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Former University Of Tulsa President Steadman Upham Dies

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Photo of Dr. Steadman Upham. Photo of Dr. Steadman Upham.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

The University of Tulsa reports former president Steadman Upham died Sunday night from complications following a recent surgery.

The university sent the following statement to the campus:

This message is being sent on behalf of the Rev. Jeffrey Francis, Sharp Chaplain:

Our deepest sympathies, thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Peggy; their children, Nathan and Erin; and their grandchildren, Orion and Aadrock.

“We are devastated by the news of Stead’s death,” TU President Gerard Clancy said. “Stead was a great friend to the university and all of Tulsa. He and Peggy poured their lives into making TU better in every way. The university community is thankful that we had the chance to be led by them for so long.”

Dr. Upham had announced in early 2016 that he planned to retire at the end of last year, but he was planning to return to teach at the university.

4/12/2016 Related Story: University Of Tulsa President Announces Retirement

He first became president of TU in 2004 before retiring in 2012. He came out of retirement to replace Geoffrey Orsak, who was fired as president after just two months.

Current TU President Gerard Clancy said Upham leaves a long legacy behind him.

"If you just walk around this campus, everywhere you look you see his imprint," he said.

TU says Dr. Upham served as president and chief executive officer of Claremont Graduate University. From 1990 to 1998, he worked at the University of Oregon as vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School and professor of anthropology. He had received his Ph.D. degree in anthropology in 1980 from Arizona State University. 

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum released a statement saying, “Between being elected and being sworn in as mayor, I sought the guidance of some of the executives I most admire - and Stead Upham was at the top of that list. He provided lots of good advice, but one point stood out above all others: As a leader, you have day-to-day responsibilities - but you also have, for lack of a better word, pastoral responsibilities. You have a responsibility to take care of, and be there for, the people you lead. It's one of the best pieces of wisdom I've ever received. His passing came far too soon, and is a terrible loss for our city.”

Governor Mary Fallin also commented on Upham's death saying in a Tweet, "Saddened to hear of the passing of former TU pres., Steadman Upham. He was a treasured member of the @utulsa family."

The university says services are pending.

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