"When I first met Stead in 2004, I literally looked up to him. In a moment you will see why [he is more than 6'' tall]. Since then, I have come to look up to him in a much more profound way. He has led a transformation of the University of Tulsa that not even the most optimistic of us would have thought possible."
Steadman Upham served as the 17th president of the University of Tulsa from 2004 to early 2012. Just a few months later, in October, he returned as the 19th president. Highlights of his administration include the addition of nearly 40 academic programs, including doctoral programs in chemistry, physics, and anthropology; the creation of interdisciplinary research institutes in fields including nanotechnology and bioinformatics; the completion of a $700 million fundraising campaign; the addition of approximately 700,000 square feet of campus facilities; the launch of the College of Health Sciences through a partnership with the University of Oklahoma; an agreement with the City of Tulsa whereby the University of Tulsa manages Gilcrease Museum; construction of the Helmerich Center for American Research at Gilcrease Museum; and the opening of the Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education in downtown Tulsa.
Upham is known for the culture of community service engagement that he has created and fostered. The University of Tulsa’s True Blue Neighbors initiative in the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood includes youth mentoring, tutoring, food and clothing drives, home maintenance assistance, and close partnerships with neighborhood schools. The university and the neighborhood have become one.
Upham, who completed a doctorate in anthropology at Arizona State University, is a widely respected and published archaeologist and previously served as president and chief executive officer of Claremont Graduate University. He and his wife, Peggy, were married in 1971 and have two children and two grandchildren.
Students on the University of Tulsa campus called him 'Uncle Stead.'
Upham served as the 17th and 19th president of the University of Tulsa.