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George NighGeorge Nigh

President of University of Central Oklahoma (1992-1997)

Biographical Information

  • Born June 9, 1927 in McAlester, Oklahoma
  • Married Donna Skinner on October 19, 1963. They have 2 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 Became the 17th Governor of Oklahoma, filling an unexpired 9 day term following the resignation of Gov. J. Howard Edmondson
  • 1963 - 1966 Self-employed as a public relations consultant
  • 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

  • 32nd Degree Mason
  • President of the Oklahoma Society of Association Executives
  • Oklahoma Conservation Hall of Fame Inductee
  • President of the Donna Nigh Foundation for Oklahomans with Mental Retardation
  • Director of the National Governors' Conference
  • Partner, Journey House Travel, Oklahoma City
  • Boatman's First National Bank of Oklahoma Board of Directors
  • J.C. Penney Company Board of Directors
  • Executive Director, World Congress, Junior Chamber International
  • Host of Educational Television Oklahoma History Show
  • East Central University Distinguished Alumni
  • East Central University Teacher of the Year
  • McAlester High School Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 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
  • Chaired the Oklahoma Industrial Development Commission
  • Served as President of the Council of State Governments
  • Chaired the Southern Growth Policy Board
  • Chaired the Interstate Oil Compact Commission
  • Served on the Executive Committee of the Southern States Energy Board
  • Chaired the National Conference of Lt. Governors
  • 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
  • 1979 General Chairman for the Will Rogers Centennial Celebration
  • 1992 Awarded the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 1989 Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee