Massey Family Foundation establishes John Massey Leaders Program with $7.4 million gift

State Regent Emeritus John Massey stands proudly inside the School of Business named for him. Photo: SE Communications.

SE Communications

DURANT – The Massey Family has long been synonymous with giving back to the community, with higher education being just one of the many beneficiaries of such generosity.

John Massey, a 1960 graduate and Distinguished Alumnus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, served as a regent of the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education for a record 27 years. He was named State Regent Emeritus in 2019.  In 2005, Southeastern’s business school was renamed in honor of John Massey, who has established nine endowed chairs and four professorships at his alma mater.

On Saturday night, at Southeastern’s  Gold & Blue Alumni Scholarship Gala, First United Bank Chief Executive Officer Greg Massey announced the establishment of the John Massey Leaders Program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Funded by the Massey Family Foundation, this gift will provide scholarships for 40 Southeastern students per year, after the initial phasing of 10 students per year the first four years. Scholarships will consist of $10,000 per year, renewable for four years.

“This scholarship is taking what has been going on for decades, and making it official,’’ Greg Massey said. “In partnership with Southeastern, we are going to find leaders all over Oklahoma and Texas, and bring them to this university. It is going to have a huge impact on elevating the lives of our future leaders on this great campus.”

The scholarship program includes an initial gift of $100,000 from the Massey Foundation, increasing each successive year to $400,000 per year and each successive year for the initial commitment of 20 years. It is estimated that in the first 20 years (a $7.4 million financial commitment) of the John Massey Leaders Program, approximately 200 students will have successfully participated and completed the program.

“The John Massey Leaders Program is a truly life-changing event for our students, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, the community, and the region,’’ said SE president Thomas Newsom. “It is also significant to note that this is the largest scholarship gift in the history of the University. We are extremely grateful to the Massey family for such a lasting and meaningful contribution that will benefit so many lives, while having such a profound and positive impact on society.

“This transformational program will prepare students for lives of leadership, service, and purpose. John Massey will forever be Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and through this legacy gift, will continue to touch the lives of those members of our University community, today, tomorrow and beyond.’’

The John Massey Leaders Program will consist of three primary components: Scholarships, Mentoring, and Programming. Selection to the program will include a number of criteria, including demonstrated leadership and potential, a strong sense of service, and a desire to make a difference for good in the world through occupation and public service.

While attending Southeastern, John Massey was Student Body President and is the only person in school history to receive the Outstanding Student Award for three consecutive years.

Massey was elected State Representative in 1960 while a senior in college and served two terms. In 1964, he was elected to the State Senate, where he also served two terms.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1954-57 and was a member of the National Guard from 1953-54 and 1957-61. During his service, he was nominated by his fellow soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs, Colo. and Camp Walters, Mineral Wells, Texas, with the distinction of Soldier of the Year.

In addition to his banking and business activities, Massey has served on the State Ethics Commission, the Oklahoma Historical Society Board, the board of the Bank of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Securities Commission.

He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Durant Kiwanis Club and, in 2001, the Outstanding Alumni Award by Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity. Massey was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004.

In 2009, he was inducted into the Oklahoma City Community College Hall of Fame and received the prestigious Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2010.

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