OSU PREPARES STUDENTS TO MAKE THEIR MARK ON THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY
OSU PREPARES STUDENTS TO MAKE THEIR MARK ON THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY
The Oklahoma State University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management prepares students to become restaurateurs, and OSU Institute of Technology’s Culinary Arts program teaches the next generation of world class chefs. Pages 54-59
OSU restaurateurs are making their mark across the country. Check out our map of Cowboy hotspots to put on your culinary bucket list.
The Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center gives entrepreneurs the tools to market and promote their own products.
Dr. Ken Eastman retires after 10 years as dean of the Spears School of Business and more than three decades at the university.
Pete’s Pet Posse celebrates 10 years of bringing joy to campus and helping the Cowboy family through challenging times.
The Dolese company’s gift to the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology is still making an impact a decade after its initial announcement.
The new Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute (HPNRI) will revolutionize how Oklahomans think about their health.
The OSU Alumni Association inducted four members to its ranks this year: Burns and Ann Hargis, Cecil O’Brate and Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson.
How OSU’s first all-female leadership team is forging a path for women in higher education.
Megan Horton | Interim Associate Vice President of Brand Management
Lance Latham | Chief Communications Officer
Erin Petrotta | Director of Marketing
Shannon Rigsby | Public Information Officer
Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations
Casey Cleary | Associate Director of Marketing Strategy
Andy Wallace | Associate Director of Multimedia
Dave Malec | Design Coordinator
Jordan Bishop | Managing Editor
Codee Classen, Paul V. Fleming, Valerie Kisling, Chris Lewis, Michael Molholt and Benton Rudd | Design
Phil Gahagans and Karolyn Moberly | Advertising
Gary Lawson, Elizabeth Rogers and Phil Shockley | Photography
McKinzie McElroy and Meghan Robinson | Video
Kurtis Mason | Trademarks and Licensing
Kinsey Garcia and Kara Peters | Administrative Support
Contributors: Jordan Bishop, Mack Burke, Aaron Campbell, Mandy Gross, Hayley
Hagen, Samantha Hardy, Harrison Hill, Brenna Davis Long, Kirsi McDowell, Sam
Milek, David C. Peters, Grant Ramirez, Jillian Remington, Haley Simpson, Sydney
Trainor, Olivia Trolinger and Terry Tush
Department of Brand Management | 305 Whitehurst, Stillwater, OK 74078-1024 405-7446262 | okstate.edu | statemagazine.okstate.edu | firstname.lastname@example.org | osu. email@example.com
Tina Parkhill | Chair
Kurt Carter | Vice Chair
Tony LoPresto | Immediate Past Chair
Dr. Ann Caine | President
Jake Wilkins | Vice President of Marketing and Engagement
David Parrack | Vice President of Finance and Operations
Treca Baetz, Thomas Blalock, Benjamin Davis, Deedra Determan, Scott Eisenhauer, Becky Endicott, Todd Hudgins, Aaron Owen, Joe Ray, Cecilia Robinson-Woods, Darin
Schmidt, Taylor Shinn and Baloo Subramaniam | Board of Directors
Lacy Branson, Will Carr, Chase Carter, Yuki Clarke, Jillian Remington and Chloe
Walton | Marketing and Communications
OSU Alumni Association | 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater, OK 740787043 | 405-744-5368 | orangeconnection.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
David Houston | Chair
Blaire Atkinson | President
Robyn Baker | Vice President and General Counsel
Donna Koeppe | Vice President of Administration and Treasurer
Scott Roberts | Vice President of Development
Pam Guthrie | Senior Associate Vice President of Human Resources
Blaire Atkinson, Bryan Begley, Ann Caine, Brian Callahan, Jan Cloyde, Ann Dyer, Joe Eastin, David Houston, Gary Huneryager, Brett Jameson, Griff Jones, Robert Keating, Diana Laing, Shelly Lambertz, Joe Martin, Greg Massey, Gail Muncrief, Bill Patterson, Jenelle Schatz, Becky Steen, Terry Stewart, Vaughn Vennerberg, Beverly Walker-Griffea, Jerry Winchester and Darton Zink | Trustees
Bryanna Birdsong, Delaney Duffield, Samantha Hardy, Jennifer Kinnard, Chris Lewis, Amanda Mason, Heather Millermon, Michael Molholt, Grant Ramirez and Benton Rudd | Marketing and Communications
OSU Foundation | 400 South Monroe, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749 800-6224678 | OSUgiving.com | info@OSUgiving.com
STATE magazine is published three times a year (fall, winter, spring) by Oklahoma State University, 305 Whitehurst, Stillwater, OK 74078. The magazine is produced by the Department of Brand Management, the OSU Alumni Association and the OSU Foundation, and is mailed to current members of the OSU Alumni Association. Magazine subscriptions are available only by membership in the OSU Alumni Association. Membership cost is $50. Call 405-744-5368 or mail a check to 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater, OK 74078-7043. To change a mailing address, visit orangeconnection.org/update or call 405-744-5368.
