State Regents recognize USAO, The First National Bank & Trust Co. partnership

First National Bank & Trust Co. and University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma  partnership.
First National Bank & Trust Co. and University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma partnership.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recognized a collaboration between The First National Bank & Trust Co. and University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma at their annual Regents Business Partnership Excellence Awards ceremony.

Founded in 1892, FNBT is Grady County’s oldest business enterprise. Equally noteworthy is the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, founded in 1908. Together, these two institutions have demonstrated a true partnership for more than a century.

With a strong belief in the value of higher education, FNBT has made supporting USAO a priority by sponsoring all the A's – arts, athletics and academics. In recent years, the bank’s innovative Team Spirit Card has served USAO by providing a donation to the university each time the card is used. The bank also actively fosters real-world experience for current students through annual internship opportunities. Notably, over a dozen officers within the bank are proud USAO graduates, showcasing the strong relationship between these two institutions.

"We are deeply grateful for the enduring partnership we have with First National Bank, a collaboration spanning over a century,” said President Kayla Hale. “Our relationship proves how working together plays an absolutely vital role in expanding the economic opportunities and the overall quality of life in this community. First National’s unwavering support underscores their belief in the transformative power of higher education. Together, we've forged a legacy of excellence, and we look forward to continuing to empower students and serve our community together."

Locally owned and managed, FNBT is known for leadership in central and southwest Oklahoma for business banking, trust services, encouraging community development and promoting financial literacy. In recent years, FNBT has expanded its downtown Chickasha core facility and redesigned its historic 1931 heritage building, demonstrating the bank’s historic commitment to Chickasha and the surrounding 25 communities in the bank’s service area. 

“As two of the oldest institutions in the county, First National Bank and USAO have a distinctly historic relationship,” said Laurie Elzo, executive vice president and head of Trust Services at FNBT. “Our relationship has been symbiotic, as we support the college’s mission and receive so many graduates into employment. For all of us who live and work in this part of Oklahoma, USAO is a vital player in business, education, arts and entertainment, and athletic competition. We are delighted to receive this honor and look forward to new opportunities to maximize this partnership for the good of all Oklahomans.”

The Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships and to further the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants. Institutions involved in these partnerships receive a matching grant that can be applied to paid internships for students, faculty externships with the partnering business, the tuition of an employee of the business or equipment and supply purchases that further the partnership.

About the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma

As Oklahoma’s liberal arts college, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma provides a distinctive education in the liberal arts and sciences, supporting both its interdisciplinary core curriculum and major fields of study with superior teaching. USAO fosters diversity of thought and practice to help students realize meaningful, purposeful and productive lives as global citizens in a rapidly-changing world.