Page 1

The official magazine of the College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University 2011

This scene, photographed by Phil Shockley, is from the musical Hair performed at the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts in 2011 and presented by the College of Arts and Sciences’ theatre department.

COVER Gena Timberman oversees the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum, a $170 million project in Oklahoma City. Like many of her fellow College of Arts and Sciences grads, Timberman uses the lessons she learned at OSU to prosper in her career and personally. See story p. 10. Cover photograph by Phil Shockley

p l a y b i l l 2





O S U ’s t a l e n t e d

College of Arts and

Alumni, faculty and

alumni perform on

Sciences faculty

students combine to

high-profile stages,

members are a

become leaders in

whether in Hollywood,

highly distinguished

their fields and make

Oklahoma City or the

and diversified cast,

t h e w o r l d s a f e r, m o r e

arena of the mind.

including three new

comprehendible and

Regents Professors.

more pleasant.

s t a f f

2011 v13 C A S . O K S T A T E . E D U Arts and Sciences Magazine is a publication of the Oklahoma State University College of Arts and Sciences. All communications should be mailed to OSU College of Arts and Sciences, ATTN: Arts and Sciences Magazine, 205 Life Sciences East, Stillwater, OK 74078-3015. 2 0 1 1 © O K L A H O M A S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. Title IX of the Education Amendments and Oklahoma State University policy prohibit discrimination in the provision of services or benefits offered by the University based on gender. Any person (student, faculty or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based upon gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with the OSU Title IX Coordinator, Mackenzie Wilfong, J.D., Director of Affirmative Action, 408 Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, (405) 744-5371 or (405) 744-5576 (fax). This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the College of Arts & Sciences, was printed by University Printing Services at a cost of $7,450/7M. #3281 11/11




Michael Baker

Art Director

Paul V. Fleming ’90/’00*


Phil Shockley Gary Lawson

Associate Editor

Matt Elliott Lorene A. Roberson ’84 Sylvia E. King-Cohen ’81 Stacy Pettit ’09

Media and Alumni Relations College of Arts and Sciences

Dean College of Arts and Sciences Peter M.A. Sherwood

Associate Vice President for Development College of Arts and Sciences Jason J. Caniglia

Lorene A. Roberson ’84


Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT

Farewell from the Dean The middle of 2012 will mark my 42nd year as a faculty member at a number of institutions both in this country and the United Kingdom. It will also mark eight years of service as the OSU College of Arts and Sciences dean. I have been considering my future plans for some time and have decided I will retire from my position as dean at the end of July 2012. It is likely I also will retire from my position as Regents Professor of physics at the same time, which depends on whether I can put in place a plan that will combine retirement with research interactions with other surface scientists.


Authored or co-authored more than 210 publications è Given more than 130 invited research lectures è Served as major professor to 26 doctoral and three master’s degree students è Directed work of 12 postdoctoral fellows è Served as journal editor and on editorial board of six journals è Research supported by 35 grants è First-class honors bachelor’s degree, St. Andrews University in Scotland è Forrester Prize and Irvine Jubilee Medal for best undergraduate performance in chemistry è Doctor of science degree, University of Cambridge è Royal Society of Chemistry fellow è Institute of Physics fellow è AVS-Science and Technology Society fellow è Regents Professor, OSU è University Distinguished Professorship, Kansas State University è Downing College and Salters Company fellow, Cambridge University è Surface scientist, Newcastle University è Senior lecturer, Kansas State University è Chemistry department head, Kansas State University







Chemistry, Kansas State University è Visiting associate professor, University of California, Berkeley è Visiting professor, University of Bari in Italy è Visiting scientist, Kodak è Visiting scientist, CSIRO National Measurement Laboratory in Sydney, Australia è

It has been my honor to serve a college of 24 departments covering the fine arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Since I started as dean in July 2004, the college has established two new doctoral programs and one master’s program and has more planned. I am proud of the exemplary teaching in the college, which is responsible for 55 percent of all the instruction at Oklahoma State University. An excellent team has surrounded me during my tenure and for that I am grateful. The 700 dedicated faculty and staff members that are integral for the success of the college have my heartfelt gratitude. I also wish to express my deep appreciation for the continued support provided to the college by so many donors. Current funding levels are approaching $12 million annually. This generosity fuels the college’s future vision and serves to promote our programs and research in Oklahoma and around the world.

Many new interdisciplinary centers have been established in the past seven years. I take great pride in the college’s significant increase in research activities and a corresponding growth in proposals to funding agencies and major grants. It is my pleasure to present this issue of the College of Arts and Sciences magazine. It includes stories exemplifying the best of OSU — educators, scientists, artists, alumni and students committed not just to personal success but to giving something back to the college, their community and the world at large. Stories like “Under the Microscope” illustrate how world-class research, individual mentoring and dedication to address Oklahoma’s unique issues come together at the College of Arts and Sciences. Our cover story on Gina Timberman showcases the alumna’s dedication to cultural heritage and education. I am privileged to be a part of OSU and its continued tradition of excellence. 

Program officer, Analytical and Surface Chemistry for National Science Foundation è Outstanding Performance Award, NSF è Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head, Kansas State University è Associate editor, Surface Science Spectra è Editorial board, Surface and Interface Analysis è Treasurer, Applied Surface Science Division è Board of directors, AVSScience and Technology Society è Board of directors, Creative

Peter M.A. Sherwood

Oklahoma è Former president, DaVinci Institute è Commissioner, Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation n

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences


The Making of an Actor STORY BY 

Matt Elliott

Actor James Marsden spent three life-changing (if a bit hazy) semesters at OSU. James “Jimmie” Marsden spent “But I needed that,” Marsden says, three semesters at OSU and barely “because I was not that kind of perstarted on a broadcast journalism son in high school. I needed that to degree in the College of Arts and accomplish what I was about to try.” Sciences. Marsden was born in Stillwater But that was all he needed to chase but grew up in Oklahoma City, his dream of being an actor. where he went to Putnam City North “OSU was very much in my blood,” High School. he says. “I would’ve stayed had I not His father, James Marsden, is a had this feeling of the sooner I get to well-known food-safety expert at try acting, and the younger I am, the Kansas State University. When his better. I have great memories about son was young, the elder Marsden Stillwater and Oklahoma State. In a traveled across the country and lot of ways it still feels like it’s home worked in Washington, D.C., for for me.” a meat-packing industry trade Much of Marsden’s memories of association. college are, shall we say, hazy, he The actor’s mother, Kathleen admits with endearing honesty. He Marsden, worked in an Oklahoma says he coasted through his freshman City school’s nutrition program year in 1991 and was more interested where she still works today. His parin socializing than anything else. ents met when they were students at OSU but split up when he was 9.

A talented drama student in high school, Marsden remade himself in Stillwater. He was a popular freshman pledge at Delta Tau Delta. The tight-knit group of guys made him come out of his shell. “I remember things like sneaking out and meeting up with a sorority somewhere and putting a couple of kegs in the backyard,” Marsden says. He remembers doing the Freshman Follies and Spring Sing where he showcased a rich singing voice. Then came his sophomore year. His friends had chosen majors. They were taking serious looks at their futures. He was doing the same. He wanted to be an actor and knew he would have to leave college to get it done. Otherwise, in a few years he’d be committed to a career path and a lifestyle he knew wasn’t for him. CONTINUES

O PPOSITE OSU College of Arts and Sciences alumnus and actor James Marsden arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of HOP held at Universal Studios Hollywood on March 27, 2011, in Universal City, Calif. Photograph by Barry King/FilmMagic L E FT James Marsden as David Sumner and Kate Bosworth as Amy Sumner in Straw Dogs. Photograph by Steve Dietl © 2011 CTMG Inc.



BELOW James Marsden stars as David Sumner in Straw Dogs, a thriller released in September. Marsden plays a Los Angeles screenwriter who returns to the deep South with his wife. While tension builds between them, a conflict emerges with locals. Photograph by Steve Dietl © 2011 CTMG Inc.

OSU was very much in my blood. I have great memories about Stillwater and Oklahoma State. In a lot of ways it still feels like it’s home for me. — James Marsden, actor

He decided he was going to Los Angeles to make it big. “I don’t know if it was courage or just complete ignorance, to be honest,” Marsden says. “It was like I wasn’t thinking it through that much. Maybe that was to my advantage,” he says. “It was sort of against what most people do growing up where I grew up. A lot of people dream of doing that. Rarely does anybody actually pursue that or find success in it. I wasn’t someone who played by the rules, anyway. I wasn’t conforming to any sort of ‘this is the way you’re supposed to do it — this is the way your life is supposed to turn out for you.’ I was just open to all possibilities.” Marsden’s parents supported him all the way. “Telling them I wanted to go to Hollywood was kind of like telling your parents you’re going to Vegas to win the jackpot,” he says. “They saw talent in me. They thought, ‘This probably isn’t the one we turn into a CPA.’” Marsden made a deal with his dad to take care of his rent and expenses for a year in Los Angeles. His dad knew an agent in Los Angeles. If it didn’t work out in a year, he’d come back to OSU and finish school.

It turned out the agent was legit. Marsden was soon auditioning for roles each week. Because dad was footing the bills, all Marsden had to do was focus on his career. Marsden began with small roles on television shows such as Saved by the Bell: The New Class, The Nanny and Party of Five. He did television until landing his first major starring role alongside Katie Holmes in the 1998 horror film Disturbing Behavior. Over the years, his roles became bigger and better. He had a prominent role in the hit television series Ally McBeal. He was Lon Hammond in the classic romantic movie drama The Notebook and found serious fame as the comic book superhero Cyclops in the X-Men film series. Audiences swooned over his talent, screen presence, strong voice and good looks (Marsden also modeled during his career for fashion companies such as Versace). Then came hits like the musical Hairspray, Enchanted and his role opposite Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses. This year has been one of his best. He played the lead role in the film HOP, an animated film grossing more than $100 million as one of the biggest movies of the spring. When he was interviewed for this article, Marsden was in Brussels, filming an American version of one of the most successful Belgian films ever, The Loft, part of a new direction in his career branching out into grittier roles. The movie is a Hitchcockian tale of a group of friends, a love nest and a murder.

