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A publication of the University of Oklahoma Foundation

Gallogly Calls Return to OU a 'Homecoming'

The defining moment of the March 26 meet-and-greet with the University of Oklahoma president-designate happened when Jim Gallogly grabbed an OU cap from a nearby Ruf/Nek and put it on, smiling broadly.  The unscripted gesture was the most candid of the morning as the soon-to-be 14th president of the university met for the first time publicly with students, faculty and staff in Oklahoma Memorial Union. Like a high school athlete on signing day, Gallogly donned the cap to signal his commitment to the university and a willingness to be part of the team. 

“It was about 40 years ago when Janet and I made a trip from Colorado in a car and a U-Haul moving van to come to the university,” says Gallogly of his 1974 move to Norman for law school. “The first job that I have is to be a student again — to learn from all of you,” he adds, acknowledging his new role in higher education. 

President-Designate Jim Gallogly at the March 26 announcement of his appointment as OU's 14th president. The audience roared its approval when Gallogly grabbed a ballcap from the head of a RUF/NEK member and donned it at the close of his speech.

A 1977 alumnus of OU Law, Gallogly is the first CEO from a Fortune 500 company to lead the university. He practiced law in Denver before serving executive roles with ConocoPhillips, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Phillips Petroleum Co. He began his career in the energy business in Phillips’ headquarters in Bartlesville, Okla., in 1980. 

In 2009, Gallogly became CEO of Dutch company LyondellBasell, which was going through Chapter 11 at the time. The business executive successfully steered the company away from bankruptcy to emerge as one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world. He was a director on the board of DuPont, which merged with Dow Chemical in 2017, and currently serves as a director of Continental Resources, Oklahoma City. 

Gallogly was nominated for the presidency by retired Maj. Gen. Jerry Holmes, an OU alumnus who created and taught a leadership class at OU for the past 20 years. Like Holmes, the OU regents and search committee found in Gallogly a critical thinker who believes in mentoring, inspiring and teaching teams to achieve exceptional results. During Gallogy’s introduction, Regents Chair Clay Bennett said the search committee began its job with one question in mind: “What is best for the University of Oklahoma? Jim has a great track record of success and moving complex institutions forward.” 

In addition to his role as student, the president-designate says he will relish the roles of educator and administrator and sharing his vision for the university’s future. Gallogly adds that the university has the capability of being at the pinnacle of higher education, not just in the Big 12, or in the region, but in the nation.

“I’m never realistic when it comes to expectations,” Gallogy told his new constituency. “I will ask you so much of yourself, more than you can imagine. And I will give you that back, more than you can imagine.”

One of 10 children, Gallogly was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 1974 before earning his law degree at OU. Gallogly also completed the Advanced Executive Program at the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., in 1998. He received honorary degrees from OU and the University of Colorado in 2012. 

In 2016, he was honored with the Order of the Owl Award recognizing OU Law graduates who demonstrate leadership and service through outstanding accomplishments in their legal careers. Gallogly is also a member of the Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado bar associations.

The Galloglys have been major benefactors of the university. The OU Gallogly College of Engineering and Gallogly Hall are named for the president-designate. In 2016, the Gallogly Family Foundation chose the OU College of Law as the pilot school for its selective Public Interest Fellowship Program. Law grads receive $50,0000 a year in compensation and benefits when they choose to work for lower-paying, non-profit organizations, many of which provide legal services to the poor and those deprived of their civil or human rights. 

Gallogly is also a member of the OU Gallogly College of Engineering Board of Visitors and the CU Engineering Advisory Council and the University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He serves as a trustee to CU and is a director of the CU Foundation.

He and his wife, Janet, have been married 43 years and have three daughters – Kelly Gray, Kasey DeLuke and Kim Gallogly – and four grandchildren.

“I just love this place. It’s a big part of my life,” Gallogly says of OU. “It’s a part of my family’s life, and it’s built a foundation for everything I have done.

“To make OU the best is single-mindedly what Janet and I came home to do. This is a homecoming for Janet and me. Truly, a homecoming.” 

Lynette Lobban is editor of Sooner Magazine.

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