Seminole State College, established in 1931 as Seminole Junior College, is located in the east central portion of the state in Seminole, Oklahoma, a designated All-American City with a population of approximately 7,500.
Originally organized as an extension of the local high school, classes were held at Seminole High School and taught by high school faculty until 1969. In that year, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recommended the development of a state-supported junior college which would be separate from the local high school.
Responding to the challenge, Seminole citizens worked with state and local leaders to develop Seminole Junior College. Dr. Elmer Tanner was employed as the college’s first president, and classes were offered at the First Presbyterian Church in Seminole.
The community continued its support for the new college by approving a $250,000 bond issue, by an 8 to 1 margin, for construction of a college administration and classroom building and by donating forty acres for a new campus. In March 1971, the citizens of Seminole approved a one-cent sales tax to help support the college until 1975, when SJC became a fully state-supported institution. At the time, Seminole was the only community in the state of Oklahoma to ever impose a sales tax on itself for the support of a college.
In the spring of 1996, the Seminole Junior College Board of Regents passed a resolution requesting that the Oklahoma legislature and the Governor change the name of the institution to better reflect its institutional mission. The Oklahoma legislature and Governor Frank Keating approved the change of name to Seminole State College in May, 1996.
In addition to Dr. Tanner, the college has been led by four other presidents. Gregory Fitch served from 1982 to 1987, and Dr. Jim Cook served from 1987 to 1996, Dr. James Utterback served from 1997 to 2017. Current President Lana Reynolds was appointed to the position in 2017, becoming the first woman to serve in the role at SSC.
Under her leadership, the College has expanded its virtual course offerings to include 100% online degree programs. She along with faculty, staff and students formed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force to ensure a welcoming environment for everyone on campus.