Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

John Hays

Dr. John Hays - 2011

Dr. John M. Hays served as the 16th president of SWOSU from 2001-2010. Hays worked a total of 30 years at his alma mater, having served as assistant business manager, comptroller, assistant to the president, vice president for administration and executive vice president for administration.

For years, Hays has been active in many community and economic development activities in western Oklahoma.  He was on the ground floor of many projects such as the Center for Economic and Business Development at SWOSU and other economic development activities in the Weatherford area.

The 1994 Leadership Oklahoma graduate has been very involved in civic activities, including Leadership Weatherford, YMCA, Vision 20/20, Weatherford Arts Council,

Weatherford’s assisted senior citizen living center and many other projects through the Weatherford Area Chamber of Commerce, an organization he served as president in 1993. He served as president and on the board of directors for the Oklahoma Community Institute and previously served on the board of directors for Leadership Oklahoma.  He also served on the Weatherford School Board from 1985-90.

Dr. Hays has won numerous awards and was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Weatherford Area Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame for his service to Weatherford. Hays received the Sam Walton Business Leader Award in 1999 from Wal-Mart and has been honored by various organizations for his work throughout the years.

Dr. Hays is a 1969 accounting graduate of Southwestern, earned a Master of Education degree in business from SWOSU and completed his Doctor of Education in higher education administration from the University of Oklahoma.  He grew up in Willow  in southwest Oklahoma.   Hays has two children—Holly and Ryan—who both are graduates of SWOSU.  He and his wife, Linda, live in Weatherford.