Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed attorney Michael Cawley to the OU Board of Regents this afternoon. Assuming Senate confirmation, Cawley will become Stitt’s third appointee to the seven-member board.
Cawley previously served as a member of the State Regents for Higher Education’s 2017-2018 task force examining the future of higher ed in the state.
“Mr. Cawley is a successful businessman, attorney and OU [alumnus], with a career dedicated to serving rural Oklahoma,” Stitt said in a press release. “Mr. Cawley served for 20 years as president of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, leading a team that raised funds to publish research advancing the agriculture industry in Oklahoma and nationwide. He will bring a wealth of experience and a strong network to support the OU Board (of Regents) and the university’s vision to continue growing as reputable national research institution.”
In the same press release, Cawley said he was “honored” by the appointment.
“Gov. Stitt has shared with me his desire for higher education excellence,” Cawley said in the release. “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the Board of Regents and university teams to bring that desire to fruition.”
Cawley holds an undergraduate and a law degree from OU. Former dean of the OU College of Law, Joe Harroz, is the university’s current interim president.
“I was thrilled to learn that Gov. Stitt appointed Michael Cawley to the OU Board of Regents,” Harroz said in Stitt’s release. “He is a dedicated servant to our university having spent decades committed to our mission in a variety of roles. His appointment to the board speaks to his interest in and advocacy for higher education in Oklahoma. The board, and the institutions it governs, will be better for his leadership, counsel and insight. We’re proud to have another OU alumnus serve as a member of this distinguished body and I look forward to working with him.”
Cawley’s confirmation will be addressed by the Oklahoma State Senate after the Legislature convenes for session Feb. 3, 2020. He will fill the unexpired term of Renzi Stone who resigned in October after an unusual lunch meeting that named Gary Pierson as chairman-elect of the board. Pierson and fellow regent Eric Stevenson were appointed by Stitt in 2019.
Cawley lives in Ardmore and graduated from the OU College of Law in 1972.
The OU Board of Regents has faced a tumultuous year, receiving a detailed report of sexual misconduct allegations against former OU President David Boren, being sued for alleged sexual misconduct by former OU Vice President Tripp Hall and transitioning between controversial President Jim Gallogly and Harroz, a longtime Boren employee and confidant.
Harroz is currently working to complete a first draft of an OU strategic framework. That draft is expected to be presented to the OU Board of Regents in February.
In 1998, Cawley served on the OU search committee that selected current Athletic Director Joe Castiglione.
(Update: This story was updated at 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, to include additional information.)