photo / gary lawson
This holiday season, give the best gift you can give â€” an OSU education. Encourage the high school senior you know to apply by
Spread the orange! Recommend a future Cowboy. orangeconnection.org/knowafuturecowboy Encourage a prospective student to visit OSUâ€™s campus. admissions.okstate.edu/visit
WINTER 2011, Vol. 7, No. 2 hTTp://sTaTEmagazINE.oRg
Welcome to the winter 2011 issue of STATE magazine, your source of information from the OSU Alumni Association, the OSU Foundation and University Marketing. Photographer Phil Shockley’s peaceful scene of Old Central in the snow belies the constant motion of students, alumni and others who visit campus for the wide array of classes, symposiums, speakers, concerts and more. As always, we hope you enjoy reading about OSU alumni, faculty and students, and we welcome your comments and suggestions for future stories. Cover photography by Phil Shockley
Student Union Update Students play vital role in renovation of campus icon.
Points of Reference Professor Emeritus Marcella Sirhandi describes the evolution of Lubna Agha’s unique art, which will be on exhibit at the Gardiner Art Gallery in February.
Legacy Day A record number of future Cowboys and Cowgirls attended Legacy Day to meet Pistol Pete, watch football and enjoy being an OSU legacy.
Legacy Link Follow Pistol Pete’s path to a happy new year.
A New Path OSU Institute of Technology’s new president brings a proven record of growth.
Urban Focus OSU-Oklahoma City’s new president is ready to equip faculty and students for success.
Lasting Love These two couples say OSU homecoming is where their stories began.
Treasured Pieces A gift of rose medallion china adorns the Jean and Patsy Neustadt China Room at the OSU Foundation.
a Leg! 10 Break OSU’s theater department celebrates
40 years and kicks off a new decade as strong as ever.
Adding Value to Oklahoma A new spiral oven donated to OSU by Unitherm Food Systems will enhance food researchers’ assistance to the Oklahoma food industry.
20 Years and Still Cookin’ Distinguished Chef Scholarship Benefit Series celebrates two decades of fine dining and education.
15 16 18
Changing the World OSU Institute of Technology will gain a state-of-the-art training center thanks to Chesapeake Energy.
Personal Reference This Texas teacher inspires high school students to pursue college and shares his memories of OSU.
Passion for Diversity
Alumna mentors inner-city youth and encourages students with diverse backgrounds to choose OSU.
Outreach in Afghanistan
An international agriculture master’s student gains real-world experience in the National Guard.
38 42 44 48
“Oranging Up” Tulsa Orange pride is transforming the OSU-Tulsa campus with orange furniture, orange parking lot banners and Pistol Pete signs.
Memberships 54 Life Students can begin reaping the
rewards of OSU Alumni Association membership years before they graduate.
56 OSU Alumni Association recognizes five individuals for
A Good Friend John Hessel devoted his life to helping others.
their outstanding personal and professional excellence.
Homecoming 2011 OSU welcomes 80,000 alumni and friends to homecoming and wants to know “Where Your Story Began.”
The heart of an explorer maps a new college course to attract Native Americans.
Learning the Ropes
Driving Success Neurosurgeon-rancher-businessman spends countless hours working, volunteering and giving back to OSU.
An Incredulous Reality Friends and family of Chris and Jenny Goodpasture Stiegler established scholarships in their memory to further the young couple’s legacy of love and generosity.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night ...
OSU’s Bigbee family shares funny stories about trying to maintain American customs while teaching agricultural education in Ethiopia.
The Dr. Rebecca Adcock Leader Scholar Scholarship will benefit students in OSU housing and residential life.
Singer and alumnus Monty Harper partners with OSU faculty to write songs that fascinate kids with science.
Radio Stories KOSU reporter Ben Allen trains students to find and air personal and relevant stories.
Chapter leaders learn ways to improve membership, host fun events and support student scholarships.
The Grid-O-Graph Before the days of radio and TV, sports fans followed the live action of away games with a giant board, light bulbs and Morse code.
A Thoroughbred Legacy This real Cowboy is living his dream while strengthening Kentucky’s historic Calumet Farm.
Taking the Lead A professor’s collaboration with industry partners and scientific peers gives life to National Center for Veterinary Parasitology.
FM with IQ
84 When you see this logo, go to orangeconnection.org to view behind-the-scenes video and extras about the article. This member-only benefit is brought to you by the osU alumni association.
Oklahoma State enjoyed a record-setting homecoming in late October with an estimated crowd of 80,000, making this year’s Walkaround our biggest ever. Thanks to the terrific work of our students and the Alumni Association, “America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration” is a one-of-a-kind experience. This issue of STATE captures many of the highlights. OSU alumni and donors are helping fuel a transformation at our beloved university. More than 70,600 have given to our $1 billion Branding Success campaign, which has now topped $828 million. The primary focus of the campaign is to raise scholarship dollars to help students pursue an all-important college degree unburdened by debt. The campaign has generated 764 new scholarships so far. In the following pages, we spotlight alumni who are touching the lives of students in a variety of ways. Stephen Smallwood, a high school teacher in Paris, Texas, encourages students to attend college and makes sure they keep OSU as an option. He is helping give students the confidence to pursue higher education, including a set of triplets who are now attending OSU. Deb Emerson mentors inner-city youths in Baltimore and has created a scholarship to attract the best and brightest students from diverse backgrounds to Oklahoma State. Barry Pollard, an acclaimed neurosurgeon and successful businessman, has led the establishment of the OSU Medical Cowboy scholarships, as well as scholarships in agribusiness, animal science, food science and football. It has been a fantastic fall semester across our campuses. Your support plays a big part in our success. Ann and I wish you all the best. May your holidays be bright orange! Go Pokes!
Burns Hargis OSU President
s tat e
Dear OSU Alumni and Friends, Even if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, don’t let our peaceful, quiet cover of Old Central fool you. The OSU campus is rarely still or silent. Besides the thousands of college students traversing campus each day, thousands of high school students visit regularly for campus tours. And OSU’s homecoming always attracts thousands more. “America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration” lived up to its name again this year. At Walkaround, an estimated 80,000 people viewed house decorations, parade floats and orange residence halls. Thousands of students make the annual tradition a great success, while many alumni and friends support it through the Homecoming and Student Programs Endowment. Progress on the $1 billion Branding Success campaign continues at a record pace, with more than $828 million in commitments. OSU recently announced significant strides toward a new state-of-theart building for the Spears School of Business this fall. Lead gift donors have committed more than $15 million, including $5 million from Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Expect to hear more good news as we seek to raise another $45 million for the facility during the next 18 months. Students are excited about the Learning and Student Success Opportunity Center. It is helping students build confidence and gain tools needed to succeed. Donors provided funding to launch the center with more than $2 million in support. Such generosity makes an immediate difference, and the impact will increase over time. If the weather outside is frightful, check out the Alumni Association’s holiday gift ideas page at orangeconnection.org/giftideas. You can purchase gift memberships and save on OSU and name-brand gifts from the University Store, Orange Savings Connection and the OSU Alumni Print Store. Bowl package information is also posted online. Whether you’re dashing through the snow or out on a sleigh ride, invite a potential student along for a scheduled campus tour Dec. 10, Feb. 18 or March 17. Tours continue on May 19, June 23 and July 21. For information, visit admissions.okstate.edu/events. Happy holidays!
Kirk A. Jewell President and CEO OSU Foundation
Larry Shell President OSU Alumni Association
Kyle Wray VP for Enrollment Management & Marketing
Don’t let time pass you by... Being part of the Oklahoma State University family has many benefits, one of them being the unique advantage you have when it comes to shopping for insurance. Because you are grouped with your fellow alumni, you may get lower rates than those quoted on an individual basis.
Plans offered to Alumni: • 10-year Level Term Life Insurance • Catastrophe Major Medical Insurance Plan • Short-term Medical • Major Medical Insurance • Long-term Care Insurance Plan • Disability Income Insurance Program Put your OSU advantage to good use by calling 1-888-560-ALUM (2586), or visiting orangeconnection.org/benefits today.
201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org
The Rest of the Story I especially enjoyed David Peters’ article, “Ancient and Beneficent Orders” (spring 2011) concerning the Red Red Rose and the Blue Blue Violet. As a university archivist, I thought Mr. Peters might enjoy knowing “the rest of the story.” As his article says, the Blue Blue Violet was a sister organization to the Red Red Rose and quickly expanded after beginning at Oklahoma A&M. In 1949-’50 the Violets nationalized to become Kappa Kappa Iota. They grew into a sorority of more than 10,000 members in approximately 40 states. In 1964, they purchased a home in Tulsa’s historic midtown district and restored it. It still serves as the national headquarters. In 2006, I was fortunate to work with OSU’s College of Education in starting a campus chapter of Kappa Kappa Iota. The first president, Emily Ernstsen, ’08, education, served the organization proudly. Another interesting tidbit: Unlike the original rules, the current president of OSU’s chapter is a male, Kyle Hellier. So, now you know “the rest of the story.” While monumental changes have occurred in organizations, education and society in general, the Kappas at OSU share a common objective with their Blue Blue Violet ancestors and members around the country: “To support (future) teachers and education across the state and the nation.” Thanks for a professional and informative publication. Go State! Pat Kennedy Fluegel of Tulsa, Okla. Former executive director, 1998-2011 eternal memories It is with great pleasure that I compliment you on articles published in the fall 2011 STATE magazine. Several struck a chord with me. On my first visit to OSU in spring 1965, I found Gallagher Hall to be the most impressive building on campus. (“What’s in a name?” page 108) I heard the story about it being built for the 4-H students, and since I had been in 4-H I got a real kick out of it. Since I was an agriculture student, one of my first professors was Dr. John Goodwin. (“Positive Influence,” page 96) He led me to major in agricultural
economics and eventually was my adviser. He was a great teacher and influenced me in many ways. I am indebted to him and his memory. Finally, having graduated from the OSU veterinary school in 1973, I have gained a great respect for my education there. Dean Lorenz has meant a great deal to me. (“Two of OSU’s longest-serving deans retire,” page 71) Throughout my career, my education at OSU has been a great force guiding my decisions. OSU was where I met my wife, Sandra Nitcher Savell, also an OSU graduate. Thus, OSU holds a special place in our hearts and minds. Thank you so much for providing a meaningful magazine that is informational and helps us retain our roots to OSU. Charles M. Savell ’73, DVM Overland Park, Kan.
UNIveRSITY mARkeTING Kyle Wray / ViCE PrESidEnt OF EnrOLLMEnt MAnAgEMEnt & MArKEting
Janet Varnum, Michael Baker, Matt Elliott & Keonte Carter / EditOriAL Mark Pennie, V. Paul Fleming, Ross Maute, Sarah Faith Dunbar & Elizabeth Hahn / dESign Phil Shockley & Gary Lawson / PHOtOgrAPHy University Marketing Office / 121 Cordell, Stillwater, OK 74078-8031 / 405.744.6262 / www.okstate.edu (web) / email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org (email) O S U A L U m N I A S S O C I AT I O N Dan Gilliam / CHAirMAn Ron Ward / ViCE CHAirMAn Paul Cornell / iMMEdiAtE PASt CHAirMAn Ronald Bussert / trEASUrEr Burns Hargis / OSU PrESidEnt, nOn-VOting MEMBEr Larry Shell / PrESidEnt, OSU ALUMni ASSOCiAtiOn, nOnVOting MEMBEr Kirk Jewell / PrESidEnt, OSU FOUndAtiOn, nOn-VOting MEMBEr
Cindy Batt, Larry Briggs, Bill Dragoo, Russell Florence, Jennifer Grigsby, Dave Kollman, Jami Longacre, Pam Martin, Joe Merrifield, David Rose, Nichole Trantham & Robert Walker / BOArd OF dirECtOrS Pattie Haga / ViCE PrESidEnt And COO Chase Carter / dirECtOr OF COMMUniCAtiOnS Melissa Mourer & Kathryn Bolay-Staude / COMMUniCA-
Worth A Thousand Words I would like to share with you my appreciation for the STATE magazine and particularly the wonderful photography. As I first thumb through the magazine, I enjoy so much the pictures, which make me want to read each article. The photography captures the personality of individuals as well as the surroundings. I have often likened the photography to those in the National Geographic. Thanks to Phil Shockley and Gary Lawson for showing off our university of which we are so very proud. Sharon Brown ’62, FRCD ’73, M.S., elementary education Stillwater, OK Updating our Records Minutes after the fall 2011 STATE magazine hit people’s doorsteps, we got a call from Ben Roberts, whose mother was pictured in the photograph with Sam the alligator (page 105). Information from Special Collections said her name was Jimmie Hall, but it is actually Jimmie Hill (with an “i”). We apologize for the error. Mary Larson Oklahoma Oral History Research Program
201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center / Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 / 405.744.5368 / orangeconnection.org (web) / info@ orangeconnection.org (email) O S U F O U N DAT I O N David Kyle / CHAirMAn OF tHE BOArd Kirk A. Jewell / PrESidEnt And CHiEF ExECUtiVE OFFiCEr Brandon Meyer / ViCE PrESidEnt & gEnErAL COUnSEL Donna Koeppe / ViCE PrESidEnt OF AdMiniStrAtiOn & trEASUrEr
Jim Berscheidt / ASSiStAnt ViCE PrESidEnt OF MArKEting & COMMUniCAtiOnS
Gene Batchelder, Jerry Clack, Bryan Close, Kent Dunbar, Ellen Fleming, Michael Greenwood, Jennifer Grigsby, John Groendyke, David Holsted, Rex Horning, Don Humphreys, Cathy Jameson, Kirk A. Jewell, Griffin Jones, Steven Jorns, David Kyle, John C. Linehan, Ross McKnight, Bill Patterson, Bond Payne Jr., Barry Pollard, Scott Sewell, Larry Shell, Jack Stuteville, Kim Watson, Dennis White & Jerry Winchester / BOArd OF trUStEES Brittanie Douglas, Jennifer Kinnard, Chris Lewis, Jacob Longan, Amanda O’Toole Mason, Greg Quinn & Leesa Wyzard / COMMUniCAtiOnS OSU Foundation / 400 South Monroe, P.O. Box 1749 / Stillwater, OK 74076-1749 / 800.622.4678 / OSUgiving.com (web) / info@ OSUgiving.com (email)
STATE magazine is published three times a year (Spring, Fall, Winter) by Oklahoma State University, 121 Cordell n, Stillwater, OK 74078. the magazine is produced by University Marketing, the OSU Alumni Association and the OSU Foundation, and is mailed to current members of the OSU Alumni Association. Magazine subscriptions available by membership in the OSU Alumni Association only. Membership cost is $45. Postage paid at Stillwater, OK, and additional mailing ofﬁces. Oklahoma State University, in compliance with the 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 or services or beliefs offered by the University based on gender. Any person (student, faculty of staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of the title ix with the OSU title ix Coordinator, the 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 Assistant director, University Marketing, was printed by royle Printing Company at a cost of $.912 per issue. 31,720/nov. ’11/#4063. Copyright © 2011, STATE magazine . All rights reserved.
PHOTO / Phil Shockley
Student Union Update Students play vital role in renovation of this campus icon If you have visited campus in the past 60 years, chances are you made your way through the Student Union’s doors. From the infrastructure to additional campus life services, the current Student Union renovation is a drastic change. Not only will there be new and improved spaces across the building, but mechanical systems have been renewed and 85 to 90 percent of the building has been completely renovated. “The goal of the Student Union is to support and advance the academic mission of the university in the life of every student,” says Mitch Kilcrease, the facility’s director. When plans for the renovation were being finalized in 2008, six major principles were outlined: replace the mechanical infrastructure in place since 1951, enhance the businesses and economic engine, improve student spaces and maintain a passion for campus life, improve navigation throughout the building, modernize the interior look and do all of this while maintaining the history and legacy of the building. The 640,000-square-foot Union — the nation’s largest and most comprehensive — offers a wide variety of services and programs to prospective and current students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and others. The facility’s average day includes 7,700 visitors, totaling 1.5 million visits per academic year. One complex but crucial effort during the renovation has been continuing book, food, hotel and student services. Maintaining electricity, gas, air conditioning and heating while many of these systems are being renewed has also been a struggle. The new infrastructure is expected to save the university more than $100,000 per year. The Student Union will be the only building on campus LEED certified Silver for energy efficiency. Nearly 93 percent of the water that drains from the roof will make its way to Theta Pond, which irrigates campus. The new building will use an average of 45 percent less water, saving 3 million gallons annually. The addition of three vertical-axis wind turbines will produce enough energy to power 10 average households per year. While these modern improvements will have significant advantages, one of the main priorities of the renovation was to embrace the legacy of the original Student Union.
“We are excited about incorporating some modern infrastructure, technology and programs that showcase the history and tradition of the original architecture throughout the Student Union,” Kilcrease says. “When alumni come back, there will be a lot of things they will recognize.” In 1930, President Henry Bennett laid out a master plan that would enhance the cultural, social and academic presence of then-Oklahoma A&M College. His innovative concept featured a central facility providing programs and services for the entire student body. Bennett’s vision allowed the funding of a $4.3 million project through a student self-imposed tax. The current renovations have again been led by students, who voted a fee on themselves to provide a lead gift of $43 million. “Students have been intricately involved in this renovation process since day one,” Kilcrease says. “From design, funding, furniture and overall concepts, students have been the decision-makers.” Student Government Association representatives helped design programs to improve the community’s way of life. Some members toured unions on campuses across the country. Ashley Leonard, president of the Student Government Association, says students couldn’t be more excited about returning to Student Union. “Students have had the opportunity to play a very active role in all aspects of the renovation. The Union is going to have a very positive impact to the atmosphere of campus. We are thrilled we
“From design, funding, furniture and overall concepts, students have been the decision-makers.” — mitch kilcrease
had the chance to be a part of this,” says the accounting and finance senior. Students will study, eat and relax in the new campus life area. All additions are catered to the students’ requests. Lounge areas will be prominent throughout the area with copy centers, email kiosks and better circulation, making travel more efficient. “We wanted to encourage this facility to be used a lot more by making this a better hang-out spot,” Kilcrease says. Food services have been reorganized with more national chains. Johnny Rockets, a full-service restaurant, has installed its first location on a college campus. Other offerings include Jamba Juice, Caribou Coffee and Chick-fil-A, one of the busiest college chains in the nation. A self-operated restaurant, Red Earth Kitchen, features ingredients from the local farming community. Baja Fresh is a West Coast Mexican concept. Bread, Deli and Beyond is a full-service sandwich and sub concept. “The energy between retail and campus life was an important component we wanted to include,” Kilcrease says. The Student Union houses the bookstore, student retail store, Apple store and magazine shop. The new retail floor will be eyecatching with LED lights, big-screen TVs and a wider selection of apparel. The Little Theatre has been reconstructed into a space that can also be used as an academic area in the mornings, seating more than 300 people.
The Student Union does not receive state funding for operation; students pay for the facility themselves. Because proceeds support the campus in some way, funding student life at OSU is as easy as buying books and burgers. Become a donor and join the OSU student body in renovating the heart of campus by helping us match their $50 million commitment to these $80 million projected construction costs. By funding the entire Student Union renovation, we ensure a continued tradition and legacy. There are a number of naming opportunities available for donors interested in providing increased support to this campus icon. More details are available from Brenda Solomon, OSU Foundation senior director of development, at (405)385-5156 or BSolomon@OSUgiving.com. “OSU provides a quality education at a fairly inexpensive cost,” Kilcrease says. “Although our campus is good in size, you still get that small-community feeling. It’s not unusual for President Hargis to walk by, say hello and know you by name. Preparing people for success is our mission and with state-ofthe-art facilities like the Student Union, the community center of campus, we hope to make that dream a reality.” B R i T TA N i E D O U G L A S
ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Itâ€™s your special day. Let us help make your day even more perfect by hosting your reception in our elegant ballroom.
Let the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center be the perfect location for celebrating this memorable occasion. 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368â€˘ FAX 405.744.6722 email@example.com osualumnicenter.org Photo by www.rebeccamanneyphotography.com.
Points of Reference Professor’s book shows how an artist’s work can evolve and return to her cultural roots Retired art professor Marcella Sirhandi met internationally acclaimed Pakistani painter Lubna Agha in the 1980s while researching her first book, Contemporary Painting in Pakistan. “Even before I met her, I knew Lubna through seeing her paintings in numerous private collections in Pakistan,” says the OSU professor emeritus and art historian. Twenty years later, when the Foundation of Modern Art in Karachi, Pakistan, informed Agha that she would be one of the first painters to be featured in its series on contemporary artists of Pakistan, Agha insisted Sirhandi write the book about her. The result, Lubna Agha: Points of Reference, published in 2006, shows how the artist moved from realism to abstraction then returned to a semiabstract style that reflects her native culture. The Gardiner Art Gallery will present an exhibit of Agha’s work Feb. 8 through March 2. “From the beginning, Lubna’s art has always been very personal,” says Sirhandi, an expert on Pakistani art. “She does not draw from other artists.” Sirhandi has presented lectures worldwide about numerous artists, including lectures coinciding with Agha art exhibitions at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, Calif., and the Chicago Art Institute. Agha attended art school in Karachi and began winning prizes for her paintings before earning her art diploma in 1967. She gave her first solo exhibition at the Pakistan-American Cultural Center in Karachi.
Her artistic style started with figurative portraits and landscapes and, after two years in London, transitioned into brilliantly colored, nearly minimalist non-figurative paintings and abstracts. The young woman became one of Pakistan’s most collected and most highly regarded painters. “No self-respecting collector or person of means in Pakistan could be without a Lubna Agha painting in their home,” Sirhandi says. When Agha and her husband moved to Sacramento, Calif., in 1981, she began to artistically express the separation she felt from her home and roots. She returned to figuration, with trees signifying the home she left behind and juxtaposed heads symbolizing family and friends waiting for her return. Her art remained very personal and continued to please art communities and collectors in the U.S. and Pakistan, Sirhandi says. Later, Agha and her husband moved to Boston, Mass., where she lives today. Her artistic style took another turn in 2005 when the couple traveled to Morocco and Turkey and the colors and patterns of mosques and palaces reignited her interest in Islamic architecture. The repetitive geometric designs in her current work reflect the beauty of Moroccan mosques, Islamic prayer rugs and Quranic manuscripts. “She wanted to get back to her roots,” Sirhandi says. “The upcoming exhibit and my book show how an artist can rediscover his or her roots and find inspiration in one’s own culture.”
Points of Reference by Lubna Agha Gardiner Art Gallery Feb. 8 – March 2, 2012 Reception Feb. 9, 5-6 p.m., Artist’s lecture 6-7 p.m. Pakistani artist Lubna Agha creates a personal visual vocabulary echoing her interest in history and mystic Islamic philosophy. Her recent paintings of densely patterned geometric shapes acknowledge her renewed attraction to Islamic architecture. Also showing at the Gardiner: Ted Ramsay, New Paintings Jan. 9 – Feb. 3 Studio Art Students’ Studio Capstone March 5-16 Graphic Design Senior Portfolio Exhibition March 28 – April 6 Annual Juried Student Exhibition April 11-30 Art History Senior Symposium April 21
Top: Lubna Agha’s idea for Star, a large, painted wooden dome centerpiece, originated from a mosque or a hamum (public bath house). Far left: Rehel is a handmade, wooden Quran holder painted by Lubna Agha. Left: Minars are painted wooden pillars that resemble a mosque’s towers. 13
Register your children and grandchildren as legacies so they can become buddies with pistol pete and start learning about osU’s great traditions.
he OSU Alumni Association experienced a record attendance on its annual legacy day, held at the season’s first Cowboy Corral before the Louisiana-Lafayette football game on Sept. 3. More than 150 of the OSU Alumni Association’s registered legacies took part. “It was a huge success,” says Melisa Parkerson, director of student programs for the Alumni Association. “We weren’t sure how it would go being the first game of the season, but we definitely had a record attendance. We sadly ran out of our giveaways.” The season opener was one of two games this season at which Alumni Association members could purchase discounted tickets. Legacy day also recorded an increase in legacy participants registered by active members. “With the discounted tickets, more people were able to bring their kids to the game,” Parkerson says.
