An Oklahoma businessman, aerospace leader and supporter of the governor is the newest appointee to the University of Oklahoma’s Board of Regents, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

Rick Nagel, CEO and managing partner with Acorn Growth Companies, is Gov. Kevin Stitt’s fifth and latest appointee to OU’s seven-member board, Stitt’s office said Tuesday. Nagel is an alumnus of OU’s College of Engineering and a Norman resident whose appointment to the board must be approved by the state Senate.

“Rick Nagel is passionate about education, and his extensive knowledge of the aerospace industry and evolving economy will help ensure the University of Oklahoma is producing graduates who are qualified and ready to enter our workforce,” Stitt said in the announcement.

Nagel will replace Gary Pierson, the board’s current chair and an April 2019 appointee to the board. While regents traditionally serve seven-year terms, Pierson’s term is only two years long because he was appointed to replace Bill Burgess, a former regent who died in February 2019.

Nagel leads “strategic direction” and portfolio assets at Acorn Growth, a private equity firm that focuses on intelligence, aerospace and defense.

Nagel publicly supported Stitt during his run for governor in 2018, publishing a column in the Tulsa World to endorse Stitt’s pro-business platform and experience. The regent appointee also made a $2,700 contribution to the "Stitt for Governor 2018" campaign committee in October 2018, records with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission show.

"If you are serious about finally getting the entire state moving and building a bright economic future for the next generation, this is the election you’ve been waiting for,” Nagel wrote in the Tulsa World in 2018. "I hope you’ll join me in voting for the one candidate who, in the mold of President Trump, has put his personal career on hold to help us at a critical time in history."

Nagel is a member of the Aerospace Industries Association governing board, the U.S. Army Association, the U.S. Air Force Association and the National Defense Industrial Association. According to the governor’s announcement, Nagel is state president of the Oklahoma Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and an executive committee member of the Oklahoma State Chamber.

“We are delighted and honored to have Rick Nagel join the OU Board of Regents,” OU President Joe Harroz said in a statement. “He is a distinguished alumnus and civic leader, and his professional success reflects well on OU. Our university and our profound purpose will be well served by his keen acumen and counsel. I look forward to working together.”

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