School News
John Massey named state regent emeritus
By the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
May 9, 2019
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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.

John Massey

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.