“It’s always exciting to see so many legacies attend our events and watch the Cowboys.” The legacy program is one of many benefits of Alumni Association membership. The program is funded entirely with membership dues, and there are no additional fees for parents or grandparents to register their future Cowboys and Cowgirls. “OSU legacies should definitely be registered to help continue the tradition of orange through their families,” Parkerson says. “We appreciate the family quality of OSU and believe keeping the tradition alive through legacies is what strengthens the organization and the university itself.” Parents and grandparents are encouraged to sign up their legacies when the children are born because the program’s gifts are age specific. Children registered as legacies will receive annual gifts from Pistol Pete, typically around the child’s birthday. Children can be part of the legacy program from birth until age 16. “We encourage members to register as early as possible so their
Pistol Pete and Miss Oklahoma welcome OSU legacies and their parents to legacy day. (Right) Kyle Buthod, a member of the Student Alumni Board, welcomes a young Cowgirl to the children’s event.
children can receive all of the gifts from Pistol Pete,” Parkerson says. “It’s just another reason why alumni and friends who want to continue the OSU tradition in their families should be members of the Alumni Association.” Rebecca Eppler, a 1987 elementary education graduate who attended legacy day, says her children, Robert and Sarah, enjoy receiving the OSU-spirited gifts. “Robert is already planning to go to OSU and has been since he was about 3 years old,” Eppler says. “He loves OSU.” Nicole Jarvis, a 2005 human development graduate, is excited her 2-year-old son, Brady, is already learning about OSU. She says Brady looks forward to receiving his birthday card and gifts in the mail from Pistol Pete. “I always knew growing up I wanted to go to OSU,” says Jarvis, who attended legacy day. “I’m hoping he’ll make the same decision.” Leroy Fore, a 1968 accounting graduate, has three registered legacies — Adyson, Caris and Avery. The girls took part in the coloring activities and were excited about gratitheir new OSU goodies. For dad, the grati fication comes in the program’s ability to pass on the OSU tradition. “OSU has such a great heritage,” Fore says. “The only way we’re going to keep it grandgoing is by having our children and grand children be part of it. Registration in the legacy program is open to all children and grandchildren of current Alumni Association members. To register your family’s legacies, visit orangeconnection.org/legacy or call the Alumni Association at 405-744-5368. Kri sten Mcconnaughe y
Legacy Link is dedicated to all of our Alumni Association Legacies and to spreading orange to young Cowboys and Cowgirls! Finish Pistol Peteâ€™s maze and have a Happy New Year!
201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 â€˘ FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org
A New Path OSU Institute of Technology’s new president brings record of growth
eading OSU Institute of Technology in Okmulgee to its next level of student achievement is President Bill Path, who began serving the campus in November. “I see amazing potential at OSUIT and feel deeply privileged to serve as its next president,” says Path, formerly president of Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb. “OSU’s Okmulgee technical campus has a proud heritage of quality instruction in high-end and emerging technologies,” Path says. “It’s an institution with a singular focus and mission like no other college or university in the country.” OSUIT’s hands-on technological education prepares students for careers in fields that meet industry’s needs. Its graduates are in high demand in the U.S. and around the world.
Bill Path, joined by his wife, Deb, brings considerable experience and leadership success to his new role as president of OSU Institute of Technology.
“i see amazing potential at OSUit and feel deeply privileged to serve as its next president.” — Bill Path
“Dr. Path’s experience, accomplishments and vision for student success in previous university leadership positions makes him a natural fit for OSUIT’s unique programs,” says OSU President Burns Hargis. “Dr. Path will be an outstanding addition to the OSU leadership team.” Under Path’s guidance the past 10 years, Nebraska’s Northeast Community College expanded facilities and curriculum, enhanced student services and strengthened community outreach. “Dr. Path’s experiences and leadership will help OSU Institute of Technology continue its important mission,” Hargis says. Path’s earlier higher education leadership roles include vice president for academic and student affairs at Aims Community College in Greeley, Colo., and vice president of student services at Northeast Community College. Before that he served at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, and in Texas at Kingwood College in Kingwood and North Harris County College in Houston.
Path plans to spend several months meeting with community leaders in Okmulgee and across the state, as well as with OSUIT advisory board members, high school principals and CareerTech administrators. “My goal is to improve educational opportunities for students,” Path says. “I plan to start by forging relationships and visiting with the leaders who have made OSUIT the remarkable institution it is now.” Path holds an undergraduate degree from Harding University in Arkansas, a master’s in educational psychology from Texas A&M University and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas. “We are confident Dr. Path will build on the strong industry partnerships already in place to sustain OSUIT’s leadership in providing students with the technical skills they need to excel across many industries,” says Fred Harlan, an Okmulgee businessman and former Regent who led the presidential search committee. Path’s previous colleagues say they will miss his achievement-oriented, studentfocused attitude.
“When I think of Bill Path, I think of his great vision,” says Van Phillips, chairman of the Northeast Community College board of governors. “He always has been a forward thinker. He thinks of students for generations to come in all his plans. Northeast is a better place because he served here.” Don Oelsligle, chairman of the Nebraska Northeast Community College board of governors’ human resources committee, says Path “has taken Northeast Community College to the next level of excellence. We bid him goodbye with our very best wishes for great success as he goes to Oklahoma.” Former OSU-Stillwater Vice President David Bosserman, who served as OSUIT’s interim president until November, believes Path’s vision and enthusiasm will propel the campus to the next level. “OSUIT is poised to make a significant contribution to the needs of Oklahoma’s and the nation’s businesses and industries,” Bosserman says. “Bill Path can make that happen.” SHARON SMiTH
Bill PAth’s decade-long presidency at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Neb., led to arguably the most prolific period of growth in the college’s 83-year history. • 10 new buildings, three major expansions and eight extensive remodels • 12 new degrees and four additional diploma programs • 20-percent increase in credit enrollments • 100-plus new, full-time employment positions • Increase in annual operational resources (from $29.8 million in 2001 to just under $77 million in 2011) • Four capital campaigns, including the largest in Northeast Nebraska’s history ($12 million in 18 months) • And, ground-breaking partnerships with other sectors of higher education, technology-focused restructuring, a rural revitalization emphasis, and a globalization component within the curriculum
OSU-Oklahoma City President Natalie Shirley, center, is passionate about the university’s growth and development in the metro area. Here, she chats with OSU-OKC’s Upward Bound Lead Counselor De’Shaun Thornton and OSU-OKC Student Development Coordinator Nate Adams.
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
New president ready to equip faculty and students for success
ormer Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Natalie Shirley became president of OSU-Oklahoma City in May. She is only the fourth person to hold that office and the first female president in the OSU system. The university, located at the crossroads of I-40 and I-44 just west of downtown Oklahoma City, is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary. She reflects on her first 100 days in office.
Welcome to OSU-OKC! How have your first 100 days been as the fourth president of OSU-OKC and the first female president in the OSU System?
I love this job! Within days of coming to this campus, two things became clear. The first was that this was going to be great fun. The faculty, staff and students are energetic, intelligent and dedicated. They are simply looking for a leader who will provide direction and put the tools in their hands to succeed. Second, there are opportunities to seize that will propel us to greatness, including graduating more students, developing closer ties to the community to ensure we are educating the workers it needs and expanding our donor base.
Your first day in office was on Monday, May 16, when OSU-OKC graduated the largest class in the school’s history, 737 students. What was your first priority on day two?
I like to call it Project Orange. For some reason, there was a lot of red, gray and green paint all over campus. My mission was to “orange up” the campus. Everything that wasn’t moving was either painted orange or we hung an OSU-OKC banner on it. In all, we painted 79 walls and installed 32 Pistol Pete banners around the parking lots. Now when you drive onto campus, you KNOW you’re at OSU. I know this seems somewhat superficial, but I have a larger goal in mind. I wanted
everyone who came on campus to think “heads up!” The new battle cry is “Expect More. Work Harder. Do Great Things!” What’s next?
The first step was to make it clear that this campus is a proud member of the OSU system. The next project is the development of a master plan. We spent the summer collecting suggestions from staff, faculty, students and the community about what they would like to see happen on campus. We are compiling those suggestions and rolling out a master plan that will be our blueprint for the future. On a substantive note, faculty and
staff are working together to increase retention and graduation rates. We have amazing students at OSU-OKC, some of whom may be the first in their family to go to college. Some work full time or have families of their own, and many may have challenges that other college students don’t have. Therefore, it is incumbent on the faculty and staff to do everything we can to help them succeed. How are these changes affecting students?
I have heard so many positive comments. Students have a sense of pride in their university. Now the real work begins on raising money for scholarships, which is another top priority. How does your past professional experience help you in the fundraising arena?
I appreciate working with the OSU Foundation. Their approach aligns perfectly with my vision. The word “intersection” comes to mind when I think of how we team with the OSU Foundation to fundraise. We’re in the matchmaking business. We match potential donors with student needs. There are many levels of giving, from books to buildings. We actively work to find that intersection where the willingness of a donor meets a genuine need. The goal is to consistently match the mission of the donor to the school, and the school to the student. Is the concept of “giving back” something you have instilled in your children?
It’s been said, “To those whom much is given, much is expected.” For our six children, the donor culture starts at an early age. They have been taught to give money, time, energy, even prayers. We teach our children that. Just because you don’t have a million dollars, you can still donate something important, for example, you can tutor. Ultimately, when my children or any student takes off his or her cap and gown, each is a citizen. All of them must understand the role donors played in their lives and know what they must do to pass that on. At the university, we are developing not only scholars but
also citizens. That’s the unique opportunity of a land-grant institution. The act of giving to your university, community, church or wherever you choose to give is indeed part of the educational opportunity. Sounds like you have an interesting household.
We have two 19-year-olds, a 17-yearold, two 12-year-olds and a 10-year-old. One night after a particularly challenging, exhausting day with one of the children, I asked my husband Russ, “Why are we doing this?” He answered, “Because we can.” At that point, I decided, OK then, we’ll just keep doing this until we can’t. “Because we can” are the three most powerful, liberating, requirement-filled words I’ve ever heard. It’s why we do what we do.
“the new battle cry is ‘Expect More. Work harder. Do Great things!’” — Natalie Shirley Is that how you were raised?
(Laughs) We were a family of modest means. Modest is a euphemism for poor. But my mother and father always found a way to give. They gave to the church, they taught, they volunteered. If someone had a need, they found a way to help. My mom would find a bed or a meal; my dad was always lending a hand up to those who needed it. That giving spirit was returned to me. I couldn’t have gone to college without scholarships and the kindness of folks who were willing to place a bet on me.
How has the state budget crunch affected your ability to balance the needs of the campus within the budget?
We’re going to have to step up our game. That’s where philanthropy ties to the community. Our community is relatively small, but large enough so no single entity has to bear the burden alone. It comes back to my intersection concept — we find the natural intersection between philanthropy and the services we, as a university, provide. The worst thing we can do is develop a program for the sake of dollars. It’s not sustainable, and in fact, it’s a misuse of university time and philanthropy. Never ask a donor for something that’s not consistent with your mission and the mission of the donor. The highway of giving is littered with programs that were hastily conceived and not sustainable. How is the spirit of philanthropy carried out on campus?
One great example is the Martha Burger Mentorship Program. Students can qualify to serve as mentors to incoming freshmen and help them ease into college life. The mentors will spend about 30 minutes every week helping incoming students find the resources they need to succeed. It’s a brilliant concept in mentoring. How did you get involved in so many family- and child-centric organizations like Calm Waters and Oklahoma CASA Association?
Sadly, many Oklahoma children don’t have a voice. The most vulnerable citizens in our community often aren’t as protected as they should be. That’s why I participate on these boards — to improve the lives of children. Any advice to pass on to OSU-OKC students?
Every morning I tell my own children, “I love you and make it a good day.” I expressly charge them with the responsibility of creating their own good day. Whether you have an opportunity or challenge simply depends on your perspective. E V E Ly N B O L L E N B AC H
PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
A ‘Package Deal’
Bryan wasn’t the only one who had an eye on someone throughout the semester. Barbara quickly accepted Bryan’s invitation to the date party, which is when their OSU story began. “In class, he spoke well when he gave presentations, and I thought he had a really charismatic demeanor, which made me shy to talk to him,” Barbara says. “It was one of those things where we both really admired each other from afar and it took one of us to get the nerve up to talk to the other. And it was him, luckily.” During Bryan’s senior year in 1983, the two Admiration from afar leads were still dating and Barbara decided to come to lasting love for Buchans to Stillwater to celebrate OSU’s homecoming. However, she didn’t realize they would both be ryan Buchan knew he had one last chance celebrating their new chapter together. to speak to the girl he had his eyes on all “I knew I was going to ask her to marry me semester. After taking the last final for the because I had the ring,” Bryan says. “For some last engineering class the two would have reason homecoming just seemed like the right together, Bryan built up the courage and asked time and I asked her to marry me right before Barbara Sokatch to the Sigma Nu Frontier Ball. Walkaround. I may have been walking around “I noticed her because she was on the OSU Bryan Buchan and Barbara with her on the sidewalk that night looking at house Pom Squad, and I thought she was really pretty Sokatch at the Sigma Nu decorations, but I felt like I was walking on air.” and nice,” Bryan says. “She was one year older Frontier Ball in 1983. “I was pretty surprised,” Barbara says. “I than me, which was kind of intimidating, too. She was hoping we would get married some day. was the nicest, smartest, prettiest girl I’d ever met at OSU, or (continues) anywhere else for that matter.”
Pomping Buddies Homecoming has special memories for the Myrins
Libby Shinn and Gerardo Myrin met while pomping for Homecoming 2002.
ost OSU alumni who ever had to pomp for homecoming probably wouldn’t speak favorably of the tedious task. It’s normally reserved for the underclassmen and involves tens of thousands of tiny pieces of tissue paper, sticky glue and sharp chicken wire with countless openings just waiting to be filled. But for Libby Shinn and Gerardo Myrin, pomping wasn’t a chore — it was a special time they shared as students, a time they recognize today as the precious moments when their story began. Libby, who is an Oklahoma City native and 2005 marketing graduate, is a third-generation OSU graduate whose family has always been filled with OSU fans.
“I looked at other universities because I wanted to do something different, but I fell in love with the OSU campus and the entire environment,” Libby says. Gerardo grew up in Broken Arrow, Okla., and was not familiar with OSU or “America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration.” After learning about OSU’s premier engineering program, he quickly made his way to Stillwater. “My parents didn’t go to college, so the program and the scholarships are what sold me on Oklahoma State,” Gerardo says. For Libby and Gerardo, it all started with pushing tissue paper into chicken wire, also known as pomping — one of the many homecoming traditions
at OSU. In 2002, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was paired with Pi Beta Phi for homecoming. Libby says she remembers Gerardo offering to help her and a group of friends pomping in the SAE dining area. He sat down beside her, and the two began to talk as they pomped. “We both say our first impressions were of intense interest in each other; we immediately felt comfortable with one another,” Libby says. “Within a couple of days, I knew this guy was different than any other I had interacted with.” (continues)
“I may have been walking around with her on the sidewalk looking at house decorations, but I felt like I was walking on air.” — BryAn BucHAn PHOTO / Gary LawsOn
“Everyone who meets her knows there is something special about her,” Gerardo says. “I’m just fortunate she thought something of me. Several of my fraternity brothers spoke highly about her, and we talked for hours every time we pomped together.” ‘Together, We Can’ was the 2002 Homecoming theme and it fit Gerardo and Libby perfectly. As the homecoming preparations continued, so too did the chemistry between them. After all-night pomp, Gerardo asked Libby on their first date — a breakfast date in the early hours of the morning. After eating at IHOP, neither was ready for the date to be over. “He drove us out to Boomer Lake to watch the sun rise. He jokes I was falling asleep the whole time because we had been up all night,” Libby says with laughter. “It was hard to keep my eyes open, but we wanted to hang out and remember all the fun we’d been having.”
rom that day on, Libby and Gerardo were inseparable as they continued their education at OSU. Libby says she would even spend numerous hours studying at Edmon Low Library as an excuse to be with Gerardo. “I joked I probably studied more than any marketing major out there,” Libby says. “I just wanted to spend time with him.” One Sunday afternoon in January 2006 Gerardo and Libby left to go hiking at Lake McMurtry and came back engaged. “I was really nervous,” Gerardo says. “I just wanted it to be special. I had planned on asking her to marry me shortly after I met her; I just wasn’t exactly sure how I would ask her.”
“It wasn’t your typical proposal setting, but it was perfect for us,” Libby says. “I remember laughing at how I thought it was weird he was running with his hands in his pockets the whole time. I didn’t realize it was because he was holding on to the ring.” The couple married in May 2006 and currently live in Edmond, Okla. Libby is the Life Groups and Missions Project Coordinator at LifeChurch.TV in Oklahoma City. Gerardo will graduate from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center this May and plans to begin his residency in orthopedic surgery. “I realized my senior year how much I enjoyed interacting with people through service and leadership activities in Greek life and on campus,” Gerardo says. “I thought medicine would be a good fit for helping and serving others.”
s for homecoming, the couple says it’s more than a time to celebrate OSU for them — it’s where they celebrate their beginning. The couple has been married for more than five years and Homecoming 2011 marked their ninth anniversary as a couple. “It’s great celebrating football and alumni, but for us homecoming symbolizes the start of our life together,” Gerardo says. “We love OSU, we bleed orange and we enjoy the traditions and everyone coming together,” Libby says. “Homecoming is our beginning, and it’s always going to be special to us for the rest of our lives. “
Homecoming was a special time anyway; this just made it even more special.”
“Homecoming is such a celebration of what OSu is, but it also represents what OSu is about and what the people here are about.” — BArBArA BucHAn
he Buchans live in Austin, where they both work for 3M. Ironically, they both started working at 3M the same day. “We hired in as a package deal,” Bryan says with a laugh. “We started 27 years ago in June and were married in August.” To make OSU even more special to Bryan and Barbara, their youngest son, Dalton, is following in his father’s footsteps. He is now a freshman in the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology and a member of Sigma Nu. “We made sure he understood he didn’t have to go to OSU or be a Sigma Nu,” Bryan says. “He decided on his own OSU was where he wanted to go for a lot of reasons — the people are friendly and the campus is great. He’s really excited about it and we are too.” Bryan and Barbara have only been to one Walkaround since their memorable engagement, but have been eager to come back. With their older sons involved in band and Dalton involved in high school athletics, they have not been able to make a trip to Stillwater for the football games. The Buchans, who are both annual members of the OSU Alumni Association, started attending watch parties in Austin about four years ago.
“It’s a great group of people,” Bryan says. “It’s really fun being involved, and we help out where we can.” Now they’re “empty nesters” and Bryan decided he and Barbara should both pick something they haven’t done before. “Bryan picked the rodeo — it was our first,” Barbara says. “I picked season tickets to OSU football. It was exciting getting to see Dalton and a lot of people we went to school with who we haven’t seen in a while.”
omecoming still has a special meaning to the Buchans, even 28 years later. They look forward to cheering on the Cowboys at each homecoming and attending Walkaround. ”Homecoming is such a huge event,” Barbara says. “It’s such a celebration of what OSU is, but it also represents what OSU is about and what the people here are about. “Being back in Stillwater for homecoming was a great experience and we are both looking forward to the next one,” Bryan says. “It’s where our story began so many years ago.” S T O R i E S By K R i S T E N M c C O N N AU G H E y
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
“It’s great celebrating football and alumni, but for us homecoming symbolizes the start of our life together.” — GerArdO MyrIn
3 weeks only
OSU Alumni Association members can purchase brick pavers in the Alumni Walk for only $150 - a savings of $50 of the already reduced Association member price.
This offer is only available to Association members from November 28 through December 19, but your paver will become a permanent fixture of the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center at OSU. To purchase your discounted paver, contact Deborah Shields at 405.744.6366 or visit orangeconnection.org/paverdiscount. 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 â€˘ FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org
Patsy Neustadt supports OSU many ways, including through the donation of her china collection. Some of the pieces are on display at the OSU Foundation.
Patsy Neustadt of Ardmore, Okla., was faced with the challenge of securing a permanent location to display her cherished collection of rose medallion china pieces. Museums across the country were eager to exhibit the collection, but only for a few weeks at a time. When plans came about for construction of the OSU Foundation building in 2001, Patsy was pleased to donate more than 100 pieces of her collection to establish a gift-in-kind to name the Jean and Patsy Neustadt China Room. Patsy and her husband, Jean (’48 agricultural economics), received their first piece of china as a wedding gift in 1949. They started collecting pieces from around the world, a tradition they carried on throughout their marriage. “I fell in love with rose medallion. The patterns and colors are so beautiful. Collecting became a true hobby of ours,” Patsy says. Rose medallion china became a status symbol in the early 1900s when royals and superiors received the pieces as gifts. The most popular wedding gifts at that time were gold, rose famille or rose medallion pieces that were made into lamps and typically placed by a grand piano as the only light source. The earlier pieces are
called rose famille and can easily be spotted due to the dominant use of orange. Later pieces were marked with ‘Made in China’ to protect the brand and legacy. Richard Liles, the Neustadts’ china appraiser, has been intricately involved in putting together a large part of the collection. “I met the Neustadts when I was only 6 years old while my father was working with Jean,” Liles says. “I’ve basically been involved with collecting since then. I’m constantly on the hunt for additional pieces for Patsy.” “I’ve got some prize pieces in my home that I just can’t give up yet,” says Patsy, who plans to donate the remaining pieces to the Foundation when she passes. She fell in love with the university through her husband, who was laid to rest in 1995. “I enjoy donating to OSU in any way that I can,” Patsy says. “Jean’s love for the university was immeasurable. There was no other school in the world like it to him. He was a true fan.”
The Neustadts have generously supported a number of areas at OSU, including facilities, scholarships, the library, athletics and the establishment of the Doris Neustadt Professorship of Library Services. Having their prized rose medallion collection on display yearround is yet another testament of their appreciation for OSU. “What’s not to like? The people are friendly, they’ve acquired top-rated professors, campus is marvelous and encompasses a homey atmosphere. There’s no other place like OSU,” Patsy says. B R i T TA N i E D O U G L A S
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Theater departmentÂ begins a new decadeÂ as strong as ever
BREAK A LEG! Photography by Phil Shockley
Professor Peter Westerhoff has directed more than 70 OSU productions, including Hair last spring. He says theater teaches students about the human condition, universal trials and tribulations and how these insights can benefit their lives.
Students got into their roles for Hair by creating protest signs and love beads, participating in a mock sit-in in downtown Stillwater, experiencing the draft and being called into an induction center.
he OSU theater department will celebrate its 40th anniversary this spring with three productions written since the department’s origin in the early 1970s. Besides three main stage productions of All in the Timing, No Exit and The Drowsy Chaperone, the department will host an alumni reunion party April 21 to celebrate its history and acknowledge its bright future, says Peter Westerhoff, professor and head of performance. “We’re extremely excited to be hosting our alumni this April, in addition to the spring semester’s production schedule,”
says Westerhoff, who has directed more than 70 OSU productions during his tenure, plus 17 musicals for Connecticut Repertory’s summer season and several shows in New York City. “During the alumni party, we’re going to auction off costume renderings from our past,” Westerhoff says. “They’ll be watercolor paintings depicting costume designs from each show. Some of our alumni may actually get a picture of themselves in that costume.” Alumni will find the theater program as strong as it’s ever been, Westerhoff says. Enrollment remains solid with 65 theater
majors, about 30 minors and 11 graduate students this fall. The most popular majors continue to be technical theater and performance/directing, with 10 to 15 graduates each year. Another bright spot on the horizon is the planned renovation of the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts, home of the theater and music departments. For more information on the reunion and production schedule, go to theatre. okstate.edu or join the reunion’s Facebook page “OSU Theatre Alumni.” To donate to the Seretean Center renovation, visit osugiving.com. M att E ll i ott
Last spring’s theater production of the musical Hair included 28 cast members and 16 backstage crew.
