Brown O'haver Studio

by Catherine Poslusny

The University of Oklahoma is a bustling academic and cultural hub of learning opportunity for thousands of students from across the nation, and Nick Hathaway is in the middle of it, clearing a path to all the benefits that OU has to offer.

Hathaway is OU’s executive vice president with responsibilities in managing the university’s financial affairs as well as more than 1,200 employees in nonacademic administrative areas. He works closely with President David Boren to coordinate projects and initiatives across the campus.

“The University of Oklahoma is an incredibly diverse, wonderful place,” Hathaway said. “We have a lot of really thoughtful, passionate people on campus that are interested in serving students, and there are so many exciting things happening here.”

Hathaway, originally from New Jersey, completed his bachelor’s degree at Tulane University in New Orleans, then moved to Washington D.C. where he served as a legislative staffer for Boren, who was serving at the time as a U.S. senator.

He eventually moved to Norman to rejoin Boren’s administrative staff at OU, and he went on to earn his master’s degree in business administration from OU.

For the past 16 years, he has held the combined positions as OU’s executive vice president and vice president of administration and finance.

One of Hathaway’s main priorities is increasing retention and graduation rates for the university, and he has been involved with many related programs across campus. He’s particularly proud to have played a leading role in OU’s switch to a holistic admissions process.

“In truly understanding someone’s passion to be at OU and to graduate from OU, you’ve got to look at a lot more than just GPA, test scores and class rank,” said Hathaway. “With a holistic admissions approach, we can look at a wide range of factors, and give different weights to more accurate predictors of student success. I think that’s had a wonderfully positive impact on the university.”

Hathaway is an instrumental part of OU’s digital initiative, and has been proactive in promoting technological innovations at the university and helping it to adapt to a changing educational environment.

“I’ve been a champion of the digital initiative, which is basically embracing the role of technology in education and understanding that it’s likely to be a strong part of our future,” Hathaway said. “It excites me that OU is, and has been, on the leading edge of exploring that.”

Hathaway hopes to use this technology to better personalize each student’s OU experience. He points out that students provide the university with an immense amount of information on their applications, and now, for the first time, technology provides a way for the faculty and staff to actually utilize this giant pool of data.

Student involvement in campus life contributes to the richness of the college experience, and this project aims to match students with opportunities that align with their passions and interests.

“I believe that we can help everybody find their place within the university in a personalized way, and I think that this program is how we’re going to do that.”

Hathaway operates on the belief that there’s always something more that can be done to enrich the university community and provide more value to the students.

Hathaway has had a leadership role in the development of the five Partners Place buildings, Wagner Hall, Traditions Square Apartments, a partnership with OG&E for wind energy, and the establishment of OU’s study abroad program in Arezzo, Italy, to name a small sampling of his efforts.

He is a member of the Norman Rotary Club and has served on the boards of numerous organizations within the university and the Norman community.

In 2017, Hathaway was the recipient of the Otis Sullivant Award for Perceptivity at the University of Oklahoma, honoring his contributions to the university and passionate commitment to the university’s long-term success.

Hathaway lives in Norman with his wife, Nanette Shadid Hathaway, Crimson Club coordinator and director of the President’s Leadership Class. They have three children

“There are so many great people here and great things happening here,” said Hathaway. “I feel really fortunate that my life has put me in a situation where I can do what I love, and enjoy the benefits of being a part of the university community.”– BSM

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