DURANT, Okla. – The Regional University System of Oklahoma Board of Regents has named Sean Burrage as the 20th president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
In a special meeting Thursday in Oklahoma City, the Board interviewed five candidates and then voted to hire Burrage, a Durant native who is completing his second term as an Oklahoma State Senator (District 2). He also serves as Democratic Floor Leader. Last November, Burrage announced that he would not seek a third term in office.
An attorney by profession, the legal field, public service, and higher education have all played important roles in Burrage’s life. He earned his Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1993. In addition, he holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from OU. He is a product of the Antlers Public Schools.
“As a Board, we were impressed with the credentials of all five candidates,’’ said Richard C. Ogden, chairman of the Board of Regents. “Following the interview process, Sean Burrage emerged as the candidate with the vision and the enthusiasm best suited to lead Southeastern Oklahoma State University into the future. We believe that he is poised to do an outstanding job as the University builds on a proud tradition of excellence.’’
Ogden further said, “We believe that Sean Burrage will use his skills as a communicator and leader and his deep and immense personal and professional relationships with so many Oklahomans to lead Southeastern from great to greater.’’
Burrage, who will begin his new duties on July 1, said he is excited about the opportunity to join the University.
“It’s like coming home for me,’’ he said. “I lived the first three years of my life in Durant while my parents (former U.S. District Judge Michael Burrage and school principal Aletha Burrage) were going to school at Southeastern. There is no other place I’d rather be – I see so much opportunity for growth at Southeastern and I’m excited to be a part of it.’’
Burrage was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 2006, representing District 2 (Mayes and Rogers Counties). In November 2011, he was elected Democratic Floor Leader after serving as Assistant Democratic Leader for the 52nd Oklahoma Legislature.
Burrage served as Legislative Director to United States Senator David Boren in Washington, D.C., and later as Special Assistant and Director of State and Federal Relations to President Boren at the University of Oklahoma.
He has served as a board member of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust at the OU Medical Center. Active in his community, Burrage served on the Board of Directors for Tri-County CASA and as President of “Share the Spirit,’’ a local charity that has assisted numerous families. He was named Tri-County CASA Attorney of the Year in 2001 in recognition of his pro bono representation of minor children in the juvenile court system.
In 2011, Burrage was a member of the Joint Committee on Indian Tribal-State Relations. He has also served as a Delegate to the American Council of Young Political Leaders and also designated as a member of the 2008 Class of Aspen-Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.
In addition to his standing committee assignments, Burrage was appointed as Minority Co-Vice Chairman of the Senate Redistricting Committee. He was also chosen to be a member of the Select Committee on Pensions.
He and his wife Carole have two sons, Truman, 17, and Carter, 9. They reside in Claremore.
A 19-member search committee formed by the Board met on May 1 to review resumes and recommend individuals to be forwarded to the Regents for further consideration. On May 2, the Regents met to decide on which applicants to interview.
Burrage will replace Dr. Larry Minks, who announced on April 1 that he would be stepping down as President of Southeastern effective July 1. Minks will remain at Southeastern as President Emeritus and Distinguished University Professor of Leadership. He has also been appointed to serve as the Director of the new Center for Transformational Leadership at Southeastern.
He served as president for five years.