OU Sociology Graduate Dr. Gary Sandefur Named OSU Provost

Sandefur received his BA in sociology from the University of Oklahoma in 1974 and worked as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma from 1978-1984.

Oklahoma State University has named Dr. Gary Sandefur as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs. He comes from the University of Wisconsin where he has served as Dean of Letters and Science and is currently Professor of Sociology.

His appointment follows a national search and is pending approval by the OSU/A&M Board of Regents at it next regularly scheduled meeting in June. Sandefur earned his bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of Oklahoma and is a former OU assistant professor.

“We welcome Gary Sandefur back to Oklahoma as our chief academic officer,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “He brings an outstanding record of achievement to OSU and I know the university will benefit from Dr. Sandefur’s success in faculty recruiting, retention, research, diversity, fundraising and other areas. His skills as a leader and enthusiasm will guide OSU to further success and growth.”

“I am honored to be selected to lead the academic programs and work with the excellent academic team at Oklahoma State University,” said Sandefur. “As a native of Oklahoma, I have great respect for OSU’s land-grant heritage and the outstanding work it does through its diverse academic offerings. My wife, Kathy, and I are excited about this opportunity and look forward to joining the OSU family.”

Sandefur graduated from high school in Madill, Oklahoma, and received his BA in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma in 1974 and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University in 1978. He is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.

He served as Dean of the College of Letters and Science at Wisconsin from 2004-2013. As Dean, Sandefur focused on a number of pressing issues facing the College. He helped raise more than $240 million to support activities in the College. He was often called on to work on campus-wide initiatives, including chairing a steering committee for the redesign of the university’s HR system.

Sandefur, who joined the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1984, held other administrative positions, including Chair of the Sociology Department, Director of American Indian Studies, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Interim Provost in 2001. Before going to Wisconsin, he was Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma from 1978-1984.

Sandefur has published widely on issues at the intersection of population studies and public policy. His most cited work is a book with Sara McLanahan, entitled Growing Up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps, from Harvard University Press in 1994. He has written many other articles and book chapters on American Indians, racial inequality, and family issues.

Information and photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University News and Communications