By Amy Lester, NEWS 9
Oklahoma State University has a new president.
Burns Hargis started the top job Monday.
Burns Hargis toured the campus, visiting with students and professors. He's down to earth, and seems to really care about the university, the students and the faculty.
Burns Hargis is back at his alma mater, OSU not as a student, as the president.
"It's a chance to give back for a tremendous gift I received here," President Burns Hargis said.
Hargis spends the first day with his wife, walking around campus and dropping into classrooms.
"I hope you'll e-mail me and express your views about what we can do better," Hargis said.
He encourages students to speak out and the students welcome an open door policy.
"I think it's always nice when you get new blood in," student Adam Ward said. "There's a lot of possibility and potential, and it's always exciting."
Hargis has a sense of humor and a passion for OSU, you can't help but notice. He's impressing professors on this first day.
"We think he'll be first rate, absolutely first rate," Larry Hoberock of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department said. "Everything he's said has been dead on. We're looking forward to a bright future."
Hargis has a few goals in mind...raising money for the university, improving graduation rates, attracting more research and helping students discover their passion.
Hargis even ate his first lunch with the students. He brings personality, experience as a lawyer and as the former vice chair of the Bank of Oklahoma...to the table. His business savvy will guide him here.
"I hope I can bring some of that knowledge to make this place one where you can realize your greatest dreams, even bigger than you ever had dreamed," Hargis said.
Burns Hargis is only the second OSU grad to become president of the university. His salary is $350 thousand a year.
Hargis also used to be on the OSU board of regents. A new state law eliminated the one-year waiting period that would have kept Hargis from starting at OSU until July.