Oklahoma State University, as an equal opportunity employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action. OSU is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all individuals and does not discriminate based on race, religion, age, sex, color, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity/ expression, disability, or veteran status with regard to employment, educational programs and activities, and/or admissions. For more information, the director of equal opportunity/Title IX coordinator is located at 401 General Academic Building and can be reached at 405-744-1156 or by visiting https://eeo.okstate.edu.
This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the vice president of enrollment management and marketing, was printed by Royle Printing Co. at a cost of $1.57 per issue: 37,116. | April 2023 | #9781| Copyright © 2023, STATE magazine. All rights reserved.
Imagine you own a restaurant. It’s Friday night, and you’re on the floor expediting orders, jumping into the line to help cooks as tickets pile up, dealing with challenging patrons, making drinks behind the bar and trying to stay sane. When the chaos dies down, you help prep for the next day, but even then the day is not done. You still have to do payroll, finalize employee schedules and somehow find time for marketing and social media.
It’s a trial by fire for many, but Cowboys who graduate from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management are ready for the heat, both inside and outside the kitchen. In this issue, we explore how that program is preparing restaurateurs to craft their own culinary careers and empires, as well as how the OSU Institute of Technology’s Culinary Arts program continues to serve as a springboard for aspiring chefs (Page 54). We also look at how the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center empowers entrepreneurs across the state to market and promote their own products (Page 62).
In December, OSU announced the creation of the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute (HPNRI), another major milestone in OSU’s quest to become the nation’s preeminent land-grant institution. Led by renowned sports science expert Lance Walker, the new institute will take a performance-focused approach to help Oklahomans improve their health (Page 44).
As President Kayse Shrum continues to lead the university toward new frontiers, she’s joined by Dr. Jeanette Mendez, Dr. Ann Caine and Blaire Atkinson. As provost, Alumni Association president and OSU Foundation president, respectively, these women are ushering in a new era and inspiring future leaders. (Page 76).
In this issue, we look back at the lasting impact of the Dolese family’s gift (Page 28) and at the most recent inductees into the OSU Alumni Association Hall of Fame (Page 50). We also look back at 10 years of Pete’s Pet Posse (Page 16) and the 34-year career of outgoing Spears School of Business Dean Ken Eastman (Page 8).
I hope that you will enjoy this smorgasbord of stories and continue to support OSU, your fellow alumni and the land-grant mission that unites us all.
Go Pokes!Mack Burke Editor
Everyone has a story. The #CowboyFamily is full of unique and diverse people that are #LivingTheCode, and @DrShrum is on a mission to share their stories. Tashia Cheves was a first-gen student at #okstate and is now helping others find their own path to success. Watch the series on Inside OSU.
Congratulations to Dr. Henrietta Mann, '70, who was one of 12 recipients of the National Humanities Medal in March at the White House! Dr. Mann was recognized for her dedication to strengthening and developing Native American education in the U.S. #okstate #GoPokes
We had the best time getting to know our #FutureCowboys at our Admitted Student Days event, and we can't wait to welcome you to #okstate this fall! ������
One of our own is a hero. OSU graduate Denny Kellington performed CPR to Damar Hamlin during the Buffalo Bills game on Jan. 2. Denny interned for OSU football from 1996-1999. Our thoughts and prayers are with Damar, Denny and the entire Bills organization.
Retired physician Dr. James Turrentine and his wife, Regina, have pledged $500,000 to Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine to establish scholarships for Oklahoma students with a preference for those from Ardmore, Stigler and the surrounding counties.
EXPERIENCE THE BEAUT Y AND INNOVATION OF OSU’S C AMPUS . With vir tual tours, daily walking tours, weekend tours and special events, there is a right ﬁt for you. Don’t miss out! Schedule a visit now
The world is changing, bringing with it a host of new challenges. Students and their families want access to an OSU education that will prepare them for career and professional success. Industry leaders want to hire OSU graduates who can hit the ground running on day one. And our state leaders need OSU to excel in research and innovation to help create highpaying jobs for Oklahomans and develop a workforce that will power Oklahoma’s economy.
At OSU, we stand ready to transform these challenges into opportunities. As a land-grant university, we have a responsibility to meet the needs of our students and state. OSU is a powerful engine — driving economic growth, innovation and workforce development. The world needs more OSU-trained students and OSU-created knowledge.
Last October, we unveiled a bold strategy to make OSU the preeminent land-grant university. One pillar of this strategy is to invest in research and innovation, and over the past several months, we’ve accomplished a great deal to help grow our research enterprise with the establishment of institutes that bring together multidisciplinary teams to tackle society’s most pressing challenges: the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute (page 44), the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) (Winter STATE 2021, Page 22), National Center for Wellness and Recovery and the Hamm Institute for American Energy (Spring STATE 2022, Page 62).
In April, we were honored to host the Garth Brooks Concert Series to benefit student scholarships. Substantially increasing available scholarships is an important step toward the strategy’s goal to open the doors to higher education for more students and to make significant inroads in reducing student debt through scholarships.
I am honored every day to serve the entire OSU family and our great state. Thank you for spending time with us in the pages of STATE magazine.Dr. Kayse Shrum OSU President email@example.com
P.S. One of my favorite things about OSU is our Cowboy culture. We’ve launched a new video series, “Living the Code,” on Inside OSU that highlights members of the Cowboy family who live out that code every day. Stop by InsideOSU.com to see our latest episodes.
