Southeastern Alumni Association

Murray State, Southeastern to share business officer through unique collaboration

Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage and Murray State College president Joy McDaniel today announced a collaborative agreement that will allow the institutions they lead to share the services of Murray State’s Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Finance and Administration Dennis Westman.

The concept,developed by the two presidents in the spirit of cost-saving collaboration,allows Southeastern to fill the duties of its Vice President of Business Affairs position, which became vacant late last fall with the retirement of Ross Walkup.

Under the agreement, which takes effect March 1, Westman will remain an employee of Murray State, while also providing leadership and supervisory oversight for business affairs at Southeastern.

“This agreement is an excellent example of campus presidents considering innovative solutions to meet operational needs in an exceptionally challenging budget environment,’’ said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “As a state system of higher education, we continue to work together at every level to maximize cost savings and provide the services required to help our students realize their educational aspirations.’’

“In the current climate, budgets and fiscal efficiency are paramount in the administrative decision-making process,’’ President McDaniel said. “As colleagues, President Burrage and I share a commitment to global solutions that are creative and mutually beneficial. This truly is collaboration at its best, and we hope to pave the way for similar agreements at other colleges and universities.’’

President Burrage agreed, saying, “we are very appreciative of the support and cooperation of President McDaniel in this venture. I really believe it will turn out to be a win-win situation for everyone involved.’’

Westman, who earned an Associates of AppliedScience in Business Management from Murray State, has been part of the administrative team there since 2011. His bachelor’s degree in management and his MBA were awarded by Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

“This is an exciting opportunity and I look forward to serving two of southeastern Oklahoma’s finest higher education institutions,” Westman said. “I have lived in Durant for many years and feel very comfortable joining President McDaniel and President Burrage in this role.’’

Michael Burrage to be inducted into Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2016

Michael Burrage and six other prominent individuals will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2016. The 89th annual banquet and induction ceremony will be held November 17 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

Joining Burrage as inductees this year are Troy Aikman, Rita Bly Aragon, Dan Dillingham, Rebecca Dixon, Kelli O’Hara and Russell Westbrook.

Being inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is the highest honor an Oklahoman can receive from the state. Since the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s inception in 1927, 677 accomplished individuals have received this commendation.

Burrage, a Distinguished Alumnus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, is the father of Southeastern president Sean Burrage.

Michael Burrage, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was born in Durant, Oklahoma.  He received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southeastern in 1971, and earned a juris doctor degree with honors from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1974.

Burrage was in private practice in Antlers from 1974 to 1994. He was named Outstanding Young Lawyer in Oklahoma in 1977, and served as president of the Oklahoma Bar Association in 1990.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated Burrage to be a United States District Judge and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 8, 1994.  He served as a federal judge for all three of the U.S. District Courts in Oklahoma and was the first Native American Federal Judge.  He also sat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by designation.

Burrage was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1993 and served as State Chairman in 2008 – 2009.

In 1996, he became the chief judge at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, where he served until 2001. He is now senior managing partner at Whitten Burrage law firm in Oklahoma City.

Burrage was inducted into the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Order of the Owl Hall of Fame on Oct. 30, 2013.

He is married to Aletha and has two sons, Sean and David.