He jumped at the film’s twist-turning script, the opportunity to bring it to American audiences and the chance to work with Belgian director Erik Van Looy. “I haven’t seen a good thriller in a while,” Marsden says. “I’m such a fan of them. I wanted to see a good one made.” The Loft is part of a strenuous schedule of shooting during the last half of the year, including a starring role with actress Susan Sarandon in the quirky film Robot and Frank. On top of that, Marsden stars alongside Kate Bosworth in Straw Dogs, a thriller released in September. Marsden used to remark during interviews that he’s in that fame sweet spot in which he didn’t get recognized much when he went to the grocery store. That has long since changed. The toughest part, he says, is the time he has to spend away from his family, including his two children. He hasn’t been back to Stillwater since he left more than 20 years ago. He goes home to Oklahoma City each year to visit family during the holidays and sees some of his fraternity brothers regularly there. “A lot of my memories of Stillwater are with the fraternity,” he says. “Lots of people go abroad and travel to Europe after high school. I got to hang out at OSU. And it was great.” 



At the Forefront of the Mind STORY BY 

Matt Elliott 


Jonathan Castner

Addiction specialist and alumnus Kent Hutchison searches for new drug and alcohol abuse treatments.

Addiction affects millions of people each year in the United States and costs the American economy billions of dollars in lost productivity. Leading the fight against drug and alcohol addiction is College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Kent Hutchison, one of the nation’s foremost experts in how genes, drugs and controlled substances affect our brains. “It’s all about the interplay between genetic risks and exposure to alcohol and drugs,” Hutchison says. Hutchison is a clinical psychologist with the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Mind Research Network, an Albuquerque, N.M., high-tech imaging center. Hutchison studies therapies, the addicted brain and what keeps the brain hooked. He also examines how genes determine treatments’ effectiveness. He uses MRI technology to see what brain areas seem most linked to addiction.

“Addiction is a very complicated thing that involves changes in brain genetics and social-environmental factors — all of which change over time. This starts when people are young, and, as psychologists, we see them when they’re 55 or 60 years old. Ideally, you want to study them when they’re 16 and follow up in the next 40 years, but that’s really hard to do.” He has found that genetics and social environments account for much of our vulnerability to addiction. “One of the things that’s always fascinated me is how some people can never quit,” he says. “What is it about some people that lets them quit easily or never have the problem in the first place, while other people develop the problem and never recover?” If the medical community can understand those things, he says, then it might develop better treatments.

Hutchison’s work comes as understanding of addiction is evolving. Once considered a result of personal weakness, addiction increasingly is thought of as a brain disease. Hutchison’s area of study is part of a growing field in psychology. The result has been a rise in new treatments and research into whether old treatments for other disorders work with addiction. “There’s been a huge explosion in terms of our ability to look at genes and identify new potential treatments,” he says. “Most treatments today are modestly effective. Even patients who receive the best treatments are likely to relapse in one year.” The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute have funded his research to the tune of millions of dollars. Drug companies have shown interest in his work, funding his screening of their products against different types of drug addiction. CONTINUES


What is it about some people that lets them quit easily or never have the problem in the first place, while other people develop the problem and never recover? — Kent Hutchison, addiction specialist and clinical psychologist

The Mind Research Network is located in Albuquerque, N.M., where Arts and Sciences alumnus Kent Hutchison studies the connection between the brain and addiction. PHOTOGRAPH PROVIDED BY THE MIND RESEARCH NETWORK.

Hutchison’s success began thanks to an OSU College of Arts and Sciences professor. Hutchison was a computer science major in 1986, but he took psychology courses and developed an interest in how people tick. Then-professor Frank Collins took him under his wing and let him research alcohol abuse. Collins’ field was clinical psychology, which merges science and clinical work to help people suffering from mental disorders. The subject fascinated Hutchison, and its clinical side appealed to his personality. “Because of that I ended up getting a position as a grad student working on research in smoking and alcohol. My doctoral work was in alcohol abuse, too. All of that was because of opportunities I had as an undergrad.” He finished his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees by 1995 and landed a prestigious post-doctoral position at Brown University in Providence, R.I. He credits OSU with giving him the early clinical background that helped him succeed.

In 1998, he was hired at the University of Colorado, one of the nation’s leaders in addiction studies. In 2007, he moved to New Mexico and joined the Mind Research Network. He returned to the University of Colorado in 2011 but remains the network’s neurogenetics director and chief science officer. “In the next five years, hopefully, we should see more progress in terms of increasing treatments’ effectiveness,” he says. Hutchison has published articles in journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychopharmacology, Neuropsychopharmacology, Twin Research and Human Genetics, Addictive Behaviors and the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. His wife, Angela Bryan, is also a psychologist at the University of Colorado and studies risky behavior. The two frequently collaborate on projects. 

8 Kent Hutchison with a group of University of Colorado students studying addiction and the mind. Hutchison, a College of Arts and Sciences alumnus, is a clinical psychologist studying how drugs affect our brains. PHOTOGRAPH / UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER.


An Inclusive Spirit STORY BY 

Lorene A. Roberson ’84 


Jason J. Caniglia

College of Arts and Sciences alumna and Choctaw Nation member Gena Timberman uses the sense of community she experienced at OSU as she navigates her job and life.

On a day where the temperature is well over 100 degrees, Gena Timberman is cool and composed as she shows visitors the American Indian Cultural Center & Museum. From the glass, steel and zinc visitor center in Oklahoma City, the 1996 OSU alumna points at a symbolic American Indian mound composed of more than a million cubic feet of red dirt. She explains the Courtyard of the Wind consists of lighted pillars with flutes inside them. She talks about the tradition behind the concept of fire, which honors the past, rejoices in the present and anticipates the future. The 37-year-old is the executive director of Oklahoma’s Native American Cultural and Educational Authority, a state agency created in 1994 to build and operate the center and museum sharing the experiences of Oklahoma’s American Indian population. The job involves overseeing a $170 million project that includes a 125,000-square-foot museum, a 250-acre park, a 43-acre commercial center and a 4,000-square foot visitors’ center.

The construction, however, is incomplete. In May, the Oklahoma Senate failed to consider bond legislation to fund the project, leaving the project in limbo after more than six years of building. Many would find the delay discouraging. For Timberman this is a journey she will see all the way through. “It is not if we are building, but when.” UNDERSTANDING WHO SHE IS

Timberman is well equipped for the uphill trek. Fresh out of law school, a 24-year-old Timberman was asked to work on the museum project. Twelve years later, she knows statistics by rote and quotes them to legislators and laymen alike. The museum would have nearly a $4 billion impact on Oklahoma as a cultural tourism project. Cultural tourists, those who visit museums and sites, spend 36 percent more than other tourists such as conference attendees, and stay 50 percent longer. The museum is expected to open in 2016, a year behind schedule. Despite the delay, Timberman keeps the fires burning.

“In Oklahoma, we started out as a collision of cultures and today that has grown into a collaboration of cultures. This is an exciting time to be an Oklahoman and to be a part of this journey,” she says. Timberman’s journey started in a city where church, home and society were united. Mustang, Okla., which is surrounded on four sides by Oklahoma City, would grow from about 10,000 people in 1990 to more than 17,000 in a couple of decades. Despite the growth, Timberman said she found “a spirit of inclusivity.” She attended church camps, took part in community events, and ran track and cross country at Mustang High School. Timberman’s mother worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. Her father was a part-time student for 10 years while working full time at the Dayton tire plant. He graduated with a degree in electrical engineering a year after his daughter entered law school at the University of Oklahoma. “My father was the most influential in terms of me seeking higher education,” Timberman says. “He has a commitment to working hard and to being a dad.” CONTINUES



From her paternal grandmother, whose first language was Choctaw, she learned about her heritage. Timberman’s grandmother was part of the U.S. government’s plan in the 1900s to assimilate Native Americans by placing them in boarding schools. Timberman has always understood who she is. In Oklahoma, we started out “Being Choctaw has always as a collision of cultures and been a part of my identity,” today that has grown into a she says. “My childhood home was an average, everycollaboration of cultures. This day Oklahoma home in terms is an exciting time to be an of how it looked. We had Oklahoman and to be a part no notable Native American art, but what we had was of this journey. the feeling and sense of being — Gena Timberman on the Choctaw.” American Indian Cultural Center & Museum (pictured)



Timberman participated in a creative writing competition for high school students held at OSU in 1991. She didn’t win the competition but the overnight stay on campus made an impact. “It was my first time on a university campus and I had an opportunity to really explore,” she says. During the college search process a year later, she and her father returned to Stillwater.

“It’s daunting looking at opportunities that the world has placed in front of you. Going off to college was like going to a foreign country for me. There was the big question of ‘What do you want to do with your life?’” Timberman and her father met with Pete Coser at the OSU Multicultural Development and Assessment Center, now called the OSU Inclusion Center for Academic Excellence. “Thankfully, we had a great meeting with the inclusion center folks. We felt there would be a positive native community at OSU. The strong support they offered was very attractive to me as a Choctaw girl from a small town in Oklahoma.” As part of the federal workstudy program, Timberman worked for the inclusion center, interacting with students from every culture imaginable including Vietnamese, Hispanic and other Native American cultures. “It was great to meet with people from around the world and other native people from outside the state,” she says.

Timberman served as president of the OSU Native American Student Association and received its Outstanding Contribution to the Native American Community Award. The group’s motto — “Many Tribes. One Spirit” — suited Timberman. In 1996, she served on the inaugural planning committee for Orange Peel, a now defunct annual pep rally at OSU that featured comedians Bill Cosby and Norm McDonald and pop artist Dog’s Eye View. Timberman’s involvement at OSU was a stepping-stone to her current job. “To be able to plan all these events and meet so many diverse people was very educational,” she says. “We always received great support from the faculty. There was such a feeling of inclusivity here, which helped guide me personally and professionally,” she says. “Being

OSU LEADS THE NATION IN AMERICAN INDIAN GRADUATES OSU led the nation for a second consecutive year in the number of American Indians who graduated with a bachelor’s degree, as reported in Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Citing data from the National Center for Educational Statistics for 2009–2010, the magazine lists OSU as the top degree producer for American Indian Bachelor’s — All Disciplines Combined with 355 American Indians receiving diplomas. Northeastern State University with 335 graduates and the University of Oklahoma with 241 graduates followed OSU.

The English major calls Momaday her “absolute, favorite writer.” She also calls him “friend.” At the 2000 American Indian Sovereignty Symposium in Tulsa, she met with the then-66-year-old writer. “I hold such great respect and admiration for him and his work,” she says. The reading and writing prepared her for a “healthy REPRESENTING law school experience” that NATIVE AMERICANS OSU fueled another of Tim- included an internship at the berman’s passions – literature. federal Office of Tribal Justice, which falls under the DepartAt OSU, she was exposed to ment of Justice. the work of N. Scott MomaMuch of Timberman’s work day, who is credited with supported the efforts of thenleading the breakthrough of Attorney General Janet Reno. Native American literature into the mainstream. involved in these organizations allowed me to work with the broader Oklahoma community today. That has helped me a lot in approaching other tribal communities and getting to know people from tribes around the state of Oklahoma. “At OSU, I learned about a cohesive community and how great it was to be a part of something bigger.”