All in the Timing The Drowsy Chaperone Have you ever been early to something and met someone who changed your life? Have you ever been late and missed an opportunity? What if you’d just said something different to a friend or lover? See what happens when life’s comic timing is tweaked.
A combination of originality and talent, The Drowsy Chaperone addresses audiences’ unspoken desire to be entertained. It begins when a die-hard musical-theater fan plays his favorite cast album on his turntable. The musical bursts to life in his living room, telling the tale of a brazen Broadway starlet trying to find and keep her true love. It’s full of surprises, mayhem, sabotage, gangsters, a blindfolded roller-skater and an airplane.
“Hell is other people,” as Jean-Paul Sartre suggests in No Exit, his famous existential play depicting an afterlife in which three dead characters are confined to one room for eternity.
Adding Value to Oklahoma New spiral oven assists OSU food researchers and Oklahoma bakers
Unitherm Food Systems donated a new spiral oven, valued at approximately $200,700, to OSUâ€™s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center, where researchers will test and verify the ovenâ€™s efficiency of baking cookies, breads, pizzas and pies.
innovative. State-of-the-art. Versatile. technologically advanced. These words describe a new piece of equipment donated to OSU’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center. David Howard, chief executive officer of Unitherm Food Systems, provided a spiral oven valued at approximately $200,700 as a gift-in-kind to support food research in the center’s food processing pilot plant. “The FAPC does an excellent job of supporting the growth of food processing in Oklahoma but has older equipment,” Howard says. “I want to help drive the effort to update equipment to assist companies and add value to Oklahoma.” Howard’s gift will be used to develop food products and educate students for careers in the Oklahoma food industry. The Food and Agricultural Products Center is fortunate to have such a generous supporter, says Chuck Willoughby, the center’s business and marketing relations manager. “David understands the importance of the center’s mission and adding value to Oklahoma,” Willoughby says. “We are truly thankful to Unitherm for its support and for providing technologically advanced equipment to enhance the technical assistance we provide to Oklahoma’s food industry.”
And its self-cleaning system enables the machine to clean itself by applying soap, washing, rinsing and sanitizing. “We launched this machine only 12 months ago, and it is already selling domestically and internationally,” says Howard, who founded Unitherm in the United Kingdom in 1985 and relocated the company to Bristow, Okla., in 1995. The center will test and verify the new oven’s capacity in projects that involve baking cookies, breads, pizzas and pies, says Renée Nelson, a milling and baking specialist at the center. “We are going to demonstrate that the spiral oven will bake various items,” Nelson says, “and develop a program describing cooking time, temperature, et cetera, to produce a quality product. “Our research will benefit bakeries in Oklahoma and, hopefully, provide another option for baking products in an energyefficient and compressed-space manner.” Unitherm Food Systems is a market leader in innovative equipment technologies for pasteurization, cooking and chilling of raw, partially cooked and fully cooked food products and agricultural food commodities. It is known for its innovative approach to designing and creating machines and systems that maxi-
“the FAPC is a unique opportunity for both existing and new food companies to get expertise across all aspects of operating a business.” — David Howard Unitherm offers a wide range of spiral ovens in the marketplace. The oven presented to OSU includes a 12-inch-wide, 60-foot-long, coil-wrapped belt capable of cooking 500 pounds of product per hour. The energy-efficient oven has the unique ability to steam, roast and broil.
mize yields and reduce processing times while enhancing safety and profitability. Unitherm has introduced the smoking process for 80 percent of all smoked turkey sold, launched numerous readyto-eat meal processes, and built ovens to cook everything from pasta to peppers.
David Howard of Unitherm Food Systems in Bristow, Okla., understands the importance of value-added processing in the state and has made many equipment contributions to OSU. Howard encourages companies to contact the center about growing their businesses. “The FAPC is a unique opportunity for both existing and new food companies to get expertise across all aspects of operating a business,” Howard says. “I encourage all companies involved in the food industry to get to know the scope and capability of the center.” Besides the spiral oven, Unitherm has donated other equipment to OSU, including digital control and steam injection system modifications for an existing hot water pasteurizer, a radiant heat oven called the InfraRed Grill, two electrolyzed water generators and a boot wash system. These donations assist the FAPC Foundation Focus Program established in 2003 to carry out the center’s mission of adding value to Oklahoma through individual and industry partner donations to the product innovation fund. “With these funds, the FAPC is able to focus on delivering even greater economic impact to Oklahoma as it continues to serve the state’s value-added agricultural industry,” Willoughby says. “To date, the product innovation fund has received more than $950,000 in contributions from the Oklahoma value-added industry and private individuals.” M A N Dy G R O S S
Don’t let time expire! It pays to be a life member of the OSU Alumni Association. Life membership rates will increase on July 1, 2012. Have you considered the advantages of upgrading your annual membership to a life membership? • The cost of life membership is lower over the long term. • Your membership dues are tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. Life Members receive recognition in STATE magazine, a personalized life member certificate, a life member card and car decal, and the Informer calendar yearly. We value your membership in the Alumni Association and hope you’ll consider upgrading your membership before time runs out - only 6 months left. Life members can share the gift of life membership with a friend or family member! Join our loyal group of life members, totaling 10,700 and growing! It’s a great way to stay connected to and support OSU - for life!
Become a life member before dues increase on July 1, 2012!
201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org
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Distinguished Chef Scholarship Benefit Series celebrates two decades at OSU 38
hen life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” Jim Anderson, founder of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration’s Distinguished Chef Scholarship Benefit Series, says describing the origins of one of the most popular events on campus. A shortage of food service faculty caused Anderson to find an innovative solution to provide instructors for students. Twenty years later, he is in awe of the growth of the program in the community and its impact on students’ lives. Since 1991, chefs worldwide have come to OSU for a week to teach hotel and restaurant administration students the art and science of preparing and serving multi-course gourmet meals. About 50 students participate. The students and chef meet for the first time on a Monday, and serve five-course, gourmet meals for 250 people the following Thursday.
“This type of program is unique and only a few universities across the country have been able to replicate it,” Anderson says. “It is the best hands-on experience for students entering the industry.” School director Bill Ryan has been a part of the series since day one and has seen all sides of what has become the school’s signature event. “Teaching is the No. 1 goal of this program. The meal is simply another tool to strengthen the students’ skills,” Ryan says. “Faculty and staff want students to
really learn from the chefs and pick their brain about their skills and knowledge of the culinary industry.” Ryan says there is another advantage to bringing chefs to Stillwater. “Due to the fact that chefs have come from all over the world, the chef series has elevated the reputation of the school, the college and the university,” he says. “Chefs go back and spread the word about this amazing event that provides our students additional experiences outside the classroom.” Anderson says the series has three goals: to provide professional culinary instruction for students, to award scholarships to participating students and to always have the best equipment. The first series served 50 to 60 people, and the price of a series ticket was $22.50. Tickets currently range from $90 to $260, producing $35,000 to $42,000 for scholarships a year. Overall, the chef series has generated more than $300,000 for scholarships in the past 20 years. Scholarships are awarded to about a third of participating students. Recipients are selected based on their performance, planning and production during the event. Program managers review students, who submit a written assignment to be graded by the faculty. Chef John R. DiGiovanni of Oklahoma City was the chef for the first event Sept. 9, 1991. Chefs since have come from all over the world, including Switzerland, China, Canada, Mexico and Italy. Students have worked with famous chefs such as Napa Valley legend Cindy Pawlcyn; Enrico Franzese of Amalfi, Italy; Kurt Fleischfresser of Oklahoma City; and country music singer Trisha Yearwood. Students work up to leadership roles by learning skills during each dinner. A freshman might help with food preparation — chopping, slicing and peeling — as sophomores and juniors work along side
Above: 1984 alumna Sue Taylor assists Homestead Resort chef James Wolf in 1992. Lower left: Student managers celebrate another successful event in 2008 with former Polo Grill chef Brandon Thrash. From left are Brance Coker, Jamie Ackerman Sullens, Caroline House, Jasmine Tobie, Thrash, Amanda Ailey Thrash, Jenny DeWitt Haken,Kendall Blakemore and Caleb Rice. Facing page: Hotel and restaurant administration students Morgan Ford, left, and Julie Rudeen, right, show Trisha Yearwood the dessert, Daddy’s Key Lime Cake, they prepared for the dinner Yearwood presented in 2010. the chef to prepare the menu. Students also hone front-of-the-house skills such as setting tables, serving guests and dining room management. David North, a 1996 hotel and restaurant administration graduate and general manager of Enid’s Oakwood Country Club, credits the series as the key to his successful culinary career. “The knowledge and relationships I gained from working with chefs such chef series’ experience was invaluable to me and I hope I can make a difference in a future chef’s career.” Long-time supporters have been essential to the series’ successful 20-year run. Sue and John Taylor of Enid, Bryan Close of Tulsa, and Nancy and John Patton of Stillwater, are among the first donors and guests to the series. “I really admire the students who work very hard to prepare and serve these dinners,” Sue Taylor says. “What a wonderful experience for our students to (continues)
Left: Students learn how to prepare lobster for a dinner in September 2007 by Rudolf Luetolf, the executive chef and instructor at the Alpine Center, the Swiss Business School for Hotel and Tourism Education in Athens, Greece. Lower left: Ralph Knighton, left, was a guest chef in 1997, when he was executive chef at the Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion. Lower right: Traci Quetano and Chad Duncan prepare the tomatoes for a salad during chef Luetolf’s dinner in 2007.
“To be able to come back and share my experience with the students is what I most enjoy,” he says. “The for elegance and to be able to experience worldwide cuisine in a city this size,” Nancy Patton says. “We also feel this is an excellent way to raise scholarship money.” Hotel and restaurant administration alumnus Bryan Close has been supporting the events for two decades. “I like what the series represents to the students, to the program, and to the university. To me, the series is the closest to real-life experience the students can get without actually being employed in the industry,” he says. “In addition, the dinners are always a hoot, and students, guest chefs, staff members and certainly the guests have so much fun.” Each series includes an Oklahoma chef, two from other states and an international chef. Anderson compliments Ryan and his staff for continuously breathing life into the series, which he expects to grow for another 20 years. learn about the hospitality industry in the real world.” She says her husband’s unusual request for ketchup with a gourmet meal was politely honored during one setting. “The ketchup was served with great style on a silver platter.” The Pattons discovered their love for food while living and traveling around the world. They were thrilled when Anderson invited them to provide feedback on the first dinners. “The series is a rare opportunity as Raymond Pitz, who was executive chef
“The series is a rare opportunity for elegance and to be able to experience worldwide cuisine in a city this size. We also feel this is an excellent way to raise scholarship money.” of Disney World and president of the American Culinary Federation at the time, paved the way for my admittance into the Greenbrier Culinary Apprentice Program,” he says. North is one of several alumni chefs who have returned to work with students.
“They have all positions needed for professional dining,” he says, “and the best part is when the students get to interact with the public.” JULiE BARNARD & C H A R i T y P E N N i N GT O N
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Chesapeake energy makes donation to build state-ofthe-art training center Natural gas proponents say it is the best substitute for foreign oil and coal because it is clean, affordable and abundant domestically. Compressed natural gas is in high demand because it is nontoxic, noncarcinogenic and noncorrosive, a safe A rendering of the Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center
fuel for many applications because it is lighter than air and has less risk of explosion than liquid fuels. Recently, the OSU Institute of Technology in Okmulgee received a gift that will allow it to build a training center focused on preparing compressed natural gas students to work in the field. The $2 million gift came from Oklahoma Citybased Chesapeake Energy Corporation, which is a leading producer of oil and natural-gas liquids. “This gift is especially exciting because it directly supports our mission of providing comprehensive high-quality tech programs and services that prepare and sustain a diverse student body as competitive members of a world-class workforce and contributing members of society,” says David Bosserman, interim president of OSUIT. “Our mission is who we are and what we do. This gift supports our goals to take our education and training to the next level.” In the 33,600-square-foot building, students will have access to outstanding instruction and applied-research spaces where they will learn to diagnose, service and maintain gas-compression equipment. The SMART Board-equipped building will include several areas for hands-on training, testing centers for engines, engine control
systems, emission-control devices and digital-monitoring devices commonly used in the industry. It also will feature a flowloop system, complete with a miniature pipeline to demonstrate the steps involved in transporting natural gas through a pipeline. “It’s a proud moment for Chesapeake. We’re busy trying to change the world, Americanizing the energy future of America,” says Mike Stice, Chesapeake senior vice president of natural gas projects. “The investment we are making today to build the nation’s finest compression training facility is further evidence of our company’s desire to ensure our industry has an available workforce to support the growing demand for natural gas. We have jobs, and we need Americans trained to fill them sooner rather than later.” OSUIT offers an associate degree through its natural gas compression program. After completing four semesters of coursework and two semesters of paid internships, students graduate with an Associate in Applied Science in Natural
Gas Compression. When this new facility opens, the program’s enrollment numbers are expected to double to 115 students, with 50 to 55 skilled individuals graduating each year. “The future is bright for these young students,” says Al Lavenue, president of MidCon Compression, a subsidiary of Chesapeake. “I have no doubt they will all get placed with jobs and receive great offers. They are much needed and appreciated.” Beyond the classroom, the Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center will also facilitate training to upgrade the skills and abilities of technicians already in the workforce. Additionally, the center’s conference area will host seminars related to the natural gas industry. “On an institution of higher education’s campus, it’s not about building beautiful buildings but about what goes on inside those buildings,” says Dr. Bill Path, newly appointed president of OSUIT. “This donation and the pledges that have
From left, Mike Stice, Chesapeake senior vice president of natural gas projects; Steve Doede, OSUIT’s Automotive Technologies and Heavy Equipment and Vehicle Institute division chair; Burns Hargis, OSU president; Al Lavenue, MidCon Compression president; and Bill Path, OSU Institute of Technology president, display a wrench that Chesapeake presented to the Okmulgee campus to announce the energy company’s $2 million gift supporting a natural gas compression training facility.
been brought to this particular project are earth-shattering. We are proud to partner with Chesapeake Energy to advance the causes of the whole natural-gas industry.” The center’s total budgetary need is $4 million, but with Chesapeake’s $2 million investment, the school can begin construction. “When you start getting inside the Chesapeake culture, you learn that at its core, it’s a team,” says Burns Hargis, OSU president. Chesapeake’s gift to the center builds on the company’s historic relationship with OSUIT, including support for the school’s scholarship program. Chesapeake will continue its scholarship commitment with OSUIT, in addition to the building contribution. “I don’t want you to think of yourselves as building builders, I want you to think of yourselves as life-changers because that’s what you’re doing,” says Steve Doede, division chair, OSUIT automotive service technologies. “The institution can change lives by providing education, scholarships, internships and now this new building.” B R i T TA N i E D O U G L A S
To learn more about osUIT and the Chesapeake Energy Natural gas Compression Training Center, visit www.osuit.edu.
“I used to joke my blood was orange, like some of these Texas people, except mine was a brighter orange.” — Stephen Smallwood
Texas teacher points his high school students northward to his alma mater
ome may call Stephen Smallwood an encourager. Others may call him a recruiter. But one thing is certain — Mr. Smallwood loves sharing his alma mater with students. Smallwood first stepped foot onto the OSU campus as a student in 1966. While at OSU, he was involved in several activities, including the men’s glee club, university theatre and Alpha Phi Omega. When reminiscing about his days at OSU, Smallwood always thinks about freezing in the cold weather while watching the bedlam football victories. “There was just always this mystique about OSU,” Smallwood says. “The old Lewis Field was overwhelming to me, so you can imagine what Boone Pickens Stadium does to me.” After graduating from OSU in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in speech education, Smallwood was set on finding a teaching job. He grew up in a family of teachers — his mother was his third grade teacher and his dad was his high school principal. It was shortly after he decided to become an educator when Smallwood realized teaching was more than a job. “I think it’s more of a calling than a job,” Smallwood says. “It’s something in your gut, and I was hooked when I
realized I saw the light of recognition and acknowledgement come on in the eyes of a student. It’s when I knew I needed to teach.” Smallwood’s time away from teaching is what really made the difference. After teaching at Perry High School and Eisenhower High School in Lawton, Smallwood made the move to the big apple. He lived in New York City for six years, working at a bank and teaching at the American Institute of Banking. “I realized there’s only two ways to live in New York City — to be rich or young, and I wasn’t either,” Smallwood says. “I didn’t leave for those reasons; I left because I needed to be back with my family. I felt like I needed to be back home — back to my roots.”
ince 2003, Smallwood has taught at North Lamar High School in Paris, Texas. Like some of the students at North Lamar, Smallwood actually lives right across the border in Rattan, Okla., and commutes to the school. Aside from teaching English, he also teaches a college readiness elective called AVID, which stands for achievement via individual determination. As a proud alumnus, Smallwood shows his support for OSU with memorabilia in his classroom. (continues) 45
Texas triplets Sam Harrington, Emma Harrington and Will Harrington, front row, decided to attend OSU thanks to high school teacher and OSU alumnus Stephen Smallwood, back row, second from left. The Paris, Texas, teacher encourages students to pursue higher education and consider OSU for its excellent programs, legacy and traditions. Others who chose OSU include, back row, from left, Austin Sugg, Colton Coe, Michael Davidson and Frank Kennison.
“A lot of kids have the grades to go to college; they just don’t know where to start to make it happen.” — Stephen Smallwood
“I used to joke my blood was orange, like some of these Texas people, except mine was a brighter orange,” Smallwood says. “A wonderful moment happened this past year when I realized I could really do a lot more than I’ve been doing on behalf of my alma mater.” Before he knew it, Smallwood was encouraging some of the top students at North Lamar to attend college and to keep OSU as an option. “It kind of took on a life of its own this past year,” Smallwood says. “I became an advocate for students who want to go to college but don’t think they have a chance. My job is to help them navigate the rapids on getting into college.” Smallwood thinks it’s helpful for students if they can identify a university with a teacher. He began telling students about the legacy and traditions of OSU and shared with them the feeling he gets when he walks on campus, which is special to every Cowboy. “When I discovered there were kids who were really interested in OSU, I began to encourage them to commit,” Smallwood says. “These were some of the best kids in the whole school.”
mallwood, who was named Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year in 1997, continued to encourage students who were interested in OSU to take the next step in requesting information or applying. Through his contacts at OSU, Smallwood was able to serve as their guide and help them stay organized during the process. “I basically provide a link from OSU to North Lamar,” Smallwood says. “A lot of kids have the grades to go to college; they just don’t know where to start to make it happen.” Seven top students from North Lamar High School are now in their freshman year at OSU thanks to Smallwood’s encouraging motives. “I didn’t have to twist their arm — it was an easy sell,” Smallwood says. “Some of them had already made those plans, I just kept telling them it’s the right decision. They recognize OSU is a quality institution, which I think is one of those things that really stands out.”
any alumni can be involved in recruiting the next generation of OSU Cowboys and Cowgirls, like Smallwood. “Stephen is a great example of one of our alumni who has really shared his alma mater with the younger generations,” Mourer says. “He has a done a wonderful job of taking his OSU experience and sharing it with students, not in a way where it seems like OSU is the only choice he would recommend, but sharing information with them so they realize it is a great opportunity. I think it’s great he has been able to show them opportunities they may not have otherwise been able to take advantage of. ”The OSU Alumni Association works closely with the Undergraduate Admissions office for the Alumni Recruiting Students program, which gives alumni an opportunity to share their love for OSU with prospective students. Melissa Mourer, director of alumni programs for the Alumni Association, said volunteering at college fairs and on-campus events are a great way for alumni to share their OSU passion with others. “I think it’s important for our alumni to share their OSU experiences and talk with prospective students because it’s a first-hand account of what OSU can do for someone,” Mourer says. “It’s just a way to personalize the OSU experience.”
mma Harrington, a biochemistry and molecular biology freshman, is one of the North Lamar students who Smallwood made an impact on. Although she was familiar with OSU, she was also interested in other Texas schools and the University of Texas. “He was a mentor in educating all of us on what OSU has to offer,” Harrington says. “He encouraged us to come up here for a visit, and we just fell in love with how nice everyone was. That was one of the points Mr. Smallwood made to us— you’re not going to find another campus that wants to help you out as much as OSU. Emma, who was homecoming queen at North Lamar, is not the only person in her family who Smallwood encouraged. Her brother, Will, already had his mind
set on OSU. However, her other brother Sam was leaning toward Texas Tech until Smallwood came into the picture. Together, they make up a rare combination at OSU — triplets. “We all said we would never go to the same college as each other,” Harrington says. “Here we are, all at the same university and all in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. It’s actually been really nice to have them here for support and it’s still big enough where we can be our own individual.” Smallwood provided Harrington and her brothers with contact information for people on campus and made sure all of their questions were answered. Harrington describes Smallwood as a ‘go-getter’ and someone who knows how to make things happen. “He would bend over backward to help anybody,” Harrington says. “Once he gets his mind set on something, he does it full out. He was so thrilled we wanted to go to OSU.” Harrington joined the biochemistry club and is excited about meeting new people and getting her name out on campus. She is happy with her decision to come to OSU and can’t imagine anywhere else she would rather be, thanks to Smallwood’s abundance of encouragement. “I’m so happy, and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Harrington says. “I love being in classes with people who want the same things as me and who have the same goals as I do. It’s really neat.” Before the school year even began, Smallwood has heard from several students and parents who were interested in OSU. He continues to spread his love for OSU, while mentoring students about college. “The main thing is to get them on a college campus so they make a decision about higher education,” Smallwood says. “Certainly I’ll push the kids toward OSU every chance I get.” K R i S T E N M c C O N N AU G H E y
For more information about the alumni Recruiting students program or to refer a student using the Know a Future Cowboy form, visit orangeconnection.org/recruit.
Danica Johnson, left, is the first recipient of the Emerson Endowed Scholarship, funded by the generosity of alumna Deb Emerson, right.
DIVERSITY Alumna mentors inner-city youths and strives to bring more diversity to campus
iversity is increasingly emphasized on college campuses across the country because it enhances social development, expands worldviews and prepares students for work in a global society. Deb Emerson, who was named one of Maryland’s top 100 women by the Maryland Daily Record in 2011, due to her professional achievement and commitment to community leadership, supports attempts to diversify OSU’s campus through a scholarship fund. Emerson, a native of Alva, Okla., says she wasn’t exposed to the value of diversity until living in Baltimore for 10 years. “It wasn’t until I lived in a very diverse city that I was aware that we should all be enlightened on the importance diversity brings to our working and community environment,” says Emerson, ’93 political science. “I think people are more comfortable if they are around other people who are like them. If you encourage more people with different ethnic backgrounds to come to campus, this leads to a more diverse student body where everyone feels welcome.” She established the Emerson Endowed Scholarship as an award for inner-city students with significant financial need. Her goal is to increase diversity on campus by supporting and encouraging students from an inner-city school in Oklahoma to attend OSU. Emerson provides more than financial support. She also meets with her scholar recipients when she returns to Stillwater for sporting events. Emerson, an avid OSU sports fan, has not missed a Cowboy home football game in years. Her gift qualified for the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match, which will increase the total impact to $126,312. Eventually, it will produce more than $6,000 in annual scholarships. The first recipient is Danica Johnson of Oklahoma City, a sophomore studying nutritional sciences with an allied health option. Johnson’s mother, inspired by her daughter’s educational achievement, has decided to return to school and pursue a degree in accounting. “This scholarship is important for my future because it helps me pay for the costs of college, especially with the raise in tuition,” Johnson says. “This year is
financially difficult for my family with my mother deciding to finish her degree. This scholarship helps me out tremendously.” Jason Kirksey, OSU’s associate vice president for institutional diversity, sees the importance of gifts like Emerson’s. “I think this scholarship gives us further opportunity to attract some of the best and brightest students from diverse backgrounds to OSU,” he says. “This particular award enabled us to attract a student we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. These types of awards are certainly incredibly valuable to the institution, enhancing the quality of students in terms of our mission within the division.”
