August 20, 2007

Stratton Taylor Returns to the Classroom at RSU

In 1976, Stratton Taylor left the classrooms of what was then Claremore Junior College, earning a degree in political science. Along the way, he earned bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Tulsa, was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate and became the founding partner of the largest law firm in Rogers County. Now he is returning to the Hill as a volunteer visiting professor at Rogers State University.

Stratton Taylor teaching in classroom.
Stratton Taylor addressing students in the classroom.

This fall, Taylor will teach a leadership course to the President’s Leadership Class at RSU, bringing with him several decades of experience in leadership, government and the law.

 “Being a volunteer professor is a way for me to give back to the institution that has meant so much to me in so many ways,” he said.  

Taylor was elected unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans to a record number of terms as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He now practices on a full-time basis. His next challenge is in front of the classroom.

“I’m excited because I’ve met these young people and they are the very best and brightest that our state has to offer and it’s a wonderful opportunity to interact with them,” he said. “What I hope to do is to give them real-life situations where they will develop a solution that can be defended. In my initial meetings with them, I’ve told them there’s not always only one correct answer, but that whatever is done has to be thoroughly understood and defensible.”

Taylor, who also is a distinguished alumnus at RSU, was instrumental in the creation of RSU as a four-year institution when he was President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The university’s library is named after him.

“Stratton Taylor has set an exceptional example as a citizen, lawmaker and leader and will be an invaluable role model for the next generation of emerging leaders,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.

A lifelong believer in the importance of education, Taylor graduated from Alluwe High School in 1974 from a class of 17 students. He enrolled at this institution on “College Hill” with a Presidential Scholars Scholarship. He worked his way through college as a clerk at a local grocery store. But he still found the time to be involved in a variety of campus leadership roles at RSU.

In 1978, at the age of 22, he campaigned for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives while a senior at TU. During the campaign, he continued to work as a grocery clerk.

As a legislator, Taylor was the author of more than a dozen bills enacted into law providing for the advancement of Rogers State University, including a measure that led to the transformation of RSU into a four-year regional university.

The President’s Leadership Class (PLC) is a four-year scholarship program designed to develop leadership skills and enhance the academic experience for participants. PLC members coordinate community service projects, spearhead various campus initiatives, attend alumni and other university events and participate in recruitment events at area high schools. They must live on campus and maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

In addition to teaching, Taylor will draw on the contacts he made through his years as a lawmaker to bring high-profile leaders to meet with RSU students.

“I plan to bring in guest speakers who are CEOs, former high-level officials with the CIA and public servants, both current and past,” said Taylor. “I’m confident this group of students, who make up the initial three classes of the President’s Leadership Class, will add to an already proud legacy for the institution on the Hill.”

For more information on the RSU President’s Leadership Class, call (918) 343-7627.