Lana Reynolds will be the sixth active college or university president among Oklahoma Christian University alumni when she takes Jim Utterback’s place as the president of Seminole State College this July.
Among Reynolds, other Oklahoma Christian alumni currently serving as presidents are Andy Benton at Pepperdine University, Allison Garrett at Emporia State University, Stan Helton at Alberta Bible College, Bill Pink at Grand Rapids Community College and Harold Shank at Ohio Valley University.
According to Seminole State’s news release, the board of regents announced in January Reynolds would serve as acting president when Utterback retires in June. The board voted yesterday to officially make Reynolds the permanent president, making her the first woman president of Seminole State.
“I am grateful to receive this appointment on a permanent basis,” Reynolds said. “I love Seminole College, its students and employees. I will do my very best to continue to help this institution grow and to serve the campus and community.”
Reynolds graduated from Oklahoma Christian in 1981. Scott LaMascus, vice president of academic affairs, said he befriended Reynolds when she was editor-in-chief of the Talon while he was a reporter.
“She was my teacher and role model for many things, including graduate studies at Oklahoma University,” LaMascus said. “Whatever it is, Dr. Reynolds has leadership qualities through and through and will be a great president for her campus. Oklahoma Christian should be very proud of her and her accomplishments. She is a generous and thoughtful friend of mine, of the McBride Center for Public Humanities and OC, so I was thrilled when she was named acting president.”
According to LaMascus, Reynolds has been an energetic and thoughtful leader in Seminole County, including the Little Church of Christ and on the Seminole State campus. Reynolds is a founding board member of the Jasmine Moran Children’s Museum and has been president of the governing board several times. She is currently the chair of the Seminole Tourism Council.
LaMascus also said Oklahoma Christian helped prepare Reynolds for success.
“It is uncanny how many college presidents hail from our tiny private university,” LaMascus said. “I can’t say how OC compares to a national statistic on numbers of alums as sitting campus presidents, but I’ve come to wonder if the pattern we see comes from an OC culture we should not take for granted — real leadership training for lots of students and the mentorship of faculty who send numbers of alums into graduate programs and focus on personal integrity and faithfulness.”
Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director Julie Anderson said she met Reynolds in 1977 when they were freshmen at Oklahoma Christian.
“Reynolds’ years in college gave her the opportunity to be involved in many activities on campus, and develop into a leader,” Anderson said. “Because she studied English, she has a sense of order and organization that will benefit her as a college president. She deals well with people of all types, and has the demeanor to be a great problem solver and innovator for the future.”
Reynolds said Dr. Bailey McBride was the administrator over the Talon when she attended Oklahoma Christian. Reynolds worked for one year as reporter, two years as assistant editor and one year as Editor-in-Chief on the Talon staff.
“Dr. McBride was a great mentor and friend,” Reynolds said. “I appreciated his even, calm temperament in dealing with students. He was, and remains today, an inspiration to me. I loved the experience of working on the Talon with him.”
McBride said Reynolds was one of the most mature students he has known.
“She was an effective writer, and very active on the Talon staff,” McBride said. “She could manage people well and had great cooperation. Oklahoma Christian was a place that enhanced skills in Reynolds that were already well developed when she finished high school. She was successful in training and helping her fellow students, and her leadership abilities have always been outstanding.”
Reynolds has worked at Seminole State since she started as an English professor in 1984. Her other positions at Seminole have included public information officer, director of public relations, assistant to the president and executive vice president for institutional advancement.
“Seminole State College is very similar in size to Oklahoma Christian,” Reynolds said. “I hope my leadership at Seminole provides our students with a strong academic background, exposure to liberal arts and cultural experiences and opportunities to succeed in their careers and lives. I benefited from these things by attending Oklahoma Christian. I hope I will be able to emulate the Christian principles I witnessed in the faculty and administrators at OC in my decisions and leadership of Seminole State.”