Paul G. Risser

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Paul G. Risser
Paul G Risser.jpg
7th Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
Term 2002 – 2006
13th President of Oregon State University
Term 1996 – 2002
Predecessor John V. Byrne
Successor Edward John Ray
President of Miami University
Term 1993 – 1996
Predecessor Paul G. Pearson
Successor James C. Garland
Born (1939-09-14)September 14, 1939
Blackwell, Oklahoma
Died July 10, 2014(2014-07-10) (aged 74)
Norman, Oklahoma
Alma mater Grinnell College
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Profession educator, ecologist

Paul Gillan Risser (September 14, 1939 – July 10, 2014) was an American ecologist and academic from Oklahoma. He served as president of Miami University and Oregon State University before becoming chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.[1]

Early life[edit]

Risser was born in Blackwell in north-central Oklahoma on September 14, 1939.[2] He grew up there, graduating from Blackwell High School.[3] After graduating with a bachelor's degree from Iowa's Grinnell College in biology in 1961, he then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.[1] At Wisconsin he earned a masters in botany in 1965 followed by a PhD. in 1967 in botany and soils.[1]


In 1967, Risser joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where he remained until 1981.[1] There he was a professor of botany, and later chairman of his department.[4] Risser moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1981 where he served as provost and later as the vice president for academic affairs until 1986.[1] His next post came at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he served as president from 1993 to 1996.[1]

In 1996, Risser became the 13th president of Oregon State University in Corvallis, where he remained until 2002.[5] At Oregon State he oversaw construction of the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center, Halsell Hall, and Richardson Hall, as well as an expansion in enrollment and The Valley Library.[5] The school also added a satellite campus in Bend, OSU-Cascades.[2] Risser also led the effort to improve the College of Engineering along with athletics, with the football team recording its first winning season in 28 years during his tenure.[5] He left OSU to become chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education in his home state, taking office on January 6, 2003 to replace Hans Brisch.[4]

Later life and death[edit]

In 2006, he left the chancellor's office.[6] He then served as the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's acting director and the executive director of EDGE, Oklahoma's economic development agency.[3] Risser died on July 10, 2014, at the age of 74 in Norman.[7] He was married to Les, and had four sons and two step-daughters.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Paul G. Risser". Presidents of Oregon State University. Oregon State University Libraries. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Hall, Bennett (July 11, 2014). "Paul Risser dies; 13th president of OSU". Corvallis Gazette-Times. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Services set for former chancellor Paul Risser". The Norman Transcript. July 12, 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Risser leaving OSU for Oklahoma". Portland Business Journal. November 11, 2002. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c "Paul Risser, who led Oregon State University to new heights as president, dies at 74". The Oregonian. July 10, 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Chancellor Paul G. Risser". About the State System of Higher Education. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Former OSU president Paul Risser dead at 74". Corvall Gazette-Times. July 10, 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Paul G. Pearson
President of Miami University
Succeeded by
James C. Garland
Preceded by
John V. Byrne
President of Oregon State University
Succeeded by
Edward John Ray
Preceded by
Hans Brisch
Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
Succeeded by
Glen D. Johnson, Jr.