George Lynn Cross

Class of
George Lynn Cross

George Lynn Cross

“George Lynn Cross was synonymous with education. He garnered more respect in this state than any politician or coach – as it should be.”
Governor Frank Keating, 1999


Dr. George Lynn Cross was born in South Dakota and graduated from high school in 1923. He was active in sports and worked weekends in a local grocery store, and graduated from South Dakota State College at Brookings in 1926, where he also taught a general botany course while receiving his Master’s Degree. He attended summer school at the University of Chicago and received his Doctor of Philosophy there in 1929. Dr. Cross joined the faculty of the University of South Dakota in 1930. He came to teach at the University of Oklahoma in Norman in 1934 and was named acting dean of the graduate college in 1942. In 1944, he became acting president and in August was chosen as its president. During his more than 20 years as president, the university attained its greatest growth in numbers of students, physical facilities, and academic programs. Throughout his career he was active locally and nationally as a leader in civic, cultural and educational circles, and served as president of the Oklahoma Heritage Association (now the Oklahoma Hall of Fame).

Fun fact

In 1999, Sooner Magazine recalled that “when the OU Regents tapped [George Cross] as acting president, he was assured that he was not being considered for the permanent post. Eight months later he began one of the longest presidential tenures in the history of the institution.”

Oklahoma connections

Cross came to the University of Oklahoma as an assistant professor of botany in 1934.









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