“Anytime Ms. Reno had a speech in Indian country our office was responsible for drafting that speech,” she says. “I had the opportunity to attend several meetings with the attorney general and I was very impressed. She just blew me away. She is a very kind woman and very knowledgeable,” she says. “There is an accessible and sincere side that I really admire. She is a woman of integrity and grace and intelligence and poise.” In 1999, Timberman graduated from law school. Fast-forward 10 years. Timberman oversees the cultural center, and the state agency she heads is encouraged to represent Oklahoma’s American Indian population at the World Creativity Forum in Stuttgart, Germany.

The conference would be a stepping-stone for Timberman. She and her staff participated in planning the opening for the 2010 World Creativity Forum in Oklahoma City. She worked closely with the Chickasaw Nation to make sure all 39 American Indian tribes in Oklahoma were represented at the forum. “It was a vibrant and exciting display,” she says. “We mixed it up with beautiful, fancy shawl dancers, drummers, singers and concepts of both ancient traditions and contemporary expression.” Such events allow Timberman to be hopeful about the future of the cultural center. “We have $91 million invested in this project. The project makes sense for the state of Oklahoma and for our tribes. A piece of legislation may have died, but our vision to build a world-class American Indian cultural museum lives on.” 


Phil Shockley  PHOTOGRAPH



Hollywood Crazy STORY BY 

Matt Elliott

Bob Tourtellotte can always count on Hollywood producing enough crazy to keep him on his toes. “Every day somebody is doing something different,” says the OSU alumnus. “Lindsay Lohan is either in jail, out of jail or thinking about going to jail. Mel Gibson is drunk in a bar in Malibu popping off. There’s never a dull moment.” Tourtellotte is Reuters’ editor-in-charge for entertainment in Los Angeles. It’s his job to be sure his employer, one of the world’s largest wire services, has the scoop on whatever shenanigans occur, in addition to the latest on movies, music and television. It’s a pretty good gig for anybody, especially a guy who grew up in Oklahoma City helping his family in the backbreaking business running apartment buildings in Stillwater.

His dad and grandfather were raised in Stillwater, and his grandmother Beatrice Tourtellotte was one of the first women to receive an advanced degree from OSU. She owned the first apartment building in town, he says, and the family home was on Hester Street. Tourtellotte remembers playing with his cousins at his aunt’s house on nearby Knoblock Street. “My brother and sister were here,” Tourtellotte says. “We just gravitated to Oklahoma State.” While managing apartments for his family, he double-majored in business administration and economics after trying his hand at mass communications. He’s quick to note he didn’t double major to impress anyone. He had found a loophole that let him graduate with a double major without taking many more credit hours, he says. CONTINUES

LEFT Bob Tourtellotte ’84, middle, met with OSU media and strategic communications students in spring 2010 to discuss his career as an editor for Reuters, one of the largest multimedia news agencies. His family — his father, Dick Tourtellotte ’54, and sister, Debra Thomas, flank the editor photographed on the OSU campus earlier this year — has a long legacy of involvement with OSU.


They put you down on the news floor. They say, ‘OK, you think you’re a hot shot. Let’s see your smoke.’ — Bob Tourtellotte,



After graduating in 1984, he moved to New York City to be a writer. That didn’t work out at first. So he spun his wheels for a while, working for the publishing company Simon & Schuster and later in advertising. He also tried his hand working on Wall Street. His peers were Ivy League grads with more expensive but not more useful degrees. He eventually decided he needed what he called a fancy degree, too, if he was going to make it as a writer. So he went to New York University for a master’s degree in journalism. After finishing his degree, he still couldn’t find work for 2½ years. That is, until one day in 1992. He walked into Reuters’ human resources department looking for a job — any job. The English news service had a huge operation covering American financial markets. They offered him a summer internship and he gladly accepted. “I was a 30-year-old summer intern,” he says. “I always laugh at that now.” Once he had his foot in the door, Tourtellotte worked his way to the news floor, “a real prove-it kind of place,” he says. “They put you down on the news floor. They say, ‘OK, you think you’re a hot shot. Let’s see your smoke.’” His supervisors told him they’d find him a full-time position if he could break news. One of his first assignments was working on the commodities desk writing about things such as traders placing bets on whether the price of orange juice will rise or fall during a period of time. Six months later, he had done well enough to be hired and began writing about treasury bonds. After a year, he learned of an entry-level opening covering small companies in Los Angeles. Those were mostly technology firms specializing in the entertainment industry. Tourtellotte also wrote about early CD-ROM technology, the advent of the DVD and the first wave of Internet-based entertainment. “That introduced me to writing about the studio business — the business part of show business,” he says.

Reuters then had an informal entertainment desk in Los Angeles, which allowed Tourtellotte to naturally drift into writing about stars, films and television. His business background gave him a deeper understanding of the subjects. His managers realized his skill. Tourtellotte eventually rose to editor-in-charge for entertainment, a position made just for him. “Now I’m the face of Reuters print in Hollywood,” he says. “I worked my way into it. It’s a job I basically created myself.” Although it’s stressful, he loves his job, in part because of the rapport he has with his reporters and colleagues. During his 19-year tenure, he has met and chatted with some of the greatest artists of the time. Steven Spielberg. Martin Scorsese. Tom Hanks (“Mr. Nice Guy,” Tourtellotte says). George Clooney. People always ask him what celebrities are like in person. The ones with the egos — the Mel Gibsons and Kevin Costners — are exactly how you’d imagine them to be, he says. But when he writes about them, he tries to show their humanity. “Over the years I’ve learned big Hollywood stars and actors are people just like anybody. They have their own issues and their own problems.” Tourtellotte returned to Stillwater last spring for the first time in years, taking leave from work to help his dad during rental season, to recover from a nagging shoulder injury and to visit his sister. In April, he spoke with students in the College of Arts and Sciences. It was the first time in years he missed the famed Cannes Film Festival in France. But he used the time to reconnect with old friends and reacquaint himself with the university he grew up around. “I think I received a really good education here,” he says. “I met a ton of fun people. I had a great time as an undergrad. I suppose at some point I could’ve gone out of state, but I never wanted to, and I’ve never regretted not doing that.” 


Arts & Sciences

College of Arts and Sciences Alumni: Stronger Every Day This is an exciting time for the College of Arts and Sciences at OSU. Our college continues to grow and today we have more than 42,000 alumni. The Office of Alumni Relations for the College of Arts and Sciences serves as the constituency to the OSU Alumni Association and, since 1896, has served to strengthen ties among its alumni and friends through its programs and services. For more information or to join the OSU Alumni Association, visit, or phone Lorene Roberson, media and alumni relations for College of Arts and Sciences, at 405-744-7497 or email

Alumni Board of Directors

Office of the Dean


201 Life Sciences East Stillwater, OK 74078 (405) 744-5663

Dr. Timothy Geib, ’98 National Board Representative

Dana Glencross ’82/’86 Members

Carol Ringrose Alexander ’86 Dr. D. Erik Aspenson ’89 Claudia Holdridge Bartlett ’80 Dr. Carla Britt ’83 Matt Caves ’97 Dean

Peter M.A. Sherwood, Ph.D., Sc.D. Associate Dean for Instruction and Personnel

Bruce C. Crauder, Ph.D.

Stacy Dean ’86

Associate Dean for Academic Programs

Christopher Gafney ’90

Thomas A. Wikle, Ph.D.

Dana Glencross ’82/’86 Lisa Helms-Suprenand ’01 Brian Huseman ’94 Scott Levy ’99 Amy Logan ’97 Theresa McClure ’78

Associate Dean for Research

Ron Van Den Bussche, Ph.D. Director of Outreach

H. Walter Shaw Director of Fiscal Affairs

Pam Mowry ’04

Renee G. Tefertiller

David Parrack ’80

Associate Vice Presidents of Development

Annawyn Shamas ’56 Sara Sheffield-Forhetz ’04 Alumni Liaison

Lorene A. Roberson ’84

Jason J. Caniglia John Strah Director of Student Academic Services

Amy Martindale, Ed.D.


Endowed Chairs and Professorships It’s about understanding the world.


It’s about polymers, quantum optics and nation branding. It’s about biogeophysics, 3-D and French women playwrights. And, it’s even about carbonate rocks. But most of all, it’s about understanding the world around us, our place in it and how we can make it better. The College of Arts and Sciences boasts 13 endowed chairs and 13 endowed professorships in a wide range of academic disciplines, from chemistry to journalism to sociology.

The Positions Filled Positions

Grayce B. Kerr Chair in mathematics: William Jaco Fae Rawdon Norris Professorship in humanities: Perry Gethner

“Faculty recruitment and retention are important to our college’s competitiveness both in research and teaching,” says Regents Professor Peter M.A. Sherwood, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Endowed faculty positions attract, retain and fund the long-range research of a distinguished scholar or they can support the career development of promising younger faculty.” The faculty positions provide perpetual funds to enhance

Noble Foundation Chair in laser research: Girish Agarwal Noble Foundation Professorship in technology enhanced learning: James Choike AT&T Professorship in mathematics: Igor Pritsker Sun Company Clyde Wheeler Chair in hydrogeology: Estella Atekwana V. Brown Monnett Chair in petroleum geology: Jay Gregg Peggy Layman Welch Chair in strategic communications: Jami Fullerton Harrison I. Bartlett Chair in chemistry: Frank Blum Chesapeake Energy Chair in petroleum geoscience: Michael Grammer Laurence L & Georgia I Dresser Professorship in rural sociology: Riley Dunlap Vacant Positions

the holder’s salary, support

Fire Emergency Management Program Endowed Chair

research and fund related

Vaughn Foundation Professorship

expenses. The funds result from

Donald Reynolds Centennial Professorship

interest earnings on the mon-

Hannah D. Atkins Professorship for political science and government information

ies placed in the endowment. A $500,000 donation establishes an endowed chair, while a $250,000 donation establishes an endowed professorship. On the following pages are snapshots of faculty whose research and teaching is supported through endowed chairs

Harry Heath-Tulsa Tribune Foundation Professorship in journalism and broadcasting Boone Pickens Endowed Chair in geophysics Welch/Bridgewater Chair in sports journalism Devon Energy Chair for basin research Vennerberg Professorship in developmental disabilities in psychology Vaughn “Trey” O. Vennerberg III Chair in bioinformatics and molecular genetics Vennerberg Professorship in art

and professorships and is mak-

Doug & Nickie Burns Endowed Professorship in vocal music

ing the world better. 

