Assistant Chief Batton named a SE ‘Distinguished Alumni’
Southeastern president Larry Minks congratulates the 2013 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award – Rob Wells, Dr. Jim Barnes, and Choctaw Nation Assistant Chief Gary Batton.
Assistant Chief Gary Batton was named one of Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Distinguished Alumni. The Alumni Association recognized Batton, as well as two other Distinguished Alumni, Dr. Jim Barnes and Mr. Robert “Rob’’ Wells, at the Distinguished Awards Banquet as a part of 2013 Homecoming festivities.
Batton (Class of ’89) has served in a number of capacities with The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma since 1987. In 2007, he was named Assistant Chief under Chief Gregory Pyle.
In his 26 years with the Choctaw Nation, Batton has continuously looked for ways to improve and expand services and has been an integral part of the Tribe’s growth and success. Numerous Choctaw Nation programs and services have been created and enhanced under his leadership, including the Diabetes Wellness Center, the Youth Advisory Board, Veterans’ Advocacy, and Choctaw University.
He helps support Chief Pyle’s initiatives of health, education and jobs by expanding and increasing the profitability of current businesses and adding new businesses. Overall, businesses have shown a 69 percent increase in profitability since his appointment in 2007 and Tribal services continue to grow and evolve.
In addition, Batton has represented the Choctaw Nation on numerous boards and committees, including the National Budget Committee for Indian Health Service, the National Health Service Corps National Advisory Council, and the Tribal Technical Advisory Committee for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He currently serves on the Thunderbird Youth Academy Foundation Board, the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Advocates, the Choctaw Nation Chahta Foundation Board, and the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Foundation Board.
He received his bachelor’s degree in management from Southeastern with minors in computer science and accounting.