Dean Eastman to retire after 34 years, leaving a lasting legacy
When Dr. Ken Eastman has felt the need to get away from the barrage of meetings, the onslaught of emails and the numerous other obligations that have occupied his time over the past 10 years, he’s found solace in his haven — where just he, his cats, Babbs and Bruno, and his puzzles are allowed. This room in his Stillwater home with his felines and his puzzles is one of the reasons he is the third-longest tenured dean in the history of the Oklahoma State University business school.
A devoted puzzler, Eastman often retreated to his puzzle room when he needed to decompress after an especially taxing day leading the more than 5,000 students, nearly 150 faculty and 115 staff members at the Spears School of Business.
“Being a dean is similar in a lot of ways to putting together a puzzle,” said the 64-year-old Eastman, who will retire this summer after 34 years at OSU and Spears Business, serving as dean since 2014. “As part of being dean, there are times you have to do the behind-the-scenes things, not glamourous stuff, such as gathering data and putting things together before you can start seeing patterns, just like when putting together a puzzle.
“I think as dean, sometimes you plan to go one way, but it makes sense to go another direction instead. I think it makes you adjust. Sometimes when working on a puzzle, you get stuck, so you decide to leave that section and move to another section. Then, almost always, the original section starts to become clearer. As dean, I think you must do that at times, too. It’s OK to call a timeout sometime when you’re working on something, give it a rest and come back to it.”
The pieces of the puzzle that have come together at Spears Business under Eastman’s leadership are impressive. The crowning achievement was seeing the new Business Building come to fruition after he’d been hearing about it since nearly the day he arrived at OSU in 1989. Opened in 2018, the $72 million crescent-shaped structure changed the game for OSU’s business school.
“The building was the catalyst to getting people to think differently about what we could be,” Eastman said of the 147,450-square-foot facility that houses 13 classrooms, four labs, 150 offices, 12 team rooms, 11 conference rooms and the latest
tech features. “My mantra when we were building it was, ‘We cannot take our old self into a new building.’ Otherwise, we just wasted about $70 million.
“The building allowed us to begin thinking about new things, thinking about possibilities, and not looking at the negatives. I am most proud that Spears Business is now imbued with that sense that we can do a lot. We’ve done a lot, but we can do much more, and we’re not going to stop.”
In the past 10 years, Spears Business revised its undergraduate core curriculum to better respond to the changing dynamics of the business world, and in the process, set up its students for long-term success. The curriculum changes were a response to requests from recruiters for a heavy emphasis on interpersonal and career-readiness skills, better technology skills, more applied accounting and finance skills, as well as problem-solving rather than memorization. New developments continue as there is work in progress to expand coverage of data analytics in the core.
In addition, several centers were added to enhance the student experience:
The Center for Advanced Global Leadership and Engagement (CAGLE), which offers oncein-a-lifetime study abroad experiences while also coordinating all global activities
The Eastin Center for Career Readiness, which guides and supports students as they pursue their professional aspirations
The Center for Sales and Service Excellence, which instills valuable sales, leadership and customer retention skills
The Center for Health Systems Innovation, which leverages the power of Spears Business and the OSU Center for Health Sciences to focus on business and clinical advancements
The Center for Financial Health and Wellness, which works to raise the level of financial literacy for the OSU community
Other achievements include creating a track system for tenured and tenure track faculty, overseeing the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s move to Spears Business and the creation of a senior inclusion officer position to work with academic units and faculty to help
“Being a dean is similar in a lot of ways to putting together a puzzle. As part of being dean, there are times you have to do the behind-the-scenes things, not glamourous stuff, such as gathering data and putting things together before you can start seeing patterns, just like when putting together a puzzle.”
— DR. KEN EASTMANWATCH an Inside OSU feature on Dean Eastman okla.st/ bowtie
ensure inclusive hiring practices and workplace culture.
“Ken and I have worked together these past 32-plus years and watched the business school develop our own unique, impactful way of delivering the land-grant mission,” said Dr. Rick Wilson, head of the Department of Management Science and Information Systems who joined the OSU business faculty in 1990, a year after Eastman. “Ken’s leadership as dean allowed us to truly capitalize on our ‘Power of Personal’ approach, forever altering the Spears school’s trajectory. Our future accomplishments will be possible and built on top of Ken’s strong legacy.
“Ken’s success and popularity with so many is due to his genuineness. He truly enjoys working with people and his internal compass is set to make a difference in the lives of others. He practices ‘listen if you want to be heard’ better than any leader I’ve known. And he is still the same humble, caring, friendly and compassionate person he was when I first met him in graduate school. Success has not changed him, and we all appreciate what he has done for all of us in the Spears Business family.”
Eastman was hired at OSU upon graduating with his doctorate in organizational behavior from the University of Nebraska and moved to Stillwater in 1989, not expecting to stay for more than five years. But the closest he came to leaving was in the late 1990s when he was passed over after being one of two finalists for a department head position at Kansas State University.
“That’s the only interview I have had,” said Eastman, who served as OSU’s MBA director and head of the Department of Management prior to
being named dean by former President Burns Hargis.
