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OU Board of Regents Elects Cawley, Keating as Officers

OU Board of Regents Elects Cawley, Keating as Officers

May 27, 2021

Michael A. Cawley of Oklahoma City was elected chair of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, and Frank Keating of Oklahoma City was elected to a second term as vice chair.

Cawley was appointed to the Board of Regents in December 2019 by Gov. Kevin Stitt to complete an unexpired term. Raised in the Oklahoma Panhandle community of Hooker, Cawley earned undergraduate degrees in economics and English literature and a juris doctorate from OU. After serving in the United States Army, he and his wife, Betty Jane, moved to Ardmore, where he practiced law. After an almost 20-year legal career, in 1991 Cawley became the president, CEO and trustee of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation Inc. He retired from the Noble Foundation in April 2012.

Cawley serves on the boards of the Merrick Foundation, Dean A. McGee Eye Institute, Dean A. McGee Eye Institute Foundation, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the State Fair of Oklahoma. He also serves on the Investment Committee of the Oklahoma Arts Institute.

Over the years, Cawley has supported his alma mater as chair of the OU Foundation Board of Trustees, chair of the OU Associates Council, chair of the fundraising efforts associated with the completion of the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Course and the Charlie Coe Teaching Center, and service on the search committee that resulted in the hiring of Joe Castiglione as the university’s athletic director. In recognition of his generosity and service to OU, he was honored with the OU Regents’ Alumni Award in 1996.

After living in Ardmore for 48 years, the Cawleys moved to Oklahoma City in 2020. As an Ardmoreite, Cawley was an active member of the community, including service as an elder and adult Sunday School teacher at his church, chair of the Memorial Hospital of Southern Oklahoma (now Mercy Memorial Hospital), chair of the Ardmore Development Authority, chair of the Ardmore City Schools Enrichment Foundation, chair of Oak Hall Episcopal School, and president of Dornick Hills Golf and Country Club.

His past service also includes the Oklahoma Heritage Association, Conference of Southwest Foundations, Noble Energy Inc., Noble Drilling Corporation, Panhandle Royalty Company, the Awards for Excellence Selection Commission for the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, the State Regents’ Task Force on the Future of Higher Education, and Governor’s Task Force on the resolution of water rights litigation between the state of Oklahoma and the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes.

Keating was appointed to the Regents by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2017. He was formerly the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association and, prior to that, was president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.

His years in the private sector were preceded by three decades of law enforcement and public service, culminating in two terms as Oklahoma’s 25th governor. Over the course of 30 years, Keating also served as an FBI agent, U.S. Attorney, state prosecutor, and Oklahoma House and Senate member, including service as a Republican Senate leader. He also served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in the Treasury, Justice and Housing departments.

In 1993, Keating returned to Oklahoma to successfully run for governor and was re-elected in 1998. As governor at the time of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City, he helped raise more than $6 million in scholarships for the nearly 200 children left with only one or no parents.

Keating, former chair of the Board of Advisors for Mount Vernon, has served as a member of numerous boards, including those of the Bipartisan Policy Center, the National Archives and the Jamestown Foundation. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from OU.

Chris A. Purcell of Norman was elected to serve as the board’s executive secretary and vice president for university governance. Purcell, who has been re-elected each year since 1992, also serves as secretary of OU, Cameron University and Rogers State University. She was selected in 2005 by OU’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education as one of “75 Who Made A Difference” and has also been honored with the Walter Neustadt and the UOSA Outstanding Administrator awards. In 2014, the Norman Chamber of Commerce selected Purcell as the recipient of its Women’s Leadership Award, and in 2012, she was honored by The Journal Record among 50 Making a Difference in Oklahoma. In addition to her other duties, she teaches courses in adult education, higher education and human relations. She earned her bachelor of arts degree, master’s degree in education and doctoral degree – all from OU.

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