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Bryant Inducted into Higher Education Hall of Fame

Released by Panhandle State Campus Communications on 11/21/2017 Former University President Dr. David Bryant (left) joined with current President Dr. Tim Faltyn (right). —Courtesy photoFormer University President Dr. David Bryant (left) joined with current President Dr. Tim Faltyn (right). —Courtesy photo

Goodwell, Okla. — Former Oklahoma Panhandle State University President, Dr. David Bryant, was one of ten leaders in teaching, research, medicine, government, economic development, and public service to be inducted into the 2017 Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame. Dr. Bryant was honored along with the group during a dinner and induction ceremony at the University of Central Oklahoma campus on October 30.

Dr. Bryant was named the president of Panhandle State in 2003. He immediately confronted several major challenges at Panhandle State, including reinstating strategic planning, developing constituent and community support, renovating campus infrastructure, and engaging the Hispanic community. Bryant gave the university a new sense of direction and renewed sense of purpose with his leadership and dedication to the campus.

His holistic approach was key to stabilizing and improving the institution and advancing the school’s stature as a major contributor to the social and cultural life of the region and as an essential ingredient enhancing northwest Oklahoma’s economic development potential.

He started with a very basic approach to revitalizing the physical campus: making it beautiful. Dr. Bryant emphasized landscaping and attention to detail, replaced sidewalks and campus signage, paved formerly-dirt parking lots, and planted gardens all with the goal of making the university a pleasant, inviting environment in which students could live, work and study. Bryant made significant contribution in support of affirmative action, including paying strict attention to supporting and following equal opportunity guidelines in the hiring of faculty and staff, advocating for the recruitment of a Native American students in the agricultural and biological sciences, and the recruitment of women into undergraduate and graduate programs.

Bryant also reviewed academic offering and established new programs to reinvigorate students’ learning and interest. He developed several new associate degree programs including emergency medical technician, fire protections safety, and wind energy and maintenance training. These programs dovetail with community needs and the industrial and energy sector growth in the Oklahoma panhandle.

Since the beginning of his academic career, Bryant has published dozens of scholarly articles in scientific journal on a range of management topics. He is a frequent presenter at academic conferences in his academic fields, and served as an independent scientific consultant on 18 allotment management plans in Arizona. Bryant has also been instrumental in securing numerous high-profile grants, government contracts and special funds for all of the institutions he has served. 

Dr. Bryant’s educational history goes back to Lower Columbia College, where he earned an associate degree in zoology in 1963. He continued his studies at Washington State University, receiving his bachelor’s in range management in 1966. He pursued his master’s in range science at Texas Tech, and earned his doctorate in range management in 1971 from the University of Arizona. Bryant’s administrative background in higher education began almost immediately after receiving his doctorate, when he served as chairman of the department of range management at Humboldt State University in California from 1973-76. From 1982-87, he served as the head of the Range Resources Department at the University of Idaho and then as the dean of the college of agriculture and biological sciences at South Dakota State University from 1987-98. In 1998, Bryant became the vice provost as well as the dean and director of the extension service at Montana State University and served in this capacity until being name president of Oklahoma Panhandle State University in 2003.

Dr. Bryant said, “Serving the students, faculty, staff, and community members of Oklahoma Panhandle State University as the President was the highlight of my working life.”

He was joined at the induction ceremony by his daughter and two grandsons. Current Panhandle State President Dr. Tim Faltyn and former Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Wayne Manning were in attendance as well as several Panhandle State Alumni and staff members.

Dr. Faltyn commented, “We are very proud to help honor Dr. Bryant’s legacy. Panhandle State would not be where we are without the leadership he provided during his time here.”

The Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame was established in 1994 to recognize and honor individuals, living and deceased, whose achievement and leadership in scholarship, teaching, research, administration, staff support, outreach and public service have brought honor and distinction to higher education in our state. This year represents the 24th year to honor these individuals’ distinguished contributions.