regents governance
OU regent Renzi Stone looks at fellow regent and former Gov. Frank Keating on Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Norman, Oklahoma. (Michael Duncan)

Hours after a University of Oklahoma Board of Regents meeting where he was re-named vice chairman effective March 2020, former OU basketball player and successful public relations professional Renzi Stone announced his resignation from the board, effective immediately.

“Today I’m resigning my seat on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, effective immediately,” Stone wrote in a letter he posted to Twitter. “It has been an honor to serve the state and our alumni, students, faculty and staff.”

Stone, who was already serving as vice chairman of the board, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

“Since my appointment in 2015, I’ve spent between 10-30 hours a week on OU business,” Stone wrote in the letter addressed to Gov. Kevin Stitt. “With a few new opportunities on my plate, and the university trending in the right direction, I decided it was a good time to make a change for me and my family. I love this university.”

Regents debated who would be the board’s next chairperson during an unusual noon lunch meeting held in a “city planning studio” on the third floor of OU’s architecture college. Members had been holding committee meetings in a large conference room on the first floor throughout the morning.

At the lunch meeting, the board voted to name Gary Pierson as its next chairman and announced Stone as vice chairman. No members of the public were present for discussion of the chairmanship position, and Stone briefly left the room after a vote to name Pierson chairman and him vice chairman.


Gary Pierson

In unusual meeting, Gary Pierson named next chairman of OU regents by Tres Savage

Stone returned moments later for a two-hour discussion on board governance and the university’s ongoing strategic planning process. He exited shortly before adjournment — which was not conducted by vote — and left an uneaten sandwich wrap on his lunch plate.

During the governance discussion, regent and former Gov. Frank Keating asked regent Eric Stevenson to describe why he believes the board needs assistance analyzing and potentially reforming its oversight duties.

“That conversation we just had was awkward and uncomfortable, so that would be one example,” Stevenson said.

Pierson recently moved to Colorado, and Stevenson lives in Ohio.

Board Chairwoman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes released a statement Tuesday evening.

“We appreciate Renzi’s dedicated service to the OU Board of Regents,” she said. “He cares deeply for OU and has represented our university well in various capacities for many years. We respect his decision and wish him tremendous success with his future opportunities.”

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(Update: This story was updated at 7:09 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, to include comment from Rainbolt-Forbes. It was updated again to note that Stone was already serving as vice chairman of the board and to reference Stevenson’s full name.)