Gov. Stitt taps African American businessman to fill OU Board of Regents post

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Governor Kevin Stitt has appointed Eric Stevenson to replace Clay Bennett on the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

Stevenson is an African American businessman who lives in Ohio.

He graduated from OU and is currently an executive at Nationwide Financial.

Governor Stitt said through the interview process, he learned he needed to appoint an OU alumnus who is smart with money.

"Because of their financial difficulties, I thought it was important that we have someone with business acumen, someone who’s been at a big business as well as understands employees and running small businesses," Stitt said.

Stevenson will also be the first African American to serve on the board in two decades.

"We all agreed it was equally critical that we find an Oklahoman who would bring diversity to the board, that would represent a large portion of our students at the university," Stitt said.

The appointment comes at a time when tensions have been running high at OU with multiple incidents of racial discrimination.

"I  want to get in on what the issues are, what the opportunities are, and if I can provide guidance and experience in what I’ve seen at the companies I’ve worked at, I look forward to doing that," Stevenson said.

As far as the investigation of former OU President David Boren, Stevenson said all he knows is what he has read in the newspaper.

"I’m still getting up to speed on all the issues, but it’s an amazing place, and if we can continue to make sure that students from all over the state can afford to go there," Stevenson said.

Stevenson is staying in Ohio where he lives with his wife.

He'll fly in for board meetings, but he says he's paying his own travel expenses.

Stevenson will need to be confirmed by the Senate.

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