Southeastern News


State Regent John Massey

From the Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education

State Regent John Massey was recognized as a
state regent emeritus during the April 24 meeting of the Oklahoma State Regents
for Higher Education. 

Massey will complete his third nine-year term on the board in May, making him
the first consecutive three-term State Regent in Oklahoma history, with 27
years of service.

“Regent Massey is known for his tireless dedication to student success and
community engagement,” said State Regents’ chair Jay Helm. “His contributions
have advanced the work of the State Regents and our colleges and universities
at every level. We congratulate and sincerely thank him for his many years of
exceptional service to Oklahoma public higher education.” 

Appointed as an Oklahoma State Regent by Gov. David Walters in May 1992 to
serve a nine-year term, he was reappointed by Gov. Frank Keating for a second
nine-year term in May 2001. In May 2010, he was reappointed by Gov. Brad
Henry for a third nine-year term.

“When Regent Massey speaks to students, business leaders and state policy
leaders, he always stresses the importance of higher education. He has been a
champion for the GEAR UP program, the Oklahoma’s Promise scholarship and degree
completion initiatives throughout his service as a state regent,” said
Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “His commitment to quality and access in higher
education has made him an invaluable member of the State Regents for nearly
three decades. He will be deeply missed.” 

Massey is chairman of the board of First United Bank and Trust, headquartered
in Durant. He is also chairman of Durant Enterprises Inc., and serves on
the board of directors of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence.

Massey earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State
University, where he served as student body president. He is the only student
in the history of Southeastern to receive the Outstanding Student Award for
three consecutive years. In 1984, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award
from the university.  

Massey was elected State Representative in 1960 while a senior in college and
served two terms. In 1964, he was elected to the State Senate, where he
also served two terms.  

He served in the U.S. Army from 1954-57 and was a member of the National Guard
from 1953-54 and 1957-61. During his service, he was nominated by his fellow
soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colo. and Camp Walters, Mineral
Wells, Texas with the distinction of Soldier of the Year.

Massey is active in several civic and professional organizations and has served
on the State Ethics Commission, the Oklahoma Historical Society Board, the
board of the Bank of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Securities Commission. He was
awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Durant Kiwanis Club and, in 2001,
the Outstanding Alumni Award by Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity. He was inducted
into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall
of Fame in 2004. In 2009, Massey was inducted into the Oklahoma City Community
College Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement
Award in February 2010. He and his wife, Donna, live in Durant.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is a nine-member constitutional
board that coordinates all 25 public higher education institutions in Oklahoma.
The board prescribes academic standards of higher education, determines
functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, grants
degrees, makes budget requests to the Legislature, allocates funding for each
college and university, recommends proposed fees within limits set by the
Legislature, and manages numerous scholarships and special programs. State
regents are appointed by the governor for nine-year terms.

Davis to receive Golden Quill Award from Oklahoma Bar Association


DURANT, Okla. – Michael J. Davis, Director of Compliance and Safety at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, will receive the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Maurice Merrill Golden Quill Award, honoring the best written article published this year in the Oklahoma Bar Journal.

His article, titled, “A Primer on Disability Accommodation in Higher Education,” was published in August 2018 and selected by the Bar Journal’s Board of Editors for the prestigious award, which will be formally presented in November at a ceremony in Tulsa.

The Golden Quill Award is named in honor of Maurice Merrill — a professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law from 1936 to 1968 – and who was nationally distinguished for his work as a writer, scholar and teacher.

Davis has been an attorney since 2013 and serves as an adjunct instructor of Business Law in the Department of Management and Marketing in addition to his other professional duties at the University.

Southeastern senior earns first place at Research Day at the Capitol

Payton Whitehead of Colbert is shown with Chancellor Glen D. Johnson at Research Day at the Capitol. Twenty-two undergraduate students representing 17 Oklahoma colleges and universities presented competitive research posters to the State Legislature and the public during this annual event sponsored by Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the National Science Foundation.

Payton Whitehead of Colbert is shown with Chancellor Glen D. Johnson at Research Day at the Capitol. Twenty-two undergraduate students representing 17 Oklahoma colleges and universities presented competitive research posters to the State Legislature and the public during this annual event sponsored by Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the National Science Foundation.

DURANT, Okla. – Payton Whitehead, a senior at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, captured first place honors at Research Day at the Capitol on March 26-27.

Research Day at the Capitol was established more than 20 years ago to showcase the outstanding undergraduate research being conducted at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities in the areas of science (including social science), technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students are nominated by their institutions’ leadership to participate in the prestigious event, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, Oklahoma Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (OK EPSCoR), and the National Science Foundation.

