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Education Advocate Named Vice President for Governmental Relations

NORMAN – An education advocate and champion for safe communities has been named Vice President for Governmental Relations at the University of Oklahoma. Announcement of the appointment of Jonathan Nichols of Norman to the position was made today by OU President David L. Boren at the December meeting of the OU Board of Regents.

“Jonathan Nichols has been an outstandingly committed advocate for the University of Oklahoma throughout his public service. His proven effectiveness in getting things done and bringing people together at the State Capitol will be especially beneficial in this time of budgetary uncertainty,” said Boren.

After earning his Juris Doctor from the OU College of Law, Nichols went into private practice, later becoming an award-winning Assistant District Attorney before being elected to the Oklahoma State Senate, where he served from 2000 to 2012. Since 2012, he has served as the Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel for the Office of the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.

As State Senator, Nichols was committed to increased investments in schools and education. In 2001, he was named “Most Courageous Legislator” by the Higher Education Alumni Council of Oklahoma for his efforts to increase funding in the endowed positions program for higher education. In 2009, Nichols was honored by the Council of Presidents and the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education for his distinguished service and continued support of higher education.

Nichols was recognized as a champion for safer communities, authoring bills that gave law enforcement modern tools to fight crimes against children and Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens. In 2008, Nichols was honored by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation with the Director’s Award for Exemplary Service for making Oklahoma a safer place to live.

As Vice President for Governmental Relations, Nichols will promote positive relationships with state and local policymakers and stakeholders to ensure legislative funding and policy initiatives reflect the needs of the University. Nichols will also work with state officials and government agencies in providing information and research findings that may assist their policy work. 

Scott Mason will devote most of his time to federal government relations as Executive Director of Federal Programs. Boren said, “We are very fortunate that Scott Mason will continue to serve the university with a focus on federal relations. He has great respect from our congressional delegation both for his expertise and for his personal integrity.”