OU President David Boren and the OU Extended Campus family joined together Tuesday to dedicate the James P. Pappas Administration Building. The building was renamed to honor Pappas, who served more than 30 years at the university. Pappas, vice president emeritus for OU Outreach and former Dean of the OU College of Liberal Studies (now OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies), retired in 2016.
Boren called Pappas a national leader in his field and an "administrator extraordinaire." He said he didn't think one person could replace what Pappas did for the university.
"He was such a strong believer in his programs and the work you in this room were doing, he wanted to make sure it was continued without any kind of interruption," Boren said.
Over 1,000 online courses were offered under Pappas' leadership, and more than 100,000 students have benefited from those online programs, Boren said.
"It's amazing how many fingerprints of Jim Pappas are on the lives of other people," Boren said. "It'd be hard to find anyone who could match that contribution."
Pappas thanked Boren for allowing him to serve the university and thanked the university staff. He said his contributions were possible due to support from his family, especially his wife, Peggy.
"Much of the work I did was obviously only going to occur because Peggy took care of the home fires," Pappas said. "She always gave me good counsel. She was my key advisor and key support system.
"Thank you for allowing me to do what I did," he added. "It really was a labor of love."