President Turner's Biography

Dr. Steve Turner began his tenure as Northeastern State University’s 19th president on January 1, 2012.

In many ways, he is a role model for the regional university system as a nontraditional, first-generation graduate. From his early years spent working in the oil industry to his later college years serving as both student and staffer, Turner has worked his way through the ranks to achieve his dreams.

During his tenure, NSU has been strengthened in virtually every area of the institution. Beginning with Destination 2023: A ten-year roadmap of distinction through degree completion, President Turner has made student-centered academics and advisement one of the top priorities. Improved facility maintenance and new construction, including new housing and a new wellness center, has revitalized the Tahlequah campus. The Muskogee campus now has a renewed emphasis on health care professions with the addition of a major in Occupational Therapy. Several new programs and degrees have been introduced at the Broken Arrow campus, focusing on degree completion and masters degrees.

Under Turner’s leadership. NSU is experiencing historic fund raising success with the Preserve Our Past, ENSUre Our Future Campaign. Over $18.6 million has already been raised towards the goal of $25,075,000. The need for private dollars has never been greater and the response continues to be unprecedented and uplifting.

Prior to his NSU appointment, Turner served as vice president for administration and finance and executive assistant to the president for governmental relations and economic development at East Central University in Ada, Okla. Turner began his career in higher education at ECU in 1989, serving in many capacities. Turner earned his doctorate in adult learning and higher education administration from the University of Oklahoma. He holds a master’s degree in human resources with an emphasis in counseling, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, both from ECU.

Turner and his wife, Penny, have two sons Matt and Tim, a daughter-in-law, Kelley, and a grandson, Connor. The couple share their lives with Lily, a Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu mix.