Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Don Betz

In extending cultural contacts with other nations and moving Oklahoma higher educational institutions in new directions of global reach, resource sustainability and transformative learning, Don Betz has made a powerful contribution to the lives of Oklahoma students and to the state’s interactions with the world. Over the span of more than 42 years, he has enjoyed a reputation for teaching, encouraging students and developing leaders.  He earned his Ph.D. in International Studies from the University of Denver in 1973, but prior to that he started teaching in 1971 as an Assistant Professor at Northeastern State University (Tahlequah), the institution where he would spend much of his career.  Immediately he began forming associations and groups to investigate world affairs.  Between 1982 and 1984, he served as a Liaison Officer for the United Nations on various Middle East issues including Palestine.  He served over the years as Vice President of University Relations at NSU, provost at Palmer College in Iowa and then moved to become Provost at the University of Central Oklahoma from 1999-2005.  After three years as Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, he returned to Northeastern State as President between 2008 and 2011, and then became President of the University of Central Oklahoma in 2011. Don Betz has contributed scores of articles to inform the Oklahoma public about international issues. Within the state he has served as chair of Creative Oklahoma, Inc., president of Leadership Oklahoma, a board member for the Educators’ Leadership Academy, Great Expectations, Oklahoma A+ Schools, and the DaVinci Institute. He was a founding member of AASCU's American Democracy Project in 2002.  In 1991 he received from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence the Medal of Excellence in University Teaching and in 2012 he was given the Governor’s Award from the Oklahoma Arts Council.  For his many achievements, the OHEHS welcomes Don Betz into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.