Remembering Regent Bill Burgess
Bill Burgess, Jr., an OU alumnus and member of the OU Board of Regents, spent his life dedicated to helping fellow Oklahomans succeed through education. His recent passing leaves a second opening on the OU Board Regents following the resignation of Clay Bennett.
“Bill was an essential member of the Board of Regents during his too brief tenure,” wrote Dr. Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, OU Regent. “He was always concerned that all citizens of the State of Oklahoma recognize the importance of education, and that it was accessible to all where they live. His dedication to egalitarianism in all things guided him as he helped move the University of Oklahoma, Cameron University, and Rogers State University forward.”
A 1980 graduate of the OU College of Law, Regent Burgess was the youngest person to serve as a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education when he was appointed in 1993 and again in 2002. Former Governor Mary Fallin appointed Burgess to a seven-year term on the OU Board of Regents in 2014, where he served the students, faculty and staff of Cameron University, Rogers State University and the University of Oklahoma.
“Bill and I knew each other long before I joined the University as president,” said President Gallogly. “We shared our love for OU and our experiences as students. We also bonded because we were both the sons of military fathers. I respected his commitment to education and his deep love for southwest Oklahoma. I will miss his leadership and friendship.”
Inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2008 and named Corporate Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Bill brought his energy and expertise to the law practice with his brother, Brad, and other business interests including The Lawton Constitution newspaper; Vortex Inc.; and Techrizon, now known as CGI, which he developed into the largest Oklahoma software engineering company.
He was a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma and served on the Leadership Oklahoma Board of Directors. He was a member of the Governor’s Science and Technology Advisory Council and president of the Southwest Oklahoma Technology Association and was on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Technology Development Corporation.
In 2010 he was name as civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, promoting good relationships between the Army and the public by acting as spokesman for and adviser to the secretary of the Army.
Born in Lawton, Bill attended Cameron University before attending OU. He was an Eagle Scout and served as president of the Boy Scouts of America - Southwest Oklahoma Council and was the recipient of Scouting’s Silver Beaver award.