Jerry L. Steward, JD

President, Oklahoma City Community College

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Giving Back Award honors college presidents and chancellors who go above and beyond their everyday duties to give back to their institutions and communities. President Steward was nominated by colleagues and selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity as a 2016 Giving Back Award recipient for his dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion and encouraging community service both on his campus and in the surrounding community. 

Civic Involvement
Member of the Board of Commissioners of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce Education and Workforce Development Steering Committee, board of directors for Integris Southwest Medical Center, the State Chamber of Commerce of Oklahoma, and Allied Arts Oklahoma City

Established Initiatives
Students Connecting with Mentors for Success, a program that connects at-risk student cohorts with mentors in the community; the Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) Capitol Hill Center, where courses — geared toward low-income and Hispanic communities — are offered in computer and tech training, workforce development, and English language learning

Unlikely Path to the Presidency
Steward began his career as a public school teacher and later established his own law firm, where he was senior partner for more than 20 years.

Nomination Excerpt
“Community colleges are traditionally about access, but Jerry Steward determined that it is not enough that students pass through the doors of [OCCC]. … As a lifelong Oklahoma resident, Steward’s passion for education began early in life — he credits education as his key to escaping poverty, broadening his worldview, and expanding his career opportunities.”