Now, after 34 years at OSU and in Stillwater, he says the time is right.
“I told Burns when I took the job, I’d only do it for 10 years,” he said. “I believe very strongly that every 10 years you need to turn it over, and I think it’s time to turn it over to someone else. I do understand people’s concerns about what’s next and what will change, but I believe the next step will be even better.”
Eastman and his wife, Laurie, will return to their home state of Iowa upon retiring. His days of overseeing hundreds of faculty and staff may be coming to an end, but he’s looking forward to spending more time with Babbs and Bruno, and putting together puzzles.
“Do you know what the biggest difference is between putting together puzzles and being the dean? I don’t like to put puzzles together with anyone else. But being dean, I love working with everybody else,” Eastman said. “My wife knows not to interfere with my puzzles. It’s just me and the cats putting the puzzle together. But with being dean, it is the direct opposite. It’s been so helpful to work with so many different people — students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors — and get people involved.
“That’s the big difference, and that’s what I’ll miss most.”
To honor Dr. Ken Eastman and create a legacy in his name, alumni Michael and Anne Greenwood have established the Ken and Laurie Eastman Spears School of Business Endowed Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which will award needs-based scholarships to students throughout Spears Business.
The Greenwoods will match up to $250,000 in fund donations received through July 30, which marks the end of Dean Eastman’s tenure at Oklahoma State University.
“One of the nice parts of this job is getting to know Mike and Anne personally, and I consider them both friends now,” Eastman said. “And to have friends create a scholarship for us, it stunned me. It was deeply touching, and we are very humbled by their generosity.
“As a first-gen college student, I am excited that future students with needs will have the opportunity to attend Spears Business. Working with students has been one of the most rewarding parts of being dean, and we are honored by this scholarship.”
The Greenwoods have worked with the Eastmans for many years, serving the school as donors, advisory committee members, student mentors and lecturers. They wanted to find a way to thank both of the Eastmans for their work in increasing the prominence of Spears Business during his decade as dean.
“During his tenure, Dean Ken Eastman revolutionized the Spears curriculum and programs that have now made our graduates more competitive and relevant in today’s business world,” the Greenwoods said. “With this endowed scholarship, we not only honor Ken and Laurie but enable their legacy to continue to fill the halls of the Spears School of Business forever.”
Finding ways to enhance the student experience was always a priority for Eastman. He was at the forefront of multiple changes that better prepare Spears Business students for long-term success. This includes revising undergraduate core curriculum, integrating the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management into Spears, and creating multiple centers focused on leadership and career-readiness.
His crowning achievement was the grand opening of a new, state-of-the-art Business Building. The $72-million, 147,450-squarefoot facility opened in 2018, a groundbreaking milestone for Spears Business.
Donations to the Ken and Laurie Eastman Spears School of Business Endowed Opportunity Scholarship Fund can be made at OSUgiving.com/ EastmanScholarship
While on campus, he joined the Freshman Representative’s Council, President’s Leadership Council, Student Government Association and served as the Spears School of Business Council President. Wilson said he believes students develop the most early in their college careers, so by getting involved in clubs and organizations, he established his place as a leader on campus.
“I always felt like I surrounded myself with people who were better than me,” Wilson said. “They were smarter than me, and that pushed me to become better and raise my ceiling for what I could achieve.”
Growing up in Stillwater, Aaron Wilson dreamed of wearing America’s brightest orange. And although his childhood was spent close to campus, he never truly understood what it was like being a member of the Cowboy family.
“Whether you’re walking by Theta Pond or Library Lawn or going to Walkaround, it just feels like home,” Wilson said. “The people are what make it. I think more and more as I was seeing other universities and seeing other cities, there were a lot of strengths and there were a lot of things that draw people to places, but it was just this feeling of comfort and home that kept me in Stillwater.”
Wilson arrived on campus in the fall of 2004. He started his OSU career by becoming involved in the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. Wilson majored in economics, allowing him to find his passion for sales and business, which would benefit him later in his career.
“I took my first economics class in the spring of 2005,” Wilson said. “Most people run from the introduction to microeconomics class. But I leaned in and loved every minute of it.”
Not only will OSU always be a special place for Wilson because of his love for the university, but also because it’s where he met his wife and lifelong partner, Allison. When Wilson got involved with the Business Student Council, Allison was serving as vice president. He likes to say there was love in the business college.
“She left to go to law school,” Wilson said. “I guess I missed her enough to figure out she was the one.”
To wrap up his college career at OSU, Wilson applied to serve on the Royalty Court for America’s Greatest Homecoming. Wilson remembers the day he was crowned Homecoming King as his favorite memory as a student at OSU.
“Just being on the football field in front of the sold-out stadium and being announced Homecoming King was such a neat honor,” Wilson said. “I remember feeling the energy of the town building up. I think that whole week boiled down to a microcosm of winning it or not. It wasn’t about that to me. It was just about celebrating Homecoming.”
Following his graduation in 2008, Wilson moved to Wichita, Kansas, to work at Koch Industries. He was there for about five years and learned key principles of managing and conducting business.
