• "I will greatly miss this good man. I knew him while he..."
    - Bruce Hannon
  • "I was sorry to lose Dr. Risser from Oregon State University..."
    - Laurie Kimmell
  • "He was my PhD advisor at OU. I admired him tremendously. A..."
    - Scott Collins
  • "When Dr. Risser was President of Oregon State University, I..."
    - Les Ruark
  • "I had the privilege and pleasure of working with Paul..."
    - Keith Arnold

September 14, 1939 - July 10, 2014 NORMAN Paul Gillan Risser, 74, of Norman, Oklahoma, died on Thursday, July 10, 2014. The son of Paul and Jean Risser, he was born on September 14, 1939 and always treasured the fact that he shared that birthday with his twin brother, Jim. After graduating from Blackwell High School, he attended Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, where he received a B.A. in 1961 as well as an honorary degree in 1994. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1965 and 1967 respectively.Throughout his professional career, Dr. Risser served as Chief of the Illinois Natural History Survey, Provost and Vice President for Research at the University of New Mexico, President of Miami University in Ohio, President of Oregon State University, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, Acting Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Oklahoma Research Cabinet. He also served as the Executive Director of EDGE, Oklahoma's economic development organization. Dr. Risser served as NSF Program Director of Ecosystem Studies and as president of three professional organizations: the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Ecological Society of America and the Association of Southwestern Naturalists. He was chair of the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Academy of Science, Secretary-General of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York. At the time of his death, he was serving as a member of the Board of Trustees at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Grinnell College, and Chair of Oklahoma's P-20 Council.He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences with research on grassland and forest ecosystems, environmental planning and management, landscape ecology and global change. Throughout his career he authored or edited six books and published over one hundred chapters and scientific papers in refereed journals.Preceded in death by his parents, he is survived by his wife, Les; twin brother, Jim (Barbara) of Austin; brother, Ted (Trudy) of Grants Pass, OR; sons, David (Holly) and Mark (Yola) of Dallas, Stephen (Kelly) of Fort Worth, and Scott (Hilary) of Butte, MT; step-daughters, Amy (Randy) of Walla Walla, WA and Sarah (Bob) of Denver, CO; and fourteen grandchildren.In celebration of his life and recognition of his unwavering commitment to education, the family suggests contributions to the Paul G. Risser Scholarship Fund at the University of Oklahoma. Checks may be written to the University of Oklahoma Foundation, 100 Timberdell Rd., Norman, OK 73019.A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 14, 2:00 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church, 555 S. University in Norman. Online condolences may be shared at:

Funeral Home
Havenbrook Funeral Home
3401 Havenbrook Street Norman, OK 73072
(405) 329-0101
Funeral Home Details
Published in The Oklahoman on July 11, 2014
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