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U honors memory of former provost

May 23, 2001

Although former Spartan Provost Lawrence Boger finished his career as an Oklahoma State University Cowboy, MSU leaders who remember his life agree that he bled green and white.

“He was a member of the Spartan family in every sense of the word,” said Roger Wilkinson, former MSU vice president for Finance and Operations. “He not only led the university, he also enjoyed the university.”

Boger, 77, died of acute myeloid leukemia Saturday in Stillwater, Okla., where he took up residence after serving as Oklahoma State University president from 1977-88.

Despite ending his academic career in the Sooner State, Boger spent most of his professional life at MSU, which he began in 1948 when he joined the faculty as a professor of agricultural economics.

In 1954, he was named chairman of the Department of Agricultural Economics and became dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 1969 before serving as provost from 1975-77.

Boger also earned a master’s degree in economics from MSU in 1948 and his doctorate in agricultural economics from the university in 1950.

Retired MSU Professor James Bonnen said Boger was his mentor. He remembered that he was hired the same year Boger took his position as department chairman.

“I was the new kid on the block and he gave my career, and that of many other young faculty, a considerable amount of direction by creating opportunities for us to pursue,” Bonnen said.

Former MSU President Gordan Guyer remembered Boger gave him one opportunity he didn’t want all that much.

“I was over on an entomology control program in Africa and Larry (Boger) called me up and asked me to take a position as associate director of an extension program,” Guyer said. “I told him ‘No,’ but he was so persistent.

“He was back on the phone with me as soon as I arrived in New York. And then, he kept at me. Needless to say, I took the job. He sure was persuasive.”

Wilkinson credited Boger’s leadership as being instrumental in putting MSU’s agricultural programs on a global map - as department chairman he led the agricultural department into research projects in 34 different countries.

“He was a visionary kind of person,” Wilkinson said. “He was the type of person who tried to take a broad view and look to the future of the university.”

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