If you encourage more people with different ethnic backgrounds to come to campus, this leads to a more diverse student body where everyone feels welcome.” — Deb Emerson Since her time at OSU, Emerson has developed a passion for diversity through mentoring at-risk high-school students for a handful of local Baltimore corporations. As coordinator of the mentoring program, she helps students develop professional and life skills. “At the time, Baltimore had a high school dropout rate of more than 50 percent. The goal for these students was graduating from high school,” she says. “If they don’t graduate high school, they are less likely to get a job and more likely to need social services. Many times if they’re not able to have their basic needs served by these programs, they may turn to crime, ultimately creating a terrible cycle. Stopping that cycle early is our intent.”
Many of her students remain in contact through college as well. They look to Emerson for assurance and advice on financial aid and other obstacles associated with college. She is ecstatic about one of her students who graduated from college cum laude and is attending his first year of law school at Tulsa University. Emerson is a vice president of Constellation Energy in Baltimore. She received her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is a member of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Baltimore board of directors, which oversee the operations of two successful Baltimore charter schools. She is also a trustee of the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance and on the executive committee for the United Way of Central Maryland Women’s Leadership Council. Emerson says she was fortunate to have her grandmother, Maxine Weber (’86 education administration alumna), as a mentor who taught her that through education anything can be accomplished. “Education provides a brighter future. Many students don’t have the vision of the importance of an education because no one in their family or community has graduated from college,” Emerson says. Because one of her goals is to provide quality education to our youth, she supports and encourages others to get involved. “Government aid isn’t going up with the cost of tuition rising. There simply isn’t enough out there to be offered,” Emerson says. “Students today need private aid. More people need to give to students and realize how beneficial giving any amount can be for a student’s future.” OSU embraces the value of diversity to provide students with the best educational experience possible. “We are committed to helping the university maintain and cultivate an environment that is socially, culturally and globally competent,” Kirksey says. “We strive to broaden the role of diversity on campus in terms of really promoting and celebrating differences and recognizing contributions that all individuals bring to the university.” B R i T TA N i E D O U G L A S
experience student gains re tu ul ric ag l Internationa LiOT T Guard By M AT T E L with National
Mandy Kennedy went to Afghanistan with the Oklahoma National Guard to gain much-needed experience for her international agriculture master’s degree. The specialist assigned to an agribusiness development team with the 45th in the Paktya province learned a great deal about working with farmers in a war zone. Now back at OSU since August with three hours left before graduation, Kennedy, from Ellsworth, Wis., has no idea what she’ll do next. She just hopes it doesn’t involve communal showers and living on a forward operating base where it’s cold. “Our whole thing over there is winning the hearts and minds of the people,” Kennedy says. “But that doesn’t stop the insurgents. That doesn’t stop the Taliban. “It’s like a Band-Aid,” she says. “If I’m a farmer and the Taliban is threatening me, I still have to comply because the Army can’t save me. It can’t protect me.
the resurgent Taliban, making it hard for rural Afghans to think beyond their immediate day-to-day survival, she says. The families of farmers she worked with have been farming the same way for millennia. Most work by hand in fields irrigated by snowmelt. Locals produce just enough to feed themselves and sell a bit in local markets. The locals weren’t using the best practices or means, say, for example, to keep meat or fruit in cold storage, Kennedy says. But in many cases they were using methods their ancestors used. “We wanted to assist them in sustainability and teach people improved practices such as how to winter their beehives and make them stronger, and how to protect and maintain poultry.” She’s not sure she made much of a difference. “We would give them 30 birds of laying age, a coop and so many days worth of
at his books, you’d see he employed 130 people. Then, if you went out to his facilities, you’d see just one working. So, we’d try to figure out where the other employees were, what they were doing, where the money is going. We would try to conduct interviews and find out who was qualified for the jobs they were in.” She also sought fellowship opportunities for faculty at Paktya University in Gardez, helping them learn about English classes and continuing education opportunities. She remembers being amazed at one man’s drive to learn English. She helped him with applications to an English language institute while her team’s cultural adviser and linguist worked with him on his English. He was thinking long-term and wanted to improve the nation, not just survive, she says. Just visiting a base was a security issue for the man and his family.
“I’m very passionate about agriculture, and I didn’t have any experience with the international side. This was my opportunity to jump in feet first.” So in the meantime, I’ll take what I can get from the coalition and pay the Taliban to leave me alone for a while. And that’s pretty much how the system works.” Kennedy, a tall blonde with a strong Wisconsin accent, spent 11 months on a coalition base near the ancient city of Gardez with a team of 64. She helped educate villagers and farmers on better agricultural practices for things such as cold storage, beekeeping and raising poultry. She also conducted research, worked on contracts with local builders and with business owners, teachers, veterinarians and beekeepers, and helped instructors at Paktya University develop curriculum. Kennedy found it challenging to work with people who’ve been living in a battlefield as long as they can remember. Even with its first democratically elected president, the Islamic republic remains paralyzed by corruption and
feed. When we would go back to check on them, the birds would all be dead because they had consumed them. The coops would’ve been used for firewood. And they would’ve used the feed for cooking.” The only tractors available are used as taxis, Kennedy says. Women were rarely seen and were veiled. “We were in one of the least-developed provinces. If you go west, south or any other direction, they’re more advanced in their gender roles and not as restrictive. They’re more Westernized.” When Kennedy wasn’t doing outreach in provincial villages or bad weather prevented travel, she’d work on contracts the Americans set up with locals to perform services such as building greenhouses for the province. “I also worked on a project with the USDA representative in our area to reestablish staff for the director of agriculture, irrigation and livestock. If you looked
If the weather was good, her team would do outreach education and check on projects in the province. Just getting there was a challenge. Roads were usually too dangerous to travel. Kennedy and her team would file into helicopters, skirt the mountaintops and hop to neighboring bases, where they’d join a convoy of massive vehicles equipped to protect against improvised explosive devices. They would check to see if contractors built projects or performed other tasks they were supposed to do. Or they’d do their outreach work, much of which fell on deaf ears. Sometimes the group’s interpreters would just shrug their shoulders, Kennedy says. In some areas they set up cool storage buildings to keep food. Then the tribes would fight over who controlled the buildings, and they would go unused, locked up, or would become weapons caches. (continues)
They found similar problems in the city. A tractor her team bought for the local university’s crop research was locked in storage. “They didn’t want someone to take it, and they didn’t want it to break. But they never used it, nor did they have money to buy fuel.” Life wasn’t all serious all the time. She got the chance to have some fun with her
and women in high heels, a stark difference from the more traditional parts of Afghanistan such as Gardez. Milling around with colonels, officers and other National Guard members, she learned about others’ roles in the nation. Afghanistan is a long way from agrihome for the farm girl who studied agri culture marketing at the University of
mandy Kennedy found it challenging to work with people who’ve been at war as long as they can remember. afghanistan rarely saw peace in the 20th centur y. The soviet invasion of 1979 cut shor t a rare peaceful period of reforms that had gradually improved the nation decades af ter the British occupation ended in 1919. The soviet war lasted until 1989 and is believed to have killed more than 1 million afghans. The soviets’ departure precipitated a brutal civil war that installed the Taliban in 1996. That regime was over thrown by the american-led invasion of 2001 af ter afghanistan was discovered to be the base o f o p e r at i o n s f o r t h e te r ro r i s t o r g a n i z a t i o n a l Q ae d a , w h i c h perpetrated
sept. 11. By then, what lit tle was accomplished during the reform periods of the 1940s through 1970s was long since gone. Today, the Islamic republic is led by its first democratically-elected p r e s i d e n t , h a m i d K a r z a i, b u t remains paralyzed by corruption and the resurgent Taliban. Nearly 70,000 a merica troops remain. opium, used to make heroin, is still one of the land-locked nation’s chief exports despite western attempts to eradicate it.
“I went there, and I tried my best. I think that’s our government’s take on it, too. It’s a tough situation.” team. She and a group of friends found a little Easy-Bake oven they used to make cupcakes. At Halloween, they carved pumpkins. They exchanged gifts at Christmas. They had a New Year’s party at the dining facility. At Easter, she came home on leave but was back in Afghanistan for Independence Day. “We had S’mores in the middle of the day. It was a blackout forward operating base so you couldn’t have any light after the sun went down.” She got to know a lot of the contractors and other civilians working in the area, such as people from nongovernmental organizations and the State Department. They shared stories about the awkwardness of living there. Men always wanted to take pictures with her. Her supervisors encouraged it as part of “winning hearts and minds.” Sometimes she’d get mobbed, “and you can’t shoot them,” she jokes. During one snapshot a local man gave her a big, wet kiss on the neck. “The few of our guys who saw it were laughing. I was like, ‘Can I get some help over here?’ No, you’re just going to laugh. OK. Got it. “I didn’t do anymore photos after that, and I started wearing a head scarf.” She visited the capital, Kabul, and noticed the city’s high-rise apartments. She remembers seeing a swimming pool
Wisconsin-River Falls. After graduating in 2006, she worked with the National Reining Horse Association in Oklahoma and later took a job in family support with the National Guard. The command needed women for its agriculture mission in Afghanistan. They convinced her to enlist in 2009, and she took the opportunity to start her master’s degree in international agriculture at OSU. “I was still paying for my undergraduate degree. The military’s student loan repayment plan made my loans go away, basically, and would pay for my master’s,” she says. “I’m very passionate about agriculture, and I didn’t have any experience with the international side. This was my opportunity to jump in feet first.” Now, her international experience makes Kennedy a prime candidate for jobs with the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, nonprofits dealing with international agriculture and a host of businesses. She is concerned about what happens in Afghanistan when more troops leave in 2014 and wonders if the nation will be safe enough for her civilian successors to push through the next phase of reconstruction. “I feel like our intentions were good,” Kennedy says. “But really and truly, it’s hard for me to say I went there and did great things because I don’t really feel that way. “I went there, and I tried my best. I think that’s our government’s take on it, too. It’s a tough situation.”
Photos / Phil shockley
ORANGING UP TULSA Can a color transform a campus? Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences, believes it can. In fact, he’s betting on the power of orange and the OSU brand to achieve new levels of success in the Tulsa market. After years of sharing a campus with other universities and maintaining a fairly neutral color palette, OSU-Tulsa is making changes and bringing the look and feel of the Stillwater campus to Tulsa. “Everyone knows Oklahoma State University is an internationally recognized university with a rich history of tradition and spirit. We felt it was time for the OSU-Tulsa campus to reflect OSU’s orange pride,” Barnett says.
In 2010, OSU-Tulsa completed a strategic planning process to determine the institution’s course for the next five years. The process involved input from many stakeholders including students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and Tulsa community leaders. One of the plan’s major initiatives was to strengthen the institutional brand and make the Tulsa campus look more like an OSU campus – complete with lots of orange and the university’s primary logo. Participants dubbed the effort “Oranging Up.” Barnett said that when most of the buildings were completed, the campus operated as a consortium of four universities. As the transition to OSU-Tulsa and the unwinding of the institutions gradually occurred, the original colors remained dominated by hunter green, burgundy and
navy blue. Pistol Pete and the OSU logo, affectionately called the Power O, were rarely seen. During a recent campus visit, David K. Johnson (Class of ’81) and his wife, Susan, heard Barnett talk about his vision to “orange up” the campus. Billie Barnett gave the Johnsons a brief tour of the Administration Hall and all were a little amazed. The consensus: you would never know you were on an OSU campus. “There was no orange in sight,” David says. “There were blue, green, gray and maroon colors, but no orange and very little black. There was nothing to lead you to believe that you were on an OSU campus. Where was the Power O?” Something had to change. The Johnsons felt so strongly about Barnett’s plan that they supported the university’s
Howard Barnett, left, president of OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences, discusses the strategy for “Oranging Up” with David K. and Susan Johnson.
PHOTO / COURTESy OSU-TULSA
efforts with a donation designated for the campus improvements. “We feel that it is important for OSU-Tulsa to be recognized as an Oklahoma State University campus,” David says. “Part of the college feeling comes from the campus surroundings. Oranging Up helps create that feeling we have when we step on campus in Stillwater.” Barnett said it was clear to everyone involved in the strategic planning process that we needed to strengthen our institutional brand and enhance awareness of OSU in Tulsa. The Oranging Up project includes new parking lot banners featuring the OSU logo that welcome students and visitors to campus. Updated courtyard signage featuring Pistol Pete and orange furniture in the student and public areas have also been added. Barnett said there are plans to update campus entrance signage and incorporate additional orange accents and OSU icons strategically throughout campus. “Now, when people drive by on I-244 or visit campus, they can see orange and the OSU logo,” Barnett says. “They know this is OSU.” The Johnsons are delighted by the progress to date. David says, “Now as we look at the changes that have been made, the Tulsa campus is taking on its own OSU identity and is beginning to feel like ‘Cowboy Country.’” TRiSH McBEATH AND MARy BEA DRUMMOND
PHOTOS / COURTESy OSU-TULSA
Samples of “Oranging Up” around OSU-Tulsa: Orange furniture in the student areas, Pistol Pete courtyard banners and Pistol Pete beverage machine.
The OSU Alumni Association honors individuals each year with the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have excelled through personal and professional achievement and community service. The five 2011 recipients were honored Oct. 8 at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and also during the Kansas vs. OSU football game.
Kent Boggs of Stillwater, Okla., graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 1978. While at OSU, he received the Outstanding Student Teacher Award. After graduation, Boggs joined the faculty at Marlow High School in Marlow, Okla., as an agricultural education instructor. In 1980, Boggs became an agricultural education instructor at Elgin High School in Elgin, Okla., where he taught for five years before joining the Oklahoma FFA Association as the State FFA Executive Secretary. He is responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing the leadership component of the student organization, which includes state officers, membership development, marketing and public relations, conventions, contests and awards. Boggs currently serves on the State FFA Executive Committee, the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association and the Oklahoma FFA Foundation. He is a member of the Oklahoma Agricultural Education Teachers Association, the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the Southwest American Livestock Foundation, Inc. Boggs became an honorary member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity in 2007, was awarded the Distinguished Service to Oklahoma Agriculture Award by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau in 2009 and the Arch Alexander Award for Outstanding Contributions to Career Tech Education in 2010. In 2009, OSU Ag-Ed Scholarship, Inc. established the Kent Boggs Endowed Trust in his honor. Boggs is a life member of the National FFA Alumni and the OSU Alumni Association.
Jerry L. giLL of Stillwater, Okla., graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1967. A graduate teaching assistant and later adjunct assistant professor, he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in 1973 and 1976, both in history. His scholarly activities included publication of two books and several articles. During his 36-year tenure at OSU, Gill served as associate director for the Office of High School and College Relations at OSU before becoming director of athletic gift programs in 1978. In 1984, Gill joined the OSU Alumni Association, serving as president and CEO until he retired in 2007. During his career, Gill served in numerous regional and national leadership positions including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Council of Alumni Association Executives, Big 12 Alumni Directors and Oklahoma Association of Alumni Professionals. Following his retirement, Gill served two and a half years with OSU’s Edmon Low Library as coordinator of the O-STATE Stories Project where he conducted more than 200 interviews for the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. Gill has served in many leadership roles in the First United Methodist Church Stillwater, has taught Sunday school classes for nearly 40 years and is currently a certified lay speaker for the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 2007, Gill received the “Loyal and True” award, presented annually to an OSU faculty or staff member for career contributions to the advancement of the university. He has been recognized as an honorary life member in the OSU Black Alumni Association and is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
John D. groenDyKe of Enid, Okla., graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in business in 1966. While at OSU, he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. In 1969, he earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma and became a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association. For two years Groendyke served in the U.S. Army in the Transportation Corp. and obtained the rank of Captain. He returned to Enid to join the family trucking operation, which was founded in 1932 by his father. Groendyke currently serves as chairman and CEO of Groendyke Transport, Inc. He is a member of the Enid Chamber of Commerce and the United Way Pillars Club. Groendyke currently serves as a trustee and chairman for the Oklahoma Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and is on the board of directors for the Grand National Quail Foundation and Grand National Quail Club, where he has served as a past president and chairman of the board. He also serves on the board of directors for OG&E Energy, the board of the Wentworth Military Academy, the board of the National Tank Truck Carriers and the OSU Foundation Board of Governors. Groendyke is serving his fifth term as Commissioner of District 8 for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation after being appointed 35 years ago.
DonaLD e. ramsey of Jones, Okla., is a graduate from Dale High School and Oklahoma A&M, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 1950. In 1962, he received his master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Central State University. While at A&M, Ramsey won the Little International Swine Management and Showmanship Contest in 1948 and was president of his agricultural education graduating class. After graduating, Ramsey became a vocational agriculture instructor before being drafted into the U.S. Army. In 1954, he returned to teaching vocational agriculture in Alfalfa, Okla. Ramsey taught vocational agriculture for 20 years, the majority in Jones, Okla., before founding the Blue & Gold Sausage Co. in 1970. For 10 years, Ramsey served as a director and officer for the Dale Rogers Training Center, beginning in 1978. Ramsey was named an Oklahoma 4-H and FFA Livestock Show Honoree in 1984. Ramsey served on the school board for Jones Public Schools for 6 years and served as president of several organizations, including the Sirloin Club of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Vocational Technology Foundation and the Southwest American Livestock Foundation. In 1993, Ramsey was inducted into the Vocational Technology Foundation Hall of Fame and received the Distinguished Agriculture Alumnus Award from the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in 2001. Ramsey is a life member of the National FFA Alumni and the OSU Alumni Association.
Vaughn o. VennerBerg, ii of Dallas, Texas, graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1976. While at OSU, Vennerberg was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and served as president of the Blue Key National Honor Society, the Student Union Activities Board and the Interfraternity Council. In 1976, he was named one of the Top 10 Seniors for the College of Arts & Sciences and a Redskin Yearbook Congratulate, an honor for OSU’s Top 12 graduating seniors. Vennerberg was president and director of XTO Energy Inc. in Fort Worth, Texas, until its merger with ExxonMobil in June 2010. He worked for 23 years with XTO, which before merging was the nation’s largest domestic natural gas producer with more than 3,200 employees. Vennerberg has served as a director of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, the Western Energy Alliance, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board and the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association. The 11,000 members of the American Association of Professional Landmen named Vennerberg “Landmen of the Year” in 2008. In 2010, Vennerberg was named Distinguished Alumnus for the OSU College of Arts & Sciences. In 2008, Vennerberg partnered with XTO Energy Inc. to establish three endowed faculty positions in the microbiology and molecular genetics, art, and psychology departments. He is currently on the board of trustees for the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History and the Van Cilburn Foundation. He is also a minority owner of the Texas Rangers baseball club. 57
Calling all Alumni Do you know an alumnus of OSU who deserves to be recognized for their achievements?
You can nominate deserving alumni for induction into two Alumni Award groups. The Distinguished Alumni Award, honored in the fall, and the OSU Alumni Hall of Fame, honored in the spring. To be considered for the 2012-2013 Awards Year, nominations must be received by May 15, 2012. For more information, call 405-744-5368 or visit orangeconnection.org/alumniawards. 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 â€˘ FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org
Celebrating “Where Your Story Began” was on the minds of each and every graduate who returned for Homecoming 2011 presented by the OSU Alumni Association. So many Cowboys and Cowgirls can trace their roots to Oklahoma State, and this year’s homecoming events helped everyone remember why the spirit and traditions of our alma mater will always remain an important part of our lives. Some of our favorite memories from homecoming 2011 are captured in the images on the following pages, with many more online at orangeconnection.org/homecoming. On pages 20–23, read about two of the many couples whose stories together began at OSU.
Chi Omega/Sigma Phi Epsilon tied for first place in the house decorations category and also won sweepstakes. A water wheel powered part of their house decoration. PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
New Stories Begin at Homecoming 2011
Eric Scott, ’11, surprises Hannah Hullin, ’11, with a marriage proposal in front of the OSU library during Walkaround.
Silas Stewart, ’10, and Bethany Bridges, ’10, met at homecoming three years ago and took their engagement pictures during Walkaround.
PHOTO / STUBBS PHOTOGRAPHy By KiM
PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
PHOTO / STUBBS PHOTOGRAPHy By KiM
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
PHOTO / CHASE CARTER
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
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PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
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PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
Sigma Chi Michael Solomon built the first wind- and solar-powered generators for Zeta Tau Alpha/Sigma Chi. PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
HOTO / phil shockley
PHOTO / gary lawson
PHOTO / gary lawson
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
Grand Marshal Desmond Mason with his wife, Andrea. PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
PHOTO / CHASE CARTER
PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
homecoming 2011 Legacy Coloring Contest Ages 3–5 Bracket:
Rebecca Johnson, Edmond, okla.
Ages 6–8 Bracket:
Colin gray, huntington Beach, Calif.
Most Spirited College
andrea aebi, Bartlesville, okla.
College of agricultural sciences and Natural Resources
Legacy Costume Contest Ages 0–5 Bracket:
Sea of Orange Parade Band Competition — Small Class:
Ages 6–11 Bracket:
PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
1st — Ripley high school 2nd — Yale high school
Band Competition — Large Class:
Football Frenzy Greek Life:
Community Parade Entry:
1st — Kappa Kappa gamma/sigma Nu 2nd — Delta Delta Delta/Kappa sigma male mVp — george overbey Female mVp — sarah massucci
1st — payne County Youth services 2nd — Dairy science Club 3rd — The Family — From our home to the Tailgate
1st — CasNR ssl 2nd — North monroe male mVp — Tyler Downing Female mVp — lorna lawrence
1st — Collegiate Cattlemen and Cattlewomen 2nd — Rodeo association 3rd — CasNR student Council
Sign Competition Student Organizations:
1st — sigma phi lambda 2nd — Business student Council 3rd — Collegiate 4-h
1st — The Villages 2nd — Kamm/peterson/Friend Rha 3rd — patchin/Jones
1st — Chi omega/sigma phi Epsilon 2nd (tie) — Delta Delta Delta/Kappa sigma and phi mu/lambda Chi 3rd — zeta Tau alpha/sigma Chi
Harvest Carnival Student Organizations: 1st — osU Rodeo Club 2nd — CasNR stuco 3rd — Collegiate 4-h
1st — Wentz hall 2nd — Bennett hall
1st — Chi omega/sigma phi Epsilon 2nd — Kappa Kappa gamma/sigma Nu 3rd — pi Beta phi/alpha gamma Rho
Kappa Kappa gamma/sigma Nu
Visit orangeconnection.org/ homecoming for photos and videos from Homecoming 2011: ‘Where Your Story Began.’
