History of the University

University Presidents

Portrait of George Nigh

George Nigh

President of University of Central Oklahoma


Biographical Information
  1927  Born June 9, 1927 in McAlester, Oklahoma 
  1963  Married Donna Skinner on October 19, 1963
They have 2 married children and 5 grandchildren 

  1945  Graduated from McAlester High School, McAlester, Oklahoma 
  1948  A.A. in Liberal Arts, Eastern Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (Now Eastern Oklahoma State College), Wilburton, Oklahoma 
  1950  B.A. East Central State College (Now East Central University), Ada, Oklahoma 

  1945 - 1946  Served in the U.S. Navy 
  1950 - 1958  Youngest member ever elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives
He would serve four consecutive terms representing Pittsburgh County 
  1951 - 1962  Owner of a grocery store in McAlester, Oklahoma 
  1952 - 1958  Taught Social Sciences at McAlester High School, McAlester, Oklahoma 
  1958 - 1962  Elected Lt. Governor of Oklahoma at age 31, the youngest in the state's history and in the nation's history 
  1963 - 1966  Self-employed as a public relations consultant 
  1963  Became the 17th Governor of Oklahoma, filling an unexpired 9 day term following the resignation of Gov. J. Howard Edmondson 
  1966 - 1978  Served as Lt. Governor of Oklahoma 
  1978  Elected 22nd Governor of Oklahoma 
  1979  Sworn in as 22nd Governor of Oklahoma, serving five days to fill an unexpired term following the resignation of Governor David Boren
He began his regular term on January 8, 1979, being the first person to serve three times as Governor 
  1982 - 1987  Re-elected as Governor of Oklahoma in 1982
He was the first Oklahoma Governor to be re-elected and the first individual ever to serve as Governor of the state 4 times
His term concluded in 1987 
  1987 - 1992  Founded the Nigh Institute of State Government in 1987 at then Central State University
Began serving as Distinguished Statesman-in-Residence at Central, holding that post until 1992 
  1992 - 1997  18th President of the University of Central Oklahoma 

Awards and Affiliations
  1979   General Chairman for the Will Rogers Centennial Celebration 
  1989   Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee 
  1992   Awarded the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award 
  1999   Establishment of the George and Donna Nigh Public Service Scholarship, which provides funding for scholarships to a student at every institution of higher education in Oklahoma 
    Chaired the National Conference of Lt. Governors 
    Chaired the Interstate Oil Compact Commission 
    Served on the Executive Committee of the Southern States Energy Board 
    Chaired the Southern Growth Policy Board 
    Served as President of the Council of State Governments 
    Chaired the Oklahoma Industrial Development Commission 
    Chaired the Oklahoma Tourism Commission 
    Chaired the Southern Regional Education Board 
    Oklahoma Vo Tech Hall of Fame Inductee 
    Eastern Oklahoma College Hall of Fame Inductee 
    McAlester High School Hall of Fame Inductee 
    East Central University Teacher of the Year 
    East Central University Distinguished Alumni 
    Executive Director, World Congress, Junior Chamber International 
    Host of Educational Television Oklahoma History Show 
    J.C. Penney Company Board of Directors 
    Boatman's First National Bank of Oklahoma Board of Directors 
    Partner, Journey House Travel, Oklahoma City 
    Director of the National Governors' Conference 
    President of the Donna Nigh Foundation for Oklahomans with Mental Retardation 
    Oklahoma Conservation Hall of Fame Inductee 
    President of the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives 
    32nd Degree Mason