Masonic Chair in gender studies Houston-Truax-Wentz Endowed Professorship in English Mary Lou Lemon Endowed Professorship for underrepresented voices

Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT


“In order to create a better tennis racket, we must


understand the structural components so we may

learn how to design new

materials for increasingly

demanding applications.”

Regents Professor Frank

He is heavily involved in the

Blum is interested in how things

polymer chemistry division of the


American Chemical Society, which

From tennis rackets to golf clubs to fiberglass boats, he wants to make sense of their innards. Blum is an expert in polymers that play essential roles in everyday life. The chair of the chemistry

honored him with distinguished service and special service awards. He is a fellow of the American Chemical Society. Blum earned a bachelor’s in chemistry and a master’s in physical chemistry from Eastern

department has co-authored more

Illinois University. He earned a

than 200 publications and has

doctorate from the University of

supervised 25 doctoral students.


His accolades include an Alcoa

He came to OSU in 2010 from

Foundation Award and twice

the Missouri University of Science

receiving the Exxon Education

and Technology.

Foundation Award.

Phil Shockley  PORTRAIT

Regents Professor Girish Agarwal is an expert in quantum optics whose work has been honored with the Max-Born Prize from the Optical Society of America, the Physics Prize of the Third World Academy of Sciences, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize and the Humboldt Research Award. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society,


the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, the Optical Society of America, the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences and the Third World Academy of Sciences. He built a school of physics at the University of Hyderabad in India. He was the director of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad, India, for 10 years. He held the Indian National Science Academy’s Albert Einstein Research Professorship and an


honorary professorship

at the J Nehru Center for

Advanced Research in Bangalore, India. He was a frequent visitor to the Max-

Planck Institute for Quantum

Optics in Germany. Agarwal earned a

doctorate from the University of Rochester

Physics Regents Professor Girish Agarwal’s research focusses on fundamental advances in quantum physics at nano scale, precision

where he received the

measurements and high-resolution

Eastman Kodak Prize.


courtesy of TulsaPeople Magazine  PORTRAIT

Professor Jami Fullerton teaches undergraduate advertising and graduate mass communication courses. Her research interests include the portrayal of gender in advertising, crosscultural communication and advertising education. Currently she is researching U.S. public diplomacy efforts since 9/11. She has published studies in national academic journals including Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, and Mass Communication and Society Journal. She is co-editor of the Journal of Advertising Education. She is former chair of the academic committee for the American Advertising Federation and past head of the advertising division of the Association of Education

“We are looking at how

in Journalism and Mass Communication.

mega-sports events,

Her accolades include the

like the World Cup or

Women in Communication’s Headliner Award, Tulsa (Okla.)

the Olympics, affect the

Newsmaker and Billy I. Ross

international reputation

Advertising Education Award. In 2003, she received a

of the nations hosting

grant to study international

the games. It’s part of

advertising, specifically the U.S. State Department’s

an emerging field called ‘nation branding.’ If host countries understand how those things affect perceptions, they can use that information for economic and political advantages.”

advertising effort in the Muslim


world. Research resulting from the grant was published with Alice Kendrick in Advertising’s War on Terrorism: The Story of the U.S. State Department’s Shared Values Initiative. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate from the University of North Texas.


Phil Shockley  PORTRAIT

Regents Professor Estella Atekwana’s work has opened a frontier in earth science research: biogeophysics. Her investigations of geomicrobiology — a combination of geology and microbiology — processes have helped pioneer the subdiscipline. Atekwana is studying the transformation of the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 oil spill. Atekwana also has interests in tectonophysics with a focus to incipient continental rifting along the East African Rift System and extensional terranes in southwest Turkey. Like many endowed professors, Atekwana is sought after as a conference speaker and panelist. She has served on panels for the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, National Institutes of Health and the National Research Council of the National Academies Committee to Assess the Performance of Engineered Barriers. She is involved with the American Geophysical


Union, the Environmental

and Engineering Geophysical Society and the Society of

Exploration Geophysicists Foundation.

She graduated magna cum

laude with a bachelor’s degree in geology from Howard

University. She earned a

master’s from Howard and a

doctorate in geophysics from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“I have a project in the Gulf of Mexico looking at how bacteria are breaking down oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Understanding how they do that can make cleanups cheaper and more effective.”


Phil Shockley  PORTRAIT

“I work in three-manifold topology recognizing and classifying 3-D models. Applications include understanding knotting of DNA strands, robotics, surgical reconstruction, special effects and computer simulation, and Regents Professor

mining networks.”

William Jaco’s career involves understanding the behavior of 3-D objects. He has his own Wikipedia page, which says Jaco works on threemanifolds and is a co-discoverer of the JSJ Decomposition named for its discoverers Jaco, Peter Shalen and German mathematician Klaus


Johannsen. Jaco has completed more than 60 reviewed research papers and books, and nearly 250 plenary addresses worldwide. Jaco was executive director and CEO of the American Mathematical Society. His honors include fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, honorary lifetime member of the American Mathematical Society, honorary associate member of the Moscow Mathematical Society and a Recognition for Service to St. Petersburg and Russian Mathematics and Mathematicians. From 1982 to 1987, Jaco served as head of the mathematics department. He is currently the department’s interim chair. He earned a bachelor’s at Fairmont State University in West Virginia, a master’s at Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT

Professor Jay M. Gregg brings real-life experience to his students in the Boone Pickens School of Geology. He has worked in the petroleum industry for Sun Company, the minerals industry for St. Joe Minerals Corporation, and the nuclear waste repository program for Westinghouse Hanford Co. Gregg studies sedimentary petrology and geochemistry and applies his expertise to research on the origin of dolomite and the origin and distribution of hydrocarbons and base metals in sedimentary basins. Gregg was the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to University College Dublin and was a visiting geology professor at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. He served on the scientific team for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 307. He has authored or co-authored more than 70 professional technical publications on these subjects. Gregg earned bachelor’s degrees in geology and biology at Bowling Green State University,


a master’s in geology from Oklahoma State University and

a doctorate in geology from Michigan State University.

“Much of my teaching and research involves carbonate rocks — limestone and dolomite — and how fluids, such as oil and gas, are generated and move in sedimentary basins. This is important to understanding the origin and distribution of petroleum reservoirs in Oklahoma and elsewhere in


the world.”

Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT


Thanks to the research of Regents Professor Perry Gethner,


French female playwrights have a prominent place in history books.

“Women have always played a key role in European literature, however, it could be argued that at one point there

Gethner, who heads the foreign

languages and literature department, has devoted more than 30 years to resurrecting the history of the

playwrights. For years, their work was totally absent from anthologies or relegated to just a few pages in history books. Gethner has several other ongoing research projects. His articles focus on a variety of topics

was an attempt to

including French staging and acting

sweep them under

conventions, musical comedy, early

the rug.”

opera libretto, religious and didactic themes in drama, and comparisons of male and female authors. He also has published critical editions and translations of plays by such authors as Jean Rotrou and Voltaire, plus several anthologies of works by female playwrights. He earned a bachelor’s from Carleton College in Minnesota and a master’s and doctorate from Yale University. 

Coming to OSU made me feel like I always belonged here. I believe the department has the potential to become one of the premier statistics departments in the nation. — Regents Professor Ibrahim Ahmad, head of statistics department


Matt Elliott  WORDS Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT

A Statistics Ambassador From a child watching ships pass on the Suez Canal to a Regents Professor in an OSU classroom, Ibrahim “Abe” Ahmad has always seen himself as an ambassador. Many professors have long, rewarding careers.

Ahmad has taught students from every inhabited continent

“Coming to OSU made me feel like I always belonged

on the planet. He is a noted

here,” Ahmad says. “I believe

instructed students from as

writer who has published doz-

the department has the poten-

many places as statistics pro-

ens of articles. His first paper,

tial to become one of the pre-

fessor Ibrahim “Abe” Ahmad.

a co-authored piece analyzing

mier statistics departments in

statistics’ use in biometrics,

the nation.”

Few have taught in or

He’s an ambassador for statistics.

appeared in a 1974 publication

He is repairing the depart-

by the Society for Industrial and

ment’s budget after the 2008

Ahmad, one of three College of

Applied Mathematics. He later

recession and branching out

Arts and Sciences instructors

delved into survival analysis,

into risk analysis. He is work-

promoted to Regents Professor

looking at machine failure rates

ing on adding a certificate

in 2010. “I grew up in an inter-

and death rates in organisms.

program in bioinformatics, the

“It makes sense,” says

national neighborhood of Suez, Egypt, near the canal.” From the top floor of his family’s house, he could watch ships pass by in the canal.

He has taught at McMaster University and the universities

practice of using statistics to solve problems in molecu-

of Memphis, Maryland, South

lar biology. He also wants to

Florida and Central Florida. His

expand the department’s ties

first department head position

to budding research programs

His father ran a family con-

was over the statistics division

in Saudi Arabia and add faculty

struction company in Suez and

of Northern Illinois University in


Ismailia. Most of his siblings

1987. He also worked for the

went into engineering. His

Florida Auditor General.

mother wanted him to be a doc-

His visiting positions include

That should bring in more students and grow the department, he says.

tor. He decided to be the black

posts at Damascus University,

sheep of the family, he says.

the London School of Eco-

reputation you need once you’re

nomics, Saudi Arabia’s King

in the marketplace,” he says.

“I went to Cairo University’s

“Good students give you the

economics and statistics pro-

Fahd University of Petroleum

gram thinking I’d become an

and Minerals and King Saud

ambassador,” Ahmad says.

University, and Eglin Air Force

years. He has also been con-

“They were just starting it at

Base in Valparaiso, Fla. His big

sulting editor for the Journal

Cairo, which was an elite col-

break, he says, came in 2005

of Reliability and Applications.

lege. I ended up being the first

at Colgate University in Ham-

He is an elected fellow of the

and youngest graduate of the

ilton, N.Y., where he had an

American Statistical Associa-

college’s first year, 1965.”

endowed chair and professor-

tion, the American Association

Ahmad edited the Journal of Nonparametric Statistics for 15

He was a graduate assistant

ship in the math department. It

for the Advancement of Sci-

for Carl Marshall, a visiting pro-

was a prestigious appointment

ence, the International Sta-

fessor from OSU, who encour-

at one of the nation’s top math

tistical Institute and the Royal

aged Ahmad to attend graduate


Statistical Society. 

school at OSU. Ahmad decided

He came to OSU in 2008

on Florida State University

because the program pre-

because he had family there.

sented a challenge that

He finished his doctoral degree

appealed to him, he says. It

in 1973 and was hired at FSU as

was also a chance to return to

an instructor and researcher.

a statistics department and live in Stillwater, with a lower cost of living for his retirement. He also knew many of the department’s faculty members.


