Henry Bellmon was one of Oklahoma’s biggest proponents of education, research and economic development. A two-time Oklahoma governor, Bellmon’s administration oversaw the establishment of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and the Centers of Excellence Program. His support of education at all levels is well documented and after his retirement from public service he was an active member and supporter of OSU’s Education and Research Foundation, now named the Center for Innovation and Economic Development. He also taught at OSU.
Bellmon was born on a farm near Tonkawa on September 3, 1921. He attended public schools in Noble County and graduated from Billings High School in 1938. He attended Oklahoma State University (then Oklahoma A&M), earning a degree in agriculture in 1942.
He served with the U.S. Marines during World War II. In 1946, at the age of 25, he was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He served his first term as governor from 1963-1967; his second term spanned 1986-1991.
Bellmon died on September 29, 2009, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.