Henry G. Bennett (December 14, 1886 – December 22, 1951) was a prominent educational figure in Oklahoma. He served as the president of both Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State University.
He was appointed by President Harry S. Truman as an Assistant Secretary of State, heading up the Point Four Program.
Henry Garland Bennett was born in New Hope, Arkansas on December 14, 1886 to Reverend Thomas Jefferson Bennett and Mary Elizabeth (née Bright) Bennett. He had three sisters Although his family moved to Texas before he was one year old he returned to Arkadelphia, Arkansas before school age.
Bennett attended Ouachita Baptist College and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1907. While at college he was president of Philomathean Literary Society, business manager of the campus yearbook, The Bear, and vice-president of the athletic program. To earn extra money he collected laundry, drove a grocery wagon and delivered mail.
After graduating accepted a position at a business college in Texarkana, Arkansas. Quit to become a textbook salesman. Moved to Boswell, Oklahoma in 1908 to become a teacher. Became superintendent of Choctaw County in 1909. Became superintendent of Hugo Public schools in 1910.
Remained superintendent of Hugo schools until accepting presidency of Southeastern Normal School in 1919 as the sixth president. He met Vera Pearl Connell in Durant, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of a lawyer and judge. They married on January 27, 1913 and had five children.
Bennett was nominated to serve as president of Oklahoma A&M College on June 1, 1928. He served as president of Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) from 1928-50. While in office, he established a campus master plan that continues to guide physical plant development, including the predominant use of Collegiate Georgian architecture on the campus.
The Four Point Program became the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Bennett died in a plane crash in Iran serving on an assignment for the Point Four Program. His wife, Vera, was with him and also was killed in the crash. Bennett was returning to a student event at Oklahoma State University when the plane crashed. He was interred at Highland Cemetery, Durant, Oklahoma. The Bennett Memorial Chapel at Oklahoma State University serves as a memorial to Bennett and his wife, and to the students of Oklahoma A&M College who were killed in World War I and World War II.