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SWOSU Foundation, Inc., Trustees Convene for Spring 2020 Session

The Board of Trustees of the Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) Foundation, Inc. recently convened for a regularly scheduled business meeting. Due to restrictions on public gatherings and limited access to SWOSU facilities related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was conducted entirely via the Zoom platform and facilitated by the SWOSU Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL).

The Foundation trustees heard briefings from SWOSU President Dr. Randy L. Beutler and SWOSU Foundation, Inc. Executive Director Garrett King.

Departing Trustee Lynda L. Lucas of Cheyenne, SWOSU Class of 1981, was commended and thanked for her service. During her term as a trustee (April 2015 – April 2020), Lucas sat on the Foundation Scholarships & Grants Committee and Property Committee.

The Trustees reviewed FY 2019 reports and metrics including:

  • A 15% increase in philanthropic revenues from FY 2018
  • A 79% increase in philanthropic donors from FY 2018
  • A 40% increase in philanthropic gifts from FY 2018
  • A 12% decrease in operating budget expenses from FY 2018
  • A 40% increase in Foundation support paid to SWOSU from FY 2018
  • A 15% increase in SWOSU Alumni Association memberships from FY 2018
  • In 2019, only $0.07 out of every $1.00 donated to the Foundation went to fundraising costs (the national average is $0.20 according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals) and for every $1.00 the Foundation invested in fundraising activities, $13.34 was raised for SWOSU’s benefit

The trustees also noted that, in 2019, the Foundation investment portfolio earned a 21% return generating over $4 million of investment earnings to support the current and future needs of SWOSU. Over the longer term, the five-year average return on the portfolio of 7.34% exceeded the benchmark return of 7.14%.

“The Spring 2020 meeting of the Foundation trustees was the first in the organization’s four-plus decades of history to take place in a totally virtual setting,” King said. “With the full agreement of the leadership of both SWOSU and the Foundation, we have enacted a 24% reduction in the Foundation’s 2020 operating budget in light of the extremely challenging environment facing so many of our supporters amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and disruptions in the energy sector.”

King said concurrently the Foundation has paid out thousands of dollars in crisis assistance to SWOSU students encountering unexpected hardships related to these difficult economic times.

“We remain on-track to provide more Foundation support to SWOSU in 2020 than we did in 2019, thanks to the charitable spirit and steadfast contributions of our generous, faithful

donors,” King said.

The Foundation’s leaders include:

CHAIR – George Cohlmia, Oklahoma City, SWOSU Class of 1974

1st VICE-CHAIR/CHAIR-DESIGNATE – Bryan Evans, Edmond, SWOSU Class of 1998, also chair of the Corporate Governance & Nominating Committee

2nd VICE-CHAIR – Brice Harris, Fair Oaks (CA), SWOSU Class of 1970, also chair of the Scholarships & Grants Committee

SECRETARY – Philip Busey, Jr., Oklahoma City, SWOSU Class of 2004, also chair of the Development Committee

TREASURER – Bruce Magill, Weatherford, SWOSU Class of 1970

PAST CHAIR – Dianne Hunter, Edmond, SWOSU Classes of 1986 & 1990

CHAIR OF THE INVESTMENT COMMITTEE – Michael Hart, Edmond, SWOSU Class of 2006

CHAIR OF THE AUDIT COMMITTEE – Judy Wilkes, Oklahoma City, SWOSU Class of 1976

CHAIR OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE – James Keehn, Edmond, SWOSU Class of 1996

CHAIR OF THE PROPERTY COMMITTEE – Debbie Shepherd, Weatherford, SWOSU Class of 1979

Additional seated trustees of the Foundation include:

  • E. Vann Greer Andrews, Oklahoma City, SWOSU Class of 1960
  • Lori Baker Boyd, Yukon, SWOSU Class of 1997
  • Jeff DeFehr, Weatherford, SWOSU Class of 1990
  • David Ferrell, Amber, SWOSU Class of 1995
  • Juan Garcia, Clinton, SWOSU Class of 2002
  • Mark Russell, Elk City, SWOSU Class of 1986
  • Homer Ryan, Frederick, SWOSU Class of 1963
  • Nelson Sims, Key Largo (FL), SWOSU Class of 1971

An institutionally-related charitable entity, the SWOSU Foundation, Inc. was established in 1977 to promote philanthropy, award scholarships and distribute funds to support the activities and programs of SWOSU. Located on the Weatherford campus in the historic Burton House, the Foundation currently stewards over $26 million in assets for the benefit of SWOSU.

The Foundation Trustees serve as the overall governing and fiduciary body for the Foundation generally as well as for the Foundation’s two subsidiaries, the SWOSU Alumni Association and the SWOSU Athletic Association.

For more information, please contact the SWOSU Office of Institutional Advancement at 580-774-3267 or visit