Oklahoma Christian University has a history of generating exceptional public servants and political leaders.
Dan Branch, a graduate of Oklahoma Christian’s class of 1980, is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives where he served District 108, Dallas, TX, from 2003-2015.
As an Eagle, Branch finished with both a Bachelor’s of Art and a Bachelor’s of Science degree, graduating summa cum laude before taking his education to the Dedman School of Law at Southern Methodist University (SMU). While working on his law degree, he worked as an editor for the law review before transitioning to Georgetown University’s Institute on Comparative Political & Economic Systems.
Branch won his seat in 2002 when the incumbent Republican, Kenn George, decided to step down.The 2002 campaign was Branch’s first run at state office. He won the election and every campaign thereafter until 2014, when he lost the race for attorney general.
From 2009 to 2014, Branch served as chairman of the House Committee on Higher Education where he worked in unison with the Calendars, Elections and Redistricting Committees, which he also led. Before the 81st Session, he served three terms as the chair of Budget and Oversight on the House Public Education Committee and as the vice-chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education.
Respected among his peers, Branch was selected by other Texas House members from eleven North Texas counties to co-chair the Dallas Area Legislative Delegation (DALD) in 2009. He was re-elected for a second term in 2011.
Branch was the author and curator of House Bill 51, which is commonly known as the “Tier One Universities” bill. The law announced seven emerging research universities would compete for additional funding in hopes of joining the state of Texas’ other nationally recognized research institutions—the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
Outside of his legislative service, Branch worked as the judicial clerk for Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope and as a former aide to the late U.S. Senator John Town. He also worked as a corporate lawyer for Winstead PC, where he is a prominent shareholder.
Branch has continuously been involved in the North Texas community, serving as a member of the Mayor’s Downtown Task Force, a former president of the Dallas Assembly and as a chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority—a title appointed by former Texas governor and United States President George W. Bush.
He currently works directly with Southern Methodist, serving as the acting chairman of the John Tower Center for Political Studies while continuing to maintain a presence on numerous boards—the Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C., the Boy Scouts of America, the Circle Ten Council and the Southwestern Medical Foundation in Dallas.
In 2008, Branch accompanied Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Micheal Hinojosa in leading a statewide effort to stop students from prematurely ending their educational careers.
Oklahoma Christian sophomore and Texas native Cody Johnson stated Branch’s continued pursuit of educational excellence has facilitated growth noticeable throughout the state.
“[Branch] has worked for over a decade trying, and succeeding, in improving the educational system of the state of Texas,” Johnson said. “His efforts don’t go unnoticed. I believe his work has acted as a catalyst, encouraging others to follow suit and showing his impact has grown deeper than just the North Texas area.”