Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Cynthia Ross

Belonging to a pioneer Oklahoma family, Cynthia (Cindy) Ross exemplifies her family tradition of service to the public.  She earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration at Oklahoma State University and worked in the OSU administration, serving between 1978 and 1990.  During these years, she worked in academic administration and aided in the development of academic enhancements for honor students as well as at-risk students.  She also obtained national recognition for creating policies and training videos on sexual harassment and fostering policies for child care.  In 1990, she moved to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and became the first and only woman to be Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.  For twelve years, she served the State Regents and provided invaluable service in establishing benchmarks concerning accountability in higher education, student admissions, accreditation, and teacher education.  In 2002, she was chosen by Cameron University to become president of the school, the first woman president in that institution’s history and only the third woman president of an Oklahoma university or college.  In her eleven-year term as president, she has enhanced the academic quality of the university, transformed the physical structures oncampus, obtained record enrollments, tripled student tuition waivers, and increased private scholarships by over 400 percent.  Her efforts resulted in 68 percent of Cameron students graduating debt-free, a fact publicized by U.S. News and World Report.  For her activities, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011, and the OU Board of Regents named an academic building on Cameron’s campus in her honor.  In 2007, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian of the Year Award.  In the summer of 2013, Cindy Ross retired from the Cameron presidency, and the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society now welcomes her to the Higher Education Hall of Fame.