At their meeting yesterday, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education elected former State Representative Dennis Casey of Morrison as chair of the board; attorney Courtney Warmington of Edmond, vice chair; retired Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven W. Taylor of McAlester, secretary; and telecommunications chief executive officer Dustin Hilliary, assistant secretary. The new officer team will lead the nine-member board throughout the 2024-25 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2025.

“We thank Chair Sherry for his leadership as our board chair over the last year,” Casey said. “Looking forward, we will continue focusing on affordability, efficiency and innovation to ensure public higher education is positioned to meet the needs of Oklahoma students, families, and businesses.”

Appointed to the State Regents in 2020, Casey owns and operates a cow/calf operation and custom hay-cutting business in Morrison. He is a retired public-school teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent, and served four terms in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives, representing District 35. Casey spent 30 years in public education. As a coach of high school athletes, his teams achieved 10 state championships and three academic state championships. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010. Casey holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Northeastern State University.

“As chair, Regent Casey brings extensive experience as an educator, administrator, and legislator,” said Chancellor Allison D. Garrett. “His expertise and understanding of the value of a college degree for both individual Oklahomans and our economy will be invaluable to our efforts to produce more graduates in high-demand fields for our state’s educated workforce.”

Warmington, appointed in 2021, is an attorney with the law firm of Fuller Tubb Bickford Warmington & Panach, PLLC, where she represents and advises employers on all matters affecting the employment relationship. She previously practiced for more than 17 years in the Labor and Employment Practice Group at the law firm of Crowe & Dunlevy and served as an Administrative Law Judge for the Oklahoma Department of Labor. Warmington is a member of the American Bar Association and Oklahoma Bar Association, and is a past member of the Luther Bohannon Inn of Court, Oklahoma City Human Resources Society, Oklahoma Human Resource State Council, and Federal Bar Association. Warmington holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude.

Appointed in 2019, Taylor is a retired Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. He previously served as Associate District Judge and as Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District. In over 20 years as a trial judge, Taylor presided over more than 500 jury trials, including the state trial of the Oklahoma City Bombing. He is a former mayor of McAlester, and served in the United States Marine Corps as a prosecutor, defense counsel, and ultimately, as a Special Court Martial Judge. He became the youngest judge in the U.S. Armed Forces at the age of 28 and was later promoted to the rank of Major. Taylor is a board member of the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. He serves as Chair of the Puterbaugh Foundation in McAlester and is a past Chair of the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Hilliary, appointed in 2022, is co-CEO of Lawton-based Hilliary Communications, which provides telephone and broadband service to more than 15,000 customers in Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa. He also serves as co-publisher of the Hilliary Media Group, a media holding company that operates two newspapers, the Oklahoma Farm Report and other radio and website outlets. In addition to his roles in family owned companies, Hilliary operates a real estate development company that develops commercial and residential properties across Oklahoma, Texas and Florida. He is involved in many civic and professional organizations, including the Lawton-Ft. Sill Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma State Chamber and Comanche County Memorial Hospital Foundation. He attended Cameron University.

The other State Regents comprising the board are Mitch Adwon of Tulsa, Jeffrey W. Hickman of Fairview, Ken Levit of Tulsa, Jack Sherry of Holdenville, and Michael C. Turpen of Oklahoma City.

The State Regents are the constitutional coordinating board for the 25 public colleges and universities of the Oklahoma state system of higher education. The State Regents prescribe academic standards of higher education; determine functions and courses of study at state colleges and universities; grant degrees; request appropriations on behalf of state system institutions; set tuition and fees; approve institutional allocations; upon review, provide final approval of institutional budgets following governing board approval and submission; and manage numerous scholarships and special programs. The nine citizens who comprise the board are appointed to nine-year terms by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate.