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Spotlight on Ken Bartlett


OLLI at OU prides itself for having one of the most diverse groups of individuals around – no two members share the same life story. What they do share is the passion for lifelong learning. This combination provides a multitude of perspectives and opinions that are constantly revealed throughout each OLLI class.

OLLI members strengthen the program with engaging discussion by applying the material they learn in class to their everyday lives and then examining how their experiences differ from their classmates. Each member brings a unique outlook to the program and contributes to OLLI’s growing membership. Ken Bartlett is no different. His relentless dedication to the community and support for lifelong learning are just a couple of ways he adds value to the OLLI at OU program.

Ken Bartlett was born in Coffeyville, Kansas. He graduated from Coffeyville Community College in 1950 and spent four years in the U.S. Navy. Later, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma, earning his Bachelor’s degree in 1956 and his MBA in 1957. He worked with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission from 1984-2015 and currently serves the city of Del City as vice mayor and city councilman. He has served as councilman since 2005 and is chairman of the Del City Economic Authority. 

He also served on the board of regents for Rose State College from 2001 through 2010. During that time, he served on the National Board of Regents and Trustees for all community colleges in the United States. Bartlett has been a member of the Midwest City Rotary for 14 years.

Recently, the Del City Chamber of Commerce selected Ken as the 2016 inductee into the city’s hall of fame. He and his late wife, JoAnn, were among the initial supporters of the AWACS plane display adjacent to Tinker Air Force Base on Sooner Road. He has also been a supporter of the “Home Away From Home” program initiated at Tinker and is serving as chairman of the board.

Bartlett has been an OLLI member for five years and is an avid advocate for continuing education. He has taken classes in OKC ever since OLLI at OU expanded to OU’s Health Sciences Center back in 2014.

You can find Bartlett in a variety of OLLI classes in Norman and OKC, especially if they have anything to do with history. He also thoroughly enjoys learning about and discussing U.S. and Oklahoma politics. Next time you see Ken, whether it is in Norman or OKC, introduce yourself and see where the conversation takes you.