Mike C. Turpen, Oklahoma City, was recently reappointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to serve a nine-year term as a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Turpen’s reappointment was confirmed by both the Senate Education Committee and the full Senate. His term will expire in May 2027.
“Mike is one of Oklahoma’s strongest voices for higher education,” said Gov. Mary Fallin. “He understands the value of an educated workforce and its importance in moving our state forward. He also is a tireless advocate for appropriate state funding for higher education as well as realizing the need to improve and modernize our state’s public higher education system. He has personally raised tens of thousands of dollars for college scholarships for students throughout the state.”
Turpen is one of nine members of the constitutional board with oversight and coordinating responsibilities for the state system of higher education. He was originally appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in May 2009 to serve a nine-year term ending in May 2018.
“Regent Turpen recognizes the importance of higher education to the state of Oklahoma and brings a unique perspective to the board,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “His leadership in maintaining affordability for families and limiting student debt in Oklahoma’s public higher education system has been invaluable, as are his efforts to increase scholarship opportunities at our colleges and universities. We look forward to his continued leadership and service as a State Regent.”
Turpen was born in Tulsa, educated in Tulsa Public Schools, and graduated from the University of Tulsa, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in history and a Juris Doctor. In 1982 he was elected attorney general for the state of Oklahoma. He served as Muskogee County district attorney from 1977 to 1982. Since 1987, he has been a partner in the law firm of Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis in Oklahoma City. While no longer serving in public office, he remains politically active. He appears weekly on Oklahoma City NBC affiliate KFOR’s award-winning public affairs show, “Flashpoint with Turpen & Humphreys.”
“I appreciate both Gov. Fallin’s confidence in my work as a State Regent and the votes of support I received in the Senate,” said Turpen. “Moving forward, I remain focused on student success and continuing our efforts to strengthen Oklahoma public higher education.”
Turpen is president of the Lyric Theatre board of directors and serves on the boards of the Oklahoma City Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma State Fair and Allied Arts. He is a member of The Oklahoma Academy, Rotary Club, Oklahoma Business Roundtable and The Creativity Project. He has served as president and board member of the CARE Center, Oklahoma City, and is founder of the Young Men’s Poetry Club. He argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985 and has served as president of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association, vice president of the National Organization of Victim Assistance (NOVA) and vice chairman of the Oklahoma Crime Commission. He is a member of the American, Oklahoma, Tulsa County and Oklahoma County bar associations, as well as a founding fellow of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation. He also is on the faculty of the National College of District Attorneys.
Turpen and his wife, Susan, live in Oklahoma City and have three children, Sean, Patrick and Sarah. He is a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, where he is currently active as a teacher for the confirmation class and on the WPC Foundation board of directors.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education is a nine-member constitutional board that coordinates all 25 public higher education institutions in Oklahoma. The board prescribes academic standards of higher education, determines functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities, grants degrees, makes budget requests to the Legislature, allocates funding for each college and university, recommends proposed fees within limits set by the Legislature, and manages numerous scholarships and special programs. State regents are appointed by the governor for nine-year terms.