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President Garrett Resigns for Position in Oklahoma

Allison Garrett and students

Today, Emporia State University President Allison D. Garrett was named the ninth chancellor and chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. In her new role, Garrett will lead the Oklahoma state system comprised of 25 state colleges and universities, 11 constituent agencies, one university center and independent colleges and universities coordinated with the state system. She will report to a constitutional board whose nine members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Garrett will lead the system on matters relating to standards for Oklahoma higher education, courses and programs of study, budget allocations for institutions, fees and tuition, and strategic planning. She will also be responsible for an annual higher education budget of more than $3.1 billion, as well as the state endowment fund, with a market value over $930.8 million.

“The Regents thank President Garrett for her service and wish her all the best in her new role,” said Kansas Board of Regents Chair Cheryl Harrison-Lee. “Emporia State’s record-setting success in improving student outcomes during her tenure is a testament to her strategic and visionary leadership.”

President Garrett has made a tremendous impact on Emporia State University in her time as the 17th president, a role she began in 2016. She has led ESU with the belief that every student has potential and that every student should have the opportunity to pursue quality higher education.

Emporia State made significant advancements under Garrett’s leadership. Some of the marks set under President Garrett include several all-time records:

  • Highest retention rates on record
  • Highest percentage of four- and six-year graduation rates on record
  • Largest graduating classes on record
  • Highest enrollment for Graduate School in university history
  • Top fundraising year on record and four of the top five in ESU history
  • Higher U.S. New rankings, including being the only public university in Kansas to make the top 100 in social mobility, a measure of success in graduating Pell-eligible students
  • Lowest student debt of all public Regents institutions in Kansas for five years in a row
  • 96% (four-year average) career outcomes for ESU graduates

During her tenure, President Garrett oversaw continued advancement of the university where critical initiatives in the areas of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, technology, health care and natural resources were added to the Strategic Plan.

In the past five and a half years, Emporia State University made significant campus improvements. Highlights include the addition of Prophet Aquatic Research and Outreach Center, Breidenthal University House and Kossover Family Tennis Complex, all projects were possible by the generous donors of Hornet Nation. During the same time, ESU’s Residential Life built the new Schallenkamp Residence Hall and completely renovated Abigail Morse Residence Hall.

Garrett is active in the community, both locally and within higher education and college athletics. Among other activities, she serves on the United Way of the Flint Hills Board of Directors. She is also the vice chair of the NCAA’s Board of Governors and chair of the Division II Presidents’ Council. She will resign those roles on Oct. 15, her final day at Emporia State.

Allison’s husband, Chip Garrett, has also been an integral part of the Emporia community. He has served on the City of Emporia planning and zoning board, and the SOS board of directors and fundraising campaign steering committee. Students will miss seeing him at Spaghetti Fridays, and many on campus will miss his delicious cookies and cakes.

“When I look back on my time at Emporia State University, I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to accomplish for our students and the university. ESU is poised to grow in new ways which makes it an exciting time on campus,” said Garrett. “Every accomplishment is thanks to the incredibly talented team at ESU and our wonderful students. As Chip and I move on to serve in Oklahoma, we will dearly miss the students, colleagues, alumni, friends and Emporia community. I will also miss friends and colleagues from the Kansas Board of Regents and ESU’s sister institutions.”

The Kansas Board of Regents will announce an interim president for Emporia State and next steps in the coming weeks.