April 19, 2021 – Martin M. Baker of Buffkin / Baker has assisted Oklahoma State University (OSU) in the recruitment of Kayse Shrum as the university’s 19th president. With her hiring Dr. Shrum will become the first woman to lead a public research institution in the state of Oklahoma. Dr. Shrum, currently president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) in Tulsa, will be recommended for approval at the regularly scheduled meeting of the OSU Agricultural & Mechanical Colleges Board of Regents in Stillwater on Friday. She will officially take over the role of president at the beginning of OSU’s next fiscal year beginning July 1. Dr. Shrum replaces Burns Hargis, who announced last fall that he would be retiring this summer.
The placement of Dr. Shrum follows an extensive national search involving representatives from across the OSU system, including faculty, students, staff and alumni. “The OSU/A&M Board of Regents recognized from the start of this process the importance of conducting a thorough search to make sure we selected the most qualified candidate to lead OSU and the system into the future following the successful Burns Hargis presidency,” said Rick Davis, chair of the regents. “I appreciate the deliberative approach taken by our regents, and we are grateful to regent Joe Hall, who impressively led the process over the past five months.”
A Proven Leader
“Dr. Shrum is well known and respected by the Regents and our university community,” said Mr. Davis. “Her leadership has transformed our medical school in Tulsa, and her efforts have taken us to new heights we could only imagine a few years ago.”
Dr. Shrum has served as president of OSU-CHS since 2013, and her selection at the time made her the youngest and first female president and dean of a medical school in the state of Oklahoma. Dr. Shrum trained and served rural Oklahoma as a pediatrician before beginning her academic work at OSU-CHS after president Hargis appointed her to lead the medical school.
“I am humbled and honored by this announcement,” said Dr. Shrum. “I am also thrilled because outside of my dear family, OSU has a special place in my heart. Leading the OSU Center for Health Sciences and helping students, faculty and staff come together to create something truly impactful to our state has been immensely rewarding for me. To lead our vibrant university and the system, which is so vital to our state on many levels, will be the greatest challenge and honor of my professional career.”
Under Dr. Shrum’s leadership, OSU Center for Health Sciences has experienced unprecedented growth. Student enrollment doubled as the center established new academic programs designed to meet the health care workforce needs of Oklahoma. She also led the construction of the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Medical Academic Building. This state-of-the-art learning facility houses Oklahoma’s largest and most technologically advanced hospital simulation center.
Her fundraising accomplishments also include securing a landmark investment in 2019 from Purdue Pharma for $197.5 million to create the National Center for Wellness and Recovery for addiction treatment and research to address the national opioid addiction epidemic. A strong supporter of collaborative partnerships, Dr. Shrum worked with Cherokee Nation principal chief Bill John Baker and his administration to establish the nation’s first tribally affiliated medical school, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, which opened last fall.
In 2019, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed Dr. Shrum to his cabinet as Oklahoma’s first Secretary of Science and Innovation. In that role, she played a critical part in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Specialty Boutique Firm
Buffkin / Baker is a specialty boutique search firm composed of industry leaders in their respective fields and each has over a decade of retained search experience. Their focus as search professionals is to recruit leaders in digital marketing/advertising, technology, healthcare, media/entertainment, finance, higher education and non-profit. The firm serves public, private, venture and private equity-backed companies. Its office locations include Nashville, New York, Washington, D.C., and Winston Salem, with affiliate offices in London.
Buffkin / Baker is a member of Panorama Search, an international federation of retained firms with 18 firms and over 30 offices globally. Buffkin / Baker formed in 2017 with the merger of the Buffkin Group and Baker and Associates LLC.
Based in Winston Salem, NC, Mr. Baker has been in executive search for 19 years. In addition to his role as managing partner, he is also head of the firm’s higher education practice. He previously worked in the Atlanta office of Korn Ferry, where he developed search strategy and executed searches for numerous senior-level appointments. He began his career as a research associate with Saxton Bampfylde, an executive search and management assessment firm in London. He has conducted searches for the positions of CEO, CFO, CIO, provost, dean, director and professor, having worked on over 350 searches throughout his career.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media