FEBRUARY 17, 2010

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Higher Education Honors Governor With Distinguished Service Award

The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education honored Gov. Brad Henry by presenting him with the 2009 Distinguished Service Award during the 2009-10 State of Higher Education address.

The Distinguished Service Award honors legislative leaders for their continued support of higher education in Oklahoma.

Among his accomplishments during his tenure as governor, Henry signed legislation giving the State Regents tuition-setting authority, created the Oklahoma Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) endowment, signed into law the largest higher education capital bond issue in the history of the state and signed legislation providing Oklahoma’s Promise a permanent, dedicated funding source.

“Since his inauguration, Gov. Henry has recognized the importance of higher education and its role as the engine that drives our state’s economy,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “During his years as governor, higher education in Oklahoma has accomplished much during times of financial hardships and prosperity. It is our great honor to present Gov. Henry with the 2009 Distinguished Service award and offer our gratitude for his work to keep higher education a priority.”

There have also been many successes in higher education throughout the years.

An analysis conducted by the Regional Economic Models Inc. demonstrates the enormous economic impact made by higher education. The study shows that for every state appropriated dollar spent on higher education in Oklahoma, an additional $5 is pumped in to the state’s economy.

Enrollment in Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities continues to increase. The Fall 2009 Preliminary Enrollment Report shows that the total headcount is up 10,291 more students than the fall of 2008, signifying a 5.8 percent increase.

One of the most important indicators of higher education success is the number of degrees conferred. In 2007-08, the State System awarded nearly 24,000 associate and bachelor’s degrees, the most awarded in a single year in state history.

To continue providing an affordable, high-quality education for Oklahomans, the State Regents voted in November to request $27.5 million in new state appropriations during the 2010 legislative session. The total budget request for FY 2011 is 2.6 percent higher than the current year’s appropriation.