The University of Tulsa Names Seventeenth President

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Steadman Upham, president of Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. since 1998, was named today as The University of Tulsa’s new president.

The announcement was made by Fulton Collins, Chairman of TU’s Board of Trustees, who said, “I am especially pleased to announce Dr. Upham’s appointment. He is the candidate who most closely meets the specifications set forth by the search committee. He was the last candidate we interviewed and if he had been the first candidate our search would have been over months ago.”


Upham says, “My wife and I are very excited about coming to TU and Tulsa. We view this as a tremendous opportunity especially in consideration of the work that has been accomplished in the past eight years. This offers a most attractive foundation on which to build and it’s exactly what we have been looking for.”

Collins said, “The university is very fortunate to have attracted a candidate with such impressive academic and administrative credentials. He will bring the skills, expertise and vision to move TU along its path of achieving continued academic recognition and excellence. Dr. Upham is the best person to sustain and further the momentum we have already achieved,” added Collins.

When asked about his interest in TU, Upham replied, “I believe I bring strengths to TU in that I have served in a variety of positions as faculty, dean and president. Each level offers new opportunities, hones one’s abilities and develops new perspectives. I have learned to bring people together and encourage them to have pride in their accomplishments. The best I can offer people is to create opportunities where they can succeed and as president that will be a major goal of mine.”

The search process began last fall when current TU president Bob Lawless announced his retirement effective the end of the academic year ending in May of 2004. The Presidential Search Committee consisted of 13 committee members supported by a secretary. University Trustees David R. Lawson and Fulton Collins served as co-chairs of the committee. The committee represented several university constituencies including trustees, faculty, staff, alumni and students. The group met regularly and reviewed more than 100 applications and determined which candidates needed further consideration.

Upham, who will be TU’s 17th president, succeeds Lawless. Lawless will continue as president until July 16 at which time Roger Blais, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will assume the position of interim president until Upham arrives, which is expected to be no later than October. However, Upham will attend major university functions.

Prior to his presidency at Claremont, Upham served as vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Oregon from 1990 to 1998 where his responsibilities included the academic and administrative functions for the university’s 21 research centers and institutes. He also was a professor in the anthropology department.

Upham, 55, earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Arizona State University in 1980, where he also earned a M.A. in the same field. He has a B.A. from the University of Redlands, Redlands, Calif. where his major areas of study were English literature and Spanish.

Before his presidency at Claremont and his positions at the University of Oregon he held numerous positions at New Mexico State University, including associate dean of the Graduate School, professor of archaeology, assistant professor of archaeology and chief archaeologist of the Cultural Resources Management Division.

His professional service and accomplishments are extensive and include commissioner of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Council of Graduate Schools; president, National Physical Science Consortium; director of The American Mutual Funds, The Capital Group Companies; Trustee for the Educational Foundation for African Americans, and trustee for the University of Redlands, Claremont Graduate University and the Thomas Rivera Policy Institute.

Upham has received many awards including the Alumni Career Achievement Award from the University of Redlands, The Academy Gold Medal of Honor from the Academy of Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies, Distinguished Alumni Award and Graduate College Hall of Fame from Arizona State University, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the University of Oregon in addition to numerous awards recognizing excellence in teaching.

He has published extensively in his academic field including books and edited volumes, articles in journals, and chapters in collections, and books and monographs. He has been invited to lecture and speak at more than 60 professional meetings and conferences throughout the United States and Canada.

Upham unwinds in his art studio where he creates contemporary paintings. His wife, Peggy, is a silversmith and designs jewelry. Both enjoy walking. The Uphams have two children. Erin is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh and is working there now. Nathan, is a junior at Occidental College in California, majoring in Biology.

The University of Tulsa, with an enrollment of 4,072, is a comprehensive, doctoral degree granting institution that is nationally known for its strong humanities-based undergraduate curriculum and internationally known for its petroleum engineering programs. It ranks 91st among 248 comprehensive, doctoral universities according to the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges and universities rankings.

Claremont Graduate University enrolls 2,200 students who study in eight separate graduate schools. CGU is a Carnegie doctoral research-extensive university and a member of the Oxford style consortium known as The Claremont Colleges.