Throughout his career, Redlands Community College President Jack Bryant has been an advocate of the community college system where he began his post-secondary educational journey, earning an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies in 1978 from Connors State College. Recently, his alumni status and efforts to ensure an accessible education for students was recognized with his induction into the Connors State College Hall of Fame.
“Connors played a pivotal role in my academic and career success,” Bryant said. “As a two-year college instructor, administrator and president, I have never forgotten the impact of faculty and staff who encouraged and mentored me and helped me find a path that allowed me to provide the same type of support to so many other students.”
Spanning nearly 40 years, Bryant’s career in higher education has been diverse. He has implemented changes in workforce development, distance education and higher education leadership, but the majority of his career has been spent on community college campuses.
After graduating from Connors, Bryant completed a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at Northeastern Oklahoma State University, and then graduated with a Master of Education in Communications/Education from the University of Central Oklahoma.
“While I am very proud of my bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Community colleges are a vital part of the higher education system, and it has always been my goal to preserve the mission of community colleges and to ensure that all Oklahomans have access to a quality education that will help them achieve their career goals,” Bryant said.
Under his leadership, Redlands formed several public and private partnerships that have expanded programs, enhanced learning opportunities and increased student services. Over the past decade, the college leveraged $23.3 million in federal grants and over $1 million in state grants to provide valuable support and services to first-generation, low-income and Native American students, as well as to veterans and high school students.
Bryant joined Redlands Community College in 1990 as an adjunct instructor, eventually serving as the interim Director of Cooperative Education, Coordinator of Student Development: Project GOALS and Coordinator of Off-Campus Programming and Special Projects. He developed and implemented workforce agreements with business and industry, implemented a grant-funded program in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and coordinated the development of a facility incorporating distance learning interactive classrooms, a computer center, art gallery and an interactive lecture center.
A strong supporter of the two-year community college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, Bryant has served on the Phi Theta Kappa President’s Advisory Board since 1995. He is a member of the Oklahoma Heritage Society Hall of Fame and serves on the FCI Warden’s Community Relations Board. He has been a member of the Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board for nearly 20 years and has been serving on the Executive Committee. Bryant is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Following his retirement August 1, Bryant will be named president emeritus for Redlands and will join the board of the Connors State College Development Foundation.