“My time at Koch taught me how one of the most excellent companies in the history of the United States was run,” Wilson said. “The guiding
principles of which it was founded and the mental models they used to conduct business gave me a blueprint of how to run a business like I had never seen before. I saw my parents successfully run the Wilson Auto dealership but to see a different perspective was huge for me.”
During Christmas 2012, Wilson mentioned to his parents he was considering a move to China to pursue a new position with Koch. His father thought Wilson would return to Stillwater to take over the dealership, which planted the idea in his head.
Dathan and Teresa Wilson purchased Stillwater’s Chevrolet franchise in 1986, followed by the Cadillac franchise in 2007. When Aaron returned to Stillwater, both dealerships were doing so well he decided to buy out the Buick and GMC dealerships in Stillwater. In 2019, Wilson Buick, GMC and Cadillac opened for their first full year in their brand-new facility. More recently, the Wilson Auto family purchased a power sports dealership, allowing them to expand even more.
Since Aaron took over Wilson Auto in 2013, he has developed the small, family-owned business into one of the fastest-growing Cadillac dealerships in the country. Following the pandemic and Aaron’s transition into a leadership role, the dealership rose in the sales rankings from 450th among Cadillac dealers to 29th.
“We’re bigger than any store in Atlanta and bigger than any in the states of Florida and New York — all right here in the small town of Stillwater,” Aaron said. “During the pandemic, new vehicle deliveries were limited. I bought dozens of cars each week and started meeting new clients. When the plants were turned back on, we were in the
Aaron and Allison Wilson with their two daughters, June (right) and Hope, enjoying their family vacation together.
“Whether you’re walking by Theta Pond or Library Lawn or going to Walkaround, it just feels like home. The people are what make it. I think more and more as I was seeing other universities and seeing other cities, there were a lot of strengths and there were a lot of things that draw people to places, but it was just this feeling of comfort and home that kept me in Stillwater.”
AARON WILSON, OWNER OF THE WILSON CHEVROLET CAR DEALERSHIP
front of the line to earn all the inventory. The average dealership right now might have 40 or 50 cars. We have over 400 cars on our books every day.”
With their immense growth, Wilson Auto has been able to grow their staff, locations and customer base. They went from selling nine Escalades in a year to over 500, making them the top Escalade dealer in the country. Most of their success has been driven by their upgrade to selling their vehicles online and shipping to their customers. In fact, Aaron said celebrities Snoop Dogg and Cardi B are both driving Escalades purchased through Wilson Auto.
Aaron said the moment he decided to get involved with giving back to his alma mater was his most successful moment. He said he holds his involvement in the community and university paramount over almost everything else he is involved in.
The Wilson Auto family’s involvement in the university has started to include more investment in student-athletes, as well.
The state of Oklahoma adopted the StudentAthlete Name, Image and Likeness Rights Act in 2021. Since the adoption, NIL has only continued to become more of a normality in college athletics. Aaron believes OSU athletics should be at the forefront. He wants to make OSU the destination for college athletes who have an NIL vehicle contract.
“We have so many young men and women who don’t have a vehicle,” said Barry Hinson, OSU’s associate athletic director for NIL. “If they’re great in sports, community service or social media influencers, he is able to promote his business while also helping these athletes.”
Since the start of the program, Wilson Auto has sold six cars to student-athletes in just under three months. By doing this, Aaron is not only assisting athletes in purchasing their own vehicles, but also helping them ensure their financial success in the future.
“Most college students couldn’t get approved on a $50,000 vehicle even with a job,” Aaron said. “Our program is helping them get in that vehicle, make a year of on-time payments when they’re in college and elevate their credit score.”
Despite their rapid growth, Aaron said the dealership remains a family business. Aaron and Allison have two daughters, June and Hope, whom they are raising to be dedicated OSU supporters just like their parents. And he credits OSU for teaching him how to make his business a home for customers, employees and friends alike.
“I think at Oklahoma State, the people and the programs have this X-factor that other places don’t have,” Aaron said. “It just feels like home.”Third from left: Aaron Wilson and his fraternity brothers celebrating with each other on their graduation day.
PROUD SPONSOR OF AMERICA’S GREATEST HOMECOMING
Between the demands of school, work and keeping up with friends, it feels like the weight of the world is crashing down on you.
During a slight break in your busy schedule, you take a second to sit on the nearest bench and decompress when you’re greeted by a dog excited to spend a few minutes with you. Immediately, pressure is lifted and getting through your day seems much easier than it did before you sat down.
College marks the beginning of a new chapter in life for many students. Whether a freshman or a graduate student, unknown obstacles, stress and pressure are prevalent from week one to finals week and can often take a toll on students’ mental health.
Across the country, many universities seek to help students through challenging times by partnering with external certified therapy dog programs to bring the canines to campus a few times a semester. But at Oklahoma State University, pet therapy dogs have been a campus fixture for a decade thanks to the nation’s largest and most comprehensive collegiate pet therapy program.
As it celebrates its 10-yearanniversary, Pete’s Pet Posse is commemorating this milestone with fun events, incentives, memorabilia, plenty of opportunities to engage with pet therapy teams and more.
