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Dr. John Hays Scholarship Endowment Established at SWOSU

Dr. John and Linda Hays
Dr. John and Linda Hays

Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) with locations in Weatherford and Sayre has announced the establishment of the Dr. John Hays Scholarship Endowment.

The endowment will provide financial assistance in perpetuity to SWOSU students with demonstrated financial need. Recipients of assistance from the endowment shall be styled “Dr. John Hays Scholars.”

 “John Hays was a passionate advocate for SWOSU students and for the value of higher education. I know my mentor and friend would be pleased to know that this endowment is dedicated to supporting students who, like John, faced challenges in paying for the costs of college,” SWOSU President Randy L. Beutler said. “We are grateful to John’s family and friends whose memorial giving has made this newest SWOSU endowment possible.”

Hays, president of SWOSU from 2001-2010 and a 1969 SWOSU accounting graduate, died on October 9, 2020.

The Weatherford resident worked 30 years at SWOSU, having served as assistant business manager, comptroller, assistant to the president, vice president for administration and executive vice president for administration before being named president. 

During his years as president, Hays completed the Wellness Center, started/developed the university’s athletic complex and had several major buildings renovated on the Weatherford and Sayre campuses. He also was instrumental in the development of a comprehensive marketing campaign for the university and started the President’s Leadership Class.

Hays was very active in community and economic development activities in western Oklahoma. Hays was on the ground floor of many projects such as the Business Development Center at SWOSU, Weatherford Business Incubator program and Weatherford’s hiring of a full-time economic developer.

His involvement in civic activities was many, 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. He was a past president of the chamber of commerce and did much to unite the chamber of commerce, City of Weatherford and SWOSU. 

Hays was a member of the inaugural class of the Higher Education Leadership Academy and was a member of Leadership Oklahoma.

The Dr. John Hays Scholarship Endowment is stewarded by the SWOSU Foundation, Inc. An institutionally-related charitable entity, the Foundation 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 $28 million in assets for the benefit of SWOSU.

For more information on the Foundation or to donate to the Dr. John Hays Scholarship Fund, please visit www.SWOSUFoundation.com or call 580-774-3267.