated workforce to support and cultivate the state’s economy.
“Natalie Shirley has the experience and skills to be an effective OU regent in working to make sure the university continues to provide a quality education,” said Fallin. “She understands the importance of producing a talented and skilled workforce that is essential in order to compete in today’s global economy. Natalie has been a leader in both the public and private sectors, and she will strive to ensure that the University of Oklahoma provides the best education possible to its students.”
Before being named president of OSU-OKC in 2011, Shirley served on then-Gov. Brad Henry’s executive Cabinet as secretary of commerce and tourism. She also served as executive director of the Department of Commerce, the state’s leading economic development agency.
Prior to that, Shirley was president of ICI Mutual in Washington, D.C., after serving in various leadership offices in the company.
“I am honored that Governor Fallin has appointed me to the OU regents,” Shirley said. “I know from first-hand experience how an education can change the trajectory of one's life. I will work hard with the regents to provide an enriching and challenging experience for OU students, and to be an advocate for the university’s needs.”
Shirley earned a bachelor’s degree from OSU and a law degree from OU.