The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education have recognized the collaboration between Murray State College and SouthernTech with a Regents’ Business Partnership Excellence Award.  The annual awards are designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses that are cultivating the higher education learning environment.

Murray State College and SouthernTech have joined forces to change the educational landscape for students in southern Oklahoma. Leaders have integrated streamlined processes and established educational pathways with student success at the forefront, such as addressing the nursing shortage head-on.

“We’re in this to transform the region and improve the quality of life for our neighbors,” said Dr. Tim Faltyn, Murray State College President. “We are pulling together proven education institutions as partners so that we can provide clear pathways for students who wish to excel in healthcare fields of study.”

Murray State College and SouthernTech are collaborating with the Ardmore Development Authority (ADA) in a series of South-Central Workforce Summits, addressing opportunities and barriers for workforce development. This partnership has gathered experts and resources to aid those impacted by the Michelin plant wind-down that was announce in October 2023. In partnership with the ADA, Murray State College and SouthernTech are working to establish clear pathways for affected employees: reemployment, education, entrepreneurship and retirement.

“Together, we are finding solutions that meet these employees where they are, to get them where they want to be,” Faltyn said. “Our goal is to help them be successful and maintain the ability to care for their families and live in our communities.”

Twenty-seven business and higher education partnerships throughout the state were recognized with Regents Business Partnership Excellence Awards in a ceremony on March 7 in Edmond. Institutions involved in the partnerships receive an economic development grant that may be applied to tuition of an employee from the partner business, internship for a current student, faculty externship or enhancement through equipment, materials or supplies.

For more information about the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Awards program and to view this year’s honorees, visit