A presentation at the state Capitol recently showed legislators how the six universities that make up the Regional University System of Oklahoma, including East Central University, are working together to let the people of Oklahoma know how they are being served by the sister universities.
The presentation on Higher Education Day featured a prominent alum from ECU, Northeastern State University, the University of Central Oklahoma and Northwestern, Southwestern and Southeastern Oklahoma State Universities.
“Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby graciously accepted our request to be our spokesman,” said ECU President John Hargrave. “We have many great alumni who are very successful in their careers and lives, but not every university has a graduate who is so successful in economic and business development, education and healthcare, as well as in other areas.
“Gov. Anoatubby manages numerous businesses and thousands of employees,” Hargrave added.. “He is respected by his people and, as their governor, works tirelessly to improve the overall quality of life of the Chickasaw people.”
And, Hargrave added, Anoatubby believes that providing an opportunity for a quality education is one of the best ways to prepare for the future.
In his statement, Anoatubby said ECU provides a first-rate education and that the small class sizes and one-on-one attention from professors, along with a rigorous academic experience, are integral to the unique experience which helps prepare its graduates for a variety of careers.
“The Chickasaw Nation has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past several decades and now employs more than 11,000 workers,” Anoatubby said. “We have long relied on ECU as a reliable source of educated capable, qualified employees.
“It is extremely rewarding to work with my alma mater, East Central University, to help provide a wide range of quality educational and career opportunities which contribute to the success of the state of Oklahoma and to the wellbeing of the Chickasaw people.”
The Chickasaw Nation offers numerous services to its students to assist with education, testing and internships. During its last fiscal year, it awarded more than $15.5 million in grants, scholarships, incentives and other educational assistance.
Anoatubby graduated from ECU in 1972 with a degree in accounting. He has worked for the Chickasaw Nation since 1975 and was elected its first lieutenant governor in 1979. When he was elected governor in 1987, the Chickasaw Nation had only 250 employees and faced a bleak financial outlook.
He was named an ECU Distinguished Alumnus in 1995 and was inducted into ECU’s Hall of Governors in 2007. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.
He also serves on a number of local, state and federal boards, commissions and authorities.