Dr. Henry G. Bennett became president of Oklahoma A. and M. College on July 1, 1928, and served more than 23 years in office, bringing stability and vision to the campus.
The former president of Southeastern State Normal School in Durant, Bennett quickly endeared himself to students and alums by saving Old Central from the wrecking ball. Faculty and staff appreciated his courtesy, consideration and leadership and he was also known for his good working relationship with students, who approved a new student association constitution with Bennett's input just eight months after his arrival.
He traveled the state to recruit students and was a big proponent of flying, urging the faculty to make use of planes and hosting an annual fly-in to help farmers get a bird's eye view of their land and any potential erosion problems. His adult Sunday school classes always drew a crowd.
Bennett is probably best known for offering a 25-year plan for campus construction and guiding it to create one of America’s most beautiful campuses, with major building projects that included the library and student union.
In addition to providing for faculty tenure, Bennett led a decade-long effort to establish a non-political constitutional board of regents for the college.
He is recognized for taking extension outreach to a new level and spearheading a program, initiated by President Harry Truman, to provide technical training to underdeveloped countries following the war. Bennett and his wife Vera were killed in a plane crash on Dec. 22, 1951 in Iran, while traveling for the program.