Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Nancy Mergler

Every Oklahoma institution of higher education has living legends on campus, and one of the most prominent ones at the University of Oklahoma is Nancy Mergler, the longest serving Senior Vice President & Provost in that school’s history, whose term has now reached eighteen years.  Provost Mergler earned her Ph.D. in Psychology in 1977 from Syracuse University, and she then taught for several years at Washington College before joining the OU Psychology Department in 1979.  During the teaching phase of her career, Provost Mergler authored fourteen articles and directed six Ph.D. and three Master’s students.  Although her research and teaching continued, in 1987 she began her administrative career, first by being the Director of the University of Oklahoma Honors program.  She completely overhauled the existing program and put together a first-rate staff, established the program as an Honors College and developed pertinent rules and requirements; the result has been the recruitment of many of the state’s brightest high school seniors, one third being minorities, whose retention in the Honors College approaches 90 percent. The OU Honors College has earned national prominence.  She became Interim Provost in 1995, a position made permanent in 1996.  She is currently the longest serving Senior Vice President and Provost in the BIG 12, when she first started she was the only woman holding that position in the BIG 12 and has seen the transition of the position in the BIG 12 wherein half the schools have women serving in that position.  As the Chief Academic Officer, she has seen the recruitment and hiring of over 80 endowed chairs and professorship positions, added 50 additional tenure-track faculty for the Norman Campus, tripled the funding of the general education budget, and overseen a robust enrollment of academically talented students on the Norman campus.  In 2011-2012, OU granted more degrees than in any other academic year in its entire history.  She has been a great friend of the OU Library and thereby helped to make it one of the strongest libraries in the region.  In her activities Provost Mergler has earned regional and national recognition for her achievements, and the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society welcomes her into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.