STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Ann Hargis, the former First Lady of Oklahoma State University, will receive a top university honor for philanthropy.

Hargis has been named the 2022 Women for OSU Philanthropist of the Year. She will receive the honor at the Women for OSU Symposium on April 28 at the Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The wife of former OSU President Burns Hargis, Ann Hargis was First Lady from 2008 to 2021.

“We had no idea the gift we’d been given all those years ago when she enthusiastically came on board as First Lady,” said Diane Tuttle, an OSU alumna. “In all situations, she exemplifies how a person should live their life. She is the epitome of an energetic, caring and generous person.”

Ann Hargis was passionate about helping students and improving health and wellness on-campus. She was instrumental in creating the America’s Healthiest Campus® initiative, and helped turn OSU into a university wellness leader, according to an OSU news release.

She co-founded Pete’s Pet Posse in 2013. It has since become the largest university pet therapy program in the country, OSU officials said.

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Former OSU First Lady Ann Hargis and her dog, Scruff. Photo provided by OSU.

Women for OSU established the Ann Hargis OSU Center for Pet Therapy Endowment in 2021. She remains involved with the center.  

The Hargis’ established an endowed professorship and made the OSU leadership scholarship possible, officials said. They have also made major contributions to The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, the Doel Reed Center for the Arts and the OSU Museum of Art.

Ann Hargis received an honorary doctorate at OSU in 2019 for her contributions toward wellness and improving the lives of others.

“She continues to be an active and engaged member of the community, making contributions to a wide variety of philanthropic organizations in Stillwater and throughout the state,” the news release states.

Women for OSU’s mission is to strengthen women’s connections to OSU and channel their passions.

The symposium will feature keynote speaker Lauren Bush Lauren, the CEO, creative director and co-founder of FEED Projects, an organization dedicated to fighting world hunger. She is also a granddaughter of President George H.W. Bush.

To register to watch the symposium’s live stream, which begins at 10 a.m. and is free, go to cloud.osugiving.email/wosu-2022.

Visit OSUgiving.com/women for more information on the symposium.