Sen. Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tem Emeritus of the Oklahoma Senate, an attorney and founding partner of one of the largest law firms in northeast Oklahoma and an alumnus of Rogers State University, will serve as the keynote speaker at the first annual RSU Alumni Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 9.
The RSU Alumni Dinner, which is open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. in the historic Bushyhead Fieldhouse on the RSU campus in Claremore. For reservations, call the RSU alumni office at (918) 343-7773.
The vision and leadership of Stratton Taylor is a vital part of the success story of RSU, according to RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.
As a political science and pre-law major in 1975-76, Stratton Taylor served as President of the Student Senate at Claremore Junior College (the predecessor institution of RSU.) A mere 19 years later, he would earn the same title in the Oklahoma Legislature.
A lifelong believer in the importance of education, Stratton 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, including advertising manager of the student newspaper. During his sophomore year, he was elected President of the Student Senate at RSU, the first of many successful elections during his lifetime.
He graduated from RSU with an associate’s degree in political science in 1976 and transferred to the University of Tulsa where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education two years later. During his days at TU, he continued to live and work in Claremore. 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, a job that allowed him to pay for college and listen to the concerns of the citizens of Rogers County. He won the race by a two-to-one margin.
Citing Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and his parents as his inspiration for public life, Stratton Taylor led a distinguished career in the House of Representatives and was elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 1983. He was unanimously elected by members of both parties as President Pro Tem of the Senate in 1995. He holds the record for service as President Pro Tem by being elected to the position for four terms. In 2000, he was elected Chairman of the Senate Presidents’ Forum, a national organization of State Senate leaders.
As a Legislator, Stratton Taylor was the author of more than a dozen bills enacted into law providing for the advancement of RSU, including a measure that led to the transformation of RSU into a four-year regional university. Through the years, Stratton Taylor has been instrumental in assisting RSU to receive important grant funding and legislative appropriations allowing the university to pursue major expansion projects.
Stratton Taylor is the founding partner in a Claremore law firm and has been a strong financial supporter of RSU as a private citizen. In 1985, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of RSU, the university’s highest honor. RSU’s state-of-the-art library and learning resource facility was named in his honor in 2003 to celebrate his passion and commitment to higher education in northeastern Oklahoma. The Stratton Taylor Library is the flagship building on the RSU campus in Claremore.
Stratton Taylor and his wife Dr. Carolyn Taylor, a former member of the Oklahoma Legislature and RSU political science professor who also serves as the university’s strategic initiatives coordinator, live in Claremore with their two children.
For more information on the RSU Alumni Dinner, or to purchase tickets, call (918) 343-7773.