Matt Elliott  WORDS Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT

Teaching Backward; Learning Forward Zoologist Loren Smith, a newly appointed Regents Professor, merges hydrology, soil sciences, ecology and meteorology to teach students about ecosystems. Sometimes it’s better to teach backward, says OSU zoologist Loren Smith. Naturally, many instructors teach students about organisms first and then their ecosystems. “We want to teach in ways that excite students, and that approach is often the most interesting for them,” Smith says. However, a better approach for learning, he says, is to teach students about ecosystems first, then about the organisms that inhabit them. Smith, head of OSU’s zoology department, has spent more than 30 years turning it around. He merges sciences of hydrology, soil, ecology and a bit of meteorology in his research and teaching. That’s because organisms are the sum total of their adaptations to their environment. “If I know about the environment of a certain area, then I can tell you what types of species of animals we will have there and how well they’re doing,” Smith says. That approach is part of what makes him one of the world’s top experts in wetlands. And it’s part of why in 2010 he was named a College of Arts and Sciences Regents Professor, the highest promotion OSU faculty can receive.


He also won the Environmental Law Institute’s 2011 National Wetland Award for Science Research, an honor the Washington, D.C., based policy group uses to laud wetland stewards. “It’s a great honor to receive the Regents Professorship, and the wetlands award,” Smith says. “The fact I was nominated by my peers means a great deal to me.” Smith has published more than 170 articles, the bulk of which are on Great Plains wetlands called playas. He has documented how playas act as filters for pollutants, fight flooding, support biodiversity and recharge aquifers, including the Ogallala Aquifer located beneath the Great Plains and providing irrigation for agriculture and drinking water for millions of people. Playas also are the anchor points for delicate ecosystems relied upon by thousands of migratory birds, amphibians, insects and other organisms. He uses his research to inform high-level policymakers crafting better conservation programs. Smith is evaluating U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs in the Great Plains with colleagues at OSU and Texas Tech University. He also has had projects with the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Scott McMurry, an OSU zoology professor, nominated Smith for the Regents Professor position. They have worked closely together. After Smith was hired at OSU in 2007, McMurry was hired. “I’ve always been just real impressed with the guy,” McMurry says. “He has a strong work ethic, a strong commitment to his role as a scientist, not only in producing a good product but one that’s useable by society. He just epitomizes a good boss. He leads by example.” Smith’s graduate students say their thesis adviser is a huge asset to them. Doctoral student Ben Beas says he has never had a professor as demanding as Smith, nor one who required as much of a background in ecosystem services and other sciences. Smith expects stellar results. “It is an honor to work for him,” says Beas, whose research focuses on how wetland restoration affects ecosystems. “I feel incredibly fortunate to be studying under the guidance of Dr. Smith.” Additionally, the skills and attention to detail he demands, as well as his experience with large government projects, make Smith’s former students hot commodities in the job market. Beas hopes to work as a government researcher in conservation once he finishes his doctoral degree in September.

Jessica O’Connell, another of Smith’s doctoral students, transferred to OSU from Tulane University to study larger-scale wetland ecology and work on Smith’s USDA project evaluating the government’s conservation efforts. The work will be invaluable to her in the future because she hopes to work in coastal wetlands conservation. She also has been able to expand her doctoral thesis on how land usage affects soil’s ability to store carbon. “He gives me the freedom to be creative,” she says. “He has allowed me to infuse some big ideas into my doctoral research that I wouldn’t have been able to do with another professor.” Smith, a fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists, has a master’s from South Dakota State University and a doctorate from Utah State University. Smith lives near Stillwater with his wife of 34 years, Janiece, who is a development coordinator at the OSU Foundation. His son, Clayton, graduated in May 2011 from OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, and his daughter, Jessica, graduated in 2009 with a degree in business from the OSU’s Spears School of Business. She works for Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City. 

“It’s a great honor to receive the Regents Professorship. The fact I was nominated by my peers means a great deal to me.” — Regents Professor Loren Smith, zoology department head


“You can look at computation in the machine, the hardware. … Or, you can look at it in the brain. … Or, you can look at computations in the universe. … I would like to work at the deepest levels of these questions.” — Regents Professor Subhash Kak, computer science department head


Matt Elliott  WORDS Gary Lawson  PHOTO

Beyond Ones and Zeros Computer science Regents Professor seeks deeper knowledge.

“You can look at computaWhat if the cosmos were a tion in the machine, the hardcomputer? If it were, most of us would ware, where there are bits of like to know the code to make information going back and us attractive, rich and famous. forth, and you’re using gates that perform logical operations “Exactly,” laughs Subhash taking you from data to the Kak, one of three College of Arts and Sciences faculty mem- final result,” Kak says. “Or you can look at it in bers named a Regents Profesthe brain,” he continues. sor in 2010. “Our senses take in data and, Kak isn’t your typical somehow, our brain miracucomputer science instructor. lously converts the data into He has written articles on judgments. consciousness and the universe, including work debating “Or you can look at comwhether the cosmos is a gigan- putations in the universe. You could say laws are part of tic computer. His renowned the machine transporting the work in cryptography — the universe from one point to study of securing electronic another point,” Kak says. data — and neural networks “I would like to work at — a system of circuits acting as nerve cells used in artificial the deepest levels of these intelligence — has yielded two questions.” Kak is head of the compatents. puter science department. He Kak’s research has been profiled on the Discovery and came to OSU in 2007 from History television channels, as Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He was drawn well as networks in Europe and India. Kak grew up in Sri- by the chance to help mold the department and leave a state nagar, Kashmir, in India. reeling from the aftereffects of He has written 12 books Hurricane Katrina. on cryptography and furPlus, OSU is the alma ther afield subjects such as mater of the late Ed Roberts, Indo-Aryan migration, Vedic the father of the personal astronomy (ancient Indians’ computer. study of the stars) and the “So this was a position which nature of knowledge, as well was very interesting,” Kak says. as six acclaimed volumes of Kak’s colleague, profespoetry. His books have been translated into French, Serbian, sor K.M. George, nominated him for the Regents Professor German, Italian, Korean and promotion. Spanish.

“As a colleague he’s very easy to get along with,” George says. “As an administrator, he’s very approachable, and he listens to you.” George praises Kak’s work ethic, fundraising and hiring of two faculty members and his efforts to re-establish departmental connections to private organizations and companies. As an instructor, Kak exposes students to the newest and brightest ideas in computer science, such as in his quantum-computing course. The subject is an emerging field examining how different states of matter can expand computing beyond the ones and zeros of standard binary code. “Teaching the course is as fulfilling for me as learning the material is for students,” Kak says. “Because it’s out of the box thinking. You can’t visualize a quantum computer if you’re doing classical Aristotelian logic — this or that. Because in quantum mechanics you have either one or zero happening simultaneously.” Kak’s graduate students describe him as understanding and willing to help when they need it. He has had nearly 20 students writing their theses with him and nearly half of them graduated in May.

One of his former students, Abhishek Parakh, followed him to OSU from LSU. Parakh finished his doctorate in May and was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. “He goes beyond the textbook material and tells us about cutting-edge research in the field,” Parakh says. “It’s because of his guidance that I have a very good job.” Kak’s coursework is extremely complex, Parakh says. Open to new ideas, Kak encourages his students to adapt to changing technology and learn to write well, useful tendencies if they want to publish as researchers, Parakh says. Kak is the executive editor of the Journal of Cosmology and editor of the Journal of Universal Computer Science. In 2009 he was one of just 15 editors for UNESCO’s ICOMOS project on archaeoastronomy, which examines ancient cultures’ study of the stars, and the keynote speaker at the Astronomy and Civilization Conference in Budapest. In the future he plans to continue his research into data security, cryptography and neural networks, as well as whatever philosophical questions fascinate him. 


“Maybe we’ll see bomb-detecting rats on the front lines or maybe it will be behind the scenes, but I think it can be very beneficial for the people of our country and others worldwide.” — Alex Ophir, zoology professor


Rat Research Could Save Lives STORY BY 

Stacy Pettit ‘09 


Phil Shockley

OSU zoologist Alex Ophir seeks to understand rats’ potential for bomb detection.

From a pencil, pen and notebook to beakers and test tubes, those hustling across the OSU campus can have a wide array of supplies in tow. But professor Alex Ophir is receiving attention for an addition – much furrier and more mobile than a No. 2 pencil – he hopes will become a very important tool for countries all over the world. Ophir has won a $740,000 research grant to study the bombdetection talents of African giant pouched rats, which can grow to be nearly 3 feet long and weigh up to 4 pounds. With the Department of Defense’s grant, much of Ophir’s next five years will be dedicated to uncovering the range in behaviors these rats express and what makes their ability to detect land mines and bombs “tick.” “What we want to do is get an idea of the capabilities of these animals, the contexts in which these animals behave in certain ways, and how that might translate if one wanted to start training them for various explosives tasks,” Ophir says. The African giant pouched rat is not the first rodent Ophir won a grant to study. Last year, he was awarded nearly $350,000 by the National Institutes of Health to study the monogamous habits and social behavior of prairie voles, which exhibit human-like behaviors of love toward their offspring and mates.

By studying these rats in the lab as well as in their native habitat of sub-Saharan Africa, Ophir plans to gain a better understanding of what the professor calls “animal personality.” “The idea is that not everybody who enlists in the army is set up to be a sniper,” he says. “Some are snipers while others drive tanks. A lot of that is based on the special ability of each individual person. The rats are potentially a lot like that as well.” For example, Ophir says some rats might be born with a special ability to explore open spaces while others might be better equipped to search through tight spaces. Therefore, one rat would be better at searching a mine field for explosives, and the other would be effective in combing through cargo areas. Although an organization in Tanzania, APOPO (a Dutch acronym meaning Anti-personnel Landmines Detection Product Development), has been studying these bomb-detecting rats since the late 1990s, Ophir says he hopes unlocking this animal’s personality could significantly shorten the time needed to train these animals. Ideally, a simple blood test after birth would be able to determine what special ability the rat would have. Then training could begin immediately.

