Dr. John Feaver announces retirement after more than two decades as USAO president
After more than two decades of highly distinguished leadership, Dr. John H. Feaver has announced his retirement from the presidency of the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma effective Dec. 31, 2023.
“It is not enough to say that leading this institution has been the honor of my life. It has provided me with such an all-pervading sense of purpose that it is hard to sum up how much it has meant to me in a few sentences,” said Feaver. “This college has stood the test of time despite many headwinds, and it has always remained steadfast in its mission to provide a select group of students with a stellar education. I know that it will continue to do so long after my tenure ends because of the dynamic leadership of our Board of Regents, dedicated faculty and staff, generous alumni and friends, and our remarkable students. I will always be humbly thankful to have been a part of this institution for so long.”
Feaver became the 12th president of USAO in 2000, but he was not new to the institution. Appointed to the faculty in 1980, he taught history and political science, was a mainstay in the interdisciplinary studies program for a number of years, and served as departmental and divisional chair in the social sciences. He was named vice president for academic affairs in 1988.
During his more than 20 years as president, Feaver has guided USAO through many great successes, including:
- The university foundation’s earning assets have grown from $2 million to now over $25 million, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships for students.
- Since 2000, USAO has been home to one of the most successful athletic departments in the NAIA, claiming national championships in basketball and softball.
- Fourteen buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and USAO is the only college in Oklahoma to have its entire campus listed as a National Historic District.
- The institution’s “mission enhancement plan” in 2005 reinforced the university’s distinctive designation as Oklahoma’s public liberal arts university in Oklahoma. Since implementing the plan, USAO is continually recognized in national publications for its affordability and exceptional educational quality.
- USAO’ support and commitment for diversity is reflected through special programs like the Neill-Wint Center for Neurodiversity and the Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Center for Social Justice and Racial Healing.
- The university’s freshmen enrollment increased over the last two years when many institutions experienced declines in enrollment.
- Over the past two years, USAO has formed innovative partnerships with other state institutions of higher education such as Redlands Community College, Cameron University, Western Oklahoma State College and the University of Oklahoma that will enhance the learning opportunities available to students as well as increasing efficiencies on campus.
Currently the longest serving university president in Oklahoma, Feaver is the chair of the Council of Presidents, which serves in an advisory role to the Chancellor and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He sits on a number of statewide boards, including the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, Oklahoma Arts Institute Foundation and the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society. He also sits on the boards of the Chickasha Economic Development Council and the Chickasha Historic Preservation Commission.
He also previously served on the boards of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, Creative Oklahoma Inc., Oklahoma Arts Institute, Oklahoma Policy Institute, Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition, Oklahoma Community Institute, Oklahoma A+ Schools and Preservation Oklahoma. In 2012, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
The USAO Board of Regents will begin a search for the university’s next president.