Paul Gillan Risser (September 14, 1939 – July 10, 2014) was an American ecologist and academic from Oklahoma. He served as president of Miami University and Oregon State University before becoming chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.[1]

Paul G. Risser
Paul G Risser.jpg
7th Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
In office
13th President of Oregon State University
In office
Preceded byJohn V. Byrne
Succeeded byEdward John Ray
President of Miami University
In office
Preceded byPaul G. Pearson
Succeeded byJames C. Garland
Personal details
Born(1939-09-14)September 14, 1939
Blackwell, Oklahoma
DiedJuly 10, 2014(2014-07-10) (aged 74)
Norman, Oklahoma
Alma materGrinnell College
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Professioneducator, ecologist

Early lifeEdit

Risser was born in Blackwell in north-central Oklahoma on September 14, 1939.[2] He grew up there, graduating from Blackwell High School.[3] After graduating with a bachelor's degree from Iowa's Grinnell College in biology in 1961, he then enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.[1] At Wisconsin he earned a masters in botany in 1965 followed by a PhD. in 1967 in botany and soils.[1]


In 1967, Risser joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, where he remained until 1981.[1] There he was a professor of botany, and later chairman of his department.[4] Risser moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1981 where he served as Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey. In 1986 he moved to the University of New Mexico where he was provost and later the vice president for academic affairs.[1] His next post came at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he served as president from 1993 to 1996.[1]

In 1996, Risser became the 13th president of Oregon State University in Corvallis, where he remained until 2002.[5] At Oregon State he oversaw construction of the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center, Halsell Hall, and Richardson Hall, as well as an expansion in enrollment and The Valley Library.[5] The school also added a satellite campus in Bend, OSU-Cascades.[2] Risser also led the effort to improve the College of Engineering along with athletics, with the football team recording its first winning season in 28 years during his tenure.[5] He left OSU to become chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education in his home state, taking office on January 6, 2003 to replace Hans Brisch.[4]

Later life and deathEdit

In 2006, he left the chancellor's office.[6] He then served as the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History's acting director and the executive director of EDGE, Oklahoma's economic development agency.[3] Risser died on July 10, 2014, at the age of 74 in Norman. He adored all of his grandchildren Kendell, Kamryn, Kori, Laney, Tanner, Amy, Riley, Emaline, and Nick[7] He was married to Les, and had four sons and two step-daughters.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Paul G. Risser". Presidents of Oregon State University. Oregon State University Libraries. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Hall, Bennett (July 11, 2014). "Paul Risser dies; 13th president of OSU". Corvallis Gazette-Times. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Services set for former chancellor Paul Risser". The Norman Transcript. July 12, 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Risser leaving OSU for Oklahoma". Portland Business Journal. November 11, 2002. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Paul Risser, who led Oregon State University to new heights as president, dies at 74". The Oregonian. July 10, 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Chancellor Paul G. Risser". About the State System of Higher Education. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Former OSU president Paul Risser dead at 74". Corvall Gazette-Times. July 10, 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
Preceded by
Paul G. Pearson
President of Miami University
Succeeded by
James C. Garland
Preceded by
John V. Byrne
President of Oregon State University
Succeeded by
Edward John Ray
Preceded by
Hans Brisch
Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
Succeeded by
Glen D. Johnson, Jr.