Mark Kinders is a native of the South side of Chicago, where he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1968. During his four-year tour he served in helicopter squadrons and also was assigned to the White House Presidential Security Detail for Air Force One for President Richard Nixon when the president visited the Western White House in San Clemente, California.
After his discharge, Mark used the G.I. Bill to pursue his bachelor’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University. As a veteran of 35 years in public higher education, he has earned additional degrees including a master’s in history through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, a master’s in public affairs through the University of Minnesota, and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas. Mark comes from a military family. A dozen of his uncles served in all branches and theaters of operation during World War II. His father, drafted at age 18 two weeks after graduating high school, served with distinction as a machine gunner in the 35th Infantry Division in Europe, earning two purple hearts and a battle field promotion for courage under fire. His brother served with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam, and his son Casey served in Iraq as provisional infantry, and now drives a Harrier jet in the Marines.
During his academic career, Mark has served as a faculty advisor to student veterans clubs at three universities. In Oklahoma, he is the co-chair of the Governor’s task force to improve access to health care for Oklahoma’s 308,000 veterans. He received a Force 50 Medallion and Commendation from Gov. Mary Fallin for his leadership in that role. He currently serves as the vice president for public affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma, where he is responsible for legislative, Congressional, corporate, and community relations. He has held offices on numerous national boards for public higher education associations, and has been a frequent presenter at national conferences.
Mark lives in Edmond with Linda, his wife of 31 years.