Monday marked the 20th year of the leadership of OU President David Boren and First Lady Molly Shi Boren here at The University of Oklahoma. Over the last two decades, Molly Shi and David Boren have promoted beautiful public spaces and architecture on the OU campus. In 2008 they started the Institute for Quality Communities to extend this passion across the state.

Today’s OU Daily article describes the personal approach to placemaking that has turned the OU campus into a memorable, special place. The sense of ‘place attachment’ this has created for students, faculty, and alumni has been an incredibly important part of OU’s success story:

Molly Shi and David Boren both stressed how important building community has been to them during their time at OU. Molly Shi Boren has taken a special interest in the gardens and outside space of campus, but when she is thinking about space, she thinks about more than just how it will look.


Molly Shi Boren said she and Allen King drive around campus in a golf cart to look at the gardens and watch where people walk, sit and move around campus to get an idea of how people are using space.


The commemorative benches scattered around campus are meant to encourage people to sit down, talk and enjoy the campus, Molly Shi Boren said.


“If you want to build community, you have to configure space that encourages certain behavior,” she said.


And the Boren’s want to build a community, as they both see it as a means to improve society.


“I feel so strongly that one of the greatest problems in the country right now is the fragmentation of community,” David Boren said.


Molly Shi Boren said she and the president are committed to creating opportunities for OU that will bring people together.


“We want to give students the very best possible education, but we also want to send out good citizens into the world,” she said.


Congratulations to President David Boren and First Lady Molly Shi Boren on two decades of remarkable success at the University of Oklahoma.