2023 Distinguished Alumni - Lee Denney, DVM
Friday, October 13, 2023
Following graduation from OSU College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978, Dr. Lee Denney returned to her hometown and established a mixed animal practice. She served the communities of Cushing and Drumright and surrounding areas for over thirty years as a veterinarian and community leader. During that time, she was also the OSU CVM recruitment coordinator and taught anatomy and physiology at Central Technology Center. She was elected as City Commission Major and Vice-Mayor from 1994 to 2003.
Once her children entered college, Dr. Denney ran and was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2004. She was an influential leader as the Speaker Pro-Tempore, becoming only the second woman in state history to hold the position. She was incredibly instrumental and well respected in the legislature on education issues from grade schools to higher education. She was recognized for her work by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education with the Distinguished Service Award.
Following her time in the Oklahoma legislature, Dr. Denney served as Department Head of the Veterinary Technology Program at OSU-OKC. She quickly became a favored instructor amongst future veterinary nurses and technicians with her real-world approach to learning and ability to share practical experience.
In 2017, Dr. Denney received a Presidential appointment to serve as United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development State Director for Oklahoma. In this role, she was a leader in improving rural community economies and agriculture. Dr. Denney was later named as interim State Director for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. She currently serves as Payne County Treasurer while still practicing. She regularly fills needed companion animal shifts in her spare time, often serving traditionally underrepresented communities.
Dr. Denney’s contributions within veterinary medicine have been just as substantial as her work outside the profession. Dr. Denney has served for many years on the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners as an officer. She also recently completed a term as the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association President leading the organization through numerous obstacles presented by the pandemic. She previously was recognized by the OVMA as Veterinarian of the Year for her contributions to the profession.
As a proud alumna, Dr. Denney continues to devote time to the OSU CVM. She has served as her Alumni Society class representative since graduation and played a critical role in guiding CVM leadership’s activities at the Oklahoma legislature the past two years. She regularly makes herself available to the CVM as a speaker to students and mentor.
Dr. Denney has two children, Will and Kate. Her children and grandchildren are her pride and joy.