Dr. Janet Cunningham began serving as the 19th president of Northwestern Oklahoma State University on July 1, 2006, following her appointment by the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma.
Cunningham becomes just the second alumni and first woman to become president of the institution.
In appointing Cunningham to the University’s top post, the Board of Regents cited her leadership abilities, experience and vision for Northwestern, qualities that inspired confidence among the University’s many stakeholders.
Cunningham was named executive vice president in 2002 after serving 12 years as vice president for fiscal affairs. As executive vice president, Cunningham served as the second highest ranking officer at Northwestern, developing and administering the university’s fiscal operations, with additional direct control over student services, intercollegiate athletics, auxiliary services, physical plant, financial aid, information technology and economic development.
She joined the faculty at Northwestern in 1979 and continued teaching until 1985, when she became an instructor at the University of Oklahoma while her husband attended law school there. She returned to teaching at Northwestern in 1988.
Cunningham earned a doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University and has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern. She also has completed professional education at the Institute of Educational Management at Harvard University and through the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky. In 2001, she became a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma.
A leader in civic affairs, Cunningham serves on the executive committee of the Alva Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Woods County Economic Development Association. She also has served in numerous volunteer capacities with organizations connected to the Alva Public Schools.
Cunningham and her husband, Rick, a local attorney, have four children: sons Brett, Tanner and Drew, and a daughter Allison.