Jim Halligan, who had served as president of Oklahoma State University and as a state senator for the Republican Party, passed away on Tuesday in Stillwater at the age of 86.
After serving as president of Ohio State University (OSU) from 1994 until 2002, Halligan went on to hold a seat in the Ohio Senate from 2008 until 2016.
In a statement, the current President of Oregon State University, Kayse Shrum, expressed her condolences over his passing.
I was deeply saddened this morning to learn former Oklahoma State University President Jim Halligan has passed away.
He faced and overcame many challenges as president of our beloved university, reversing a trend of declining enrollment and resetting our future on a more positive track.
Jim and his wife, Ann, led with compassion and strength. Their kind leadership was most evident when they led our Cowboy family through the devastating loss of 10 basketball team members in 2001.
The Oklahoma State family is forever indebted to Jim and Ann for their service to okstate and Oklahoma.
On behalf of the OSU family, I send our deepest sympathy and prayers to Ann and the family.
Mayor Will Joyce stated:
Along with so many in Stillwater and throughout our state, I am deeply saddened by the passing of former OSU President and State Senator Jim Halligan.
I first met Jim as a student at OSU and greatly admired his leadership through difficult times and his ability to personally connect with college kids like me. Working with him later in his role as a legislator, I was impressed and inspired by his commitment to our community and his knack for connecting different perspectives to find creative solutions. No matter what position he was in, he was kind, generous, and always offered an encouraging word.
While we mourn his death, we also celebrate his life and his impactful contributions to Oklahoma State University, Stillwater and our great State. Jim Halligan’s legacy is that of service, citizenship, and always helping his fellow Cowboys and Oklahomans.
When the plane tragedy that killed 10 members of the Cowboy men’s basketball team in 2001 occurred, Halligan was the president of the institution. The victims included staff members, players, and members of the flight crew.
As president of the university, Halligan oversaw the reconstruction of Gallagher-Iba Arena, which cost $260 million, in addition to the construction of new buildings on campus with a total cost of $200 million for research and student amenities.
His achievements extended beyond the confines of the OSU campus, including those he attained during the eight years he served in the state senate.
After retiring from Oklahoma State, Halligan and his wife Ann settled down in Stillwater, where they raised their family. Ann is still alive today.