Kendria Cost and former First Cowgirl Ann Hargis discovered a trend on social media of different universities
partnering with external organizations to bring in pet therapy dogs, but only during traditionally stressful weeks. Ann Hargis invited her friend, Judy Savage, who had Rossi the Approval Poodle visit OSU to see how the campus responded. The response from students, faculty and staff was overwhelmingly positive.
So, in 2013, they co-founded the OSU pet therapy program — Pete’s Pet Posse.
For the last 10 years, Charlie, a shepherd mix; Disco, a miniature Australian Shepherd; and Scruff, a terrier mix, have suited up in their official OSU tartan working vest, Pete’s Pet Posse collar and matching leash to go to work.
For them, work isn’t a traditional 9-5 day. As part of Pete’s Pet Posse — also known as P3 — these dogs welcome scratches and hugs to help students relax during high-stress periods.
As the youngest member of the inaugural P3 class, Disco grew up greeting students, employees and visitors with her owner, Rick Eggers. At 8 months old, the blue-eyed puppy began training to earn the Canine Good Citizen and Alliance of Therapy Dogs national certification.
“She’s grown up in this program, putting that vest on to her is like, ‘I gotta go to work.’ She wants everybody to be happy,” Eggers said.
When the self-funded, volunteer-based program began, there were only eight teams that attended regularly scheduled visits across camps, which kept them busy, Eggers said.
The program expanded to OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center
for Health Sciences in 2015. In 2020, the dogs and their owner/handlers began work at the OSU College of Medicine at the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, and there are plans to bring the program to the OSU-OKC campus this year.
As homesickness set in, Ashley Walters only left her dorm room long enough to attend class and eat meals. She had just moved from Oklahoma City to Stillwater in 2014 to begin her freshman year of college.
“I was very close to transferring to OSU-OKC and moving back in with my parents because of how bad the homesickness was and how big of a change it was to be up there,” Walters said.
On a quick trip through the Student Union, Walters noticed a dog she learned was part of P3. It was Kendria Cost and her dog, Charlie — who always wears fashionable doggles.
Cost remembers Walter’s shyness and how she avoided eye contact when they first met.
As their friendship grew, Walters sought out the P3 teams more often and found comfort.
“To me, it was like, there’s a dog and the dog doesn’t judge me, the dog doesn’t talk back or anything,” Walters said. “If I need to just go give the dog attention for a few minutes and not be judged for what I’m going through or just relieve stress without having to talk to someone, it was a great outlet for that.
“Seeing other students having those same emotions and those same feelings helped me realize that I wasn’t the only one going through all of it.”
Walters began to come out of her shell as she attended more visits and enjoyed meeting students at the events. Cost eventually invited her to be part of the Ruff Riders student ambassador pilot program.
As a Ruff Rider, Walters helped handlers and dogs during visits and saw the impact the dogs were having on her fellow students. She even flew for the first time with Cost and Hargis to San Antonio to speak about P3 to other colleges and universities and the impact it had on her life.
Eggers has observed that students from out of state often benefit most from interacting with the dogs, particularly those who haven’t seen their own dogs in three to four months. Many of them attend regular visits across campus. When P3 pop-up events occur, they are pleasantly caught by surprise.
When the three active original members — Charlie, Scruff and Disco — had a pop-up visit, Annabell Grinzinger received a text from her friend telling her they were in the Student Union. She immediately set off to see them.
The sophomore from Tulsa knew OSU was her home because of a P3 golden retriever she met during a campus visit when she was a senior in high school. After that visit, she told her parents she was sold on attending OSU.
“They are one of the main reasons I came to OSU,” Grinzinger said.
Grinzinger loves to visit the dogs in the library when she misses her pooch
at home. She’s even built a special connection with a miniature dachshund, Charlie Brown.
Besides visiting with the P3 teams, Grinzinger collects their trading cards, which she and her roommate use to decorate their apartment walls. The cards are a hot commodity among students, with teams handing out more than 150 cards per hour at some events.
Students uncertain about approaching the dogs will still smile and wave from a distance and gladly take trading cards from handlers. When Hargis invites them to pet Scruff, who usually lays down on his back with his feet in the air surrendering to visitors, they come closer and by the end of the semester, are sitting on the ground petting each dog.
“We’ve had a lot of people do some really emotional things while petting the dogs,” Eggers said. “And there’s been times where people have walked to the counselor’s office with the handler. It’s almost like the student will open up a little bit more about what is bothering them when they’re petting a dog. They get a little bit more emotional. They get a little bit closer to the point where they want to talk and I think that that helps.”
Hargis believes Scruff has an innate ability to sense who needs him most. Besides attending regularly scheduled events, the team has also visited
departments across campus that had experienced a tragedy. One grief visit they were invited to, in particular, stood out to Hargis.
“I let him take the lead and he would go to different people in the room,” she said. “Afterward, I was told ‘I don’t know how Scruff knew but the first person he went to was the very reason why I called you to come. That was the person that needed him the most.’”
OSU alumnus Kathryn Kleiner grew up without pets, not even a goldfish, but she always had a love for dogs, she said in her 2022 Chewmencement address, during the 2022 Barkalaureate.
While at OSU, she learned about P3 and interviewed to become a Ruff Rider.