Ophir says these bombdetecting rats have the potential to save hundreds of people. Not only might American troops use the rats to track down roadside bombs, but also people in countries across the map could put to rest the fear of being killed or injured by landmines, some of which have been hidden underground for decades. “Maybe we’ll see this on the front lines or maybe it will be behind the scenes, but I think it can be very beneficial for the people of our country and others worldwide,” Ophir says. CONTINUES



OSU zoologist Alex Ophir holds a vole, of which he is researching the monogamous and social behavior. Ophir often uses rodents in his research. He has recently received a grant to study the bombdetection talents of African giant pouched rats. BELOW OSU zoologist Alex Ophir holds an African giant pouched rat, of which the College of Arts and Sciences professor is studying the bombdetecting talents. Photo courtesy of Alex Ophir

As an undergraduate, Ophir attended the University of Texas for a degree in psychology and anthropology. At Texas, Ophir worked in a psychology department research laboratory focused on the interaction of hormones and behaviors. He had a chance to conduct independent research on frog aggression and vocal behavior. The link between animals, science and psychology had Ophir hooked. “It just captivated me,” he says. “I knew I had to do this for the rest of my life.” Ophir next attended Canada’s McMaster University, noted for its programs in animal behavior and evolutionary psychology. “I started out interested, and then as I began to research and learn more, I became even more interested,” he says. “As I gained more of an education, it all sort of folded into one.”

With Ophir’s father being a radiology professor, science has always been a big part of his life. “During his Ph.D. studies, my dad developed a significant amount of what makes ultrasound technology useful. As a part of his research he used my mom and myself to capture images that he later used in his publications before I was even born,” Ophir says. “So I’ve really had science all around me my whole life.” As he grew up in Houston, the kitchen table conversation was typically about the ins and outs of academic life. The conversations that stand out to Ophir are those with his father that groomed him for a life dedicated to science. “He’d implicitly teach me about the scientific method,” Ophir says. “He trained me to use it on anything.”

As a young child, when Ophir asked his father what made marigolds grow, his father replied by asking what he thought made the flowers grow. Then the duo would carry out experiments to determine a possible answer. “We’d use fertilizer, and it was a huge breakthrough,” Ophir says laughing. Ophir, who joined the OSU faculty in 2009, hopes to make another breakthrough with his research on the giant African pouched rats. As he begins his research, he says he could not have asked for a more encouraging and helpful place. “I don’t think I would have any of these opportunities if I wasn’t at Oklahoma State.” 

OSU professor Alex Ophir will be building on research that has been ongoing for more than a decade. In 1998, the Belgian non-commercial company APOPO began researching the use of African giant pouched rats in bomb detection. For more on the organization’s work visit

34 Hero Rat: A large rat trains to detect a landmine under the guidance of a trainer with APOPO, an organization working in Tanzania with the rodents since the 1990s. Photo provided by APOPO

Under the Microscope STORY BY 

Lorene A. Roberson ‘84 



Gary Lawson

Professor and student making their marks. Professor Janette Steets, left, and Lydia

It only makes sense that scientist Janette Steets ended up in the field of botany. She grew up on the bucolic Raritan River in Clinton, N.J., surrounded by cornfields and mill wheels. Her mom was the town librarian, her dad a tool and die maker. She and her two siblings watched their dad tend a vegetable garden year after year at their western New Jersey home. “Everyone thinks of New Jersey as urban, but Clinton has wide-open spaces and I was exposed to the outdoors a lot,” Steets says. The experience led Steets to the field of botany. She knew she wanted to be a biologist but wondered how to apply her passion for nature to the professional world. CONTINUES

Meador work in a lab at OSU. Steets served as Meador’s mentor in the College of Arts and Sciences, a partnership that produced topnotch research. Arabidopsis thaliana: Thale cress or mouseear cress, left, and Orange jewelweed.

Steets teaches large classes “Lydia approached me to that include general ecology be her mentor and I was surand plant biology. She also prised that an 18-year-old was has mentored more than 15 already motivated enough undergraduate and graduate to be doing this,” Steets says. students in botany at OSU. “I was impressed because “It is fairly common for researching a mentor and a junior faculty to mentor research topic takes a lot of students and I really enjoy initiative at any age.” conducting research with Steets mentored Meador her undergraduates,” Steets says. entire academic career at OSU. “The college focuses on a The two young women have a faculty member’s research lot to boast about. prowess,” says Associate Meador has 13 poster preDean for Instruction and sentations, which are vital Personnel Bruce Crauder, also to a young scientist’s career; a professor in the College of 30 awards, including being Arts and Sciences. “We focus named a Wentz Research on not only great research Scholar and Niblack Research but the ability to work with Scholar; and membership in A YOUNG MENTOR undergraduates on their own six honor societies. She was Four years ago, Steets came research. It’s an asset to our a 2010 Barry M. Goldwater to OSU from the University of students because not all uniScholar and was named an Alaska, Fairbanks, where she versities emphasize undergrad- Arts and Sciences Top 10 was a postdoctoral fellow in uate research. OSU does.” Senior and an OSU Outstandbiology. ing Senior. Meador, 22, is A SUCCESSFUL Her work was funded by a at Arizona State University MENTORSHIP grant from the Experimental working toward a doctorate in Alumna Lydia Meador, class Program to Stimulate Combiological design. of 2011, arrived on the Stillpetitive Research, a program Mentoring played no water campus the same time as of the National Science Steets. The bright 18-year-old small part in Meador’s sucFoundation. Her research in cess. That first year, in Steets’ evolutionary ecology grabbed from Broken Arrow, Okla., Life Sciences East basement the attention of OSU adminis- knew she wanted a career in laboratory (now housed in trators. In 2007, she was hired science. One of Meador’s main goals the Physical Sciences Buildas an assistant professor of ing), Meador learned about was to gain research experibotany. She was 28. Impatiens capensis, a type of ence, not an easy task for an Steets’ curriculum vitae is jewelweed. incoming freshman. impressive — two research Meador learned how to “Undergraduate research is fellowships, 14 peer-reviewed extract DNA from jewelweed, rather uncommon,” Meador journal articles, numerous which involves adding various says. “At OSU, however, it manuscripts in preparation, solutions to the plant material. was very easy to get involved.” four research grants, about “The process separates Meador graduated with a 40 conference presentations in out all the other junk in the triple major in botany, microthe U.S. and abroad, as well plant from the DNA,” Steets biology and molecular genetics, as a slew of recognitions and says. The following semester and biochemistry and molecuawards. Meador won her first-ever lar biology. As part of OSU’s Freshman Best Poster at the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences Technical Research Scholars Program, Meeting. Meador needed a mentor for Steets’ first thought was to major in biology as a prerequisite for medical school. “What other options did I have at the time?” she asks. A field botany class at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., answered Steets’ question. “I was dreading taking field botany but needed to fulfill my biology requirements, so in my junior year I finally enrolled in the class. “That course totally changed my life.” Today, as one of 100 junior faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences at OSU, Steets is changing student lives.


Steets says undergraduates traditionally tackle, at most, one research project. Meador worked on six projects with four professors with varying areas of expertise. During Meador’s sophomore and junior years, she examined the role of water stress in the evolution of leaf hair production and flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana, known as mouse-ear cress. Steets taught Meador how to count plant hairs using a microscope, measure flowering time and identify other plant characteristics. This research project has the potential to help the agricultural community with drought issues and to find ways for plants to adapt to intense heat. Meador worked with Regents Professor David Meinke and Steets on her honors thesis, a study of tandem duplicated genes in the flowering plants A. thaliana and A. lyrata, also known as lyre-leaf rockcress, using data mining, bioinformatics and mutation-rate estimation techniques. Outside the botany department, Meador studied with associate professor Nurham Dunford, an oil and oilseed specialist in the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources. Meador researched tobacco cells one summer with North Carolina State University Assistant Professor DeYu Xie, an expert in phytochemistry and metabolic engineering. Although much of Steets and Meador’s time is spent looking into a microscope, there are the outings that return them to wide-open spaces like those of the professor’s childhood. 

the spring semester. It is fairly common for junior faculty to mentor students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Hear about assistant professor of botany Janette Steets and alumna Lydia Meador at

WHO WILL YOU REMEMBER? Without a valid will or plan, the distribution of your assets is determined by the government. Your last will and testament provides an opportunity to avoid that by documenting your wishes. It is a lasting expression of support and affection for the people and causes you wish to remember. After taking care of your loved ones, please consider including the OSU Foundation in your will or living trust. It can provide a visible and enduring tribute for our students, faculty and programs.

For more information on creating a bequest or exploring other charitable estate planning opportunities to benefit the College of Arts and Sciences, contact Jason Caniglia or John Strah at 405-385-5617 or visit

The Opera Plot

STORY BY  Sylvia E. King-Cohen PHOTOGRAPHY BY  Phil Shockley


Filled with dreams, struggles, determination, perseverance and the large potential for success, the story of singer April Golliver and her fight to build a top-tier vocal performance program at OSU rivals that of any opera.


ate at OSU, the opera program

Coming from the little town

Golliver started her musi-

was weak,” says Golliver, who

of Lucien in north central Okla-

cal training at OSU and earned

was encouraged to come back

April Golliver is no stranger to uphill battles.

“When I was an undergradu-

homa, she didn’t have the musi- her bachelor’s in vocal per-

to OSU as a teacher by her

cal opportunities of those in

formance from Oklahoma City

mentor, Babette Belter, a clari-

larger towns and cities. When

University and her master’s

net teacher at OSU.

she wanted to study in Italy

from the prestigious Indiana

for a summer, the then college


sophomore decided to hold a fundraising concert. Townsfolk were 100 percent behind

“I grew up country,” says the associate professor of music. “My father would play the steel

her. They wanted her to be a

guitar and I’d sing along. My

famous opry singer.

favorite entertainer was Reba

She wanted to be an opera singer. “The folks in Lucien were willing to put money into me going to the Grand Ole Opry in Nash-

McEntire. But, you can’t get a degree in country music anywhere in Oklahoma.” Golliver’s love of opera is thanks to an uncle who paid for

ville,” says Golliver, 37, director

her to take a trip to New York

of opera studies in the College

City. Golliver went to the Met-

of Arts and Sciences at Okla-

ropolitan Opera. After that trip,

homa State University.

she was hooked.


Lucien, population 70, has

“I joined the opera company

no police department or street-

at OSU,” says Golliver, who

lights. Golliver says what they

speaks with an attractive Okla-

do have is an appreciation for

homa twang.

country music. “I decided to do this concert,

She has since performed with the Tulsa Opera; the

From Classics to Country. I

Mobile Opera in Alabama; the

knew that I had to perform the

Wichita Grand Opera; at NYC’s

opera first because if I did the

Carnegie Hall; spent summers

country first, they’d leave at

performing at the Spoleto

the end it and never hear the

Vocal Arts Symposium in Italy, a

opera.” Folks in her hometown didn’t

Mecca of opera; and attended the Aspen (Colo.) Music Festi-

disappoint in their generosity.

val, which she describes as the

They attended the concert and

summer program for The Juil-

applauded almost as loudly for

liard School in New York City.

the opera as the country. And, she did end up going to Italy.

