The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and Council of Presidents honored Speaker of the House Kris Steele with the 2011 Distinguished Service Award today.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented to individuals who demonstrated distinguished leadership and support of higher education in Oklahoma during the 2011 legislative session.
“Speaker Steele is very deserving of the Distinguished Service Award. During his service in the House, he has been a strong and effective advocate for higher education and has worked hard for the success of our students as well as all of our institutions statewide,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “Our state system of higher education is very grateful for his leadership in keeping higher education a top priority.”
Steele was honored for his support of higher education and his advocacy of a $10 million supplemental appropriations bill for higher education, which helped greatly in offsetting a 5.8 percent budget cut to higher education. He was also a key player in the House for higher education’s efforts to fund a bond issue to clear the endowed chairs program $260 million backlog. Steele has been very supportive of Oklahoma’s Promise legislation and higher education’s efforts to maintain its tuition-setting authority.
Steele was elected as speaker of the House in 2011. He was first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2000. He received a bachelor’s in religion from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1996, and a Master of Education in school counseling from East Central University in 2006. Steele and his family currently live in Shawnee.