Nominated students present their research to State Legislators and the public in the State Capitol Rotunda during the legislative session. In addition, students’ posters and oral presentations are competitively judged by an independent panel; winners are announced at the conclusion of Research Day, during an awards ceremony held in the Capitol’s Blue Room.

Whitehead, from Colbert, Oklahoma, took first place in the Regional and Community Colleges division for his entry in enzyme biochemistry research. He received a certificate and a $500 cash prize for his winning efforts, based on his presentation to a team of judges.

He is a Chemistry major/minor on the Biochemical Technology track.

Whitehead, who will graduate in May, has been accepted into the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology graduate program in the Biology Department at the University of North Texas. He plans to pursue a career in  biochemical research.

Grayson College president Jeremy McMillen recipient of 11th E.T. Dunlap Medal

President Jeremy McMillen

President Jeremy McMillen

DURANT, Okla. – Grayson College president Jeremy P. McMillen is the 2018 recipient of the E.T. Dunlap Medal, an award that is presented to a distinguished scholar or outstanding public official.

Dr. McMillen will present the 11th E.T. Dunlap Lecture on Higher Education and Public Policy on April 17 at 11 a.m. in the Hallie McKinney Ballroom on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The lecture is free and open to the public.

The Dunlap Medal and Lectureship Program was established in 1989 by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education as a legacy to Dr. E.T. Dunlap, long-time chancellor (1961-82) of education in Oklahoma. At the time the lecture was established, Southeastern was designated as the host institution by the Regents.

Among the previous recipients of the prestigious Dunlap Medal are David Boren, Carl Albert, and current Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, a former president of Southeastern. Chancellor Johnson is expected to attend this year’s lecture.

“President McMillen is very deserving of the E.T. Dunlap award,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage.  “He is a dynamic leader who is making a huge impact throughout the entire Texomaland region. Most importantly, he is a tireless advocate for students as he continues to successfully implement innovative ideas in the rapidly changing world of higher education. Since Grayson was founded in 1965, it has been a great partner to Southeastern — and from day one in 2012 when he was named president, Dr. McMillen has embraced this history. Working together, two institutions can accomplish a great deal by practicing the philosophy of doing what’s best for students, and that’s what we do as partners.’’

Despite being located in different states – Grayson’s campuses are in Denison and Van Alstyne, Texas,  and Southeastern has six sites in Oklahoma — the two neighbors have teamed up to serve students in unique ways.
Guided by then-Presidents Johnson and Dr. Alan Scheibmeir — Southeastern and Grayson received formal approval from various state and national governing boards to offer the Elementary Education degree at Grayson College beginning in the fall of 2005.

Since that time, Southeastern has continued to expand programs and courses (business, criminal justice, occupational safety & health, psychology, etc., and selected graduate programs) at Grayson. Course delivery methods include traditional face-to-face, online, and instructional television.

The two schools are continuing to explore the potential for an expanded partnership in the future.

Dr. Jeremy McMillen joined Grayson College as its fifth president in July 2012.

He began his career in higher education teaching sociology as a graduate student at Texas A&M-Commerce in 1995. He then served as the Director of Educational Talent Search working with low income first generation students at Paris Junior College. McMillen returned to A&M-Commerce as director of institutional research and then went to Trinity Valley Community College as dean of planning and institutional research. At TVCC, McMillen was promoted to assistant vice president for academic affairs and finally associate vice president for academic affairs.

Active in state and national higher education initiatives, McMillen serves as the immediate past chair of the board of directors for United Way of Grayson County and is a board member of Texoma Workforce Solutions and the Texoma Craft Beverage Alliance. He is immediate past chair of the North Texas Community College Consortium.

State involvement includes serving on the Executive Committee for the Texas Association of Community Colleges and two committees with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Community and Technical College Leadership Council and Community and Technical College Formula Advisory Committee.           Nationally, McMillen serves on the Commission on Workforce and Economic Development for the American Association of Community Colleges.

He received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, both in sociology, from what is now Texas A&M University-Commerce. He returned to the institution to earn his doctorate in higher education.

McMillen and his wife, also an A&M-Commerce graduate, reside in Denison, Texas, with their son.

Dr. E.T. Dunlap (1914-1997) was a 1940 graduate of Southeastern and the first Distinguished Alumnus of the University. After graduating from Southeastern, Dunlap served as a teacher, county superintendent of schools and high school inspector for accreditation for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. He was then elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1946, chaired the Committee on Education, and was the principal author of the Education Code, which was signed into law in 1949.

