Area Higher Education Leaders Ready for Another School Year

Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert
Langston University
In August 2005, Dr. JoAnn W. Haysbert became the 15th president of Langston University. She has brought over 30 years of experience and an innovative approach in education to her current position.

Along a successful path to Langston University, Haysbert enjoyed holding academic roles at institutions such as Hampton University, Virginia State University, Auburn University and Alexander City State Junior College.

Haysbert always had a passion for education and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Johnson C. Smith University as well as a master’s and doctorate degree in administration for higher education from Auburn University. She later earned a certificate for educational management from Harvard University.

With the belief that community involvement is both essential and enjoyable, Dr. Haysbert is a member of a number of national and state organizations including the American Council of Education’s Commission on Women in Higher Education and Leadership Oklahoma. In addition, she is an important component of the State Chamber, Leadership Oklahoma and the National Campus Compact Board of Directors.

Recently, Haysbert was honored for charting the way as the first African American woman to serve as a university president in Oklahoma.

For additional information, visit

Dr. Don Betz
Northeastern State University
In July 2008, Dr. Don Betz became the 17th president of Northeastern State University. The appointment coincided with the institution’s Centennial Celebration and gave students, faculty and staff much to look forward to in the years to come.
With over 39 years of academic experience that spans the globe, he has already made a mark on the programs, courses and outreach efforts that make Northeastern State University so unique.

On the way to his current position, Betz gained valuable experience in various roles at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, University of Central Oklahoma and Palmer College in Iowa.

Prior to his appointment as president of Northeastern State University, Betz held a variety of positions with the school over a period of 23 years.

Having made an impact in many ways outside of the classroom, Dr. Betz brings a broad perspective to the institution. From 1982 to 2003, he worked with the United Nations on Middle East issues, chaired the International Coordinating Committee on the Question of Palestine and was a journalist throughout the Middle East.
Under the leadership of Dr. Betz, the institution is currently developing more outreach education programs for students.

For more information about Northeastern State University, visit

Dr. Mark Rutland
Oral Roberts University
Dr. Mark Rutland assumed the role as the third president of Oral Roberts University in 2009. The institution was greatly struggling in debt and shortly after his appointment, Rutland had the opportunity to announce that the debt had been met by a multitude of donors.

In previous experience in the field of education, Rutland served as the president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla. Under his leadership, a large debt was greatly reduced and student enrollment was tripled. While there, he was also involved in a missions organization called Global Servants.

With a strong faith and passion for education, Rutland attended both the University of Maryland and Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Georgia. He later earned a doctorate from the California Graduate School of Theology.

Since becoming involved with Oral Roberts University, Rutland has made great strides that include making renovations throughout the campus to ensure the best learning environment that is possible.

Under the guidance of Rutland, Oral Roberts University recently sold the former presidential estate. The nine acre property aligns with that of the campus and consists of six houses. In all, the estate sold for approximately $1.55 million.

For more information about Oral Roberts University, visit

Dr. Kara Gae Neal
Tulsa Technology Center
Dr. Kara Gae Neal became the third president of Tulsa Technology Center in 2008. With over 30 years of experience as a professional educator, she brings a variety of unique abilities and strengths to the position.

Beginning as an intern for the Graduate Dean of the University of Tulsa, Neal continued to strive for meaningful roles in the academic field. With this, she served as the assistant principal of Broken Arrow High School, principal of North Intermediate, superintendent of Glenpool Public Schools, and was later elected as the superintendent of Metro Vocational-Technical Center in Oklahoma City.

Neal feels that it is very important to reach out to the community in any way possible and volunteers for a number of civic activities and nonprofit organizations. She has also been featured as a guest speaker during many area events including chamber meetings.

Tulsa Technology Center will soon be established in the Owasso area. Neal is looking forward to having the architectural plans become an innovative structure that will cost an estimated $35 million to complete. The campus will be located near Highway 169 and 106th Street. A variety of new programs will be offered there.

For more information about Tulsa Technology Center, visit

Dr. Gerard Clancy, M.D.
University of Oklahoma-Tulsa
Dr. Gerard Clancy, M.D. became the president of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa in September 2006. His position carries a variety of responsibilities including for the growth and development of all programs.

He has greatly enjoyed his involvement with the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, which initially began in August 2001 when he was named the dean of the College of Medicine. In his previous and current role, Clancy has made a lasting impact that consists of doubling the budget, square footage, number of patients and students at the university.

With a passion for medicine, he decided to attend the University of Iowa where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, a medical degree and completed an American Heart Association Research Fellowship. He later graduated from the Harvard Executive Program in Healthcare Policy and Management.

