John Massey, chairman of Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, has established an endowed scholarship fund at Rogers State University in the name of Senator Stratton Taylor.
The announcement was made at a luncheon on Thursday in the Stratton Taylor Library on the RSU campus in Claremore.
The Stratton Taylor Endowed Scholarship will be utilized to assist students who have been selected to participate in the university’s Washington Center Internship Program. The scholarships will help students pay for their expenses while they complete internships at non-profit organizations in Washington, D.C.
“The university is deeply appreciative of the generosity of Regent Massey in establishing this scholarship in Sen. Taylor’s name, which will allow RSU students to gain a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the nation’s capital,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.
John W. Norman of Oklahoma City, whose name appears on the John W. Norman Endowed Faculty Chair in Business Information Technology at RSU, also provided a contribution toward the Stratton Taylor Endowed Scholarship.
Regents Tom Clark and Jon Stuart, members of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, the governing board for RSU, also made contributions to the scholarship endowment. In addition, Regent Joseph Parker Jr., a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, made a contribution to the scholarship endowment in memory of his late father Joseph Parker Sr.
Also at the luncheon, Regent Julie Carson, the newest member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, was recognized for her role in securing support for RSU and its academic programs.
“In just a short time as a State Regent, Julie Carson has distinguished herself as a dedicated and tireless advocate of higher education across the state and has proven to be very successful in obtaining support for RSU, Oklahoma’s fastest-growing university,” Wiley said.
Attending the luncheon were Sen. Taylor and his wife Carolyn Taylor, an RSU political science professor; Glen Johnson, president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University; Regent Julie Carson, a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and her husband former U.S. Rep. Brad Carson; Sean Burrage; Tom Clark; Jon Stuart; Preston Doerflinger and John Williams, members of the RSU Board of Visitors; John W. Norman; and Wanda Sanders of Oologah, who is also a member of the RSU Board of Visitors, and her son Frank Sanders. Wanda Sanders recently donated land for the new RSU Equestrian Center.
“This distinguished group of guests is among the most dedicated and loyal supporters of education in Oklahoma,” Wiley said.
Massey was appointed as a State Regent by Gov. David Walters in April 1992 and re-appointed by Gov. Frank Keating in 2001 for a nine-year term. He is currently the chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from SEOSU in 1984. He was elected state representative in 1960 while a senior in college and served two terms. In 1964, he was elected state senator and served two terms in the Senate.
Massey serves as chairman of the board of the First United Bank and Trust, headquartered in Durant. He also serves as chairman of the advisory board of the Oklahoma Small Business Administration and is on the board of directors of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce. He is active in several civic and professional organizations and has served on the Ethics Commission, the Oklahoma Historical Society Board and the Securities Commission. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2002.
Sen. Taylor graduated from Alluwe High School in 1974, earned an associate’s degree from Claremore Junior College (the predecessor institution of RSU) in 1976 and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa in 1978. That year, at the age of 22, he campaigned for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives while he was 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.
Sen. Taylor served 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.
As a legislator, Sen. 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, he has been instrumental in assisting RSU to receive important grant funding and legislative appropriations allowing the university to pursue major expansion projects.
In 1985, he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of RSU. The university’s state-of-the-art library and learning resource facility was named in his honor in 2003.
He is the founding partner of a Claremore law firm. He and his wife Dr. Carolyn Taylor, a former member of the Oklahoma Legislature and a current member of the RSU faculty, live in Claremore with their two children.
For more information on the RSU endowed scholarship program, contact the RSU Foundation at (918) 343-7773.