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State Regent Joseph L. Parker Jr. was recognized as a state regent emeritus during today’s meeting of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Appointed to a nine-year term as a State Regent by Gov. Brad Henry in May 2005 and reappointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in May 2014, Parker will complete his second nine-year term on the board May 15.

“Regent Parker‚Äôs dedication to Oklahoma‚Äôs students, colleges and universities is reflected in his many contributions as a state regent,” said Chair Michael C. Turpen. “We sincerely thank him for his 18 years of exceptional service to ensure the state system provides a quality, affordable education for our students and the workforce that Oklahoma businesses need to succeed.”

A graduate of the University of Nebraska, Parker earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington. He is chairman of the board for Anchor Stone Co. in Tulsa, a private company engaged in the production of construction aggregates and oil and gas. Parker is also a long-time board member of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and Tulsa Leadership Vision.

“Regent Parker is widely recognized for his commitment to excellence and access in public higher education,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “The operating landscape for our colleges and universities is complex and dynamic. Regent Parker has provided strong leadership throughout his service on the board, and he will be deeply missed.”

The State Regents are the constitutional coordinating board for the 25 public colleges and universities of the Oklahoma state system of higher education. Oklahoma‚Äôs public universities have the eighth-lowest cost of attendance in the country. STEM bachelor‚Äôs degree production increased 42.4% over the last 10 years, and increased 24% at all degree levels. Nearly 90% of Oklahomans ‚Äď and almost two-thirds of non-resident students ‚Äď who graduate from a state system college or university remain and work in the state.