Today, Clancy has been traveling around the nation in order to develop outreach psychiatric programs for individuals with refractory severe mental illnesses. In addition, his focus for the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa is to add more academic scholarships for current and future students who would like to pursue a degree in medicine.

For more information about the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, visit

Thomas K. McKeon
Tulsa Community College
Thomas K. McKeon assumed presidency of Tulsa Community College in 2004. He has enjoyed gaining experience in education over a time frame of 27 years.

Some of this experience was gained in several roles at institutions such as Rogers State University, but the majority of his career has been spent with Tulsa Community College. Positions that he has held with the institution include provost, dean of instruction, vice president for external affairs, chief operating officer and executive vice president.

McKeon earned a bachelor of science in horticulture from California Polytechnical Institute, a master’s of science in higher education administration and an education doctorate in higher education administration from Oklahoma State University.

Recently, McKeon helped to develop the Launch: Your Entrepreneurial Journey Program at Tulsa Community College. The program began in May and has already had positive feedback from enrolled students. Being a part of the business community is very important to McKeon and he hopes that this program will help to achieve this goal.

With a comprehensive educational background, McKeon has become an important part of the fabric of Tulsa Community College.

For more information about Tulsa Community College, visit

Dr. Steadman Upham
University of Tulsa
Dr. Steadman Upham became the 17th president of the University of Tulsa in 2004 and has since brought an immense span of experience to the position.

In 1980, Upham earned a doctorate degree in anthropology from Arizona State University. Shortly after, he became the chief archeologist and assistant professor of archeology at Mexico State University. From 1990 to 1998, he joined the University of Oregon as a vice provost for research and a dean of the graduate school.

Previously, Upham served as the president and chief executive officer of Claremont Graduate University.

With a lifetime of achievements, Upham has been recognized throughout the years in numerous ways. He has been presented with the Donald C. Rush Award for Excellence in Teaching, Academy Gold Medal of Honor and named to the Arizona State University Graduate College Hall of Fame.

In recent news, the University of Tulsa was recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges. Upham, faculty and staff will continue to work towards making the institution both student and environmentally friendly.

For more information about the University of Tulsa, visit

Howard G. Barnett
Oklahoma State University-Tulsa
Howard G. Barnett was appointed as president of Oklahoma State University-Tulsa in September of 2009 and has been grateful for the enormous opportunity to help provide a quality education to students from around the nation.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Tulsa and then continued on to pursue and receive a juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University.

In March of 2010, Barnett’s role was expanded to include serving as the president of Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences. With the additional role, Barnett is confident that the academic and medical operations will continue to be strengthened. He also hopes that the community will be better served as a result of the consolidation.

Barnett enjoys being involved in a variety of local, state, civic and charitable organizations including the Tulsa Ballet, Salvation Army, Oklahoma Academy, Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, Philbrook Museum of Art and Youth Services of Tulsa.

Barnett has previously served as the chief of staff for Gov. Frank Keating and as the Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce.

For more information about Oklahoma State University, visit

Dr. Larry Rice
Rogers State University
Dr. Larry Rice has immensely enjoyed his position as the president of Rogers State University.
Rice earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern State University. Later, he received a doctoral degree in education from Oklahoma State University. His dissertation was titled, “Eighty Years of University Preparatory Education on College Hill” and went in depth into the history of Rogers State University.

Rice first had the opportunity to become a part of Rogers State University in 1979 when he eagerly accepted a position as a professor. In the following years, he taught courses focusing on criminal justice, psychology and sociology.

Later, he became the director of the applied science division and then the associate director of Academics. Finally in 2008, Rice gratefully became the president of Rogers State University. In his position, he has taken a passion of enriching programs, experiences and opportunities for students.

In recent news, Rogers State University was nationally recognized for excellence in public relations. Rice is very proud of the achievement and the staff in the department that ensure good communication with the community.

For more information about Rogers State University, visit

Dr. Chip Pollard
John Brown University
Dr. Chip Pollard was named president of John Brown University in July 2004. He has enjoyed his new responsibilities, which include expanding academic programs and offering new opportunities to students.

Pollard earned his undergraduate degree in English from Wheaton College, a master’s degree in English from Oxford University, a law degree from Harvard University and then a doctorate degree in English from the University of Virginia. His children often joke that he has spent far too long in school.

Before becoming involved with John Brown University, Pollard was an Associate Professor of English at Calvin College. Additionally, he practiced law as a corporate and tax associate for Latham & Watkins in Chicago.

In his role as president of John Brown University, Pollard has launched a $100 million capital campaign to raise funds for scholarships as well as new programs, build innovative facilities and improve existing ones. The campaign has also provided operating support for the school.

Outside of the university, he is involved in the community board for Arvest Bank and was recently elected to the board of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

For more information about John Brown University, visit

Updated 09-03-2010

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