From 1951-1961, he was president of Eastern Oklahoma State College, Wilburton. He left this post to become Oklahoma’s second chancellor of higher education.

Southeastern president appointed to Board of Juvenile Affairs

President Burrage

President Burrage

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage is one of three new appointees to the Oklahoma Board of Juvenile Affairs. The seven-member board is appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin and confirmed by the Senate.

The Board of Juvenile Affairs is the governing body of the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA). The OJA is is responsible for planning and coordinating statewide juvenile justice and delinquency prevention services.

Burrage will serve as a member representing the 2nd Congressional District. His four-year term begins July 2.

The Southeastern president was also named to the Task Force on the Future of Higher Education that was recently formed by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The 68-member task force, which was established at the State Regents’ March meeting, will conduct a systematic review of higher education in Oklahoma; examine existing initiatives and best practices; and report findings and recommendations on strategies that best support improving quality, access, affordability, and efficiency.

The Task Force includes regents, college and university presidents, citizens, and governmental designees.

Burrage is also a member of the Oklahoma Ordinance Works Authority.

Mike Davis completes fellowship with Council on Student Affairs Leadership Academy

Mike DavisDURANT, Okla. – Mike Davis, Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Director of Compliance & Safety, has recently completed a year-long fellowship with the Oklahoma Board of Regents Council on Student Affairs (COSA) Leadership Academy.

The COSA Leadership Academy is designed to facilitate professional growth and enrichment for student affairs specialists at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities.  As a COSA Leadership Academy Fellow, Davis participated in a series of issue-oriented forums led by experienced Higher Education professionals from across the state on topics such as accreditation, legal issues, enrollment management, and diversity.

The Fellowship is exclusive to professionals who have been nominated by the senior student affairs officer of their home institution.

Sharon Robinson, retired Southeastern Vice President for Student Affairs,  nominated Davis last spring.

Davis, who began his career with Southeastern in the Student Affairs division in 2010, has previously been a Hall Director in the Department of Housing and Residence Life. He has also served as Coordinator of Disability Services.

Davis holds a Law Degree from the University of Oklahoma. He earned his undergraduate degree from Southeastern.

First United Bank honored with Regents Partnership Award

awardjpgDURANT, Okla. – Twenty-eight business and higher education partnerships throughout the state were recognized recently as innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.

Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses; internships that enable current students to work at the partnering businesses; faculty externships with the partnering businesses; and/or enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.

Among the honorees were Southeastern Oklahoma State University and First United Bank. The partnership between Southeastern Oklahoma State University and First United Bank, a family-owned, Oklahoma-based bank, has lasted for two generations. Greg Massey serves as president and CEO of the bank and carries on the family tradition started by his father, John, as a leader not only within his own community of Durant, but also throughout the state. Massey and the team at First United are committed to the economic development of the community of Durant through their contributions as a significant employer in the region and an economic engine within the state. This partnership includes participation in building projects, scholarship programs, alumni activities, and programs dedicated to seeing the university thrive. Additionally, the support they provide the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center, which has been housed at Southeastern since its inception 31 years ago, shows their desire to see small businesses thrive not only in the communities they serve, but throughout Oklahoma.

“Our state system institutions collaborate with the business community to link academic programs directly to employment needs,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These partnerships allow our colleges and universities to provide innovative, interactive learning experiences for students that align with workforce requirements today and in the future.”

“We are very appreciative of the support of First United Bank,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “First United is a business that is truly engaged in communities all across Oklahoma. And the Masseys recognize the value of education and the role it plays in the future of our state.’’


Southeastern addresses latest round of budget reductions

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has announced a plan of action to address additional state budget cuts.

The most recent cut is due to the continuing downturn in oil gross production that impacts revenues collected by the state. All schools in the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education are affected, but it is important to note that it impacts only higher education.  For Southeastern, this reduction is projected to be $500,079 through the end of the current fiscalyear (June 30, 2016).

The University is also anticipating additional cuts this fiscal year – based on state revenue collection – to be announced shortly.

In an email to campus faculty and staff Monday afternoon, Southeastern president Sean Burrage outlined steps the University is implementing to address the budget situation for the current fiscal year and also next fiscal year (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017):

  • Six furlough days (unpaid days off) for employees during the remainder of this fiscal year. These furlough days will save the University as much as $400,000.
  • Additional savings this fiscal year from operational spending controls that are in place.
  • The non-reappointment (without cause) of nine employees (six faculty, three staff) next fiscal year. The estimated cost savings ($589,713) of the non-renewals will not be realized until next fiscal year.

