News & Events




Press Release



July 28, 2015


New administrators to bring wealth of knowledge


After an extensive search, Cowley College is excited to announce the school has filled a pair of administrative positions.


Dr. Gloria Walker was hired as the vice president of finance and administration, while Dr. Harold Arnett was hired as the school’s vice president of academic affairs. Both Dr. Walker and Dr. Arnett will begin their new positions on September 1, 2015.


Together, Dr. Walker and Dr. Arnett have more than 50 years of experience in higher education.


Dr. Walker“This is an excellent opportunity for me to do what I do best – educate students and grow the community. I am excited to join the Ark City community and Cowley College family,” Dr. Walker said.


Dr. Walker earned the Doctor of Education at Northeastern University with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. Prior to pursuing a doctoral degree, Dr. Walker served over 20 years in senior to executive level management in higher education. Over the course of her career in the areas of fiscal affairs; accounting and financial operations, Dr. Walker developed a solid background in community college administration at Houston Community College and South Florida Community College as (Executive) Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration and Vice President for Financial Services, respectively and Chief Financial Officer; and at Midland College, Midland, Texas in a similar capacity.  Dr. Walker served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Texas Southern University for three years. Dr. Walker currently serves as the Vice President/Consultant for ASBSI, a Houston firm that specializes in financial advisory services for private, public, and governmental entities; and higher education institutions.


“Dr. Gloria Walker offers the College a wealth of experience and expertise regarding both aspects, fiscal and administrative, of the Vice President of Finance and Administration position,” Cowley College president Dr. Dennis Rittle said. “Dr. Walker has been involved in financial oversight in two-year college and university settings. She has been instrumental, from start to finish, in numerous building and new facility campaigns. In addition, Dr. Walker is highly data-driven in assessing fiscal strengths and weaknesses of an organization. She pursued this position at Cowley College because her heart beats for serving students in the two-year college setting and for being a contributing member of the community. We are very fortunate to have her joining our leadership team.”


Over the past 10 years, Dr. Walker has become an expert in performance-based budgeting in higher education. She has served as a member of the CEO’s executive team, and the Acting Chancellor.


Dr. Walker has received numerous awards during her time in higher education and is excited to be joining the staff at Cowley College.


“Cowley College is a well-respected community college, and I wanted to be at a higher education institution that values team work and group dynamic, and one that wants to be the leader in delivering quality higher education, and not afraid to face challenges head-on,” Dr. Walker said. “I am joining a strong team in which I can bring my experience and expertise in finance and administration, and make a positive impact in achieving the institution’s goals, and mission.”


Dr. Walker has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Accounting from University of Houston, and a Master’s Business Administration in Finance from the University of St. Thomas.  Dr. Walker is also a Certified Public Accountant.


In addition to Dr. Walker’s career, she has been married for 34 years to George Walker. The couple have two children, Lauren 29, and Jordan 25.


The family is very involved in athletics with George having been a successful intercollegiate and high school basketball coach. George coached two of the Top-50 NBA Players (Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler) when he was an assistant basketball coach at the University of Houston. He is one of a few intercollegiate coaches that reached the Final Four at the NJCAA-Division I (Midland Junior College) and NCAA-Division I (Houston) levels.


The couple’s daughter, Lauren, holds a Doctor of Pharmacy and a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. Lauren and her husband, Marcus, were student-athletes at Florida State University in volleyball and football, respectively. While, the couple’s son, Jordan, was a student athlete (basketball) and holds an Associate of Arts degree, and is completing a bachelor degree in Sociology at the University of Houston-Downtown.


Dr. ArnettAlso eager to join the administrative team at Cowley College is Dr. Arnett. He was born and raised on a dairy farm in western Kentucky. It was there he began working in the milk barn before he started school.


“It was an excellent foundation in developing responsibility and a strong work ethic,” Dr. Arnett said.


Dr. Arnett went on to earn an Associate’s degree in Education at Freed-Hardeman College (TN) in 1973, Bachelors and Masters degrees in Industrial Education at Murray State (KY) University in 1977 and 1982, and a PhD in Educational Theory & Practice at Ohio State University in 1988.


