It’s official — Steven Gragert is the director of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore.

At Friday’s meeting of the Memorial Commission, Gragert was unanimously approved as the Museum’s new director, following a lengthy executive session.

“We were pleased to have many qualified people apply for the job — several well-qualified applicants, but none that match in respects to Steve,” said Jim Hartz, Will Rogers Memorial Commission chairman. “He clearly was the best candidate, and we’re looking forward to a long and prosperous tenure with him here (at the Memorial) and the Birthplace Ranch.”

Hartz added that although Kem Rogers, Commission member and grandson of Will Rogers, was not present due to health reasons, he had expressed his approval of Gragert as director.

“When I came to Oklahoma 31 years ago, I didn’t know much about Will Rogers, but came to learn and appreciate his contributions not only to this country, but the world,” Gragert said. “It’s an honor to be appointed as director of a museum that’s a tribute to him and all that he did during his lifetime.”

Gragert has served as interim director of the Memorial since the October 2006 resignation of former director, Michelle Lefebrvre-Carter and retirement of Greg Malak, associate director.