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Oklahoma Christian Alumni Named Chancellor of Higher Education

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education named Allison Garrett as their next chancellor on Sept. 24.

The State Regents for Higher Education put out a press release on Sept. 24 announcing Dr. Garrett’s hiring as well as the reasoning behind their decision.

“Throughout the extensive national search, Garrett rose to the top due to her innovative leadership and extensive higher education and business experiences,” the press release said.

State Regents Chairman Jefferey W. Hickman said he was very confident in Chancellor-elect Garrett.

“[Garrett] is the right person to lead all of Oklahoma’s higher education institutions into the future,” Hickman said. “[Especially] as we remain focused on modernizing our system and meeting our state’s evolving workforce needs.”

Dr. Garrett will be the ninth chancellor of the State Regents and the first woman to hold the position.

Tori Garrett, Dr. Garrett’s daughter, said her mother possesses a lot of responsibility as the State Regents’ new chancellor.

“She’ll advocate for higher education and higher education policy,” Garrett said. “She’ll promote Oklahoma public higher education to people and businesses across the country and the world.”

Garrett described the process by which her mother was put into the position.

“In their search for a new chancellor, the State Regents used a firm to help them conduct a national search to find the person they believe would be best suited to lead Oklahoma public higher education,” Garrett said.

Garrett also said that her mother, along with the other candidates, had to go through an extensive interview process before her mother was named chancellor.

Dr. Garrett said she was honored and privileged to have the position.

“Education opens the doors and provides pathways for people to change their lives for the better,” Garrett said. “I’m honored to serve the people of Oklahoma and move this great state forward.”

Dr. Garrett and her husband Chip live in northeast Oklahoma and have three children. Four of the family members graduated from Oklahoma Christian.

Dr. Garrett attended Oklahoma Christian University (then called Oklahoma Christian College), where she completed her bachelor’s in English, with honors.

After her time at Oklahoma Christian, Dr. Garrett graduated from the University of Tulsa’s College of Law in 1987. She also served as an editor of the Law Review.

Dr. Garrett also graduated from Georgetown University with a Master of Law degree, specializing in securities regulation.

For a decade, Dr. Garrett held multiple positions, including vice president and general counsel at the Walmart Inc. cooperate offices.

In 2004, Dr. Garrett returned to college to teach as an associate professor of law at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. She then returned to Oklahoma Christian as the senior vice president for academic affairs. She also worked as executive vice president at Abilene Christian University from 2012 to 2015.

For the past five years, Dr. Garrett worked as the president of Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. The State Regents’ press release said the Emporia State University thrived with Garrett’s leadership.

“Under Garrett’s leadership since 2016, ESU developed momentum in several key areas [including] completion of its largest capital campaign, transformation of the campus with new building projects, increased enrollment and development of new academic programs.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt offered his congratulations and encouragement to Dr. Garrett.

“Allison Garrett’s strong Oklahoma ties, leadership and corporate experience will blaze a new trail for higher education in Oklahoma,” Stitt said. “I look forward to all her success in this new role.”

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