After teaching high school Industrial arts from 1977-1984, Dr. Arnett was an Associate Professor of Education at Missouri Western State College (now University) from 1987-1994. He then completed a post-doctorate residency at the University of Kentucky from 1994-1995, was a (English, Geography and Life Skills) instructor for one year and then principal of Scott County Alternative School (Georgetown, KY) from 1995-2002. From 2004-2008, he served as Developmental Education Specialist at Highland Community College (KS) and then from 2008-2015 as Director of Institutional Research.


“Helping other people achieve their goals is one of the most remarkable and rewarding things we can do as human beings,” Dr. Arnett said. “I believe that my entire background: all my learning, all my professional, personal and pastoral experiences, has prepared me for this opportunity. I have a very genuine love of people and am driven to achieve excellence. I hope that others will see both aspects of my personality, even in the most challenging times.”


He received the Outstanding Industrial Education Teacher in Kentucky award in 1982, was the recipient of the National Association for Industrial Education Outstanding Graduate Student Scholarship in 1986, and was the Jessie L. Meyers Excellence in Teaching Award recipient at Missouri Western in 1994. He also worked with other key individuals at Highland in setting up and conducting pilot programs that improved academic performance and persistence.


“Dr. Harold Arnett brings a unique blend of general education and technical education experiences from both the two-year and university educational sectors,” Dr. Rittle said. “Dr. Arnett understands that two-year colleges partner with high schools, industries, and universities so that Cowley College students have the full-spectrum of available choices upon the completion of their programs of study. He is an accomplished researcher and scholar. These broad skills are prized in higher education. Also, Dr. Arnett has a deep passion to develop new programs and to be highly engaged in community activities. We look forward to blending his skills and abilities to strengthen our leadership team.”


Dr. Arnett’s friend, Pete Gochis, previously worked at Cowley College and had nothing but good things to say about the school. Dr. Arnett was also impressed by Cowley College’s Mission, Vision and Value statements.


“As I told the search committee, "Even if only half of those things are true, this will be a great place to work,” Dr. Arnett said. “I was favorably impressed with the group and especially with President Rittle. I have been working toward this goal very self-consciously for the last seven years and am very excited about the opportunity to work with other highly-motivated and caring people.”


Dr. Arnett and his wife, Randa Lynne Burleson, have been married for 26 years. The couple have nine grown children. Christy Baldwin Reed (St. Joseph, MO), MAJ. Michael Arnett (Key West), Angela Baldwin (deceased), CPT. Samuel Arnett (Ft. Leavenworth), Jaylon Baldwin (St. Joseph, MO), Daniel Arnett (Murray, KY), Benjamin Arnett (Houston, TX), Susan Arnett Parker (Paris, KY), and SSgt. Jeremiah Arnett (Afghanistan).


Three of the couple’s sons are on active duty in the military. All totaled, Dr. Arnett and his wife, Randa, have 22 grandchildren.


Dr. Arnett is beyond excited to begin his position at Cowley College.


“This really is a dream coming true,” Dr. Arnett said. “I truly believe in the mission and purpose of community colleges and have always made it a point to be part of the community, not just a detached resident. I know there will be challenges, especially given the recent history of the College, but I believe that good people work together in ways that are mutually beneficial to overcome adversity, achieve healing and end up accomplishing much more than observers would have expected.”


While working on his PhD through Ohio State University, Dr. Arnett took several creative writing courses. In addition to a fair number of professional publications, he has also had several poems, essays and articles appear in print.


His first book of poetry was recently published by Amazing Things Press. A collection of poems that reflect on loss and hope, a sharing of grief and comfort, Tears and Prayers incorporates both Dr. Arnett’s literary interests and his background in pastoral ministry. The book is available at


Dr. Arnett has three basic goals he hopes to achieve at Cowley College.


“Number one, based in large part on their classroom experiences, I want students to believe that Cowley Community College is the best place they could have possibly chosen to continue their lifelong learning process,” Dr. Arnett said. “Number two, I want faculty members to genuinely feel that Cowley is the best place they could have possibly chosen to begin or continue their careers in education. Finally, I hope that everyone who works with me will decide that they could not have found a better VPAA with whom to work.”