Former Tulsa Community College President Dean VanTrease, Ph.D., was featured on TulsaPeople’s August 1997 cover, at TCC’s new Performing Arts Center for Education. Three years later, the TCC Board of Regents added VanTrease’s name to the popular south Tulsa venue.
Retired for the past 15 years, VanTrease, who joined TCC in 1969 as executive vice president and was president from 1989-2004, says now, "I was very humbled that PACE was named in my honor."
He has been on several local boards, namely Oklahoma Aquarium, Signature Symphony, Asbury United Methodist Church and Downtown Tulsa Unlimited.
He and his wife, Vesta, "enjoy playing bridge, and spend our free time with seven grandkids and their parents," VanTrease says. "On any given day you may find me mowing my yard and/or attending soccer and basketball games of the grandkids."
The son of an educator mother, VanTrease says "I give Dr. (Alfred M.) Philips, the founding president of Tulsa Junior College credit for being my mentor as I worked for him at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington, and Dallas Community College before joining him in Tulsa in 1969.
VanTrease says he was pleased to see TCC open its fourth campus before he retired, along with facilities like the Fire Protection Center and the Tom McKeon Center for Creativity.