Oklahoma Christian University ’81 graduate Lana Reynolds will accept the 2017 Distinguished Alumna Award at this year’s Homecoming Alumni Banquet Friday, Nov. 3. Reynolds, an advocate for higher education and community outreach, climbed the ranks at Seminole State and is now serving as president at Seminole State Community College.
Q: How would you describe your experience at Oklahoma Christian?
A: “It was educational and life-changing. It was beneficial to me personally, from my spiritual growth, to the friendships I’ve made that have lasted a lifetime. It prepared me academically, for post-graduate studies. I can’t say enough good things about how those four years affected me.”
Q: What were you involved in while you were in school at Oklahoma Christian?
A: “I was in a student’s social service club and was the pianist in our Spring Sing. I was on a music scholarship, so I accompanied students for their lessons. My main activity, the thing I loved, was The Talon. I worked on it all four years, serving two years as an editor. It was such a great prep for getting me excited for journalism and public relations. I just love The Talon. It was like being in our own little club, our own little family.”
Q: What does coming ‘home’ to Oklahoma Christian mean to you since you are being honored as a distinguished alumna this year?
A: “OC just holds a place in your heart. I don’t think it matters whether you’ve been away from campus for one year, five years or in my case, 40. It’s always there. Every opportunity I’ve had, I’ve come back for special events and activities. It’s always a special feeling when you come onto campus that you are back home. I don’t think that will ever change. I’m so honored by this recognition and humbled by it. I will always feel OC is home.”
Q: Since you started in July 2017, what have the first 4 months been like as president at Seminole State?
A: “It’s been a whirlwind of activity with the fall semester starting, getting ready for that and getting adjusted to my new schedule. But things are going really well. I’m excited to be in this position.”
Q: You have held a wide variety of positions at Seminole State, have you had a favorite? If so, what is it and why?
A: “This is quickly becoming my favorite, but I have loved working in the various fields of public relations. I enjoy selling the product of higher education and the importance it plays in the lives of our students, so that’s been an exciting part of my career, promoting higher education.”
Q: How has serving all of these different public relations positions prepared you to be president?
A: “I dealt with a lot of different constituencies on behalf of the college, to legislature, to community leaders, to students, to parents. I’ve had a wide range of activities, even with our sports and athletic programs, dealing with all of those over a variety of positions has allowed me to see the college from a variety of perspectives. Plus, I think I know our product well, because I’ve been a salesperson. I know what we sell and who we sell it to.”
Q: As the first female president at Seminole State, what would you say to the women who aspire to one day be in your shoes?
A: “I’m a big believer in the person that gets the job is the person who does a job well. I would say well-trained, regardless of sex, is important. Learning to deal with people, learning to be diplomatic, leaning basic skills of writing and speaking is important. Communication in general is important. It’s been fascinating to see that there is a growing number of female presidents across the state of Oklahoma. That’s changed dramatically over the past five years. It’s exciting to be a part of that sisterhood.”
Q: You’ve been involved in an extensive list of community organizations. Why is it important to you to give back to the community?
A: “It’s of paramount importance for a community college to be connected to the communities it serves. We have a five-county service area, so knowing those business leaders, the Chamber of Commerce leaders and business owners in all of those communities benefits the college. I think it’s also important just to give back to our communities. We all got here by somebody helping us, and I think it’s important to reach out and take part in benevolent efforts to make sure our communities are strong and viable places to live and raise children. And besides all that, it’s fun. It’s exciting to be a part of groups that are all doing their volunteer work for a positive cause. You’re usually working with great people for a great cause and it’s a really feel good experience.”