Former Oklahoma Gov. George Nigh is set to be inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame this fall. He will receive the award at the OACC annual conference in Midwest City on Oct. 5.
A McAlester native, Nigh graduated from Eastern Oklahoma State College in 1948. He is the only community college graduate to serve as governor of Oklahoma.
“This award recognizes Gov. Nigh’s tireless commitment to improving higher education opportunities for all citizens in Oklahoma, regardless of their wealth, heritage or previous academic experience,” said OACC Executive Director Gary Davidson. “This is an opportunity to thank Gov. Nigh for his long-time commitment to the betterment of Oklahoma.”
Nigh was the first governor in Oklahoma history to be elected to more than one term, serving from 1979 to 1987. He was also the first gubernatorial candidate to carry all of the state’s 77 counties in the 1982 election.
He served eight years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and 16 years as lieutenant governor. He was elected to his first term in the House in 1950 while a senior in college at East Central University in Ada.
Nigh also served as president of the University of Central Oklahoma from 1992 to 1997. He was inducted into the EOSC Alumni Hall of Fame in 1988.
Eastern President Dr. Stephen Smith said Nigh was unanimously selected for the Hall of Fame by the Oklahoma Council of Two-year College Presidents, a council within the OACC. Smith currently serves as the chair of the council.
“Gov. Nigh is very respected and well beloved in Oklahoma,” Smith said. “The Eastern community is very proud of his accomplishments, as well as his service and commitment to our state. Gov. Nigh recognizes the value of higher education and is a wonderful representative for the community college system.”
The OACC is made up of 14 community colleges that serve the needs of more than 100,000 Oklahoma students each year. The OACC supports Oklahoma’s community colleges by providing professional development opportunities, advocacy and connections with key stakeholders to improve higher education in the state.