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About CIS

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About CIS

International flags at commencement


The David L. Boren College of International Studies (CIS) aspires to be a national center of excellence and innovation in international education. Our goals are to broaden international exchange and research partnerships and to enhance the global fluency of our students so they can become compassionate, open-minded global citizens and leaders.

The College of International Studies advances international educational opportunities for all OU students, and ranked in the top 40 for doctoral-granting institutions in the Institute for International Education's 2018 Open Doors report. CIS houses the Dean’s Staff, the Department of International and Area Studies, the office of Education Abroad, the office of International Student Services, the OU in Arezzo and OU in Puebla Study Centers, and several international institutes and centers. Together, these entities enhance research and learning about global affairs and amplify global engagement for the entire University of Oklahoma campus.


The International Programs Center (IPC) was founded in the fall of 1996 by former University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren, a former United States Senator and Governor of Oklahoma. Boren, who had been Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Intelligence and a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, England, envisioned an international program that would prepare OU graduates for the globalized world of the 21st century. The IPC was created by former President Boren in August 1996 to:

  • Coordinate and promote international activities and programs
  • Enhance the international content of the curriculum and degree programs
  • Increase the University's outreach on international matters in state, national and international arenas
  • Provide Oklahoma and the region with a greater voice in our country's international relations.

The University of Oklahoma Regents named US Ambassador Edward J. Perkins as the first Executive Director of the International Programs Center and the William J. Crowe Chair Professor in Geopolitics. Perkins served as a US Ambassador to Liberia, the Republic of South Africa, the United Nations and Australia. He also held the distinguished post of Director General of the Foreign Service

Ambassador Edwin G. Corr, who served as a US Ambassador to Peru, Bolivia and El Salvador, joined the International Programs Center as Associate Director. Ambassadors Perkins and Corr retired from the University in 2007.

In 2007, the University of Oklahoma was awarded the Senator Paul Simon Award for Campus Internationalization.

In January 2011, the OU Board of Regents approved a recommendation to establish a College of International Studies in response to growing student demand.  At that time, former President David L. Boren announced a $2 million lead gift from Tulsans L. Francis and Kathleen Rooney to launch a $14 million campaign for the new College.

Zach P. Messitte joined the International Programs Center in 2007 as the Executive Director and was the inaugural Dean of the College of International Studies. Suzette Grillot joined IPC in 2008 as Associate Director. She served as Dean from 2012 until 2019. 

Jill Irvine was appointed Interim Dean of the David L. Boren College of International Studies in 2019, and she was succeeded by Mitchell P. Smith, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who served as Interim Dean from 2019 to 2020. In July 2020, CIS welcomed its current Dean Scott Fritzen.