Jean Thornbrugh, Ph.D.

Retired Educator

TCC Degree: Legal Secretary

Graduation: 1977

Raised in a family with two siblings and a single mom, Jean never thought she would be able to attend college. However, she enrolled in a few classes at Tulsa Junior College, now Tulsa Community College, and much to her surprise, she excelled.

“The TJC Legal Secretary Program allowed me a proficiency for employment within Tulsa’s legal community culminating in the highest level of the field, the U.S. Federal Court and Judge Allen Barrow,” she said. Her TJC academic advisors encouraged her to continue her education and Jean completed her associate degree and went on to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees even with small children at the time.

Jean taught for more than 30 years as full-time and adjunct faculty at several public and private universities in the Tulsa area, including TCC. She was also employed by the University of Michigan as a Life Education Advisor assigned to the Tulsa Ford Glass Plant, as well as the Dallas Parts Depot as an Education Advisor/Training Coordinator of UAW-Ford (International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America) Life Education Planning Program. She was worked at St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, OK, where she held several positions, including Associate Professor of Business, Dean of St. Gregory’s College for Working Adults and Associate Vice President of Mission & Identity. She was also awarded Professor Emerita in 2015 by the University.

At the time of her of her retirement, she was serving as Executive Director of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. Over the years she has volunteered for various organizations including serving as an advisory council member for Bishop Kelley High School; a steering committee member of Conexionnes, a Hispanic Education and Workforce Initiative; and served as an advisory board member of Benedictine Colleges and Universities.