JUNE 28, 2006


Oklahoma colleges to enter 2006-07 with new presidents


Several key appointments have taken place recently across the state system with the announcement of three new college presidents who will lead their respective institutions into the 2006-07 academic year.

Long-time employee Dr. Terry Britton has been named the next president of Rose State College, Midwest City, while long-time senior administrator and accounting professor Dr. Janet Cunningham was recently named the next president of Northwestern Oklahoma State College, Alva. In addition, Dr. Richard Rafes, a long-time university attorney, administrator and educator, has been named president of East Central University, Ada.

The three new presidents will begin their new duties effective July 1.

Britton, replaces Dr. James Cook, who recently announced his retirement after spending nearly six years at the helm of Rose State College. Britton has been executive vice president at RSC since August 2000 and previously served as vice president for academic affairs, vice president for information services and director of the learning resources center. He originally joined the campus as an English instructor in 1972.

Britton has a doctorate and master's degree in English literature from the University of Oklahoma. He earned his bachelor's degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford.


Cunningham, who currently serves as executive vice president at Northwestern, becomes the second alumnus and first woman to become president of the institution. Her appointment follows the resignation of Dr. Paul Beran, who will leave Northwestern to assume the position of chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Cunningham was named executive vice president in 2002 after serving 12 years as vice president for fiscal affairs. As executive vice president, Cunningham served as the second highest ranking officer at Northwestern, developing and administering the university’s fiscal operations, with additional direct control over student services, intercollegiate athletics, auxiliary services, physical plant, financial aid, information technology and economic development.

She joined the faculty at Northwestern in 1979 and continued teaching until 1985, when she became an instructor at the University of Oklahoma while her husband attended law school there. She returned to teaching at Northwestern in 1988.

Cunningham earned a doctorate in education from Oklahoma State University and has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern. She also has completed professional education at the Institute of Educational Management at Harvard University and through the College Business Management Institute at the University of Kentucky. In 2001, she became a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma.


Rafes, formerly senior vice president for administration at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, succeeds Dr. Bill S. Cole, who is retiring after 17 years of leading the 4,400-student university in Ada.

Rafes currently serves as senior vice president for administration at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. He was also UNT's interim vice president/vice chancellor for administrative affairs and was chief legal counsel for the University of North Texas System, which includes the University of North Texas, University of North Texas Health Sciences Center at Fort Worth and University of North Texas at Dallas.

Rafes received a bachelor’s degree in government from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. He earned a doctor of jurisprudence degree at the University of Houston and a doctor of philosophy degree in higher education administration at the University of North Texas.

Contacts: Jill Frye , ECU, 1.580.310.5650; Steve Valencia, NWOSU, 1.580.327.8478; and Liz Hames, 1.405.733.7961