1979 to 1987 - George Nigh
On November 7, 1978, Nigh was elected Governor, but was sworn in January 3, 1979. Nigh served five days to fill an unexpired term following the resignation of Governor David Boren. Nigh began his regular term as twenty-second Governor of Oklahoma on January 8, 1979. During his first term, Nigh pushed through seventeen tax cuts, extended educational television statewide, and built roads. In his first term, the funds were allocated for the re-construction Centennial Expressway and the Lake Hefner Parkway in Oklahoma City. Despite the major tax reduction, the level of services in state government increased. Nigh was re-elected in 1982; the first Oklahoma Governor to win reelection to a second consecutive term. He had become one of the most popular political figures and carried all seventy-seven counties. Governor Nigh chaired the National Conference of Lieutenant Governors, co-chaired the Interstate Oil Compact Commission, served on the Executive Committee of the Southern States Energy Board, and chaired the Southern Growth Polices Board. He also served as president of the Council of State Governments. Nigh promoted a “good guy” image with his white hat political trademark, and served until 1987.
Nigh joined the faculty at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. He began a program to provide trained personnel for positions in state government. Nigh served as president of the university, a position from which he retired in 1997. Nigh is credited with starting a building boom and bringing international attention to the university. Nigh was awarded the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, he wrote his autobiography, “Good Guys Wear White Hats: The Life of George Nigh.” Nigh holds the state record for serving four different terms as Governor.
Oklahoma Almanac. Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 2003-2004.