Lamb invokes state history in speech to faculty, staff
After becoming University of Central Oklahoma’s 22nd president in July, Todd Lamb said he aims to build upon the success of past presidents as well as fix any previously made missteps.
“We must double-down on our efforts to make sure that our institution has financial viability and stability for the years ahead, to bring in more students and to make sure this is a thriving, robust community,” Lamb said during an Aug. 15 speech to faculty and staff in the Nigh University Center.
In his first two months at the university, UCO experienced a few early wins: this summer, Lamb granted faculty and staff a 3% pay raise, making it the first salary adjustment in over 10 years. In addition, UCO received its largest freshman class in its history, roughly 25 percent larger than last year. Dorms are at maximum capacity, correcting a trend since 2020 of falling enrollment during the COVID-19 crisis.
Lamb stressed the importance of using his position to convene with local politicians to improve student experiences.
“As president of this university, one role I think I have is to be an ambassador to the mayor’s office in Edmond and the city manager’s office,” Lamb said.
Born in Enid, Lamb, 51, received a Bachelor of Arts from Oklahoma State University. He also attended multiple classes at UCO, and earned a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University.
Following college, Lamb became an assistant to Governor Frank Keating. Lamb later joined the U.S. Secret Service, serving from 1998 to 2002. While with the Secret Service, he was assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force, was a lead investigator following the 9/11 attacks and protected Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
After his tenure with the Secret Service, Lamb worked as an agricultural representative in northwest Oklahoma for U.S. Senator Don Nickles. Lamb later successfully ran for the Oklahoma State Senate, representing Edmond from 2005 to 2011.
He then served as lieutenant governor of Oklahoma from 2011 to 2019, under Gov. Mary Fallin.
Lamb took on educational, financial and commerce-related issues during his time serving as both a senator and the lieutenant governor.
Since 2019, Lamb has focused mainly on his private legal practice and other business ventures before becoming president.
During his introductory speech, Lamb acknowledged the great deal of indigenous history and suffering in the state saying,“Native Americans were here way before anybody.
“And quite frankly, they personified April 19, 1995, the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ way before statehood,” he said.
“Oklahoma was settled in a unique way. Through tragedy by the forced relocation of Native Americans in the Trail of Tears. They walked barefoot, overcoming death of loved ones, trial and tribulation.”
He said Oklahoma’s peculiar story of courage, diversity and unification mirrors our university’s six core tenets: discipline, cultural competency, health, leadership, research and civic engagement.
“Roughly five times during the land runs, men and women, young and old, married, single, different races, creeds and nationalities rushed forward in a brand new land with new hopes, dreams and aspirations,” he said.
Lamb said UCO perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Oklahoma, with students coming from every part of the world to flourish and thrive from the knowledge they earn in class.
“No state was formed like our state and we will be reflective of that Oklahoma Standard,” Lamb said. “That grit, tenacity, stewardship and neighbor-taking-care-of-neighbor the Broncho way.”
Vista Editor-in-Chief Sam Royka will sit down with President Lamb for an interview this week. A story will follow in the Sept. 12 issue of The Vista.