TONKAWA, Okla. — Outgoing Northern Oklahoma College Regent Chad Dillingham was honored in his final meeting Monday in Tonkawa.
A proclamation was read in his honor celebrating four years of service to NOC.
NOC President Cheryl Evans thanked Dillingham for his service.
“Regent Dillingham served NOC so well,” Evans said. “We will miss his insight and thoughtful questions. He invested himself in Northern and helped initiate so many positive changes. He has been a great Regent.”
Before his final meeting, Dillingham, an Enid resident, shared his thoughts on his tenure as a NOC regent starting in 2016.
“As a community member, I’ve always been aware of NOC’s importance to access to a quality, affordable and accessible education for citizens of Northwest Oklahoma and thankful we had NOC in our community to help fill this need,” Dillingham said. “So, when Bert Mackie and President Evans visited with me about my interest in serving as a Regent for NOC, I was proud to do my part for helping to continue on the rich heritage of NOC’s mission.”
Dillingham has seen many changes at NOC.
“There have been many changes, some positive and some more on the challenging side of things,” he said. “Some of the positives have been: The completion of the new NOC-OSU Gateway Facility in Stillwater; the early retirement of debt for repayment of the bonds for the purchase of the NOC Enid campus; the growth in corpus of the NOC endowment, which helps to provide more scholarships to students that otherwise would not be able to attend college; successes in peer review rankings placing NOC among the top of its peer group in offering the highest quality, lowest cost college educations in the nation, success with student athletics teams of multiple sports who have been recognized as high performing scholars while also attaining national championships within the sports they are participating; and the list goes on and on.
“However, some of the most rewarding outcomes I have witnessed are seeing how our amazing faculty and staff have responded positively to difficult financial budget constraints by taking on more and more responsibility for the same or less pay and with less resources, to ensure that the student’s opportunities and experiences for a quality education do not suffer.”
Dillingham spoke of the challenges facing higher education.
“Continued access due to inadequate public funding, which ultimately drives up tuition and fee cost that place a quality higher education out of reach for a large segment of our population, therefore resulting in a decline in economic opportunities as a nation by not being able to provide a highly trained and educated workforce to meet the growing needs of businesses who compete in a global marketplace,” Dillingham said.
Dillingham said he expects good things in NOC’s future.
“I believe NOC is well positioned for continued success in fulfilling its mission. However, for NOC or any institution of higher learning to continue to be successful, citizens are going to need to have a heightened awareness of how extreme the cuts have been in public funding over the past decade in this area, and what the long-term negative impacts that these cuts will have on our institutions, students and workforce well into the future if we do not turn around this trend immediately,” he said.