The one thing exposure to such a varied world has taught her: OSU’s vocal performances have the potential to be the best of the best.

“She encouraged me to teach here. I passionately wanted to come back and build a program here that would nurture great young voices.” That’s where the challenge comes in.

A MODEL PARTNERSHIP Great students need to know OSU is a place for opera and the public needs to be educated about opera, Golliver says. It isn’t just a fat lady singing with horns on her head and long blonde braids. “Today’s opera is nothing like that. Today’s singers are stars and celebrities,” says Golliver, whose department is working with the OSU Foundation and Tulsa Opera on a partnership that would benefit students, enhance the opera program and bring incredible prestige to OSU as an opera destination. Tulsa Opera is committed to and excited about the prospects — if Golliver and OSU can come up with as much as $1 million. They don’t need it all at once, but about $250,000 to get the ball rolling. CONTINUES


The partnership would give OSU

Innovation is everywhere in

students a chance to perform with

opera, she points out, such as with

“At more developed programs, the more difficult opera roles are

the Tulsa Opera. It would enable

The Met: Live in HD, for which The

filled by graduate students whose

OSU to put on the major produc-

Metropolitan Opera simulcasts live

voices are more mature,” says

tions, drawing opera audiences

performances at movie theaters.

Golliver, who explains that it takes

from across Oklahoma and surrounding states. It could mean

Golliver understands it can be a tough battle. The university has a

time to train and condition voices — and vocal cords — for some of the

classes taught by industry profes-

fantastic vocal program, but there

challenging roles in major operas.

sionals. It would allow non-stu-

are more undergraduates enrolled

“At OSU, we tend to cast freshmen

dents to take opera appreciation

in vocal education than vocal

classes. There would be money for


scholarships, internships and outof-state tuition waivers. Most important, the partnership

“For the opera program to grow, we must increase our vocal performance enrollment,” says Golliver,

and sophomores in those roles because we don’t have those mature voices.” Golliver thinks of each of her students as her children. She’s

would help OSU build a vocal per-

who emphatically defends the uni-

passionate about giving them an

formance graduate program for

versity’s curriculum.

education that will allow them

talented undergraduates. It will be

Golliver wants OSU to be a desti-

to compete successfully against

a model for other opera companies

nation for opera lovers and is look-

voice performance students

and universities.

ing for ways to attract attention

across the country.

“OSU’s Master of Music program

in times of tight budgets campus

could be expanded into an inten-

wide. As many OSU programs

sive three-year curriculum that

hampered by a sagging economy

would include a yearlong fellowship

have done, opera productions are

with Tulsa Opera,” says Golliver,

finding innovative ways to succeed

her voice rising in pride. “This proj-

with limited funds.

ect will create an innovative col-

“Our opera production budget is

laboration between a professional

$1,600,” Golliver says. “We have

opera company and an institu-

to do a lot with a limited budget. It

tion of higher learning that will be

costs $1,600 just for the rights to

unique in the central United States.” some of the more popular operas.” Golliver wants OSU vocal per-

That hasn’t stopped her efforts

formance majors to have access

to give audiences top-flight

to major companies for auditions,


internships and eventually employ-

She just has to use spit, glue,

ment. She also wants to introduce

elbow grease and helping hands

OSU and the community to opera.

wherever she can find them. Her


“One thing we currently do to

father often constructs sets and

introduce OSU opera to new audi-

her mom sews costumes. The

ences is perform at local wine

local theater company either

bars,” Golliver says. “We’ve been

loans or donates props. They

well-received. We also taught a

also borrow costumes from other

series of classes through OSU’s


Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

at the Stillwater library as a way to get people excited about what

we’re doing.”

GROWING WITH INNOVATION Golliver says innovation will allow

But, you can’t borrow students.


SEIZING THE DREAM Will Golliver’s partnership with Tulsa Opera become a reality? Will the dreams for OSU’s opera program be realized? While a bit anxious about the Tulsa Opera opportunity being snatched away by other universities, Golliver is optimistic that whether it is alumni, a corporate sponsor or a charitable organization, someone will jump start the dream. After all, Golliver is proof for the skeptical that OSU Cowboys will do what it takes to succeed. “I remember being told by someone because of my Okie accent I’d never be an opera singer,” Golliver says with a laugh. “I was just someone from dinky little Lucien. When you have a dream and an extreme passion for something, no one can stop you from achieving success.

“You can’t get the great vocal

“I strongly believe our program

performance majors if you don’t

is going in the right direction and

have a program for them to study,”

with my energy, this partnership

Golliver says. There is a snowball effect. Hav-

with Tulsa Opera and help from the community we will become the No.

opera to survive in a down econ-

ing a host of talented students to

1 opera program in Oklahoma and

omy when the arts in general are

cast allows you to put on more

an opera force in this part of the

struggling, and opera houses are

shows for the public. More shows

United States.” 

fighting to bring in audiences and

means more interest in OSU opera.

supplement loyal fans.

More interest means more money. More donations bring better programs. Better programs mean more top students.

“I remember being told by someone because of my Okie accent I’d never be an opera singer. I was just someone from dinky little Lucien, Okla. When you have a dream and an extreme passion for something, no one can stop you from achieving success.” — April Golliver, director of OSU opera studies


Matt Elliott  WORDS Gary Lawson  PORTRAIT


Leader to Be Internship with U.S. House speaker prepares College of Arts and Sciences student Kelly Lynn Offutt for leadership. An OSU senior had a front-row seat to history last summer as an intern for U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner. Kelly Lynn Offutt, a sociology major and leadership minor, says the experience during the nation’s debt debate fanned her love of politics. “I loved everything that surrounded the internship,” Offutt says. “I loved the people in the speaker’s office, and I felt like I learned a lot of leadership skills from them.” Offutt, from Ponca City, arrived during the 10-week congressional showdown over whether to raise the national debt ceiling, the limit on how much the nation can borrow to pay its bills. Leaders sparred over taxes, spending and cuts to everything from defense to Medicare. After much back-and-forth between Boehner, the president and others, Democrats and Republicans just before the Aug. 2 deadline extended the ceiling debt in exchange for $2.4 trillion in cuts. Aug. 2 was also the last day of Offutt’s internship.

“It was an interesting day to be your last day there,” she says. “I think my No. 1 fear going into the internship was how the office would treat people. I was really pleasantly surprised to see his office was very positive.” Offutt spent her days helping Boehner’s legislative assistants collect data and other information, relying on her sociology background to obtain and convey information. Besides the chance to meet visiting dignitaries such as the Dalai Lama, she also did typical intern tasks such as stock the fridge and pick up coffee. It wasn’t her first time in Washington. Offutt was OSU’s student body president last year and visited the Capitol to lobby for higher education. She found similarities between politics she admired in Washington and politics on campus. OSU’s Student Government Association, she says, practiced “servant leadership,” the idea that elected officials work for the people and a greater cause. That’s something, she says, Boehner and his staff members exhibited. In addition to what she learned about leadership and government, she says the friendships she made will last a lifetime. “The No. 1 lesson learned through my internship was just a greater sense of what it truly means to be a leader,” Offutt says. “I’ve had leadership experiences at OSU that prepared me for this internship, and now I feel like this is my second step; a second tier of what it means to be a leader.” After graduating in December, she wants to work for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. Offutt is the daughter of OSU alumni John and Diane Offutt of Houston. Her father is pipeline projects manager with ConocoPhillips and her mother is a third-grade teacher. 

Phil Shockley  PORTRAIT



Rex M. Linn, a 1980 journalism and broadcasting graduate and a regular on the television series CSI: Miami, accepted the College of Arts and Sciences 2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award at the honors and awards banquet in April. Linn has appeared in more than 35 films, including Cliffhanger starring Sylvester Stallone, Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford and Rush Hour starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. His current and most popular role is Sgt. Frank Tripp in CSI: Miami as David Caruso’s reliable buddy. Linn was presented with the distinction at the college’s honors and awards banquet, where more than 200 students were recognized. He encouraged students to “go full speed ahead” when pursuing their dreams. “Do not let others discourage you from your goals, though at times they may seem unobtainable,” he said. “Just remember, it does not matter what coast you are living on, perseverance is the key.” 

The College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Board is accepting nominations for the college’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. To receive a nomination form, contact Lorene A. Roberson, media and alumni relations, at or 405-744-7497. Nominations are due by Jan. 6, 2012.


September 2010

Touring Murray Hall In the 1950s, Murray Hall was home to 400 women. Touring the now-renovated building more than 50 years later were, clockwise from top right, Joy Sullivan, Ellen Null-Miller ’58, Carolyn Speer ’58, Jeannette Robinson Morton ’59, Molly Underhill Scott and Karen Underhill Brown ’59.

David and Cindy Waits attend the Distinguished Alumni ceremony. PHOTO BY GENESEE PHOTO SYSTEMS

September 2010

Distinguished Alumni The OSU Alumni Association honored David Waits as a 2010 Distinguished Alumni. An innovator in geographic information system and remote sensing applications in agriculture, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1986 and a master’s in geography in 1988 from OSU. In 1991, he earned a Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. .

October 2010

A&S Homecoming Reception More than 100 alumni and friends turned out for the A&S homecoming reception at the Henry Bellmon Research Center, a new facility for interdisciplinary research. Alumni from 1960 and 1985 received 25- and 50-year pins presented by A&S alumni board president Dr. Tim Geib ’98 and Regents Professor Peter M.A. Sherwood, A&S dean.


Gary Beatie and Jim Logan were presented 50-year pins from A&S alumni board member Dana Glencross ’82/’86 and Sherwood. From left are Glencross, Beatie, Logan and Sherwood.

Geib, left, presented several A&S alum with 25-year pins, including alumna Rosemary Addy.

A&S alumni board member


Christopher Gafney ’90 and wife Chere Gafney ’90.

December 2010

OSU Hall of Fame Michele Smith ’90 was inducted into the 2011 OSU Alumni Hall of Fame by OSU president Burns Hargis. She earned a bachelor’s in health and wellness from A&S. A pitcher for the OSU Cowgirls softball team, she set eight OSU records, including career victories. She was a three-time All-Big Eight selection, two-time All-Big Eight Academic selection and a two-time All-American. After graduation, her career continued in professional softball and with two Olympic gold medals. In 2010, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. PHOTO BY GENESEE PHOTO SYSTEMS

From left are musicians Trisha Yearwood, Adley Stump

April 2011

Music Students Seeing Stars Entertainers Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood met with OSU music students at Murray Hall to discuss the business of music.

