Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Distinguished Alumni

Paul Conner

Paul Conner - 2001

Paul Conner is a well-known educator in Oklahoma and Kansas. He has served an impressive 46 years in the field of education.

Conner earned his associate degree from Sayre Junior College in 1957. He then finished his Bachelor of Science degree in education from Southwestern in 1963. His master’s degree in education was completed at Southwestern in 1967.

Conner was instrumental in the merger of Sayre Junior College with Southwestern Oklahoma State University. As president of Sayre Junior College, he worked with former presidents Leonard Campbell and Joe Anna Hibler, current president John Hays, and many business and community leaders across Oklahoma to see the merger consummated by legislative and executive action in 1987.

His dedication to Southwestern started in 1955 when he was a student and continues today as an active member of the SWOSU Alumni Association. He has been instrumental in establishing several scholarships for western Oklahoma students to attend Southwestern.

Conner started his teaching career in a one-room Kansas school with a 60-hour provisional certificate.  He returned to Southwestern each summer to complete his bachelor’s degree. Conner had a unique situation in that he taught five years and was a principal before actually completing his degree.

After teaching eight years in Kansas, he returned to Sayre Public Schools and Sayre Junior College as a teacher, coach, dean, superintendent and president for 32 years. He has been superintendent of schools in Haviland for the past six years.

Conner has received many awards during his numerous years in the field of education. One of the buildings on the Sayre campus is named after him, and the Sayre Alumni Association recently endowed a scholarship in Conner’s name to benefit a student interested in the field of education.

Conner and his wife, Karen, have three daughters, eight grandchildren and their families. All three daughters are graduates of Southwestern, and his oldest grandson graduated from SWOSU this past May.