What you need to know about Randy Beutler's retirement
Updated: Sep 14
SWOSU President Randy Beutler gives his thoughts on retirement, and SWOSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs James South gives information about how SWOSU will find new leadership.
By Sydnie Balcer
SWOSU President Randy Beutler recently announced his retirement that will be effective June 30, 2021, ending his 35-year career in education and public service.
The decision to retire is not a small one, and it was one that took Beutler quite a while to decide on.
“I went back and forth on it for about a year,” Beutler said when asked about his decision to retire. “There are several things outside the presidency I’d like to do while I’m still able.” After retirement, Beutler plans to continue residing in Weatherford and continue his writings and research over history.
Beutler was able to accomplish many things during his presidency at SWOSU, one of the big ones being the construction of the Pioneer Cellular Event Center and a recent city sales tax that passed in a vote to benefit the Weatherford community in a number of ways. Specific to SWOSU, the sales tax will benefit the university’s nursing, pharmacy, and allied health facilities, along with rural healthcare education efforts.
After leading the university for almost 12 years, Beutler has made many memories, and said one of the things he will miss most is the graduation ceremonies. “That is a very special time and one of the things I’m going to miss the most,” Beutler said. He said he will also miss this early time in the semester and the academic banquets during the spring semesters that honor students’ achievements.
Beutler has also had the opportunity to learn and grow from his time at SWOSU. “It’s brought me a greater appreciation for the impact this institution and faculty has, not just on the state or region, but also the country,” Beutler said. “This institution has positively affected so many lives and allowed students to make many contributions to our state and nation.”
Following Beutler’s presidency, many students and faculty might wonder what the next steps are to finding new leadership for the SWOSU institution. According to SWOSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. James South, “The president is actually an employee of the Regional University System of Oklahoma.” The Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO), according to their website, “governs six of [Oklahoma’s] universities,” which, aside from SWOSU, are: East Central University, Northeastern State University, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Southeastern State University, and the University of Central Oklahoma.
“The RUSO board has hired a search firm to find finalists, and the board will vote from them.” South said. “The board has also asked for Beutler’s input.”
South also mentioned, “Beutler has told the board how important it is to him that the next president has ties to western Oklahoma and SWOSU because the last three presidents have served pretty lengthy and good terms, so we would like to see that continue.”
According to South, the finalists are normally made public, but as for when SWOSU students and faculty can expect to find out who they are will depend on how quickly the board and firm find finalists.