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The East Central University Foundation Board of Directors announced that President Emeritus John R. Hargrave has been named chief executive officer of the ECU Foundation, Inc. while Buffy Lovelis has been elevated to vice president and chief operations officer.

 “John is a proven ambassador for the university and the foundation,” said Vicky Petete, chairman of the ECU Foundation Board “With him as our leader, we look forward to working with the university with a shared vision and goal to support the university, faculty, student body and its programs.”

Hargrave served as the eighth president of ECU from 2009-2017. He graduated with honors from ECU in 1978, majoring in speech and sociology and earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1980.

 “John is a perfect fit for this position. His service to the university and absolute love for it, makes it a natural selection,” said ECU President Katricia G. Pierson. “We look forward to the energy he will bring to this position in helping students achieve their academic goals through scholarships and fundraising for projects across campus to enhance the learning experience.”

While serving as president, Hargrave oversaw the opening of five new facilities and the renovation of several more on campus.

“I would like to thank the ECU Foundation Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to once again serve East Central University,” Hargrave said. “I look forward to engaging with the university, students, faculty and staff, as well as the community, alumni and donors.”

Eighteen members of Hargrave’s family attended or graduated from ECU, beginning with his grandparents. His wife, Kay Hargrave, a 1978 ECU graduate, is an assistant district attorney for Pontotoc, Seminole and Hughes Counties. They have four adult children and six grandchildren.

Hargrave’s past and current lengthy list of civic duties include: member of the Ada Chamber of Commerce, past member of the Ada Jobs Foundation Board and member of the Mercy Hospital Board of Trustees, Oklahoma African American Educators Hall of Fame Board (first non-African American to serve on the board), chair of the Council of Presidents for the Great American Conference and past chair of the Council of Presidents for the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO).

Additionally, Hargrave is on the board of trustees for the Oklahoma Excellence in Education Foundation and the Scientific and Natural Resource Foundation Board of Directors. He is active in the ECU Alumni Association. As appointed by the chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Hargrave also served on several committees.

Hargrave is also an advisory board member for the Miss Ada Pageant and the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum in Seminole. He serves as a trustee of the Seminole State College Foundation.

“For the past several years, Buffy has been an integral part of the ECU Foundation,” Petete said. “In order to better align her position and title with her current and future responsibilities, Buffy has also been named vice president and chief operations officer.”

Lovelis has served as chief operations officer of the ECU Foundation, Inc. for the past two years. She joined the staff at ECU in 2007 as a database administrator before moving over to serve as ECU alumni director. Lovelis then became an administrative assistant for the ECU Foundation.

 “I love ECU and it is such an honor to have the opportunity to serve ECU in this role,” Lovelis said.

Lovelis received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from ECU in 2005 and earned a master’s degree in human resources administration in 2008.

Her husband, Greg, is an ECU graduate and holds two degrees from the university. They have two children – Carsyn (7) and Masen (5) – both of whom attend school in Stonewall.

“Buffy and Greg met at ECU. They are a true example of ‘Once a Tiger Always a Tiger’.”  said Petete.


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