Orange Reflection 1st — The Villages 2nd — Kamm/peterson/Friend halls 3rd — Bennett hall
Ages 9–11 Bracket:
PHOTO / GARy LAWSON
Chili Cook-Off Student Organizations:
1st — CasNR stuco 2nd — alpha zeta 3rd — osU horseman’s association
1st — parker hall 2nd — The Villages 3rd — Iba hall
1st — henryetta high school 2nd — Inola high school
1st — Bennett hall 2nd — stout hall 3rd — parker hall
Grand Marshal’s Cup:
alpha pi omega/sigma lambda gamma/Delta Tau Delta
House Decorations Alumni Association Chairman’s Cup:
Tie — Chi omega/sigma phi Epsilon and Kappa alpha Theta/ sigma alpha Epsilon 2nd — pi Beta phi/alpha gamma Rho 3rd — Kappa Kappa gamma/sigma Nu 4th — zeta Tau alpha/sigma Chi 5th — Delta Delta Delta/Kappa sigma
Engineering Excellence Award: Chi omega/sigma phi Epsilon
Homecoming King & Queen Randy gordon and amy lynn (peel) Truitt
Sweepstakes Student Organizations:
1st — CasNR student Council 2nd — Collegiate 4h
1st — The Villages 2nd — parker hall 3rd — stout hall
1st — Chi omega/sigma phi Epsilon 2nd — Kappa Kappa gamma/sigma Nu 3rd — Kappa alpha Theta/ sigma alpha Epsilon
People’s Choice: alpha zeta
“Roxanne is such a big help to me in all of this,” Pollard says. “She has to blend her life, time and other commitments together with mine so we can accomplish as much as possible and do the things we want to do together as well.” Pollard doesn’t know what drives him to cram so much into each day instead of relaxing and enjoying the fruits of his incredible success. He does admit scheduling conflicts sometimes lead him to consider giving up at least one job. “But I have a great interest in all these things. I don’t want to have just a passive interest. I want to have an active interest in them. “I’m more of a doer than an observer or a watcher,” Pollard says. “I’m one who has always wanted to get involved. I don’t want to miss out on anything.” One thing he is determined to do is help his alma mater. Pollard and his five siblings all attended OSU, where he enjoyed “one of the greatest periods of my life.” Along with discovering professional opportunities, he also learned the benefit of getting to know many people. “The environment that Oklahoma State provided is something I will always
This neurosurgeon-rancher-businessman spends countless hours working and volunteering
s librarians and video store employees can attest, some narratives are just too varied to easily classify by genre. A tale might sound like a medical drama if it focuses on a neurosurgeon who makes life-or-death decisions each day before most people get out of bed. But what if the story includes the theme of a life coming full-circle? The protagonist could learn about farming and ranching while growing up in the small, agricultural community of Hennessey, Okla., and later become owner
Associates, or at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. He performs an average of 10 surgeries per week, and every other weekend he makes rounds and is on call. Most evenings he spends about three hours working at Pollard Farms, where genetic testing, cloning and embryo transplants yield the highest-quality registered Angus cattle. On his weekends off from neurosurgery, Pollard is busy with P&K Equipment, his John Deere dealership with Oklahoma locations in Bartlesville, Blackwell,
of a John Deere dealership with 10 locations throughout the state. Adding ownership of a 6,000-acre farming and ranching operation builds on that theme, but revealing that this business clones cattle gives the story a sciencefiction feel. Perhaps the genre would be biography, as this tale is the life story of Barry Pollard. The man who recently finished a twoyear term as the OSU Foundation’s chairman of the board of trustees gives a whole new meaning to the word “busy.” On the typical weekday, Pollard works at his Enid office, Neurological Surgery
Edmond, Enid, Kingfisher, Norman, Pryor, Purcell, Stillwater and Tulsa. His OSU Foundation obligations include meetings and communicating with OSU and Foundation leaders through countless phone calls and emails. Being productive nearly every possible second has become a way of life. Pollard and his wife, Roxanne, see each other during the day because she is a surgical nurse at the clinic. They also attend as many OSU football and basketball games as they can. They have little time for relaxing at home.
PHOTO / COURTESy
“I hope all of our alumni will enjoy the feeling of self-satisfaction and involvement that ‘giving back to the university’ can bring.”— BArry POllArd
cherish,” Pollard says. “Almost daily I see or talk with someone I met or grew to know during my years at OSU. It holds a special place in my heart and always will. The opportunity to give back to the university is something I always looked forward to.” Pollard’s leadership of the OSU Foundation is one way he has given back. He is especially proud of the quality of committees and committee leaders chosen in the past two years. He says the Foundation is now stronger, with the right leaders in place to ensure an even brighter future. He praises his successor, David Kyle, for having impeccable leadership credentials, especially as the former CEO of ONEOK. Kyle describes Pollard as “all in” during his term as chairman of the board of trustees. “Even with all his professional duties, he made the commitment to be on every committee to learn about everything the Foundation had going on,” Kyle
Pollard made a $40,000 lead gift says. “He easily could have begged off, to the program, plus regular contribubut that is not what Barry is all about. tions since. He recently established a $1 He led the organization wonderfully and million planned gift, of which $250,000 was genuinely interested in hearing everywill be for Medical Cowboys scholarone’s opinion. He made sure everybody ships. Another $500,000 of that estate had an opportunity to participate in the commitment will support scholarships for decision-making.” football, food science and animal science. Pollard founded the OSU Medical The other $250,000 will support the agriCowboys program, which supports business professorship he endowed with a scholarships for future healthcare profesprevious $250,000 gift. sionals such as dentists, nurses, optomPollard’s estate commitment shows etrists, pharmacists and physicians. He his determination to help his alma mater, created the program in 2007 after hearing even when he is no longer around to see people say students should choose to get the outcome. For now, though, he enjoys their pre-med degree at the University of Oklahoma because it has a medical school. watching OSU grow. “The future for Oklahoma State “I knew that was just wrong. When University is really bright,” Pollard says. I was in medical school at OU, about “I’m excited about the quality of the educa20 to 25 percent of my classmates were tion we offer and the quality of kids we’re OSU graduates,” Pollard says. “So I was able to attract. looking for a way to let parents and “The culture of giving back to the high-school counselors know OSU is a university that the current fundraising great place for pre-medical education. campaign has developed is essential to It’s working — we have our success,” he says. “I hope all of our raised about $3.5 alumni will enjoy the feeling of self-satismillion for scholfaction and involvement that ‘giving back arships, and to the university’ can bring.” we’re going to keep growing.” JAC O B L O N G A N
Dr. Barry Pollard and his wife, Roxanne, make a point to attend as many OSU football and basketball games as their busy schedules allow.
These excepTional alumni’s lives ended much Too soon. BuT scholarships esTaBlished By Their family and friends honor The couple’s legacy of kindness and generosiTy and will conTinue Their legacy of Touching people’s lives.
even if you didn’t know Chris and Jenny Goodpasture stiegler, news of their deaths last Christmas eve was heartbreaking. The couple’s nearly 8-month-old daughter, Emily grace, was the sole survivor of the two-car accident. she sustained two broken legs and a skull fracture. Their dog, Bailey, also died, as did another couple whose vehicle hydroplaned into the stieglers, who were traveling from College station, Texas, to Dallas for the holidays. Nearly a year later, Emily’s injuries are healed and she’s a happy 1½-year-old surrounded by numerous family and friends. But those who knew Chris and Jenny still can’t believe these two incredibly intelligent, talented and caring people are gone.
a perfecT maTch James Christopher “Chris” Stiegler, 35, and Jennifer “Jenny” Nicole Goodpasture Stiegler, 32, had just started their family, completed their educational goals and were poised for successful careers in higher education and management. “They were a perfect match,” says Brett Allred, one of Chris’ Sigma Chi brothers whose friendship with Chris began in second grade in Stillwater. “Chris was literally one of those perfect all-American boys who never did anything wrong,” says Allred, a 1998 business administration alumnus. “Nobody ever had a bad word to say about Chris. “And everything Jenny did was firstclass, top-notch. She was just like Chris in that regard.” Chris and Jenny were OSU students when they met at a basketball game in Gallagher-Iba Arena. “The student section fills up fast and you have to get there early to get a good seat,” says Amy Puckett Backus, a 2000 public relations alumna and one of Jenny’s Pi Beta Phi pledge sisters. “Jenny got up to go to the concession stand and asked Chris, who was sitting behind her, to save her seat. Chris told her, ‘If you’re lucky.’” Jenny later confided to Backus, “Little did I know I was the lucky one.”
high achievers Chris and Jenny were outstanding, outgoing OSU students. Chris earned a bachelor’s in horticulture and landscape architecture in 1998 and a master’s in horticulture in 2001. He worked as an assistant golf course superintendent in Kansas and as an Oklahoma Cooperative Extension agent before earning a doctorate in turfgrass ecology and management from the University of Arkansas in 2010 and joining the Texas A&M University faculty months later. Jenny earned a bachelor’s in family relations and child development in 2000. During that time she started working at Stillwater’s Bath & Body Works. She loved it so much she pursued an MBA, graduating in 2002. She became a highly recruited manager and won numerous awards during the nearly 10 years she managed stores in Stillwater, Fayetteville, Ark., and College Station, Texas. “They were two classy individuals,” Allred says. “I don’t think Chris ever made a B in his life. At OSU, he was ‘Mr. Everything,’ a Top 10 Freshman, a Top 10 Senior, a member of the President’s Leadership Council, chairman of Varsity Revue and vice president of Sigma Chi,” says Allred, who was in the fraternity with Chris from 1993-1998. Another fraternity brother, Brett Batson, says Chris was “the type of guy parents liked you to bring home.
Jenny Goodpasture and Chris Stiegler’s wedding day, Sept. 27, 2003, in Stillwater.
“That’s normally a one-way ticket out of the cool crowd, but Chris was cool,” says Batson, a 1997 finance graduate. “He showed people respect from the minute they met him and they always responded to it.” Chris’ razor-sharp wit, mastery of the inside joke and athletic skills, particularly in golf, along with his academic excellence and campus leadership roles could have easily intimidated others, Batson says, yet everyone liked Chris. “I think he got along with everyone because he measured every word, and every word came with respect.” Chris, an excellent vocalist who received a music scholarship, was still a pledge when he taught his fraternity to sing “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” and later performed at all his friends’ weddings. “He was like Frank Sinatra,” Allred says. “Everyone requested he sing at their weddings. He even sang to Jenny at his own wedding.” Batson, who was Chris’ best man, says Chris scheduled several sessions with his high school vocal coach before the wedding and went to great lengths to keep it a surprise. “It was a clandestine operation, for sure,” Batson says, “and he sang with emotion, heart and skill. It was his gift to her, and she was very touched.” Chris’ sister, Stephanie Stiegler Neill, a 1993 alumna with an honors degree in sociology/gerontology, says her brother’s friends and coworkers have shared many stories with her that reinforce a truth she already knew. “I had the most amazing brother anyone could ask for. I loved him like crazy and miss him like crazy now,” Neill says. “I knew he had found a match in Jenny from the first time I met her. I consider myself blessed to have had a sister-in-law just as amazing as Chris.” Jenny grew up in Edmond, Okla., and made straight A’s from second grade until her sophomore year at OSU when a counselor convinced her to take an advanced science class even though she was not fond of science. Her father, David L. Goodpasture, remembers Jenny’s tears over that B, a 3.95, that broke her string of A’s. (continues) 71
Jenny was active in the College of Human Sciences’ Student Council and served as a College of Human Sciences Ambassador. She also loved being a Pi Phi. “The core values of Pi Phi — integrity, lifelong commitment, honor and respect, personal and intellectual growth, philanthropic service to others and sincere friendship — read like a personal handbook for Jenny,” says Shannon Cloyes Phillips, a 1996 Pi Phi pledge sister who graduated with Jenny from Edmond Santa Fe High School.
Jenny Goodpasture Stiegler, third from right, with her 1996 Pi Phi pledge sisters during their senior year in 2000. From left are Shannon Cloyes Phillips, Melody Freeman Hunt, Angie Collier Gottlieb, April Hofstadter Shiflett, Stephanie Brown Undernehr, Summer DeHart Caldwell, Jenny Goodpasture Stiegler, Somer Ray Reppert and Amy Puckett Backus.
2003 Sigma Chi golf tournament participants include, from left front: Scott Moorad, Brett Batson, Rocky Moore and Rodney Shewey. From back left are Darren Hightower, Jason Martens, Eric Stiglets, Chris Stiegler, Casey Bell, Brett Allred, Chris Jones and David Stricklin.
“We had so many good times and good conversations,” says Phillips, who graduated in 2000 with double majors in public relations and family relations and child development. “We could lean on each other if something was bothering us.” After Jenny’s death, her pledge class honored her by planting a redbud tree on the sorority lawn and establishing an annual Pi Phi scholarship in her name. “Jenny’s favorite color was purple,” Phillips says. “We think planting the purple-flowering state tree in her honor is a perfect fit.” Backus says Jenny depended on scholarships, and her friends believe she would be honored by a tribute that will help others.
Jenny loved to write letters and do creative projects for her friends. “Her letters were amazing,” says April Hofstadter Shiflett, another high school classmate and pledge sister who graduated from OSU in 2000 with a degree in elementary education. “They were things you kept because she said so much in them. She had a unique way of sharing her thoughts and her love for others.” After enrolling in the MBA program, Jenny took Matthew Gilley’s strategic management class and later worked as his graduate assistant. “Although I had graduate assistants every year, Jenny clearly stood out as the best. It was a true pleasure to work with her,” says Gilley, who now holds an endowed chair in business ethics at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. “No matter how lengthy — and frankly, sometimes quite boring — the task, Jenny always tackled it with enthusiasm and a smile.” Everyone admired Jenny for her kindness and grace, he says. “I could tell right away she was a special young woman who would do wonderful things with her life, which she obviously did,” Gilley says. “I remember her sitting in my office talking so happily about Chris and what she hoped would be a long life together. I know Jenny must have found a deep sense of fulfillment in the life she and Chris made together.”
more success in arkansas The couple married on Sept. 27, 2003. Soon after, Bath and Body Works recruited Jenny to its Fayetteville, Ark., store, where she began district manager training.
Chris stayed in Stillwater, where he was working as an OSU extension agent, and commuted to Arkansas on the weekends. Jenny’s Fayetteville coworkers say she treated them like family. She planned movie nights, happy hours and invited them to her home just to hang out. “Many of her coworkers told me how she had the ability to balance being a great boss and a great friend,” Backus says. “Jenny would often share with me how much it meant to her to be a positive role model to those she worked with.” When Chris joined Jenny the following year to begin his doctorate at the University of Arkansas, they spent every minute possible together. “I remember countless nights that Jenny called and said she was helping Chris in the lab,” says Jenny’s sister. “She was always by his side.” Chris’ sister also remembers how thrilled Chris was to be living in the same place as Jenny again. “They both made sacrifices to make things work for them as a couple,” Neill says. “They were happy to be embarking on the next chapter of their lives together. They made a great team.” Fellow OSU alum and Arkansas doctoral student Trent Roberts became good friends with Chris. Both young scientists were interested in how plants absorb nitrogen through their leaves rather than their roots. Roberts, who earned a 2003 bachelor’s in plant in soil sciences from OSU and a 2006 master’s in soil and water sciences from the University of Arizona, studied the metabolic process of foliar absorption in rice while Chris studied it in turfgrass. “We spent lots of long hours in the lab,” Roberts says, “and we also played a lot of golf together.” Their research left little room for error, but Roberts knew he could count on Chris’ accuracy. “As a scientist, Chris was always willing to help others. If I asked him for help with a procedure or method, I knew it would be done correctly.” Roberts and his wife, Lea, a former OSU pre-med student, spent a lot of time with the Stieglers in Arkansas. When the Roberts’ third child was born, Chris and Jenny babysat the two older children.
“It’s been tough,” says Roberts, who co-authored a paper with Chris and is working with Chris’ advisers to complete and publish his projects. “He’ll be greatly missed as a friend and a colleague.” Chris’ doctoral adviser at Arkansas, horticulture professor Mike Richardson, says Chris could have completed his doctorate sooner if he hadn’t been a perfectionist, but the work demanded Chris’ methodical and detail-oriented precision.
“He took on certain projects because he liked that level of detail and the expertise it required,” Richardson says. “He was an outstanding student and researcher.” After Chris’ death, Richardson initiated a scholarship to defray travel expenses for graduate students to attend the Crop Science Society of America national conference. Like Chris, other graduate students will be able to present their research and make an impact on the profession. “He was a key member of our research team and as important as anyone we’ve ever had here,” Richardson says. (continues)
Sigma Chi buddies at the LiveStrong Challenge in Austin, Texas, in 2008. From left are Rodney Shewey, Tony Martin, Rocky Moore, Cody McNeill, Brett Batson, Jeff Smallwood and Chris Stiegler.
From left, April Hofstadter Shiflett, Jenny Goodpasture Stiegler, Shannon Cloyes Phillips, Amy Puckett Backus and Julianna Peters Deligans
Many scientists regard Chris’ dissertation as one of the most significant in two decades, Richardson says, and requests for copies continue from around the world. “He was a bright young star in our professional world. His death is incredibly disheartening because we knew he would have been very successful in his career,” Richardson says. “I miss him. I’ve never experienced a loss like losing Chris. He was like a son to me.”
a new sTarT in Texas
OSU alumni Chris Stiegler, right, and Trent Roberts, second from right, were doctoral students together at the University of Arkansas when they teamed with professors Richard Norman, left, and Charles Wilson Jr., in the Delta Classic Golf Tournament to raise scholarship funds for their crop, soil and environmental sciences department. (Bottom) Friends hosted a couples wedding shower for Jenny and Chris, center.
The young family, including Emily Grace born April 27, 2010, moved to College Station, Texas, that summer after Chris secured a job as an assistant professor in turfgrass ecology and management at Texas A&M University. “Chris was a wonderful fit for that role,” says David Baltensperger, head of Texas A&M’s Department of Soil and Crop Sciences. “We interviewed several outstanding candidates, but he stood out. It was exceptional how he fit into our team.” Chris spent the fall semester preparing curriculum for classes he would have taught the following spring, organizing a field day for 300 turf grass specialists and facilitating interaction with Scotts Miracle Grow Company, now a major contributor to the program.
Baltensperger says turfgrass is quickly becoming one of the largest U.S. crops in terms of acres managed and mowed for aesthetic purposes, and part of Chris’ responsibilities included creating a turf ecology program for Texas A&M. “Chris would have been a big part of our teaching faculty,” he says. “We believed his efforts to make the environment a friendlier place was going to impact the world, not just Texas A&M.” In College Station, Jenny also excelled as manager of Bath and Body Works. During her six months there, her store climbed from No. 6 to No. 1 in the district. It also came in third nationally among stores in its volume category. Rachel Fields Thomson, whom Jenny promoted to co-manager, attributes the impressive turnaround to Jenny’s experience and enthusiasm. “There wasn’t a day Jenny didn’t come in excited about things coming up,” she says. “She greeted everyone cheerfully every day, her customers and her coworkers,” Thomson says. “She believed in me. She said, ‘You are more than what you think you are.’ Jenny was the first person to tell me that at work and encourage me in areas I wasn’t so sure in.” At all of her stores, Jenny shared uplifting quotes, sometimes writing them on walls in the break room or backroom: “There are no insignificant or ordinary jobs when they’re performed by significant and extraordinary people.” “It’s a rare person who can take care of hearts while also taking care of business.”
A photo of Jenny, Chris and Emily still hangs in the College Station store. “We’re working hard to do the best we can and keep her in the store,” Thomson says. “In the short time I knew her, it felt like she had been a great friend for years. We all had an attachment to her and think about her every day.”
scholarships established in Chris and Jenny’s memory will benefit university students:
The Chris and Jenny (Goodpasture) Stiegler memorial Fund at OSU, established by the stiegler family. to donate, contact the OSU Foundation regarding fund 20-76650. initial gifts qualified for the 2-to-1 Pickens Legacy Scholarship match. The Chris Stiegler Turfgrass Science Graduate Student Travel Award. to donate visit https://www. crops.org/foundation/donate or contact mike Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Jenny Goodpasture Stiegler memorial Scholarship, established by her 1996 pledge class through the Pi Beta Phi Foundation, will be awarded annually to a pi phi.
Their legacies live on After the accident, many of the couple’s friends held fundraisers and set up trusts for Emily. “Chris and Jenny meant a lot to a lot of people,” Allred says. “We feel like we’re Emily’s pseudo-family. We want to look out for her and keep the memory of her parents alive. Emily will never be short of love or affection from any of us.” Chris’ mother, Connie Stiegler, says both Chris and Jenny were naturals at parenthood. “They both exuded love, patience and understanding.” Chris enjoyed every second with his daughter, whether he took her golfing or spent hours just holding her. “On more than one occasion, Chris told me he and Emily were spending quality father-daughter time watching OSU games on TV,” Chris’ sister says. “He couldn’t’ wait to share his love of sports and OSU with her.
“Not only did Chris and I grow up in Stillwater and graduate from OSU, our parents are alums, too,” Neill says. “Emily will know all about the traditions of her parents’ alma mater and share their love of OSU.” Jenny’s parents, Sandra and David Goodpasture, and her sister, Mandi, and brother, Bryan, are also committed to sharing their memories of Chris and Jenny with Emily. “Jenny shined,” her sister says. “But never as much as she did the night she held her sweet baby girl, Emily, for the first time.” “She’ll know her parents,” Jenny’s father says. “Not in person, but by pictures, writings and stories we will tell her as she grows up. Losing a daughter is very tragic, but little Em keeps us going.”
Funds established for Chris and Jenny’s daughter, emily:
The emily Grace Stiegler Trust, set up by chris’ sigma chi brothers for emily’s college expenses, c/o JLCC Group — merrill Lynch, 6100 s. yale ave., suite 1500, tulsa, ok, 74136. The emily Grace Stiegler Fund for emily’s future needs, c/o Citizens State Bank, 4611 w. sixth ave., stillwater, ok, 74074.
To focus on Chris and Jenny’s passions and dreams and keep their legacies alive, the Stiegler family established a scholarship to be awarded annually to a deserving OSU student. “This scholarship is a way to show our love, respect and admiration for both Chris and Jenny,” says Jim Stiegler, OSU emeritus professor and former department head of the plant and soil sciences department. “It is a way to honor the legacy of two outstanding and extraordinarily successful young people who had accomplished so much in their short lifetimes. “We hope the recipients will learn about Chris and Jenny, and then use their education to do great things and demonstrate that Chris and Jenny’s deaths were not in vain.” JA N E T VA R N U M
Rebecca Adcockâ€™s passion for helping others led to her career choice to become a clinical psychologist as well as her decision to dedicate an estate gift to fund an OSU scholarship.