“Being a Ruff Rider became more than sitting with the dogs on visits,” she said. “It was more meaningful than that.”
Kleiner saw students come to visit the dogs with long worn-out faces and leave grinning ear to ear.
“If I were to count the amount of times I have seen students having a horrible day leave in a good mood after a therapy visit, I would need more hands than there are in this room,” Kleiner said in her address. “The tears stop, the frowns dissipate and the clothes become covered in hair after each student leaves.”
Today, there are 42 teams active systemwide with 21 expected to graduate in June. In total more than 140 dogs and their owners/ handlers have participated in the program, conducting more than 5,000 appearances and impacting more than 300,000 lives. Participate in the 10th-anniversary celebration and learn more at okla.st/p3decade
“Afterward, I was told ‘I don’t know how Scruff knew but the first person he went to ... was the person that needed him the most. ’”
After a half-century of tuning and repairing pianos of all kinds and conditions day-in and day-out, Vince Mrykalo admits it’s tougher than it used to be. His hands are more worn, and standing over piano after piano has begun to take a toll on his back.
But his love of the instrument and pitch-perfect attention to detail remain sustained. Mrykalo still looks forward to every day.
Growing up in New Jersey, his passion for the piano began at the age of 5. His grandfather paid for his lessons and unbeknownst to either of them, it would evolve into a lifelong love of the instrument and a career to match.
“I always just wanted to take piano lessons, and I don’t know why, it’s just something that I wanted to do,” Mrykalo said.
As he got older, he stuck with piano, while also taking up sports like baseball. As time went on, music would eclipse his other interests.
After high school, Mrykalo was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served for two years during the Vietnam War before returning home with intentions to turn his hobby into a career.
In 1973, he took correspondence courses, which later led to apprenticeships under the wing of experienced technicians who taught him the ways of the trade. Mrykalo struggled in the beginning. It took him six months to learn the process and 13 hours to tune his first piano. Demanding as it was, he saw it through.
“I actually considered quitting because it was fairly high stress,” Mrykalo said. “Even though you don’t think of that being high stress. But I
worked through it because at the time, I was getting married.”
Two years after marrying his wife, Madelyn, in 1976, he went on to obtain his first full-time gig, which paved the way for the rest of his career.
In 1978, Mrykalo opened his first business repairing and tuning pianos after inheriting clientele from a local technician. Mrykalo sold his business in the late 1980s, going on to work at higher education institutions such as the University of Memphis, Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, the University of Kansas and currently, Oklahoma State University.
OSU’s Greenwood School of Music is one of nearly 200 universities recognized as an AllSteinway school, providing students with 86 high-quality Steinway & Sons pianos to practice and perform on. Forty-six of these pianos were purchased in the 2021-2022 academic year.
While maintaining 86 pianos can sound like a daunting task, Mrykalo said it is a nice change of pace from working on older, more disrepaired instruments.
Each day — and sometimes night — of work is unique. The concert piano may need to be tuned, a practice piano may need care, or in some cases, entire pieces need to be remachined to restore a piano back to working condition.
“I’m at retirement age, but I don’t feel like I need to retire right now,” Mrykalo said. “I like to work enough that I’d like to stay on for this kind of stuff.”
With his assortment of toolboxes filled with specialized gadgets and a large workshop, Mrykalo is well-equipped to ensure all 86 pianos owned by the Greenwood School of Music are in pristine condition.
While most days have a routine and rhythm, Mrykalo also is on call to handle emergencies. Dr. Mark Perry, associate professor of ethnomusicology and director of music industry, remembers a time when Mrykalo came to the rescue at the last minute.
“Recently, I had a recording session, and the studio Steinway was making uncharacteristicallyMrykalo’s workshop has a variety of tools that enable him to work with the smallest parts of a piano.
“Right now, [the pianos] are wonderfully maintained. As long as Vince is around, they’re going to continue to be wonderfully maintained. I have no worries about that.”
DR. THOMAS LANNERS
unpleasant sounds, which the microphones were picking up,” Perry said. “Vince fixed the issue immediately and the Steinway ended up sounding great in the recording.”
After years of contracted technicians and with brand-new facilities and pianos, Perry said the Greenwood School of Music is relieved to have Mrykalo on staff. Dr. Thomas Lanners, OSU professor of piano and keyboard area coordinator, said the difference is noticeable.
“Right now, [the pianos] are wonderfully maintained,” Lanners said. “As long as Vince is around, they’re going to continue to be wonderfully maintained. I have no worries about that.”
Smaller cities and college towns more frequently face shortages in piano technicians. With so few being full-time, finding the right person for the job can be a challenge.
Mrykalo believes in order to become a great technician, you have to do it full time. The hardest part, he said, is maintaining that level of dedication and consistency.
“I think there’s not really a shortage of people trying to get into the business, but we’ve got a big problem of people staying in the business,” Mrykalo said.
The patience, time and physical effort required to properly maintain a piano and all of its intricate
pieces is enough to turn many away from the profession. The Piano Technicians Guild, of which Mrykalo is a member, serves as a way for technicians to learn, find employment and become registered piano technicians, certifying they are well-versed in the trade.
