Susan Harris is the Tulsa Community College Foundation 2015 Vision in Education Leadership Award recipient. She will receive the award at the TCC Vision in Education Leadership Award Dinner 7 p.m., Thurs., Sept. 24 at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa. The 2015 Vision Honorary Chair is Don Walker and Susan Neal serves as the Dinner Committee Chair.
Harris is being honored for her exemplary service to Tulsa’s progress in education in her role as Senior Vice President of Education and Workforce Development at the Tulsa Regional Chamber. Many community leaders consider her to be our ‘education engineer’ providing the inspiration, initiative and implementation behind every major education funding initiative or decision made in Tulsa over the course of two decades from higher education to common education.
“There is not a single education initiative in the past 20 years where Susan Harris was not involved, working behind the scenes, so our students would have better opportunities from common education to higher education,” said TCC President & CEO Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D. “TCC has directly benefitted with her early embrace and support of Tulsa Achieves to transform Tulsa and build on its economic prosperity by removing barriers to higher education.”
Every significant education initiative in recent decades has been informed and advanced by Harris’s understanding of education. Her work alone has resulted in more than $1 billion funding through bond elections supported by Tulsans for Tulsa Public Schools. Harris was instrumental in changing access to public universities in Tulsa by working with the Oklahoma legislature to transform the University Center at Tulsa resulting in Tulsa campuses for Langston, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma State University and University of Oklahoma and providing increased opportunities for higher education and access.
The inclusion of key education projects in the Vision 2025 bond package can be traced back to her tireless efforts and created a lasting benefit for generations. Harris is now retired but her contributions and commitment to education set her apart to receive this prestigious award from the Tulsa Community College Foundation.
“She invested in the future of this city through her work and focus on education and we are a better community,” said Goodson. “You might say Susan has led the leaders as Tulsa has sought to build an education model to support our community’s students and TCC’s success in delivering the first two years of college and associate degrees in the community is directly connected to her leadership.”
The Vision Award is presented annually to an individual dedicated to education excellence and community leadership. ONE Gas is the Visionary Sponsor for the 2015 TCC Vision in Education Leadership Award Dinner. Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; TTCU The Credit Union; The University of Tulsa; and Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation are Leadership Sponsors.
Excellence Sponsors are Bank of Oklahoma; Cox Communications; Conner & Winters; George & Aldean Krumme; The Oxley Foundation; Public Service Co of Oklahoma; Saint Francis Health System; and Schnake Turnbo Frank. Robin Ballenger; Barnett Family Foundation; John & Marge Gaberino; and Williams are Achievement Sponsors. Dedication Sponsors are Fritz Baily, P.C.; Dr. Joseph & Nancy McDonald; Jane & Henry Primeaux; and Selser Schaefer Architects.
The 2015 TCC Vision in Education Leadership Award Dinner committee members are Steve Fate, Shane Fernandez, Jim Langdon, Mina Lotti, Nancy McDonald, Steve Turnbo, and John Wiscaver. Pierce Norton is the TCC Foundation 2015 Board Chair.
Past honorees include:
- 2014 - Jake Henry Jr., President & CEO of Saint Francis Health System
- 2013 - Don Walker, former TCC Foundation Trustee and CEO of Arvest Bank
- 2012 - Keith Ballard, Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools
- 2011 - Lynn and Stacy Schusterman, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
- 2010 - Gov. Brad Henry, Oklahoma Governor
- 2009 - Montie Box, Sand Springs business leader
- 2008 - David Boren, President of the University of Oklahoma
- 2007 - John-Kelly C. Warren, CEO of the William K. Warren Foundation
- 2006 - Michael Johnson, Senior VP & CAO of Williams, former Tulsa Public Schools Foundation chair and TCC Foundation Trustee
- 2005 - Early Childhood Advocates: Martin Fate (posthumously), Leonard Eaton, Bill Doenges, Robert LaFortune, George Kaiser, Nancy McDonald, Pete Churchwell, Sen. Ted Fisher, and Rep. Ron Peters
- 2004 - Ron King, former President & CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Oklahoma
- 2003 - Dr. Jim and Ann Halligan, former President and First Lady of OSU-Tulsa
- 2002 - John Gaberino, former Senior VP & General Counsel of ONEOK, Inc. and advocate of OSU-Tulsa and the OU/OSU Graduate Research Center
- 2001 - Ken Lackey, The Nordam Group, former President of OU-Tulsa and former Chief of Staff for Gov. Frank Keating, current TCC Foundation Trustee
- 2000 - Dr. Paula Marshall, CEO of Bama Companies and former TCC student
Funds raised by the Vision Dinner support student scholarships, competitive academic conferences for students, presentations by noted scholars and enhancements in the classroom to propel our students to graduation and success. Thanks to generous donations, the TCC Foundation gives more than $1 million annually to programs and scholarships to support students, faculty and staff.
For information regarding sponsorships and tickets to the 2015 Vision in Education Leadership Award Dinner, call 918-595-7836 or www.tulsacc.edu/visiondinner.
PHOTO: Jim Langdon, Vision Dinner Committee; Susan Neal, Vision Dinner Committee Chair; Don Walker, Vision Dinner Honorary Chair and 2013 Vision in Education Leadership Award recipient; Leigh B. Goodson, Pres. & CEO Tulsa Community College