A Lasting Legacy The inaugural Dr. Rebecca Adcock Leader Scholar Scholarship will be awarded in April during the housing and residential life recognition banquet.
ebecca Adcock, a 1980 microbiology graduate, died Aug. 12, 2009. But her legacy will continue thanks to a scholarship fund established by her estate gift supporting students in OSU Housing and Residential Life. The endowment is part of the 2010 Centennial Scholarship Program commemorating 100 years of OSU housing. Adcock, an active student leader in the residence halls from 1976 to 1980, began as a desk clerk in Wentz Hall. She progressed to student assistant and then to assistant head resident for Willham North Hall. Adcock made many friends in the residence halls, including Lyndon Taylor, a 1981 industrial engineering and management graduate. “Becky loved being involved in the residence hall program,” says Taylor, executive vice president and general counsel for Devon Energy Corporation in Oklahoma City. “She and I often talked about how we each came to OSU not knowing anyone. The residence halls became our families.” Taylor says they both benefited from their involvement in the residence hall programs. “Becky loved giving back to the residence halls because of what they gave to her,” Taylor says. “She felt a duty to help new OSU students the way others had
assisted her in finding her place in the residence hall programs.” Adcock’s caring and giving attitude also led to her career choice. After graduating from OSU, she completed two years of medical school at the University of Oklahoma before suffering an accident that left her an incomplete quadriplegic. Determined not to let her disability define her, Adcock switched gears from surgery to clinical psychology and completed her psychology degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
in their lives. Through her work in Seattle in the burn unit and at Jim Thorpe, she inspired others to succeed and thrive in spite of their physical difficulties.” Adcock was a long-time supporter of the Housing and Residential Life Leader-Scholar Scholarship Program. She established and funded its Jay Jones Award to recognize the leadership of a fellow student leader and president of the Residence Halls Association. “Dr. Adcock was extremely generous in providing for future scholarships through the OSU Foundation’s estate giving program,” says Matt Brown, director of housing and residential life. “Future generations of students will be rewarded for their leadership and will be inspired by her positive attitude and generous spirit.” Taylor is proud of Adcock. “She gave so much back to OSU while she was living and through her estate gifts. Becky was
“Becky loved giving back to the residence halls because of what they gave to her.” — Lyndon Taylor From there she earned a master’s and doctorate from Auburn University, completed a residency at the University of Missouri and a fellowship at the University of Washington, and then joined the staff at Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Hospital in Oklahoma City, where she remained until her death. “Becky is an inspiration to us all,” says Kent Sampson, director of campus life and a mentor to Adcock. “After her accident, Becky knew she wanted to work with other individuals who were experiencing dramatic trauma
emblematic of what impact OSU — and more importantly the Residential Life program — can and does have on young students who arrive on campus from across the country. She is also a shining example for us of how we should give back to OSU for what it gave to each of us.” S H A N N O N B AU G H M A N
By M AT T E L L i O T T
Singer partners with OSU faculty to fascinate kids with science
IT’S ABOUT THe . Somewhere between fifth and seventh grade, most children’s ability to be wowed by science is tamped down. Some don’t want to seem too into, well, anything. One OSU alumnus, singer and songwriter Monty Harper, is out to fix that. He writes children’s songs that promote reading and learning, and he recently branched out to science, starting a children’s show featuring everyday Oklahoma scientists. “I was always interested in science as a kid,” says Harper, who holds two mathematics degrees from OSU. “I read dozens of science books. I got through high school believing I could be a scientist if I wanted to be, but I didn’t think I would have anything to contribute because I had the impression it was all done.” That’s the way science is taught in school, he says. The answers are in the back of the book. Students already know the results, giving the impression all the big questions have been answered. The thing is, that’s not true. Pair that with peer pressure that compels students to appear uninterested in anything, and those kids grow up to be incurious adults.
Wanting to keep children wondering about the world around them, Harper has spent 21 years performing in schools and libraries, talking to classes, even teaching kids how to write songs. Accompanied by only his acoustic guitar, Harper sings to rapt young audiences hanging on every word in shows such as “Wacky, Witty, Way-Out Songs,” “Oklahoma Treasures,” “Dance Out Loud,” “Drop Everything and Read” and “Say It in a Song.” Harper is now in his fourth year of presenting “Born to Do Science” programs at the Stillwater Public Library. In that vein, he recorded his seventh CD of songs inspired mostly by OSU faculty and other scientists he interviewed. Songs from the Science Frontier includes tracks such as “Super Scientist,” “Born to Do Science” and “Wind Energy,” and is featured in his school program of the same name. In each “Born to Do Science” show, Harper hosts a guest scientist who inspired the lyrics to a new song and invites the scientist to talk with the children. “One of the basic tenets for me is just to write good songs,” Harper says. “I spend a lot of time studying songwriting.” When he has new material, Harper bounces it off his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Evalyn, 10. His wife is especially knowledgeable about songwriting and always has good feedback, he says, and his daughter, being a kid, always lets him know when he’s getting boring. “A song can’t be boring,” he says. “It can’t be about something kids don’t relate to. I look for a ‘kid hook.’ That can be anything imaginative or interesting or mind-blowing or funny.” Harper, a former graduate assistant and instructor at OSU, initially contacted scientists by calling department heads to ask if they knew anyone who might be interested. After a couple of years, others began referring their colleagues to him. One of those was Karen McBee, a zoology professor and expert in how pollution affects wildlife. She had heard about Harper’s positive track record with kids.
As curator of OSU’s vertebrates collection, McBee takes children on tours of the department’s animals. She’s seen firsthand how children start out fascinated by the world around them but lose interest as they get older. “Children are really thirsty for knowledge about their world,” mcBee says. “They’re really excited about science. About natural history. And we, as scientists, have difficulty translating what we do to the general public — and to children specifically. So working with Monty was extremely important to me.” McBee is presenting Harper with research done by one of her graduate students, Kendra Phelps, now a doctoral student at Texas Tech. Phelps found that white-footed mice in the Tar Creek Superfund site of northeastern Oklahoma are doing better than other animals exposed to the toxic metals unearthed through mining. Most of the people who lived in the 40-square-mile site have moved out. But the mice are thriving. McBee says it’s not clear why the mice are doing so well, but their proliferation is a good thing because they bury seeds and do other beneficial things for area ecosystems. Unfortunately, the mice are also considered vectors, or disease-carriers, for the hemorrhagic fever hantavirus and Lyme disease. For Harper’s show with McBee as the guest scientist, Harper plans to write a song that marvels at how the mouse survives in a habitat deemed too poisoned even for humans. Harper says he does this by conveying wonder and amazement to kids — surefire ways to excite their imaginations. Children are naturally curious, McBee says. “They’re enthusiastic. They’ve got gobs of questions. We’ve compartmentalized science so much it makes kids think it only happens in a laboratory or a classroom — that it doesn’t really enter into other aspects of our lives. But it really does.” Harper first studied engineering at OSU, but grew bored and changed majors to mathematics, graduating with his bachelor’s in 1989 and his master’s in 1993.
Not knowing what to do, he taught in the math department for a while. In the meantime, he was drawn more and more to music, and he got the idea one day to write music for children. One of his big influences was songwriter and children’s book author Barry Louis Polisar, whose albums he found at OSU’s library. Polisar’s music, largely selfproduced and independently released, has appeared on the soundtrack to the movie Juno and the television show Sesame Street, among other places. “He has a respect for kids as kids,” Harper says. “He doesn’t come in and try to teach them something. There are a lot of children’s songwriters out there who go for a cheap laugh. He goes for those laughs. He has a song called my brother threw up on my stuffed toy bunny. But then he also goes beyond the gross-out factor and deals with the situation in a realistic and thoughtful way that children can relate to.” Harper recorded a song called “Jungle Junk” one day and played it for his neighbors’ kids. They loved it, so he put it on a cassette and started handing out copies. Eventually, he left his part-time job at OSU and started making music as a career. He volunteered to perform at library summer programs and got involved with drug-free programs in local schools. He found a studio in Stillwater where he could record. His show, now in several forms, has expanded to schools and libraries throughout Oklahoma. “I love being able to make a living with my creative energy,” Harper says. “I get to create something that other people find valuable. That’s really a good feeling. I love interacting with kids. I relate better to kids than I do adults. They’re honest, open, creative and silly. “kids always say something to surprise you or make you laugh, and I love making them laugh.” For more information, visit www.montyharper.com. his latest CD, Songs from the Science Frontier, is available at www.cdbaby.com and iTunes.
PHOTO / TONy THOMPSON
Alumnus Bill Witman helps sustain historic farm
Story by Amanda Oâ€™Toole Mason
Photos by Greg Quinn
he rising sun creates a fire-like glow on the rolling hills at Calumet Farm in Lexington, Ky., on a drizzly fall morning. Forty-four miles of white-planked fence dot the 850-acre historic thoroughbred farm, which has seen eight Kentucky Derby winners and the most Triple Crown champions in the history of the sport. Business is bustling in the early dawn hours as the farm’s 90-plus employees tend to yearlings, mares and dozens of would-be legends inside red-trimmed white barns. The storied farm has had a tumultuous past after a series of events left its facilities in decline and its bloodlines weakened. Teetering on the brink of liquidation in the early 1990s, the farm was saved by Henry de Kwiatkowski, whom locals say vowed to maintain Calumet’s legacy. The last seven years have seen a rebirth of this Kentucky bluegrass mainstay under the direction of farm manager Bill Witman (’72 animal science) who was hired on in 2004 shortly after de Kwiatkowski’s passing. His strategy was a three-pronged attack: upgrade the broodmares, the physical plant and business operations. “This farm belongs to the people of Lexington and to the purebred industry,” says Witman, wearing a black cowboy hat and silver spurs that bear his first name. “We have a responsibility to keep the fences white, the farm busy. There’s
Calumet Farm, Lexington, Ky.
a certain charm and charisma the farm exudes.” Some changes he’s implemented are subtle. Trees are pruned annually while buildings and fence — 10 miles each summer — have a painting schedule. Others are more noticeable. Witman has grown commercial business at the farm by introducing post-operation services for horses recovering from training injuries and increasing the number of clients who either board their horses or request Calumet train them. David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, says Witman has made a name for himself in the thoroughbred industry with his quiet demeanor and willingness to try new things, specifically how he breaks horses. (continues)
Witman contracts cowboys from places like Wyoming and South Dakota to train yearlings. The process takes about a month to complete. “It is a bit unusual when you see somebody who is willing to come in and break tradition. That’s what Bill has done,” says Switzer, adding that Witman’s practices have been accepted within the industry. “The cowboys are used to breaking quarter horses, cutting horses, this, that and the other, but not thoroughbreds. But the way they do it in an even, mild-manner way, and so quickly, that’s something we can learn from,” Switzer says. “Bill’s clients are indicative that they trust him with the methods of his training. That’s the important thing.” On a recent rainy day in Lexington, Witman sits atop his quarter horse, Risin’ Sun, watching as four cowboys ride laps inside a barn on the shed row — a track made of hard wood chips that ring the stalls inside the barn. “You can look at their facial expression and you can tell how well they’re doing,” he says of the thoroughbreds trotting inside the barn, explaining that the horses’ ears are up and alert. At about 2 ½ weeks into training, he is watching the horse’s stride, attitude and willingness to obey their rider. As he speaks, a horse takes a couple of skittish hops to the side, its rider turning a circle to correct the course. “They’re just babies, you know,” Witman says, smiling down from his perch.
“As alumni, we need to get back. I know what it’s done for me. You don’t ever forget where you came from.”
Witman makes a point each day to ride with the breakers, which on dryer days takes the crew to the lush, rolling pasture. It’s part of — BILL WITmAN what designates Calumet Farm as his dream job. “I never go to work, I just get up and go to the barn,” he says with a wry smile. In the early morning hours, he works from his “devil-red” Chevy Silverado that matches Calumet’s racing silks. He drives between stables administering treatments, changing bandages and ensuring everything at the farm is running smoothly. He moves with a quiet and swift deter“The horse is the most noble beast God mination, leaving the truck running as he ever put on the face of this earth,” Witman stops at each barn. The back seat in the says. “But with blooded horses, the more four-door cab has been replaced with a refinement we breed in, the more resistance chest of veterinary tools; medical sheers, we breed out.” forceps and needle holders rest inside the Witman is all business as he attends to truck’s air conditioning vents while a large the recovering horses. He trusts handlers bottle of Aleve and a canister of shotgun to steady the animals while he works on shells are nestled into the center console. hooves and shins. His barely-noticeable A fuzzy dog mat sits in the passenger seat bedside manner is calm and empathetic. where dog Shelby normally rides. He massages injection sites and pats horses With an average of more than 200 on their necks. He’s more engaged when he horses on-site each day, Witman might tours the grounds, stopping at one point to not know the name of every thoroughbred watch several yearlings race across the field. at Calumet, but he closely monitors his “The yearlings spend the night outside “post-op” patients. He speaks reverently in the pasture. I want them to spend as about the rehabilitation process, saying much time as they can just being horses,” that bringing a horse back to full potenhe says, looking out the window of the tial is one of the most rewarding things truck. Watching the horses run is one of he’s experienced. his favorite things to do.
Witman’s passion for his life’s work is nearly tangible; his eyes light up when he talks about the beauty of the animals, and he smiles boyishly when he talks about spending moments on the farm when everything is still. He reacts the same when talking about his alma mater. “OSU has become a foundation in my life with education and relationships,” Witman says, leaning against a barn wall at Calumet. “It opened doors for me and brought me a lot of things in life. It showed me I can do those things I dreamed of. When you leave there, it goes with you.” Growing up, Witman lived in Chicago, but fell in love with horses as a small boy. He knew he wanted to study agriculture, and made his decision to attend Oklahoma State as soon as he visited
Stillwater. He says he never imagined he’d be able to achieve a job like managing Calumet Farm. At OSU he forged lasting friendships, including with Ross McKnight, a fellow member of Phi Delta Theta. Witman says McKnight convinced him to pursue animal science and continues to be a confidant. Witman consulted McKnight before taking the job at Calumet. A recent visit to campus has made OSU a focal point for Witman, reenergizing his love for the University. “There’s a feeling of warmth and a genuine attitude at OSU,” Witman says. “The people are real and you get a sense that your word is important.” Since that visit, he has been encouraging everyone he can to get to Oklahoma State.
“There are so many things that are different, but so many things are still the same. There’s still that underlying strength and character that says, ‘This is OSU. This is who we are,’” he says. “As alumni, we need to get back. I know what it’s done for me. You don’t ever forget where you came from.” For a video feature related to this article, please visit OSUgiving.com/Calumet.
Susan Little, a renowned expert in tick-borne diseases and director of the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology, was recently promoted to Regents Professor, the highest promotion given to OSU faculty.
Collaboration Gives Life to National Program PHOTO / PHiL SHOCKLEy
er passion for veterinary parasitology led Susan Little on a mission to create the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology. Little, the Krull-Ewing Endowed Chair in Veterinary Parasitology at OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, saw her vision become a reality in 2009, when the financial contributions of three industry partners — Novartis, Bayer and Merial — and the Kirkpatrick Foundation launched the national center. “We can’t say enough about the support our partners have continued to give. We were able to renovate laboratory and office space to accommodate training,” Little says.
veterinary medicine graduate, who is training on the OSU campus. Starkey’s research focuses on the transmission of established and novel ehrlichiosis agents from ticks. The Novartis resident in veterinary parasitology is Dr. Alice Lee, a 2006 Ontario Veterinary College graduate, who is conducting her training at Cornell University. Lee works on developing innovative methods for detecting and quantifying helminth infections. Dr. Chris Adolph, a Tulsa veterinarian and 1996 OSU veterinary medicine graduate, is pursuing a master’s degree through the center. Adolph presented his research at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists’ 2011 annual meeting,
“Parasites affect both animals and humans, making our work important for all living species.” — Susan Little “Our partners’ support allows us to follow our mission and make strides in the field of veterinary parasitology. Parasites affect both animals and humans, making our work important for all living species.” Housed at OSU in Stillwater, the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology serves the veterinary medical profession worldwide. Its mission is to further the many advances made in controlling parasitic diseases of animals. It uses integrated programs of applied graduate and residency training, targeted current research initiatives, and a diagnostic and consulting service. Little collaborates with other experts in parasitology to organize the center’s advisory board. Members include Drs. Byron Blagburn, Auburn University; Dwight Bowman, Cornell University; Mike Dryden, Kansas State University; Eileen Johnson, Katherine Kocan, Little and Mason Reichard, all of OSU; Craig Reinemeyer, East Tennessee Clinical Research; and Anne Zajac, Virginia Tech. Training the next generation of veterinary parasitologists, including two residents, began this fall. The Bayer resident in veterinary parasitology is Dr. Lindsay Starkey, a 2011 OSU
earning an honorable mention for Best Student Presentation. His research will lead to improved understanding about the importance of helminth infections in cats. The center also is conducting a survey of veterinary medical colleges in North America to define how parasitology is currently taught and to look for ways to enhance veterinary parasitology education. “Veterinary parasitology recently received approval from the American Board of Veterinary Specialties and the American Veterinary Medical Association for board certification in Parasitology,” smiles Little, a diplomate of the European Veterinary Parasitology College. The timing is key, Little says, because the national center can provide a place and a program for veterinarians to train and ultimately qualify to take the board examination and be certified as veterinary parasitologists. “This will allow veterinarians and others to be recognized as parasitologists — something not formalized previously in the U.S.,” she says. “Thanks to the collaboration of our partners and their continuing support, the NCVP will continue to advance the field of veterinary parasitology in a concrete way.”
Above: A feeding mosquito (Aedes albopictus) can carry multiple disease agents such as heartworm, dengue fever virus, West Nile virus and equine encephalitis virus.
Above: A mating pair of brown dog ticks (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), if attached to a dog, can transmit the agents of ehrlichoisis, babesiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
For more information on the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology, visit www.ncvetp.org.
D E R i N DA B L A K E N E y
Tomorrow begins today.
We’re defined by what we pass on to the next generation. That’s why ConocoPhillips is working with National Energy Education Development to provide America’s teachers with the training and resources they need to bring energy to life for students. Through this program, we’re getting our kids interested in math and science and teaching them about the importance of conservation. So we can pass on what matters … to the ones who matter most.
© ConocoPhillips Company. 2009. All rights reserved.
life Memberships Students are beginning their lifelong connections to their alma mater earlier This summer, the OSU Alumni Association began giving students the opportunity to become life members before they graduate, while also saving up to $400. Although the benefits are endless, the program is simple. Membership fees are automatically charged to each student’s bursar account — $75 each semester for four years. Any student can sign up for the Life Membership Student Program, and those non-freshmen who graduate before making eight payments have up to two years to pay their remaining balance. Student life members are also part of the Alumni Association’s Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow program, which is the annual membership program for OSU students. While they are enrolled at OSU, student life members receive all the Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow benefits, including an annual T-shirt, merchant discounts and a monthly enewsletter. “Students should really take advantage of this opportunity to get their life memberships at the lower price,” says Kathryn BolayStaude, director of membership and marketing for the Alumni Association. “They will be connected for life and never have to pay another due, and they’ll still get all of the wonderful benefits an Alumni Association membership has to offer.” In order to spread the word about the new program, the Alumni Association did something never before done on campus. One early morning in August, Alumni Association directors placed 1,500 orange Frisbees on the Library Lawn, each with an important question for students, “Are You In?”
“I thought membership would help me get more involved on campus. I’m excited to get all of the game day shirts and the discounts around Stillwater.” — Alexandra Seale, history freshman “We wanted something to catch students’ attention and keep them engaged but also something that would create a stir on campus,” Bolay-Staude says. “It definitely wasn’t your traditional booth setup.” More than 60 students answered “Yes!” to the question and signed up for the program that week. They joined more than 200 freshmen who had signed up at enrollment over the summer. The new student life members were invited to a welcome event to pick up their membership packets and T-shirts and to enjoy a lunch from Eskimo Joe’s. Each student who signs up for the program this year is also eligible to win a 60-inch flat screen TV. Those new members who brought friends to the welcome event to sign up received an extra entry in the contest. “We had lots of people take advantage of the extra entry,” Bolay-Staude says. “About 20 students signed up at the event, and the students seem very excited about the new program.” This year, Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow participants and student life members also got a new perk from their membership
“Both of my parents are life members, and I know being involved with OSU my whole life will be a great thing.” — Ashlyn Pfeiffer, agricultural communications senior
— BEAT shirts coordinated by the Student Alumni Board for each of the six home football games this season. Each shirt has “BEAT OPPONENT” on it and was paid for by sponsors printed on the back. “The student members absolutely love the BEAT shirts, and we’re hearing from alumni and fans who also love them too,” Bolay-Staude says. “We hope to expand the program next year with more sponsorships to allow for the growth of the Life Membership Student Program.” The popular BEAT shirts are a project of the Student Alumni Board, which serves to preserve OSU traditions and act as ambassadors for future students and alumni on campus and around the state. “The BEAT shirts give our student members the opportunity to show their school spirit while being involved with the Alumni Association,” says Matthew Roche, Student Alumni Board executive director and a business management senior. “For us, it was a unique opportunity too good to pass up.” Ashlyn Pfeiffer, an agricultural communications senior and member of the homecoming executive team, thought the new program was a great opportunity to pay off her life membership. She says she is excited to get STATE magazine in the mail after she graduates, which is one of the benefits of becoming a member of the Alumni Association. “Being a homecoming executive, I have a great passion for OSU,” Pfeiffer says. “Both of my parents are life members,
and I know being involved with OSU my whole life will be a great thing.” Cheyne Walden, an aviation management freshman, is from Virginia and chose OSU because of its premier aviation program. After hearing about the benefits of becoming an Alumni Association member at freshman orientation, he knew the new program was too good to pass up. “I thought it was a really good offer,” Walden says. “It’s a cool organization, and I thought it would help me know more about OSU.” Alexandra Seale, a history freshman, wanted to find her place on campus. Since her parents are both OSU alumni and members of the Alumni Association, she thought the new program would be a good place to start. Michael Merit, a freshman political science, pre-law and history major, has been a fan of OSU all his life. Aside from the benefits of membership, he says he’s looking forward to being able to stay active with his alma mater after he graduates. “Now that I’m here, I want to contribute,” Merit says. “I’m going to stay connected to Oklahoma State my whole life.” K R i S T E N M c C O N N AU G H E y
To learn more about the life membership student program, visit orangeconnection.org/studentlife.
John Hessel spent his life helping others
ohn Hessel spent a lifetime building and acquiring his companies, but through it all, his employees always came first. At one point, Hessel had an opportunity to retire early when an offer was made for his companies — Whitton Supply Company, AM Supply Company and Contractors Supply and Builders Rental. Hessel declined because he was concerned about whether his employees would lose their jobs. Those who knew him say that was emblematic of
the type of man he was even while battling the cancer that claimed his life last May. As it became clear he was fighting a losing battle, he refused to give up or dwell on his condition. He worked until his last few months and spoke with friends and family about the things that made him happy rather than his ongoing treatments. Among his favorite topics of conversation were his family and OSU athletics. Hessel and his wife of 47 years, Dee, had two children — Phil and Ashley — and two grandchildren — Sally and Davis. “He just adored his grandchildren,” says Cowboy tennis coach James Wadley, one of Hessel’s best friends. “He also did everything he could to make the lives of his children better. He was a good husband, father, grandfather and friend. We miss his smile, his competitiveness and
“He was a man of faith and someone who always saw the glass as half full and getting fuller.”
his support. He touched a lot of lives over the 39 years I’ve been here.” Hessel was a trustee for the Robert A. Parman Foundation, which was founded by Parman’s estate in 1962 to support charities and deserving individuals in Oklahoma. Since 1985, the organization has awarded $1.37 million to OSU for in-state scholarships. Though they never met, Hessel was serious about his accepted responsibility of honoring Parman’s wishes. Buzz Lanier, another of Hessel’s good friends, became a Parman Foundation trustee more than a decade ago. Lanier and Hessel had gotten to know each other through their membership at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City, where Hessel was a greeter and usher. “John was one of the finest people I’ve ever known,” Lanier says. “He was a real friend and a great father and husband. He was kind to everyone and I have never seen a man so well-liked. In fact, I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about John. I would consider myself very fortunate if people remember me the way they remember John.” Wadley’s friendship with Hessel began through the tennis program, of which Hessel was one of the biggest supporters both financially and in spirit. His love of tennis was so well-known that the joke was that if you spotted a car without a
tennis bag in it, you could be certain it wasn’t his. “He used to play in pro-ams with our guys back when you could do that, and he was an intense competitor,” Wadley says. “When you played doubles with him, boy, you better not miss many shots. He didn’t want you to miss at all. You were the guy that was the great player, and he was there just to keep you in the match. He especially wanted to beat any OU team, player or fan. He was so competitive against them.” Wadley says Hessel’s personality on the court was indicative of his attitude toward life. “He was an intense competitor just like he was an intense businessman,” Wadley says. “He did everything right and by the book, which is why companies nationwide respected his opinion. He wanted to build great companies and inspire his workers. He didn’t do anything half-way. Although he was an intense competitor, he always smiled and when it was over, it was over.” In his younger days, Hessel had served in the National Guard before becoming an outside salesman for Whitton Supply Company. His passion for hard work and learning earned the respect of founder Ray Whitton, who established the company in 1945 and sold it to Hessel in 1962. Hessel purchased AM Supply Company in 1982 and formed Hessel Holding Company, Inc., in 1984. He acquired Contractors Supply and Builders Rental in 1990. Though he did not attend OSU, Hessel’s support for all things orange and black was unquestionable. He was on the OSU Foundation’s board of governors and served as an original board member for Karsten Creek Golf Club.
