During the meeting, held on the OU Health Sciences Center campus, the Regents approved the addition of Cross Village to OU Housing’s on-campus living communities, making it available to incoming freshman students this August. With 1,200 premium fully furnished single-bed units with a range of amenities, Cross Village is the largest expansion of housing for the OU freshman experience since the mid-1960s.
“Cross Village provides a truly state-of-the-art campus living community for our students with premium accommodations, and we are thrilled that this unique offering will be immediately available for our incoming first-year students starting this fall semester,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “This exciting expansion of our on-campus housing speaks to our commitment to prioritizing the student experience, and the inclusion of Cross Village creates a first-class, welcoming option for our students to call home.”
The board also approved the land lease that allows for the acquisition of the property – an action that was expedited through the assistance of the Chickasaw Nation and its wholly owned subsidiary, Sovereign Properties Holdco, LLC, which will provide short-term financing for the university while it prepares to issue new bond indentures for the complex. Under the agreement, Sovereign Properties Holdco will acquire the land lease currently held by Provident and lease it back to OU until the university secures its own financing. The Regents’ approval of the agreement will also formally dismiss pending litigation related to Cross.
OU’s original Freshman Housing Master Plan, approved by the OU Board of Regents in March, anticipated the completion of the Adams Tower replacement in 2025. The Cross Village acquisition fast-tracks this timeline, allowing the university to proceed this summer with plans for the implementation of the Freshman Housing Master Plan.
“The Cross Village acquisition marks a milestone in our efforts to enhance on-campus living for our students – a development that has been significantly jumpstarted through the support of the Chickasaw Nation,” Harroz said.
Also during the meeting, the Regents approved the addition of a location for the doctor of dental surgery program at OU-Tulsa. The expansion will include the construction of a state-of-the-art, 5,000-square-foot dental clinic on the third floor of the OU Health Physicians Schusterman Center Clinic building on the OU-Tulsa campus.
“The addition of our prestigious D.D.S. program and a top-tier dental clinic location at OU-Tulsa will directly serve the health needs of Oklahomans by bringing essential dental services to northeastern Oklahoma,” Harroz said. “The College of Dentistry’s primary location at the Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City is currently the state’s only D.D.S. education program. Expanding this program to also offer it in Tulsa will greatly increase access to predoctoral dental education in Oklahoma.”
The Board of Regents also approved the appointment of André-Denis Wright as the senior vice president and provost of the OU Norman campus. An internationally recognized microbiologist, Wright currently serves as dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, where he oversees academic and research programs on five campuses and at nearly 50 locations. He will join the OU community July 1.
“As an accomplished scholar and an experienced administrative leader, Dr. André-Denis Wright has a consistent record of launching collaborative initiatives to advance research programs and promote academic success – qualities that will make him an exceptional provost,” Harroz said. “His expertise and enthusiasm will help drive our university forward as we aim to unlock our greatest potential.”
In Wright’s current role as dean, he leads one of the largest and most diverse colleges at Washington State – overseeing 15 schools and departments within the natural and human sciences that serve more than 3,100 students; approximately 1,250 faculty and staff across nearly 50 locations; a $196 million budget; a tribal office; and four research and extension centers across Washington state.
Before arriving at Washington State, Wright served at the University of Arizona, the University of Vermont and at Australia’s national science agency, holding a variety of administrative, research and instructional roles.
The Regents also approved the appointment of Stacy Reeder as dean of the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and Katheleen Guzman as dean of the College of Law. Reeder has served as a faculty member and administrator in the College of Education for the past 16 years. She has led the college as its interim dean since February 2020, after having been named acting dean in September 2019. Guzman has been a faculty member at the College of Law since 1993, and she has led the college as its interim dean since June 2019.
“Stacy Reeder and Katheleen Guzman are both incredibly devoted educators and leaders who are deeply invested in student success,” Harroz said. “As they have both demonstrated in their interim roles, we have no doubt that they will continue to inspire our students, faculty and staff to achieve excellence.”
Also in his remarks, Harroz shared an update on how the Oklahoma Legislature has designated the most state funding for the benefit of OU in nearly 20 years. In the Legislature’s fiscal year 2022 budget, the university will receive funding earmarked for a number of initiatives, including the development of a secure innovation research center in cooperation with Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, and appropriations toward the state’s matching funds for endowed chair positions.
The board will next meet in June.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit www.ou.edu.