To date, during the current fiscal year, Southeastern has absorbed more than $2.8 million in budget cuts.

“These are obviously very difficult decisions to make,’’ Burrage said. “Colleges and universities throughout the state and nation are facing similar challenges.  With that being said, I am confident that Southeastern will  emerge stronger in the future. In the meantime, we will continue to look for ways to reduce costs, be more efficient, grow enrollment, and seek additional private support.’’

To address earlier budget cuts, the University  reduced departmental operational  costs, left numerous staff vacancies unfilled, modified summer school compensation,  eliminated or consolidated programs/offices, and introduced a Retirement Incentive program.

Southeastern is also cutting costs by collaborating with Murray State College to share the services of abusiness officer.

Although the budget situation for FY 17 is unknown, the Southeastern president says he is optimistic.

“With some of the measures we’ve implemented, we have positioned ourselves to be in better financial condition next year,’’ Burrage said. “In addition to the $1.8 million in savings due to the retirement program, we have more than $300,000 in new student scholarship funds available, while anticipating enrollment growth in areas such as the on-line MBA.’’

Christy Rogers named director of admissions and recruitment

Christy RogersDURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has a new director of admissions and recruitment.

Christy Rogers, previously the assistant director of recruitment and admissions at Oklahoma City Community College, begins her new duties this week.

Rogers has 12 years of experience in higher education, having served as assistant director at OCCC since 2008. Prior to that, for two years, Rogers was an admissions advisor at the school.

She holds a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations from Oklahoma State University.

Rogers is a Lone Grove, Oklahoma, native, and a graduate of Lone Grove High School.

The admissions and recruitment office is under the supervision of the vice president for university advancement, Kyle Stafford.

Southeastern Alumni Association to present first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award to John Massey

John MasseyDURANT, Okla. – It’s only fitting that the Southeastern Alumni Association’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to John Massey.

This special recognition will take place on Friday, Oct. 2, at 5:30 p.m. in the Visual & Performing Arts Center at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Also to be honored at the Southeastern Homecoming Awards Banquet are Distinguished Alumni Frank Fietz and Sue Wilson Stafford; Distinguished Former Faculty Dr. George Collier and Dr. Flavil George; and the Heritage Award recipient, the late Minnie Baker.

“Regent Massey’s career in public service, business and higher education is unparalleled in the state of Oklahoma,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage.  “This is going to be a very special occasion as we gather to express our appreciation to an individual who has devoted his life to the betterment of all Oklahomans. No one has done more for Southeastern Oklahoma State University than John Massey. No one is more deserving of the Southeastern Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award than John Massey.’’

President Burrage and Chancellor Glen D. Johnson of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and a former Southeastern president, will be presenting the award.

Massey is chairman of the board of First United Bank and Trust, headquartered in Durant.  He serves as Vice Chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and  s in his third nine-year term as a regent, a position appointed by the governor.

“I congratulate State Regent John Massey on receiving the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Alumni Association,” said Chancellor Johnson. “Regent Massey’s professional experience, public service and knowledge of Oklahoma’s higher education system are invaluable to our board, as is his tireless advocacy on behalf of Oklahoma students. His commitment to student success and the advancement of higher education in our state make him particularly deserving of this special honor.”

Massey earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1960 and served as Student Body President at the University. He is the only student in the history of Southeastern to receive the Outstanding Student Award for three consecutive years.

Turning to public service, Massey was elected State Representative in 1960, serving two terms. In 1964, he was elected to the State Senate, where he also served two terms.

In 1984, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southeastern; in 2005, the School of Business was renamed the John Massey School of Business.

At his alma mater, Massey has established nine endowed chairs and four professorships.

“I am so proud of this University that I can’t really put it into words,’’ Massey said.  “Southeastern has made such a difference in my life and in the lives of so many people over the years. To be honored in this way by the Alumni Association is very special to me. It means a great deal.’’

Massey was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004.  In 2009, he was inducted into the Oklahoma City Community College Hall of Fame, and he received the prestigious Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

He was presented  the Outstanding Alumni Award by Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity in 2001 and was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Durant Kiwanis Club in 2010.

Tickets for the Distinguished Awards Banquet are $30 per person or $350 for a table sponsorship (8).


For more information, go to or call 580-745-2875.