New Citizens Naturalization Ceremony – Gov. George Nigh
Special guests include: Sister Cities Board, Nigh Scholars, the new citizens and their guests.
George Patterson Nigh graduated from McAlester High School. Upon graduation, he spent a year and a half in the U.S. Navy at the end of World War II. When he returned, Nigh attended Eastern Oklahoma State A&M and earned a B.A. from East Central State Teachers College. He taught history in the local public school and, in 1950 while still a college senior, was elected to Oklahoma’s House of Representatives.
Nigh became lieutenant governor for the first time in 1959 and became governor for a full four-year term for the first time in 1979. He was re-elected as governor in 1982, taking office in 1983. Nigh has served as chairman of the Interstate Oil Compact, the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Industrial Development Commission, and the Tourism and Recreation Commission. He was also a member of the Southern States Energy Board Executive Committee. Nigh has been recognized nationally by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of America’s Fifty Outstanding Young Men. He is also a recipient of the National Martin Luther King Award, presented by Coretta Scott King.
After he left the office of governor, Nigh served as a consultant to the McGraw-Hill School Division, was director of the J.C. Penney Company, joined the faculty of Edmond’s University of Central Oklahoma, and eventually became its president (1992-1997). Nigh has served on the board of directors for IBC Bank and SONIC, America’s Drive-In.
University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz has made it his life’s passion to help students learn. Throughout his distinguished career of more than 49 years in higher education, Dr. Betz has developed a reputation for teaching and encouraging students, for his unmatched energy and enthusiasm, and for developing future leaders.
Enhancing that reputation, he currently is serving a three-year term on the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) executive committee and as chair of its North American Council.
As a student of political science, philosophy and international studies, and having a lifelong interest in global issues, Dr. Betz is well known for his diplomacy skills and work on international issues, most notably with the United Nations and its affiliated non-government organizations. He has dedicated himself to advancing international relations, with a focus on the Middle East.
President Betz took his post as the 20th president of the University of Central Oklahoma in August of 2011, but he is no stranger to the university. He previously served Central as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs from 1999-2005. Between then and now he has served as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and as President of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
Dr. Betz is active in many professional and civic organizations and is the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, and was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.