He was also treasurer and chairman of Evergreen Marketing Group, and on the board of directors for the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association. Hessel so valued hard work that he was known to do what he could to help others establish their own businesses. For example, if one of his friends or former employees was starting a company, he would help them secure loans and inventory, allow them to park their trucks on his property, etc. Kirk Jewell, president and CEO of the OSU Foundation, said Hessel exhibited the passions of a man with great values and the right priorities. “He was crazy about his wife, Dee,” Jewell says. “Through the Parman Foundation, he did everything he could to help students go to college. Through his companies, he took care of hundreds of employees while ensuring his organization was doing business the right way. He was a man of faith and someone who always saw the glass as half full and getting fuller.” JAC O B L O N G A N
The heart of an explorer maps a new college course
interests lingered as the boy from Seminole, Okla., grew up to become a well-known attorney and a partner in Oklahoma City’s Whitten-Burrage law firm. “All I did was work for the next 30 years,” he says. Then in 2002, his 25-yearold son, Brandon, died in a motorcycle accident, ending a three-year struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. “I had to choose,” Whitten says. “I could give up, or I could rise up and do something.” Whitten, with his wife, Rachelle, and his brother-in-law, Robert Newman, established the Whitten-Newman Foundation to provide educational experiences for youth and to help stop drug and alcohol abuse. Through the foundation’s ExplorOlogy program at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Whitten met OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine anatomy professor Kent Smith, a native Comanche with a doctorate in zoology and a keen interest in paleontology. Whitten believed a Native American like Smith, an expert in animals and fossils, would inspire other young Native Americans to discover and learn. Together, Whitten and Smith created Native Explorers, a summer program for Native American college students. It is primarily a scientific expedition and includes collecting and learning about vertebrate fossils of the Cenozoic and Mesozoic eras. The program’s goal is to increase the number of Native Americans in science and medicine. Expenses are covered for students selected for the program, and they are introduced to graduate and medical programs at OSU and the University of Oklahoma.
PHOTOS / COURTESy
s a kid, Reggie Whitten loved science, dinosaurs and exploring. Those early
Kent Smith and Nick Czaplewksi show college students in the Native Explorers program how to collect a fossil fish from the Ogallala Formation in Beaver County, Okla. During the first expedition to southcentral Utah in 2010, students prospected and collected fossils of early mammals of the Paleocene age. Geologist Dale Harber of the U.S. Department of Agriculture explained how the Forest Service manages natural resources and preserves historic sites. This summer, the Native Explorers traveled to the Oklahoma panhandle to prospect and collect vertebrate fossils from Miocene age deposits in Beaver County and Jurassic age deposits in Cimarron County. Before setting out, students attended on-campus orientation for fieldwork and learned about OSU Center for Health Sciences programs, including an overview of osteopathic medicine presented by department chair Robin Dyer, D.O. The Native Explorers studied the living flora and fauna of the eco-regions, as well as disciplines within the natural sciences including geology and conservation biology (wildlife management, range management and forestry and archeology). They also learned more about Native American cultures and traditions.
Joe Thomas, an OSU geography graduate student from McAllister, Okla., learned about Native Explorers through his Chickasaw nation affiliation. “I knew absolutely nothing about prospecting for fossils and, in fact, had not ever been camping,” he says. But the project and activities sounded interesting, so he signed up.
“You wouldn’t think something so small would make you so happy, but it gave me a real boost of confidence. I thought ‘Wow!’” — Joe Thomas, geography graduate student Advised to “look for something that shouldn’t be there,” Thomas found an ancient molar from a horse identified as preceding the Spanish occupation of the area (1200-1500 A.D.). “You wouldn’t think something so small would make you so happy, but it
During a 2010 trip to the Wasatch Plateau in south-central Utah, OSU Center for Health Sciences Assistant Professor Anne Weil, left, explains local stratigraphy and potential fossil finds in the nearby rocky outcrops to OSU medical student Brandon Mason as well as Reggie Whitten, James Newman, John Newman and University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno.
Charles Baker, right, an educator for the Whitten-Newman ExplorOlogy program, helps OSU student Athena Padgett collect a fossil fish from the Ogallala Formation in the Oklahoma Panhandle. A local rancher discovered the fossil and reported it to OSU Center for Health Sciences Associate Professor Kent Smith.
A B O U T
gave me a real boost of confidence. I Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural thought, ‘Wow!’” History to identify what could be a tooth Next summer Thomas wants to join from a Columbian mammoth. A resident the program as a mentor. “It was great to from near Kenton, Okla., found the tooth get to know different tribal affiliations years ago and recently brought it to Smith and to see things you would normally see for identification. only in a museum,” he says. “We got to In June, the Whitten-Newman see them in their natural state.” Foundation-OSU Foundation Paleontology Partnerships with the U.S. Department and Anatomy Fund for Native Americans of Agriculture Forest Service, the U.S. donated $50,000 to endow a scholarship Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land fund for participants. The donation will Management, the Chickasaw Nation and receive the Pickens Legacy Scholarship the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Match for a total of $150,000. The Natural History provide experts and a gift ensures funding will continue for professional network to advise students Native Explorers. about specific career paths. “The program is new and young, and Athena Padgett, a Muscogee (Creek) we are gaining momentum,” Whitten majoring in human nutrition and presays. He envisions Oklahoma becoming medicine at OSU, attended both Native the program’s epicenter rather than its Explorers digs. She says the program border. “We want students from all over sharpened her investigative skills. the country.” “You have to know what to look for, Whitten says that with the right and you have to learn how to dig. It takes mentoring, most youths could earn a a lot of patience and a lot of time.” college degree. “A good mentor and good The program also taught her more curriculum stimulate interest,” he says. about herself and her heritage. “That is what Native Explorers is all about, “I was able to hear Native American having someone to relate to, both as a stories and learn about tribal cultures. I teacher and a Native American.” learned about fossils and how the earth Whitten’s interest in science and formed,” she says. “I got to see a different exploring has never dimmed. He says it’s side of things, and now I want to give back rewarding to observe explorers grow and to my culture.” add to their knowledge. “They go out on After the dig, Padgett worked in the site. They sleep outdoors in tents, and Smith’s research laboratory at the OSU they learn about the old ways.” Center for Health Sciences and at the Sam
Participants work side-by-side with research scientists to learn paleontological techniques. geologists, archeologists and biologists introduce protocols for management of natural resources and the preservation and protection of historic sites. Students also learn about career opportunities and internships. the native Explorers program at the OSU Center for Health Sciences works to promote and increase the numbers of native Americans in science and medicine. it helps recruit, train and educate them in the disciplines of anatomy and vertebrate paleontology, and it introduces them to osteopathic medicine. Undergraduates and graduate students are selected for the program in which all expenses are paid and college credits are earned. nativeexplorers.org
Seeing the delight and excitement of a young explorer unearthing a fossil or an ancient bone or tooth is priceless, he says. “There’s just no substitute for that big grin.” MARL A SCHAEFER
Learning the Ropes Chapter Leaders Get Special Training
In order to continue to support OSU alumni chapters across the country, the OSU Alumni Association hosted a chapter leader training event in August. The event, which hasn’t been held in more than five years, included 20 chapter leaders and supporters — representing nine OSU alumni chapters. Pam Stubbs, the new director of chapter relations, thought hosting this event would help alumni chapters continue in a positive direction. “The chapter leader training was a successful event and a great opportunity for leaders to come together,” Stubbs says. “We thought hosting this event would be a great start as I began my position.” Alumni who attended the training were provided with a leadership guide, which explained the guidelines and steps to take as a chapter. OSU President Burns Hargis even took the opportunity to speak at the event and chapter leaders were able to share their strengths and weaknesses with each other. “It’s fun to see because they all have a lot of great ideas and are always looking for ways to improve their chapters,” Stubbs says. “The different chapters shared what they did well and what they would change. They all bounced ideas off each other, which was helpful.” Jennifer Glenn, leader of the Denver chapter, is always looking for a reason to come back to Stillwater. She thought attending the leadership training would be the perfect way to come back to campus. “When I moved to Denver, the one thing I missed the most was being at home and being at Oklahoma State,” Glenn says. “I became involved with the Denver chapter and before I knew it, I was in running it. I figured it was time to organize all the hard work my chapter has done, so we could make things a little easier on us.”
The Denver OSU alumni chapter has plans to implement a scholarship for future OSU students and they will continue to host watch parties. At the training, Glenn realized how important the use of social media is today. “I spend a lot of my time of Facebook and Twitter for our chapter and it has been the biggest payoff,” Glenn says. “I will definitely continue to update our page and reach out to alumni in the Denver area.” Art Drain, who is involved with the new Cleveland county chapter, attended the first meeting the chapter hosted and has been back ever since. The chapter had its first event in July, which was a barbecue. There were about 60 people who attended the successful event and Pistol Pete even made a presence. He was quick to come back to his alma mater to attend the training. “I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Drain says. “I love being back at OSU. At the training we learned how other chapters structure their meetings. We’re still young and trying to figure out new things and how to network.” Grady County chapter leader, Barbara Pfenning, moved to Chickasha about three years ago and wanted to continue to stay connected to OSU. After learning the chapter in Grady County no longer existed, she knew she only had one option. With the support of other alumni in the area, Pfenning took charge and helped the chapter raise $50,000 for the Pickens Match. “Having never been an officer in an alumni club before, I knew there was a lot I needed to learn and I looked forward to coming and working with the Alumni Association,” Pfenning says. “This was a great opportunity to learn more about what I needed
to do so I can take it back to the board at Grady County, so we can strengthen our presence.” Ryan Eaton, leader of the OKC Metro chapter, is excited to have new social event ideas to share with his chapter.
Twenty chapter leaders from nine locations gathered for chapter leadership training at OSU to hear updates about services available to chapter members and participate in round table discussions about best practices and event ideas.
“They all have a lot of great ideas and are always looking for ways to improve their chapters.”
OSU President Burns Hargis presents a university update to chapter leaders and answers questions for those in attendance and watching online.
“We’re trying to expand on our current scholarship fundraiser, which is Vintage O-State,” Eaton says. “We’ve been exploring another option as far as other events, including socials for students.” Comanche County chapter leader, Charles Middleton, enjoyed hearing Hargis speak about his enthusiasm for the university. Learning about the specific scholarship due dates was also helpful to Middleton. “The important thing is the timeline on the scholarships,” Middleton says. “We host a wine tasting event for our fundraiser and knowing the dates will help me promote it at the county level.” Tina Parkhill, leader of the Tulsa chapter, is always looking for new and improved ways of doing things. Brainstorming with the different chapters allowed her to get a fresh perspective on ideas. The Tulsa chapter just completed its second year of the Bedlam Run, which was a great success. “There’s a lot of things the other chapters are doing that we can use to our advantage, so we can ultimately make our chapter the best we can possibly make it,” Parkhill says. “We really want to take a more active role in helping to recruit high school students.” No matter how far away alumni are from Stillwater, they can always stay connected to OSU. The OSU Alumni Association can provide support and resources to start an alumni chapter in your area. “We’ve encouraged people to start a watch club,” Stubbs says. “From there, if they want to continue to grow into a chapter we can help them start the process. It doesn’t take as much work as people may think; it just takes the initial step. I think no matter where you go, you’re always going to be comfortable with those who are in orange with you.” K R i S T E N M c C O N N AU G H E y
For more information about the Chapters program, visit orangeconnection.org/ chapters or contact Chapters Director pam stubbs at 405-744-8717.
Cleveland County Chapter the newly-established Cleveland County OSU Alumni Chapter hosted a miniature golf tournament in October to support the chapter’s fundraising for OSU student scholarships. the tournament was held in norman and about 20 people came out, says Lynne McElroy, chapter leader. “it was a huge success! We definitely surpassed the monetary goal we had for scholarships, which was great.” Although the chapter awarded trophies and gift cards to the winners, participants didn’t have to be at the top of their game to walk away with a prize. the chapter had several door prizes and raffle items to give away, including an OSU blanket. “We had great support from the communities in Cleveland County,” McElroy says, who added a total of 14 hole sponsors were secured for the tournament. Pam Stubbs, director of chapter relations for the Alumni Association, attended the event and says the chapter is off to a great start. “they had a great turn out for their first fundraising event,” Stubbs says. “Being in the fall, it’s really hard to compete with football. they picked a great weekend to have the event because there wasn’t a game.” the chapter plans on hosting the miniature tournament again next fall, raising even more money for future Cowboys and Cowgirls. “it’s a fun event and doesn’t take a lot of golf skills,” Stubbs says. “the players were laughing and having fun the whole afternoon, and we raised money for scholarships at the same time.” Although the chapter is predominantly surrounded by crimson and cream, there are plenty of OSU alumni and supporters nearby who want to make sure high school seniors keep OSU as an option. “Many of those students might not have looked at OSU otherwise if it weren’t for the scholarship,” Stubbs says. Harris Phillips, a 1988 business administration graduate, and his 10-year-old
son, reese, attended the tournament and had a great time. “We both enjoyed ourselves,” Phillips says. “it’s nice to have an alumni chapter in the heart of Sooner country.” not only did reese have fun playing miniature golf with his father, he also won first place in the under 14 age category. “He was really excited,” Phillips says. “He got a $25 gift card to toys“r”Us and a trophy.” Alison Braly knew she wanted to attend the event when she heard about it from her father, Buddy Behrens, the chapter’s secretary. Braly lives in a house divided — she bleeds orange, and her husband, John, bleeds crimson. “My dad is an OSU alumnus and i’ve grown up going to the games,” Braly says. “When i found out about it i thought it would be a lot of fun and it was. We got to hang out with some really nice people, some we’ve known for a long time.” Although Braly graduated from OU along with her husband, she is still loyal and true to OSU. Braly went to OSU her first year and transferred to OU so she could live with her parents and save money. “Even though i have a degree from OU, my loyalty is to Oklahoma State,” Braly says. “i grew up an OSU fan.” Braly and her husband competed in the Bedlam division game, where they played against two OSU graduates. they walked away with a trophy and one of the raffle prizes. Braly says having the Bedlam conversation in their household is never a good idea. “We definitely won because of John,” Braly says. “i didn’t have anything to do with it. it was nice to be able to be at an event where i could wear my OSU stuff
and he could wear his OU stuff. Everyone was pretty much OK with it.” Braly is happy the chapter hosts watch parties for out-of-state games and she’s looking forward to future events. “i know they’ll probably be having some other fundraising events, and i’ll be attending those as well,” Braly says. “i’ve told everyone we need to have another tournament next year because it was a lot of fun.” Justin Climer, a 2011 business management graduate, took home the first-place trophy, but the win wasn’t the only celebration of the day. three of Climer’s friends, who also are recent OSU graduates, surprised Climer by driving him to the norman tournament in celebration of his birthday, which occurred the day before. Climer wasn’t aware of the tournament until he and his friends arrived. “i was taken out there blindly and found out what we were doing when we got there,” Climer says. “My friends paid my entry fee, and it was a lot of fun.” One of Climer’s friends, Cole rogers, saw the event on Facebook and thought it would be a fun event to attend. “Everybody there was really nice and laid back,” rogers says. “We all had a good time.” rogers may have taken home a plaque from the tournament, but not for winning. “Apparently i’m a terrible golfer — even at mini golf,” rogers says. “i got the ‘needs improvement’ award.” Climer says he’s excited he won a plaque and two balcony seats to Warren theatre in Moore for winning first place at the tournament. He plans to keep an eye open for future chapter events. “i’ll definitely be back next year to defend my title,” Climer says. “i love doing things with the OSU Alumni Association. it’s a good group, and it’s always fun to go out to those events.” K R i S T E N M c C O N N AU G H E y
For more information and photos about the Cleveland County chapter and tournament, visit orangeconnection.org/cleveland.
new York City
Garden City, Kan.
Orange County, Calif.
More than half of OSUâ€™s alumni live within 50 miles of an OSU Alumni Chapter or Watch Club. Find one near you at orangeconnection.org/watchparty or orangeconnection.mobi on your smart phone. Watch parties are open to all alumni and Cowboy fans.
lake worth, texas
Storyteller Brings Life to Light Ben Allen came to public radio as a springboard to other pursuits.
Listen to KOSU anytime, anywhere, through live audio streams at www.kosu.org. In central Oklahoma tune your radio dial to 91.7 FM or in northeastern Oklahoma to 107.5 FM.
The Springfield, Mass., native was studying political science at New York City’s Fordham University when he decided to try his hand in the newsroom of the school’s public radio station, WFUV. Allen was immediately hooked, learning and working for four years in one of the premier student-run, publicradio newsrooms in the country. During that time, Allen realized he had found his professional calling. “There’s a certain magic about radio where you get to develop a personal connection with people,” Allen says. “WFUV allowed me to make those connections while giving me a better sense of the real-life challenges that journalists face.” From fitting in with New York’s established media corps and confronting powerful people to taking a story from the field to the air on deadline, Allen faced the many challenges of electronic journalism head on. He also developed a passion for storytelling that would bring him to Oklahoma in July as a reporter for KOSU. Each weekday morning, Allen rises well before the sun to bring daily life to light as host of KOSU’s Morning Edition, which airs from 5 to 9 a.m. He tells stories that few others in radio get to tell. Some are personal stories that celebrate the human experience. Others take listeners beyond the headlines to examine how a particular issue impacts the community.
Allen particularly enjoys sharing stories that fall through the cracks. He believes this kind of journalism is more important than ever, but harder to find as newsrooms continue to reduce staff and resources. Like students at WFUV who are helping to fill that void, OSU students can make a bigger difference in KOSU’s newsroom, he believes. Allen launched a new program this fall in the spirit of WFUV, recruiting half a dozen OSU students to begin honing their storytelling skills. Successful KOSU student reporters must be go-getters who have a passion for radio journalism and are curious about what is going on in the world. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the world, he says, but you must have the motivation and willingness to learn as you go. “We’re training students to do journalism, to be out there and be journalists, arming them with every skill they need to be successful,” Allen says. “Through KOSU, we hope to send them off into careers in communications with the experience, training, résumé and skills to go out and do the kind of journalism this world needs.” Allen says KOSU has enormous potential to be a conduit for student storytelling that will lead to more community programming and become a unique outlet for Oklahoma stories. Kelly Burley KOSu executive DirectOr
KOSU reporter Ben Allen trains students to find and air personal and relevant stories for KOSU.
photo / Gary Lawson
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C l a s s n O t e s
’50s Ferris p. allgood, ’54 B.S., ’72, M.S., ’75, Ph.d., is enjoying a new career as a writer of short novels that relate stories of early Oklahoma. His most recent novel, Christmas 1941, is a collection of childhood memories of Cookietown, Okla. it has received good reviews and is available at www. lulu.com and www.amazon.com. Donald nichols, ’55, math, and his wife, Joyce, ’54, household arts, live in Air Force Village West in riverside, Calif. their daughters live in San diego and Escondido, and their son lives in Hawaii, so they have the opportunity to see them often. they are both involved in various activities, and travel whenever they have time. henry ponder, ’58, M.S., ag econ, is acting president of his alma mater, Langston University, where he has been an endowed chair and professor of educational and institutional advancement. Henry has worked at six historically black colleges and served as president of three. He also was CEO and president of the national Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
l.e. “Dean” stringer, ’58, pol sci, and his wife, carol, were honored in April 8 for many hours of volunteer service benefiting youth Services for Oklahoma County inc., which provides food, clothing, counseling, shelter and other services to more than 3,500 teenagers and their families each year.
’60s Jim carmichael, ’61, ind eng and mgmt, lived in the dallas, texas, area for most of his career with Colins radio Co. and rockwell international. Jim moved near tyler, texas, in 2001, and he moved to Las Cruces, n.M., last January. Jim plays golf and works
part time. His wife, Pat, and daughter, Amy, also live in Las Cruces. His son, John, lives in Allen, texas, as do four grandchildren, Alex, Kaylin, Sam and Cody. Jim would like to find class members living in the Las Cruces, n.M., and El Paso, texas, corridor for a get-together or watch party. howard roos, ’69, M.S., received Boeing’s 2011 Special invention Award, which highlights the best of Boeing innovation. Howard, a Boeing technical fellow and structural dynamics engineer, was part of a team that invented systems and methods for providing a severe acoustic, thermal and airflow test environment.
pete goltra, ’71, bus, received the Award of Merit from Shriners international. it is one of the highest honors a Shriner can achieve. Pete has been recognized for outstanding achievements and contributions to his community. rand elliott, ’73, arch, was featured in the April issue of Interior Design magazine, a professional commercial and residential design publication with a circulation of 75,000, for his work on children’s clothing store Uptown Kids. gary goldman, 03, HrAd, owns and manages the Oklahoma City store, which features unique
and high-quality clothes from top designers.
’80s patrick nault, ’80, petro tech, became president and CEO of East texas Saltwater disposal Company in February.
christi sodowsky roach, ’80, spec ed, retired from CCOSA, the association for school administrators, and lives in texahoma, Okla., with her husband, Steve, and son Forrest. Christi is an adjunct instructor at Oklahoma Panhandle State University and enjoys church and farm life. Her daughter, chana goodno, ’05, is expecting Cowboy no. 2 this fall. Her first child, deacon, is nearly 3. Christi is proud of her son, Zac, and daughter, Charly, for graduating from the University of tulsa and northwestern Oklahoma State University in May.
with an engineering degree and works for navistar in tulsa. their daughter, Dana, graduated with a bachelor’s in nutritional science and premed. She is working toward an MBA and will begin the doctor of osteopathy program at OSU Center for Health Sciences in tulsa next fall. June and Kevin say their children are now included among 40 immediate and extended family members who are OSU alumni. lorene roberson, ’84, journ, is an adjunct professor in the OSU School of Media and Strategic Communications. Lorene and Bonnie cainwood are teaching a 3000-level course in writing. Lorene continues to work her full-time gig for OSU College of Arts and Sciences. Julie york, ’86, HEECS, is proud of her oldest son, nick, who graduated from OSU this year with a degree in secondary education and coaches football and basketball for the Afton, Okla., school district. Her other son, Zac, plays soccer at St. gregory’s University and studies business and marketing. Her daughter, natalie, is studying early childhood education at the University of Central Oklahoma. Julie also has permanent placement of Jovany gaspar, a student at Stillwater Public Schools.
’90s June pentecost, ’81, dHM, and her husband, Kevin, are proud of their children for graduating from OSU. their son, grant, graduated
U P dat e C l a s s n O t e s O n l i n e
arnal simanung, ’90, civ eng, says he misses his engineering classmates. Arnal would like his son to follow his footsteps at OSU someday and learn to sing “Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.” tiffany akin, ’91, early child ed, is excited her son, Jake, is a sophomore at OSU.
the OSU Alumni Association’s new renewal statements for annual members no longer include a form asking for Classnotes information. But we still want to hear about your promotions, new family members, retirement activities, honors and other news, and help you share your information with the OSU family. Classnotes may be submitted online at orangeconnection. org, on the Alumni Association Facebook page at facebook. com/okstatealumni or on your web-enabled cellphone at orangeconnection.mobi. Classnotes are printed in STATE magazine, OrangeBytes and online as a benefit for Alumni
kangsik lee, ’91, B.S., received Boeing’s Special invention Award, which highlights the best of Boeing innovation. Kangsik, a guidance, navigation and control engineer, was part of a team that invented an approach that is under protection as a trade secret. susan shahan Mckenzie, ’91, math, and her husband, Henry, are happy to announce their daughter, Jessica, is a freshman at OSU.
