Massey Helps Students While Remembering Leaders

Massey Helps Students While Remembering Leaders


Remembering two leaders who left their mark on Oklahoma history – former higher education Chancellor E.T. Dunlap and former state Sen. Don Baldwin – is the heart of a new scholarship fund established at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma by State Regent John Massey, a banker from Durant.

Massey has served two terms on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, leaving his own mark on Oklahoma through his activism, philanthropy and service.

“These two men, Dunlap and Baldwin, left unmistakable impressions on me,” said John Massey, about his gift to the USAO Foundation. “Don Baldwin was a senior Senator from Anadarko when I came into the Oklahoma Senate as a freshman in 1964. He mentored me and offered friendship and insight so valuable in learning state politics.

“I’ve had a great life, meeting so many great people, but Dunlap and Baldwin really stand out in my experience,” Massey added.

When Massey met these two men in the 1960s, E.T. Dunlap was serving as the second chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, a policy board created by the State Legislature in 1941 to bring together Oklahoma’s state institutions. A former state representative, Dunlap also provided friendship to the young Massey.

“I owe these men a great debt of gratitude,” Massey said. “Their service to the State of Oklahoma was great, and their friendship to me was priceless.”

Massey’s $30,000 gift will provide scholarships to students at USAO, now serving its 101st year as Oklahoma’s public liberal arts college.

“Students who receive a Dunlap Scholarship or a Baldwin Scholarship at USAO in the future should take great pride in the legacies for which their award is named,” said USAO President John Feaver. “The Dunlap and Baldwin names are synonymous with public service and state pride. Each had a unique tie to USAO, as does State Regent John Massey. This gift widens his own legacy of service to Oklahoma and its people.”

Dr. E.T. Dunlap graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1940 and then served as a teacher, county superintendent of schools and high school inspector for accreditation for the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Dunlap was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1946, chaired the Committee on Education and was the principal author of the Education Code, which was signed into law in 1949.

“The Education Code was the largest consolidation of schools in Oklahoma history,” Massey explained. “And Dunlap was from a rural county.  This should have made him unpopular. People thought he could never be reelected for proposing this legislation.  But he convinced everyone that Oklahoma’s school children would benefit by spending less on administration and he won election again. His had the right focus.”

Dunlap is best known on the USAO campus for his efforts to make the school co-educational. He served as the presiding officer at the first meeting of the newly appointed board of the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts in 1965, when the institution transitioned from the Oklahoma College for Women.

From 1951-61, he was president of Eastern Oklahoma State College. He left this post to become Oklahoma’s second chancellor of higher education, serving from 1961-82. Dunlap was active for many years in the State Higher Education Executive Officers, serving as president of the organization and chairman of its Federal Relations Committee.

In 1978, Dunlap was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Board of Directors of the National Student Loan Marketing Association. He succeeded the retiring chairman of the board and was the first Oklahoman appointed to the board. In 1980, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University Alumni Hall of Fame, and in 1981, the Oklahoma Heritage Association selected him for induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Dunlap died in 1997. The E.T. Dunlap Center for Higher Education in Idabel is named in his honor.

Don Baldwin was the first native-born resident of Caddo County to be elected to the Oklahoma State Senate. He was from Anadarko.

Baldwin was born in 1912. He graduated from Anadarko High School in 1929. He served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1944-46. Baldwin was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 1948 and served as majority floor leader in 1955 and president pro tempore from 1957-59. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Oklahoma in 1952. He served in the Senate until 1976.

Baldwin is best known on the USAO campus as the author of the resolution that studied and recommended that the school become co-educational in 1965. He was known in Anadarko as an influential part of state government that championed any project that would improve the economy and beautify his hometown.

In 1983, Baldwin’s family established an endowed fund at USAO that perpetually provides scholarships to students majoring in the social sciences.  Also in 1983, the City of Anadarko constructed a bell tower in his honor at Memory Lane Cemetery. The Senator Don Baldwin Bridge over Deer Creek south of Hydro on State Highway 58 was named in his honor in 1957. Baldwin passed away in 1979.

Don Baldwin supported OCW’s transition to co-educational status not just for practical matters, Massey said.  “He understood the liberal arts. He argued for a strong liberal arts college in Chickasha for reasons of conscience. He studied the liberal arts at Oklahoma State University and he loved poetry.  He was well-read; his library was immense.  He gave my wife and me several treasured books of poetry. So, his interest in the college was very real; the mission and curriculum mattered a great deal to him.”

John Massey was appointed as a state regent by Gov. David Walters in April 1992 and reappointed by Gov. Frank Keating in 2001 for a nine-year term. Massey earned his bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from SEOSU in 1984.

He was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1960 while a senior in college and served two terms. In 1964, he was elected to the State Senate and served two terms there.

Massey serves as chairman of the board of the First United Bank and Trust, headquartered in Durant. He serves as chairman of the advisory board of the Oklahoma Small Business Administration and also served several years on the boards of directors for the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce and the Oklahoma Heritage Association. Massey is active in several civic and professional organizations and has served on the Ethics Commission, the Oklahoma Historical Society Board, the Oklahoma Teacher Preparation Commission, and the Securities Commission. Massey was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2002.

Last summer, a television station in Texas honored Massey’s service to the region by naming him a Texhoma Legend. The John Massey School of Business at SEOSU was named in 2005 to honor Massey’s philanthropy and business leadership.

“For all his wise financial transactions, John Massey has invested thoughtfully in students,” said Dr. Michael Nealeigh, vice president for university advancement at USAO. “For generations to come, students will be served by his generosity.”

Banker John Massey of Durant, center, is welcomed by USAO President John Feaver, left, and Oklahoma Chancellor Glen Johnson, at the newly restored historic Jourdan House at USAO. Massey’s recent gift to the USAO Foundation will establish scholarships honoring former State Sen. Don Baldwin and former Chancellor E.T. Dunlap, who served long careers in Oklahoma politics, business and education.