• Sydnie Balcer

"Very good choice": What SWOSU's administration thinks about the new president

Updated: Apr 8

Dr. Diana Lovell
Dr. Diana Lovell

By Sydnie Balcer

For The Southwestern

Dr. Diane Lovell has been chosen to be the 18th president of SWOSU, and she will be visiting the Weatherford and Sayre campuses before she officially starts her position on July 1.

Lovell was chosen by the Regional University System of Oklahoma, which is responsible for deciding who the presidents of the six universities they oversee will be. Regent Susan Winchester of the RUSO Board said she and the board believe Lovell will be an asset to SWOSU.

“Diane Lovell believes in the power of higher education to change lives,” Winchester said. “Her optimism, energy and intellect, as well as her love of Western Oklahoma will serve her well as the leader of SWOSU. She has a wide array of experience in student services, academics and community partnerships.”

Lovell has spent her entire career working in academia, and she has strong roots in Weatherford and SWOSU. Her great-grandmother earned a teaching certificate from SWOSU in 1907, her grandparents earned teaching degrees from SWOSU, and both of her parents taught as SWOSU, her father as the chair of the Biology Department and her mother as a professor in the Home Economics Department.

Her father, Dr. James Lovell, had a deep love of Oklahoma and Oklahoma history and established the Oklahoma Heartland of America Museum in Weatherford, where she serves on the board.

Lovell said these roots in Weatherford and SWOSU allowed her to have many fond memories at the university, such as hanging out in the Science Building where her parents worked, watermelon seed spitting contests, and even performing in college plays as a kid. She said she is thrilled to be coming back to the university.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the faculty and staff,” Lovell said. “I know that their dedication to student success is outstanding. I’m excited to serve SWOSU.”

SWOSU President Randy Beutler has spoken with Lovell a couple of times on the phone and will be helping her with the transition throughout the remainder of the spring semester.

“She seems like a very nice individual,” Beutler said. “I have great trust in the board and their directions.”

Winchester said that the RUSO Board wants to build on the legacy President Beutler has established.

“Our goal is for SWOSU to expand into new areas that meet current and future workforce needs and use the demonstrated expertise of our faculty and administrators,” Winchester said. “We hope to see an increase in retention, enrollment, and a more diverse student body that reflects the population demographics of Western Oklahoma.”

Winchester said the board also hopes to see increasing numbers of graduates, continuation of resource development at the state and federal levels, and continuation of private donations and community partnerships.

SWOSU Vice President and Provost James South has also had the opportunity to speak with Lovell, and he said is really pleased that the RUSO Board chose someone with roots in Weatherford.

“I’m very impressed with Dr. Lovell,” South said. “I think she’s a very good choice to lead SWOSU.”

South said he is ready to help Lovell with the transition to becoming the president of the university as much as possible.

SWOSU will also be getting a new vice president and provost on July 1, and students can expect an announcement of who it will be by the end of the spring semester.

Lovell will be at the Weatherford campus some time in this upcoming week, and she said she would gladly accept invitations from student groups that wanted to speak with her. Student groups interested in speaking to Lovell can contact SWOSU Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Brian Adler at 580-774-3063 or at brian.adler@swosu.edu.

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