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Listen to audio excerpts of OSU alumni sharing their compelling life stories and college memories or read their interiew transcripts at www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory/ostate.
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night A half century ago, Oklahoma A&m became an international leader in President Harry Truman’s Point Four Program that revitalized agricultural education in ethiopia. Following a 1950 meeting between OAMC President Henry Bennett and Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, Oklahoma A&M faculty and staff traveled to Ethiopia to build and develop the Alemaya University as well as associated schools and research stations. Most who went to Ethiopia from Stillwater took their families along, and a very interesting culture grew up around the new university. The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program’s collections include a number of interviews with participants, including these excerpts from Dan and Jenice Bigbee’s discussion about trying to maintain American customs while living overseas. Dan recalls:
“We observed all of the Ethiopian holidays and traditions. On top of that, we
To read more about Christmas in Ethiopia as recalled by members of the Evans, Jackson, moseley and Webb families, go to http://goo.gl/liQb1, or use the QR code displayed here.
Dan and Jenice Bigbee and sons, Dan Jr., center, Robert, left, and Walter in 1965. had the Fourth of July, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween. “We observed all of those. Not just as the Americans who were there, but the whole campus observed these holidays as well. “It was Christmastime, and record players at home were something that we used for entertainment. Some of us had collections of Handel’s Messiah, and we were all used to the little kids’ Christmas thing at the church or at the school. ... “So the suggestion was, well let’s record on a separate tape the music from the Messiah that is associated with Christmas.
“Then we’ll have the Ethiopians to help us, and of course, we’ve got donkeys and camels and cattle and sheep and all of this to do the manger and the shepherds in the field and all of that kind of thing. “Our campus was situated on a hill, and so we kind of had a natural amphitheater (where) we could put this on, and so we did. ... We built a star to come out of the east and rigged it up so that we could pull it on a pulley thing and it would come out of the east and rest over the manger. ... “We had angels and Gabriel’s encounter with Mary and the Immaculate Conception, and we had the shepherds in the field by night and the wise men and the whole schmear. “Then we made arrangements with the local folks, and they brought their camels in, and we had donkeys to fi ll in on the scenes and all this sort of thing. The veterinarian had some tranquilizer that he could use so that we could keep the sheep in place, but he didn’t have enough tranquilizer to do dress rehearsal and the real thing. “The night of the performance, he tranquilized them. ... And they were all out there just laying down, ‘Ga-ga.’ (Laughter) “At the dress rehearsal, we’d mistakenly tied the donkey to the actual manger, and it got spooked and so here it goes, running off down the road with the manger and the baby Jesus. (Laughter) But the performance itself was really very impressive.”
o-sTaTE stories, a project of the oklahoma oral history Research program at the Edmon low library, chronicles the rich history, heritage and traditions of osU. Interviews are available online at www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory/ostate. For more information or assistance with searching, contact the oklahoma oral history Research program at 405-744-7685.
Joining alumni chapter a great way to meet OSU friends in a big city
the watch parties regularly. Because she was only working two days a week, Nichols took on the role as chapter president, hoping to increase the numbers. “I ended up making a lot of friends and now we spend almost every weekend together,” Nichols says. “It’s like a big family, which is really fun for me. Not only do I get to see my favorite college team on TV, but I also get to hang out with people I really enjoy. “We changed a lot of things to try to improve the participation and publicity,” Nichols says. “The main thing I do is organize the social activities and make sure everyone is aware. We also created a Facebook page, which helps younger people get involved.” Since Nichols has been the chapter leader, participation has increased to several dozen alumni and friends attending watch parties — even more for larger games. Nichols also has aspirations for the group to become a chapter and is forming a board of four other people who will help plan activities, including barbecues and social events. “Now that we’re trying to grow and expand, we’re hopefully going to be able to do some fundraising activities and family activities like going to the zoo,” Nichols says.
Jaime Nichols had “big-city dreams” after she graduated but still wanted to stay connected to Oklahoma State — the place where she says her story began. Nichols, a 2000 biological sciences alumna, became president of the Chicago OSU Alumni Chapter after deciding she wanted to experience life in a large metropolitan area. While in high school, the Oklahoma City native decided to attend OSU after attending summer camps on campus. “I really loved the atmosphere of the college, and I already had a roommate lined up,” Nichols says. “I wanted to stay in state so I chose OSU.” While at OSU, Nichols was involved in Mortar Board and her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, where she made life-long friends. “The friends I made in college are friends I still have today, which is definitely the most important thing,” Nichols says. “We’ve gone through a lot, even after college. “Not only do I get to see my I’ve been in their weddings and have seen them have favorite college team on Tv, their children.” but I also get to hang out After receiving a bachelor’s with people I really enjoy.” from OSU, Nichols attended — Jamie Nichols medical school at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City and graduated in Nichols encourages all OSU alumni to 2004. She moved to Dallas to complete her resijoin an OSU alumni chapter or watch club dency and in 2009 decided to make the move near them — no matter how far away they are to Chicago where she is now a pediatrician at from Stillwater. Being involved in a chapter is Swedish Covenant Hospital. great for networking, sharing similar experi“I had been to Chicago a couple of times, ences with other alumni and staying connected and I felt like the people were really friendly,” to OSU. Nichols says. “I only had one friend here when “Continuing to help out and giving back to I moved, and he was also from Oklahoma State.” the university, not only through membership Nichols’ friend, Brent Asavamonchi, introbut also participation, is a way we can show duced her to the OSU watch club in Chicago, our appreciation for everything given to us in where she immediately felt right at home. college,” Nichols says. “When we see the rest of Nichols continued to attend the watch parties our orange family on television, it’s like we’re in even after Asavamonchi moved. Eventually she Oklahoma again — and it’s just amazing.” stepped up to take on a leadership role. K R i S T E N M c C O N N AU G H E y Shortly after Nichols relocated to Chicago in 2009, the chapter president had plans of Contact Jaime Nichols at chicago@orangeconrelocating and was searching for someone to nection.org for more information about the take over the responsibilities. At the time, there Chicago osU alumni Chapter. was a group of about five people who attended
Jody Burns, ’92, Engl, taught high school English in Oklahoma for 14 years and now is in her fifth year with CompassLearning as an implementation manager. She provides professional development training for teachers and administrators. She is scheduled to finish her master’s in educational technology at OSU in december. Frank kimmel, ’92, farm and ranch mgmt, of Kimmel Aviation insurance in greenwood, Miss., has been selected president of the Aviation insurance Association for the 2011-2013 term. He served on the education committee for six years as director of the continuing education programs. He also served as chairman of the AiA Foundation. in 2010, he was elected vice president. James Beach, ’94, bus, works at rural Community insurance Services as a business development sales representative. it is the largest crop insurer in the U.S. James covers one-third of iowa, calling on agents to promote and write crop insurance products. Jason kays, ’94, econ, is senior vice president of finance and operations for Stratford Land in dallas. He served as a chief executive officer for two portfolio companies and as vice president of circulation and earlier as vice president of advertising for The Dallas Morning News. in 2006, Jason also received the Outstanding young Alum Award from the Spears School of Business. Jeremy Bell, ’95, avi mgmt, lives in Ohio and is a pilot for netJets. Jeremy and his wife, Annisa, have two daughters, Addison, 3, and Aylin, 10 months. andrew griffith, ’96, const tech, wrote a paper “Educational Attainment: A Model for Maximizing Earnings of the nontraditional Student,” published in the Journal of Continuing Higher Education. Andrew says the paper is a “must read” for anyone considering pursuing a college education. Johnny shan, ’96, civ eng, and his wife are parents of a son, tucker Sullivan Shan, born July 12, 2011.
Marlana staines, ’05 ag ed, and her husband, Kevin, are parents of a daughter Alley Claire born Aug. 23, 2009.
a world race in 2010. this was a Christian mission trip to 11 countries in 11 months. He now attends the John Jay institute of Faith, Society and Law.
’10s keri williams Foster, ’97, mktg, and her husband, Brent Foster, ’97, mech eng, ’99, M.S., are parents of Alayna Alexandra Foster, born June 6, 2011. karen Mersman, ’97, FrCd, is a business owner at Proposal Management group LLC and also manager of research and grants at integris Health. Karen says it is rewarding to see individuals and families grow stronger. She says life is exciting with her variety of interests in government relations, program development and community development, but nothing compares to the excitement of having 11 precious grandchildren by the age of 50. sara Metcalf, ’99, cell bio, graduated from OSU with an honors degree, then graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 2004. Afterward, Sara completed an internship in internal medicine followed by a residency in dermatology. now she is a self-employed dermatologist in Stillwater. Sara and her husband, Clint, have two children and love attending OSU athletic events.
Brandi Johnson, ’03, bio sci, and her husband, Jerrod, ’04, met, are parents of their first daughter, Ava Lynn, born March 9, 2011. Maggie hill, ’05, journ, graduated with an honors degree in advertising and a minor in marketing. She is pursing an MBA in health care management at the University of Pennsylvania. this summer she interned for Aegerion, a biotechnology firm in Cambridge, Mass., working on regulatory, pricing and strategy projects.
stephen clark, ’11, fin, is a financial representative for the John Hancock Oklahoma City neimann firm.
lindsay grace, ’06, nut sci, and her husband, spencer, ’05, wildlife and fish ecol, are parents of their first child, Avery rose grace, (above) born June 27, 2011. Lindsay works for OSU Cooperative Extension Service as a family and consumer science/4H extension educator. Jessica russell, ’06, ag econ, and her husband, Jordan, ’06 ag bus, are parents of their first child, Jackson thomas, born April 28, 2011. Monica shelton, ’08, psych, married kevin shelton on July 31, 2011. Kevin attended OSU from 2005 to 2008. they live in Jacksonville, Fla., and Monica is a registered nurse. lauren Diana smith, ’08, hist and poli sci, recently graduated from the University of detroitMercy Law School and the University of Windsor Law School in Ontario, Canada. She obtained both American and Canadian juris doctorates. Lauren is an associate attorney for the tulsa law firm riggs, Abney, neal, turpen, Orbison & Lewis. She practices law in the areas of intellectual property, bankruptcy and commercial and corporate law. stephanie Barr, ’09, dHM, graduated with an honors degree in interior design. She lives in Fort Collins, Colo., and completed a master’s in sustainable design from Colorado State University in May. Stephanie is a green Building Associate with the institute for the Built Environment, where she manages LEEd documentation, coordinates integrated design processes and researches sustainable solutions for building projects across Colorado. Daniel stinson, ’09, econ, volunteered with Campus Crusade for Christ after graduation then participated in
sydney garner, ’11, HrAd, married Chris sumner, ’11, psych, on May 21, 2011. they live in durant, Okla., where Sydney works for First United Bank, and Chris works for the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma.
Friends of OsU tasha loveless and her husband, dustin, are parents of Kellen terry Loveless, born May 30, 2011.
in Memory lester Johnson, ’39, sec ed, died Sept. 4, 2011, in Stillwater. He married Lucille Findlay on July 19, 1952. in 1959, Lester became an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, retiring in 1984. Lester received several honors and awards and was selected as Oklahoma Veterinarian of the year in 1983. Memorial contributions may be made to the OSU Foundation, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK, 74076, for the Lester and Lucille Johnson Scholarship Fund.
in 2006, the library was dedicated and named the Jean Burrows Medical Library and resource Center. in addition to the library, her interests included traveling, ar t, reading, speaking French and continuing her education. Melvin B. tolson Jr., ’50, French, died July 31, 2011, at age 88. Melvin along with Phail Wynn became OSU’s first black graduates, each receiving master’s degrees that year. in 1959, Melvin earned a doctorate at the University of Oklahoma and was hired as OU’s first full-time black faculty member. Melvin taught French and modern languages and literature at OU for 31 years, retiring as professor emeritus. His classes included the first survey of the Caribbean French writers and writers of free black African countries where French was the main language. He won a regents Award for Superior teaching in 1967 and was elected into membership of OU’s chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa national honor society. He served for several years on the staff of the national defense Education Act institutes for Secondary School French teachers. His father, Melvin B. tolson, was also a pioneering educator portrayed by denzel Washington in the movie The Great Debaters. nesmer “nes” calzolari, ’50, ind eng, died Aug. 16, 2011. His daughter pattie, ’92, mktg, says he was always proud of OSU. three of his four children attended OSU, making it a family tradition. nesmer attended homecoming a few years ago to see how much the campus had changed. charles “Bob” hendrick, ’54 bus, died April 4, 2011. While at OSU, he played basketball for Coach Henry iba from 1951 to 1954 and remained an OSU basketball fan.
Jean clare Burrows, ’47, bus, died Aug. 20, 2011. the Okeene, Okla. native also earned a mas- edna ruth (Duke) Mahaffey, ter’s degree in library ’64, voc home ec, died July 2, 2011, science from the in Oklahoma City. After graduating University of Okla- from OSU, Edna earned a master’s homa. in 1972, she founded the dea- at northern Arizona University. She coness Hospital medical library, taught at Marshall High School and the retiring after 33 years. She was a Hopi-navajo reservation in Arizona longtime member of the Medical and later in Lawton, Okla. in 1979, she Library Association and helped found became a district supervisor for the the gOAL Library consortium com- home economics division of the Oklaprised of medical libraries in the Okla- homa department of Vocational and homa City area. After her retirement technical Education. Edna became
the state program administrator for the Family and Consumer Sciences division in 1988. After retiring in 2007, Edna moved to Edmond to be near her son, Byron, his wife, Allison, and their children. kerby e. crowell, ’72, acct, died nov. 23, 2010. Kerby started working for Stillwater national Bank as a parttime teller in 1969 while attending OSU and accepted a full-time position as general ledger clerk upon graduation. Kerby served 41 years with the bank, rising to chief financial officer and executive vice president. He also was elected executive vice president and treasurer of Southwest Bancorp inc., the holding company for Stillwater national Bank and Bank of Kansas. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the OSU School of Accounting. Doug hunt, ’75, geol, died nov. 13, 2010. doug taught hundreds of Midwest City students in classrooms, softball diamonds and golf courses. He was devoted to his family, especially his boys, Charlie and daniel.
erik paul Mason, ’82, geol, died July 31, 2010, at age 56. He worked at Shell Oil Company for more than 20 years. A member and former vice president of the American Association of Petroleum geologists, Erik was presented its distinguished Service Award. His family accepted the Bootstrap Legacy Award in his memory last spring from OSU’s Boone Pickens School of geology. william gregory whistler, ’86, mgmt, died June 13, 2011. William enjoyed sports and traveling. He worked for Western Farmers Electric Cooperative more than 23 years. lucille hedger died Oct. 1, 2011. She spent her 92 years of life teaching and serving others. Lucille married her childhood sweetheart, Hugh Hedger. She worked for the Point Four Program in Ethiopia for six years. She relocated to Stillwater, where she earned her master’s degree and did doctoral work.
ranga komanduri, an OSU regents Professor and the A.H. nelson Jr. Endowed Chair in Engineering, died suddenly Sept. 6, 2011, in Stillwater. He joined the OSU mechanical engineering faculty in 1989, charged with establishing a world-recognized research and education program in manufacturing and materials processing. Previously he was acting director of the national Science Foundation division of design, Manufacturing and industrial innovation. ranga received numerous awards and was highly respected by his students and colleagues. He held degrees from Osmania University, Hyderabad, india; and a Ph.d. from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His many national and international awards include the Phoenix Award from the OSU graduate Student Association in 2009, the 2004 OSU Eminent Scholar Award, the OSU regents distinguished research Award in 2003 and the OSU President’s Service Award in 2001.
James roy struthers died Sept. 21, 2011. He served as pastor of Stillwater’s First Presbyterian Church for 28 years and was chapter adviser for OSU’s delta tau delta fraternity. He was president of Stillwater United Way, served on the board of directors for domestic Violence Services and chaired the Stillwater Community relations Committee. in 1946, he married Jane Harrison. She preceded him in death in October 2002. in december 2003, he married gladeen Burris Allred. the family requests memorial contributions be made to the OSU Foundation, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK, 74076, for the Jane Harrison Struthers Memorial Scholarship. rudolph w. trenton died Sept. 12, 2011, in Parker, Colo., at age 98. in 1939, he immigrated to the United States, and in 1947 he married Marybeth Langston. He was a professor of economics at OSU from 1982 until his retirement in 1979. rudolph was an author of several articles and text books.
Shine with OSU Spirit Brighten your computer and smart phone with original OSU spirit images. Free downloads available at http://universitymarketing.okstate.edu/wallpapers.
Before the days of radio and tV, sports fans followed the live action of away games with a giant board, light bulbs and Morse code. By David
C. Peters, OSU University Archives & Special Collections
STATE FiELD, iOWA STATE COLLEGE (AMES, iOWA) COURTESy SPECiAL COLLECTiONS DEPARTMENT, iOWA STATE UNiVERSiTy LiBRARy.
occurred. An unreliable telegraph wire could interrupt broadcasts. A lack of replacement bulbs could wreak havoc with the audience’s perception of field events. Telegraph operators occasionally couldn’t keep up with the flow of information, and chaos and confusion quickly overtook the whole operation. Just a week earlier, neither the gridgraph presentation nor OAMC’s opening game against the University of Michigan had gone well. The 22 Aggie football players seemed intimidated by Michigan’s large stadium and enormous crowd and appeared worn out from the long train trip to Ann Arbor. But traveling from Michigan to Iowa the following week provided a slower pace and several practice opportunities along the way. Coach John Maulbetsch’s boys were ready for Iowa State. And so was the grid-graph team. T.M. Aycock, director of physical education at OAMC, was in charge of logistics. He hired James Daugomah, an experienced grid-graph operator from Lawrence, Kan., to guide and direct the student assistants. A full rehearsal had taken place the day before, and replacement light bulbs were on hand. Coach Maulbetsch and Assistant Coach Roy Washington “Wash” Kenny were on the sideline in Ames, while Athletic Director Ed Gallagher, seated in the press box, called the action and recorded notes for the plays as they occurred. A telegraph operator converted Gallagher’s notes into Morse code and wired them to Stillwater. Messages began to arrive soon after kickoff. Both teams were having trouble moving the ball. Suddenly, near the end of the first quarter, the crowd heard excited yells coming from behind the grid-graph.
Football players of the 1920s wore leather helmets and played both offense and defense. In the 1926 match against Iowa State College, 18 of OAMC’s 22 football players played and only seven substitutions occurred. Four Aggies played the entire game: team captain and left tackle Harold “Red” Weissinger, right tackle and kicker Charley Strack, quarterback Skeet Peery, and right halfback Perry McCoy.
PHOTO / OSU SPECiAL COLLECTiONS
ggie football fans began arriving on the north side of campus before 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, 1926. Kickoff between the Oklahoma A&M College Aggies and the Iowa State College Cyclones was set for 2:30 p.m. It was the Aggies’ first Missouri Valley Conference opponent of the season, and Aggie supporters didn’t want to miss any of the action. Admission to the gymnasium — today’s OSU architecture building — was 25 cents. By reconfiguring the gymnasium’s bleachers, almost 1,000 seats were available. A nice breeze wafted in through open windows as pep squads, yell leaders and a small band provided pre-game entertainment. The Stillwater crowd did not react as the two teams took the field. They listened to the band, oblivious to the weather forecast, field conditions and opposing Iowa State fans 550 miles away, where the Aggie football team was playing at State Field in Ames. Minutes after kickoff, dots and dashes of Morse code began making their way to a telegraph operator seated in the gymnasium behind a large, football-shaped scoreboard covered with light bulbs. As the operator translated each play into English, a team of trained students turned light bulbs on and off in correlation to the decoded messages. Based on which bulbs were on, spectators knew which players were involved with each play, the type of play and the result. Fans knew the score, the time remaining in the period, the down, the location of the ball and which defensive player made the tackle. Even in this third season of using the Grid-O-Graph, commonly called a gridgraph, technical difficulties sometimes
PHOTO / OSU SPECiAL COLLECTiONS
The Grid-O-Graph was shaped like an enormous football surrounding a football field. It displayed the names of each team’s 11 players on the field, and a large bulb indicated which team was on offense. A clock broke the game into four 15-minute quarters and additional lights provided scoring combinations up to 63 points. Along the top, a down marker identified first through fourth downs. Bulbs along the top highlighted the field’s five-yard intervals. Underneath the grid, light bulbs lit up to indicate the action.
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Collegiate football games attracted large crowds and the latest communication technologies. Cameramen filmed the contests for viewing later. The grid-graph was one of the first technologies to reach an expanding audience unable to attend these events before the eventual transition to radio and television.
STATE FiELD, iOWA STATE COLLEGE (AMES, iOWA) COURTESy SPECiAL COLLECTiONS DEPARTMENT, iOWA STATE UNiVERSiTy LiBRARy.
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Arrangements for a successful grid-graph presentation could be complicated. First, Western Union had to run a telegraph wire into the building. The first year, 1924, the grid-graph was displayed in the campus auditorium but was moved to the gymnasium the following year. Two experienced Morse code operators were necessary, one to transmit messages from the away game’s location, and a second, the sounder, to receive them in Stillwater. Students were trained to operate the grid-graph switches that activated 80 separate light bulbs. The board was mobile, but at 14 feet high and 16 feet wide, it could be challenging to move long distances.
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OAMC football on the 47 yardline. Pass from Peery to McLean for 47 yards and a touchdown. OAMC leads Iowa State College 7-0 after the extra point in the first quarter at Ames.
By the mid-1920s, most college athletic departments affiliated with major athletic conferences had purchased grid-graphs so their fans could watch away games from home. The OAMC Athletic Council purchased its Grid-O-Graph in 1924 for $1,400. An additional $200 for attachments allowed the apparatus to also be used for away games in basketball and baseball. OAMC football fans gathered inside the school gymnasium, now the Donald W. Reynolds School of Architecture Building, to view the action.
PHOTO / OSU SPECiAL COLLECTiONS
The student operators were unable to control their joy after hearing the play translated back into English. The bulb above the 45-yard line was already lit. Then, in rapid succession, bulbs clicked on closer and closer to the Iowa State goal line. With anticipation mounting, the light in the middle of the touchdown label lit up. The Stillwater crowd cheered wildly. The Aggies had the ball on the Iowa State 47-yard line before quarterback Skeet Peery completed a touchdown pass to left halfback Emmett McLean. Charley Strack kicked the extra point, and the Aggies led 7–0. Neither team scored in the second quarter. During halftime the college band entertained the local crowd. In the third quarter Peery completed another long pass to McLean reaching the 7-yard line. One play later, fullback Ransom “Pat” Bowman ran for the touchdown. The point after failed. The score was 13–0. Defense controlled the rest of the game. At 11:30 p.m. the next night, ecstatic fans gathered at the campus Gateway corner, the intersection of Knoblock and College Avenue, to welcome back the victorious squad from the 12-day trip. OAMC’s grid-graph games were shown during the 1927 and 1928 seasons, abandoned in 1929, and then returned temporarily in 1930. As radios became more affordable and popular, stations began broadcasting home games to fans in Oklahoma unable to make the trip to Stillwater. Eventually away games were added. As the gridgraph became obsolete, so did the need to gather around the giant board and watch the action unfold.
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