From left are Jason J. Caniglia, A&S vice president of development; Yearwood; Brant Adams, professor and head of the music department; music professors John Seesholtz and Doug Droste; and 1984 journalism alumnus Brooks.

April 2011

Zoology Honors Lindsey Carter ’08/’11 was awarded the Jerry and Winona Wilhm Zoology Teaching Assistant Award at the master’s level. More than 100 attended zoology’s annual awards banquet. From left are Regents Professor Loren Smith, head of the OSU School of Zoology, with Carter and Regents Professor Stanley Fox.

’11 and Garth Brooks ’84.


April 2011

Chemistry Weekend Gala The OSU Department of Chemistry hosted an alumni and friends event to honor Regents Professor Warren Ford, a polymer scientist. More than 100 people attended the two-day celebration recognizing Ford’s 32 years at OSU. From left are Rama Chandran, a postdoctoral researcher; Rani Karnati ’08 Ph.D. in chemistry; Ford; and Mario Gutierrez ’85 Ph.D. in chemistry.

The college’s Top 10 Seniors met with actor Rex Linn at Murray Hall. Front row from left are Dawson Metcalf, Linn’s fiancée Renee DeRese, Stacey Dunbar, Lydia Meador, Stefanie Krull, Blaine Bertrem, A&S Dean Peter M.A. Sherwood, John Brooks and A&S Director of Student Academic Services Amy Martindale. From left on the back row are A&S Vice President of Development Jason J. Caniglia, Steven Ortman, Brent Harkrider and Linn.

April 2011

A&S Honors and Awards Banquet


Actor Rex Linn, 2011 Distinguished Alumnus for A&S, spoke at the annual honors and awards banquet. A 1980 journalism and broadcast graduate, Linn is a regular on the TV show CSI: Miami.

Kristen Haga ’11 with Linn. Haga was presented with the OSU

Linn, who earned a bachelor’s degree in

Department of Theatre Outstanding Senior Award at the banquet.

radio-television-film, with Derina Holtzhausen, professor and director of the OSU School of Media and Strategic Communications.

Linn stands with Oklahoma Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, ’01/’03.

Linn with family and friends at the awards banquet. From left, David Fleet ’79, Linn’s sister Rhonda Bayless, Linn, and James and Cindy Stevens.

April 2011

A&S Spring Alumni Event Alumni and friends from Tulsa, Okla., and surrounding areas enjoyed an evening of strings featuring the OSU Serenity String Quartet at The Summit. LEFT: From left are the OSU Serenity String Quartet, comprised of Joy

Kotey ’11 and music students Kea Beasley, Kylie Ahern and David Harrison. BOTTOM LEFT: From left are alumni Kenneth and Julie Smith and Frank

Chitwood ’58.; BOTTOM RIGHT: From left, Peggy Welch ’73, Beth Caniglia, associate

professor of sociology at OSU; Jason J. Caniglia, A&S vice president of development; and Peter M.A. Sherwood, A&S dean.

May 2011

A&S’ Newest Alumni From left are 2011 A&S alumnae Jessica

Fernandes-Flack, Erin Prutow, Stefanie Krull and Lydia Meador. The OSU Alumni Association named the women 2011 Outstanding Seniors. PHOTO BY GENESEE PHOTO SYSTEMS

June 2011

Thunderous Art

From left are alumni Andrea and Desmond Mason, with OSU art

professors Chris Ramsay, head of the art department, and Mark Sisson. Desmond Mason, a studio art major, displayed his work at the Malinda Berry Fischer Art Gallery at the OSU Foundation. The former OSU basketball player retired from the NBA in 2010, after playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder among other teams.

May 2011

Lone Star State Alumni Regents Professor Peter M.A. Sherwood visited with Dr. Richard Jennings ’71 and Issy Jennings ’72/’79 in Houston. Richard Jennings, an expert in aerospace medicine, was named A&S Distinguished Alumnus in 2008.


In Memory Martha Reed moved to Taos in 1953. For more than 38 years, she owned and operated the Martha of Taos shop. Her specialties were Navajo style clothing, including hand-pleated, calico, broomstick skirts and velvet blouses, adorned with sterling silver and turquoise butterfly buttons, hand sewn by local native seamstresses. Ms. Reed’s clothing designs earned her many Florence Blanche Baker Holbrook, ’37, music, honors and she often lectured about died March 26, 2011, at age 94. her work. Two of her designs were Mrs. Holbrook was born April 13, worn to functions at the White House. 1916, in Kendrick, Okla. She was She loved to entertain. a graduate of Perkins (Okla.) High After the death of her father and School. In 1937, she earned a bach- mother, she bequeathed her propelor’s degree in music from Okla- erty, consisting of two adobe homes homa A&M. After working in Ripley, and her father’s art studio, to OSU Okla., as a music teacher and band for use as a teaching facility. The director, she directed the choir at result of her gift was the founding First United Methodist Church of of the Doel Reed Center for the Perkins for 34 years. She later taught Arts as a tribute to her father who at Will Rogers Elementary School established OSU’s Department of and Stillwater Middle School. In 1962, Art in the mid-1920s. she earned a master’s degree in She died at her home in Talpa, N.M. elementary education from OSU. She was a Taos area resident for During retirement, she and hus- 57 years. band traveled throughout the United States. He preceded her in death in 2002. Perkins named the couple Ambassadors of Goodwill in 2002 and Honored Citizens during the Harvest Festival in 2002. She was a painter and a member of the Perkins Mutual Improvement Club, Kappa Kappa Iota Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Iota Fraternity and Stillwater Art Guild.

She is survived by a sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, great nieces and Melvin B. Tolson Jr., many cousins. ’50, French, died July 31, 2011,

Dr. Tolson served for several years on the staff of the National Defense Education Act Institutes for Secondary School French Teachers. Classes taught by Dr. Tolson included a survey of the Caribbean French writers and writers of free black African countries using French as their main language. Denzel Washington in the movie The Great Debaters por trayed Dr. Tolson’s father, Melvin B. Tolson. Dr. Tolson Jr. earned a bachelor’s degree at Wiley College in the 1940s while his father taught there.

Mr. Mason was born in Quincy, Ill. He graduated from Principia College with a bachelor’s degree in He is survived by a brother, Arthur L. geology. In 1982, he earned a masTolson, and many relatives. ter’s in geology from OSU.

After working at Exploration Logging Co. and Phillips Petroleum Co., he joined Shell Oil Co., where he was employed for more than 20 years. He was on assignment for Royal Dutch Shell in the Netherlands when he died.

A member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Mr. Mason had served as vice president, receiving its Distinguished Lavaughn Mae Bulling, Service Award. He received acco’57, music, died Dec. 9, 2010, lades from the Geological Society at age 74. of both New Orleans and Houston. Mrs. Bulling lived in Orlando, Okla., Mr. Mason was committed to the where she and her husband of 53 development of young geologists. years, John, raised four children and operated a cattle ranch. She grew In Mr. Mason’s memory, his family up in Ripley, Okla., and attended accepted the Bootstrap Legacy Ripley Public Schools. She was a Award at the 2011 spring banquet drum majorette in the marching for the Boone Pickens School of band at OSU, where she earned a Geology at OSU. bachelor’s in music.

Mrs. Bulling taught music at Perry at age 88. High School and later at MulhallDr. Tolson was an emeritus professor Orlando High School in Oklahoma. of modern languages and literature Under her tutelage, the glee clubs and the first full-time, black faculty won awards for choral achievements member at the University of Okla- at tri-state and state competitions. homa. In 1950, he was one of the She left her teaching career to help two first black people to earn a mas- operate Hereford Cattle Ranch. For ter’s degree from Oklahoma A&M. 52 years, she was a music volunDr. Tolson joined the OU faculty teer at Orlando Methodist Church. in 1959, two years after arriving in She loved all types of music and Norman as a doctoral student. He played the piano and organ. She Martha Reed, taught French for 31 years, won enjoyed cooking, quilting, gardening ’44, died Dec. 28, 2010, at age 88. a Regents Award for Superior and reading. Ms. Reed was born April 23, 1922, Teaching in 1967 and was elected She is survived by her husband in Cincinnati and moved with her into membership of OU’s chapter of John; four children, Teri Hirlinger, parents in 1924 to Stillwater. She the Phi Beta Kappa national honor Rene Rodgers, Chris Bulling and received a bachelor’s degree from society. Scott Bulling; 12 grandchildren; two Oklahoma A&M in 1944. She was a great-grandchildren; and a brother, Southwest fashion designer who is Emmet Robison. credited with popularizing Navajo broomstick skirts paired with traditional velvet or cotton blouses. She was the daughter of artists Doel and Jane Reed.



Erik Paul Mason, ’82, geology, died July 31, 2010, at age 56.

Mr. Mason is survived by his wife, Charlotte; his son, William; his mother, Patricia J. Gooddard; his two brothers, Kirk and Rex; and many family and friends.


First Lady of Arts and Sciences OSU community mourns the loss of Gillian Sherwood 1941–2011

Gillian Thomson Sherwood, 69, of Stillwater, died peacefully on Jan. 24, 2011. She was the beloved wife of Peter M.A. Sherwood, Regents Professor and dean of the OSU College of Arts and Sciences. She died at her home after suffering with pancreatic cancer. A funeral service was held in St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Stillwater on Jan. 28 and on Feb. 4 at Marchmont St. Giles’ Parish Church in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mrs. Sherwood was buried in Grange Cemetery in Edinburgh. The daughter of the late Henry William John Taylor and Nancy Taylor, Mrs. Sherwood was born in Perth, Scotland, on Dec. 16, 1941. She lived with her parents and her three sisters Pamela, Carol and Fiona in various parts of central Scotland, including Drymen, Gateside and Edinburgh. She went to St. Hilda’s School in Balfron, Scotland, where she attained a leadership role as a prefect.


Mrs. Sherwood worked in various positions in London and Edinburgh. She worked at the Scotch Whisky Association and later in real estate. She married Peter Miles Anson Sherwood on Dec. 18, 1982. After their marriage they lived in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, where Dr. Sherwood served on the faculty of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Mrs. Sherwood permanently moved to the United States in January 1985. From 1985 to 2004, she lived in Manhattan, Kan., where Dr. Sherwood served on the faculty of Kansas State University. Mrs. Sherwood moved to Stillwater in July 2004. She became a U.S. citizen Sept. 28, 2007. She is survived by her husband and sisters Carol and Fiona. Her parents and sister Pamela preceded her in death. 

Oklahoma State University College of Arts & Sciences 201 Life Sciences East Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078-3015

You may not be thinking about coming back home today.



until then,



The official magazine of the College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University 2011