Recognized for their successful collaboration to further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce are representatives of East Central University and Valley View Regional Hospital in Ada. Dr. Glen D. Johnson (from left), chancellor of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is shown with ECU representatives Dr. Rick Wetherill, Dr. Steve Turner and ECU President John Hargrave; and Valley View representatives Todd Essary, Belinda Runnells and Gini Lewis; Dr. Shelley Ross Hamby of ECU; and the Honorable Dave Lopez, state secretary of commerce and tourism.

East Central University is among 21 business and higher education partnerships throughout the state recognized for their innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Economic Development Grant for the Partnership Recognition Program 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 for current students of the institutions 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.

“Oklahoma’s colleges and universities are working to improve Oklahoma's economic future by partnering with area businesses to provide our state’s workforce with expanded education and training opportunities. Through these efforts, students receive hands-on, career-related experiences that better prepare them for entry into today’s business world,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Higher Education provides the most efficient path toward a better trained workforce which in turn will strengthen Oklahoma’s position in the global marketplace.”

Health care professionals are in high demand, and the partnership between ECU and VVRH addresses this need. VVRH provides a clinical site and adjunct professors for ECU’s nursing program. Junior-level clinical lab courses are also held at the hospital, allowing seniors to engage as preceptors.    

VVRH’s School of Medical Technology Clinical Laboratory Science is one of three clinical programs in Oklahoma. In this stringent program, ECU students work in five major areas: blood bank, chemistry, hematology, immunology and microbiology. VVRH not only functions as a training site for ECU’s nursing students, but the hospital also supports a nursing professorship endowment.    

More details about the partnerships will be available on the State Regents’ website at

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For Immediate Release: 

Contact: Amy Ford
Jill Frye
East Central University Communications and Marketing
580-559-5650 or 405-812-1428 (cell)
Or Ben Hardcastle, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education
Office: 1-405-225-9346, mobile: 1-405-640-9672,