CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY– Governor Mary Fallin Tuesday (March 14) announced the appointment of former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating to the University of Oklahoma (OU) Board of Regents. Keating will succeed A. Max Weitzenhoffer and will serve a seven–year term, pending confirmation from the Oklahoma Senate.
Keating is a senior partner in the international law firm of Holland & Knight. He served two terms as governor, from 1995 until 2003; after that, he served seven years as the president and chief executive officer of the American Council of Life Insurers and then five years as president and CEO of the American Bankers Association (ABA).
“Frank Keating has a long and distinguished service with the state and federal governments,” said Fallin. “I’m so pleased he has agreed to again serve the state of Oklahoma in this important capacity. Governor Keating is known as an effective governor, and a strong and compassionate leader.
“In Washington, Frank guided the banking industry through a very difficult public policy environment. He was the right person at the right time to help lead ABA and to help the banking industry, which was in need of a credible, well-regarded leader after the 2009 recession and bank failures. Frank is the right person at the right time now to help lead OU, and to increase educational attainment and make it easier for students to graduate in a timely manner.”
Born in St. Louis, Keating grew up in Tulsa. He received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from OU. His 30-year career in law enforcement and public service included stints as an FBI agent, U.S. attorney and state prosecutor. He also served in the Oklahoma House and Senate.
He served Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in the treasury, justice and housing departments. In 1993, Keating returned to Oklahoma to run for governor. He won a three-way race by a landslide and was easily re-elected in 1998.
As governor, Keating won national acclaim in 1995 for his compassionate and professional handling of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City. In the aftermath of the attack, Keating raised more than $6 million to fund scholarships for the nearly 200 children left with only one or no parents. His accomplishments as governor include winning a successful public vote on right-to-work, tort reform, tax cuts, and major road building and education reform.
He is also the author of four award-winning children’s books - biographies of Will Rogers, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington and Standing Bear, the Ponca tribal chief who argued Native Americans deserve the same rights as white Americans. And a fifth, a biography of Abraham Lincoln, was recently released in January.
University of Oklahoma President David Boren, also a former chief executive of the Sooner State, applauded the choice, recalling Keating had “appointed some of the most outstanding individuals who have ever served on the OU Board of Regents."
Dale Denwalt of The Oklahoman reported Boren's comments in today's editions of the state's largest newspaper. Boren said of Keating's choices for the university's governing board: "They were regents who always put the needs of the institution first and worked to help the university achieve the highest standards of academic excellence. I have every reason to believe Frank Keating would bring those same qualities to his own service on the board.”
As a young man, Keating served as a legislator from Tulsa. Notably, he was Senate Republican leader at a time when the GOP caucus in the upper chamber numbered (as does the Democratic caucus today) in single digits.
Keating and his wife, Cathy, now live in Oklahoma City. They have three children and 10 grandchildren.
NOTE: Editor Pat McGuigan contributed to this report.