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TU mourns loss of Chairman Emeritus David R. Lawson

With sadness, The University of Tulsa announces that friend and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees David R. Lawson passed away Feb. 12. For decades, Dave and his wife, Leslie, have been major figures of guidance, support and inspiration at TU, and the entire TU family shares their family’s grief.

Dave was a TU Distinguished Alumnus (BS ’70, Accounting) who built a standout career in finance and banking, beginning with Arthur Andersen and ultimately retiring as President and Chief Executive Officer of Capital One Auto Finance, Inc. (Dave once shared that he had chosen his accounting major based on the flashy Corvette driven by one of his father’s business associates – an accountant.)

Dave and Leslie Lawson
Dave Lawson with wife Leslie

Dave joined The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees in 1989 and served on several key committees before serving as Chairman from 2008 to 2012. Under his leadership, we completed the implementation of our campus Master Plan, grew our programs with nearly 30 new degree options, admitted some of the most accomplished freshman classes in TU history and raised $698 million during the Embrace the Future campaign. Earlier in his service to TU, Dave had served as president of our Alumni Association (1982-88) and twice as president of the Golden Hurricane Club.

Dave and Leslie have been deeply committed allies of TU and Golden Hurricane Athletics, with more than 200 gifts to their credit. Among these, they established The David and Leslie Lawson Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship for the Collins College of Business; The David and Leslie Lawson Family Foundation Trustees Scholarship Endowment Fund for the Collins College of Business; The Gayle and Emilee Lawson Endowed Presidential Scholarship Fund; and The David R. & Leslie L. Lawson Endowed Presidential Scholarship Fund.

The couple’s most recent giving had focused on our nursing program – a direct reflection of their experience dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease, a diagnosis that affects about 5½ million Americans a year – including Dave. Leslie, Dave and their family met this challenge with strength and dignity. To honor the professionals who helped them and to help prepare future generations of nurses, in 2017 Leslie and her family established The Lawson Family Nursing Simulation Center and Skills Laboratory and The Natalie Lawson Dooley Endowed Scholarship in Nursing.

Our hearts are with Leslie and their three children, Clint Lawson (BS Marketing ’94), Natalie Dooley (BS Nursing ’94), and Matthew Lawson.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, February 23 at Sharp Chapel.