ADA, OK -- John R. Hargrave of Wewoka, a founder and managing partner of the Edmonds Cole Law Firm in Oklahoma City, was named president of East Central University Friday afternoon [MAY 15] by the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma.
Hargrave, 54, who earned a bachelor’s degree from ECU in 1977, will become ECU’s president on July 1. Regents approved an annual salary of $160,000 and a $12,000 housing allowance.
“This is a dream job for me,” Hargrave said. “My family roots run wide and deep at East Central University. Not only did my parents meet at ECU, but I met my wife, and my sisters met their husbands at ECU. Ada is a very special place for my family and we are eager to call Ada home again.
“I look forward to working with the faculty and staff at ECU and will work hard to continue its successes and develop the great potential at East Central University.”
Hargrave will succeed Dr. Duane C. Anderson, provost and vice president for academic affairs, who has served as interim president since Jan. 1 following the resignation of Dr. Richard Rafes.
“I am delighted that John Hargrave has agreed to lead East Central University and to join the Regional University System of Oklahoma team.
Dr. Hargrave brings to his alma mater a strong commitment to academic values and enthusiasm for creating partnerships with public and private entities and building bridges to the local community,” said Regent Jan Gordon, chair-elect of the RUSO board.
Hargrave received a juris doctorate degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1980 and began practicing law with the Folliart, Mills & Neimeyer law firm. He was managing partner of Neimeyer, Edmonds, Noland, Alexander & Hargrave from 1983 to 1985 before becoming a founder and managing partner of Edmonds, Cole, Hargrave, Givens and Woodson in 1985.
He was mayor of Wewoka from 2002-2007, working with local, state and federal officials to meet the city’s needs, including the construction of a new water/sewer plant and improving water purification plants.
Hargrave is a board member and general counsel of the Whitten Newman Foundation which granted more than $1.4 million in 2008 for educational institutions, scholarships and organizations promoting education, primarily in Oklahoma.
As a member since 1994 of the Board of Directors of Wewoka Industries, which recruits industry and jobs, Hargrave helped negotiate the establishment of a juvenile treatment facility in Wewoka.
He founded the Downtown Investment Group and the Wewoka Community Foundation and served as the liaison for those groups and the city of Wewoka and Wewoka Industries with the Wewoka Chamber of Commerce.
Hargrave also has worked extensively with the Oklahoma Black Historical Society, the Greater Oklahoma City Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Boy Scouts of America and the Oklahoma City YMCA.
He is an admitted member of the Western, Eastern and Northern Districts of the Federal Court of Oklahoma and of the Tenth, Fifth and Eighth Circuits of the United States Court of Appeals and the United State Supreme Court.
He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Seminole State College Foundation, a member of the Visitors Board of the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History on the University of Oklahoma campus, a member of the advisory board of the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum, the Seminole Municipal Hospital Advisory Board and the Wewoka Foundation for Excellence in Education.
Hargrave and his wife Kay, who is an assistant district attorney for Seminole, Hughes and Pontotoc Counties, received the Volunteer Parents of the Year Awards in 2006 and 2004 from Wewoka Public Schools. They received the Outstanding Service to the Public Award from the Oklahoma Bar Association in 2004.
The Hargraves have four children, Jeff, a former ECU student who practices law in Oklahoma City; Robert, a recent graduate of Oklahoma State University; Melissa, a student at Oklahoma State University; and Lora, a recent graduate of the University of Oklahoma.