“It’s a matter of, I guess, a certain type of person who can do it,” Mrykalo said. “There’s not much to say about a good technician, except that they’re rare.”
When it comes time to put the tuning hammer down for the last time, Mrykalo is not concerned about how he’ll be remembered. His legacy lives in every note on every piano that can be heard throughout the Greenwood School of Music. And that’s all he ever wanted.Mrykalo works to tune a piano in one of the practice rooms within the Greenwood School of Music.
half of attendees received scholarship assistance from the Cherokee Nation Film Office.
“Oklahoma’s television and film production industries continue to grow at an exceptional pace, and we are pleased to serve a role in helping educate, prepare and connect a workforce capable of supporting that growth,” said Jennifer Loren, senior director of Cherokee Nation Film Office.
Led by working professionals, many of whom are Academy or Emmy Award nominees, the workshops emphasize set-ready skills and practical experience. Topics include film industry fundamentals, screenwriting, lighting and sound.
“Especially with filmmaking, it’s all about hands-on instruction and learning with the tools and technology that’s in front of you,” said Zach Litwack, filmmaker-in-residence at OSU-Tulsa and workshop instructor. “There’s only so much you can learn from a YouTube video or reading a book.”
Let’s set the scene: Oklahoma is an increasingly popular production destination, with major movies like “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Stillwater” recently filmed in the state, along with hit TV shows like FX Production’s “Reservation Dogs” and Paramount+’s “Tulsa King.”
Every set needs workers. Not only actors and directors, but also technicians, producers, production assistants, makeup artists and a whole crew of other professionals to bring our favorite stories to life.
Until recently, it was difficult for Oklahomans to gain the skills necessary to work on a film set. It was also a challenge for productions to find qualified workers in the state. The Center for Poets and Writers at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa stepped in to meet that need — and when it comes to helping bring stories to life, they have decades of experience.
The center has hosted film workshops since 2021, almost all sold out or with wait lists. Nearly
The intensive two-day film set etiquette or “Setiquette” workshops have been a gateway to the local film scene for many participants, including work on the third season of “Reservation Dogs.” The workshops create a live set where students produce a short film with professional equipment and guidance from a team of industry veterans.
“Three of the students that took that workshop networked with some of the instructors and were on a film with them the next weekend,” Litwack said. “It was awesome to see.”STORY AARON CAMPBELL | PHOTOS OSU-TULSA, ZACH LITWACK Students learn how to modify professional lights with hands-on exercises during the workshop, “The Art of Cinematic Lighting.”
Erin Parker, a resource advisor for the Indian Education Program team at Tulsa Public Schools, used an OSU-Tulsa screenwriting workshop as a springboard into the world of animation.
Every year, Parker’s program rents a movie theater and shows a Native American-themed film to participating students and their families. However, the small selection of age-appropriate films limits their options.
“I decided I would have to fill the gap for my students,” Parker said. “I saw that there was a scholarship through the Cherokee Nation Film Office for a screenwriting workshop at OSU-Tulsa, so I applied and got it.”
After completing her screenplay in the workshop, Parker was accepted to an animation mentorship program that will help her turn her screenplay into an animated short film.
“My story is about the day a young Kiowa boy is taken from his village to an Indian Boarding School and what his mother has to do to prepare him for the journey. I have a 7-year-old son and I can’t imagine him being taken from me,” Parker said.
“I know I’m new to this, but my story needs to be told.”
The Cherokee Nation Community Film Lab is expected to open later this year at OSU-Tulsa.
“This lab will be a hub for community members and students who want to develop new skills and work on film sets in Oklahoma,” said Lindsey Smith, director of the Center for Poets and Writers.
The center continues to find new ways to build relationships with local professionals and productions, such as Sundance Film Festival finalist “Fancy Dance,” which used OSU-Tulsa as a production base camp.
OSU-Tulsa now also offers film courses for credit, including screenwriting and a film production course planned for fall 2023.
“All the work we’ve poured into workshops, the film lab, networking with professionals and building strong partnerships is paying off in the form of new careers and opportunities for students,” Smith said.
“It’s really exciting to think we can offer more opportunities to combine storytelling, critical thinking and new technology with the chance of a job opportunity.”Paying attention to details goes a long way in the “Film Setiquette” workshops – from adjusting lighting to using a slate. Professional lighting technician and instructor Jake Basnett demonstrates the proper usage of a light during “The Art of Cinematic Lighting” workshop.
10 YEARS AFTER ITS ANNOUNCEMENT, MAJOR GIFT CONTINUES TO MAKE AN IMPACT THROUGHOUT CEAT
“Through this gift, we’ve not only been able to create a bright future for numerous engineering students, but also ensure our company remains true to our Oklahoma community and gives back to each Dolese employee for their service to the company.”
Roger, son of co-founder Peter Dolese, led the company for 58 years until his death in 2002. Although Dolese does not employ many engineers itself, it was a profession Roger had great admiration for, which was his motivation to give to CEAT.
He hoped the gift would increase the number of engineers in the workforce. OSU has done its part to make that vision become a reality.
Scholarship support has made the most impact in how the Dolese gift supports students. It’s been a driving force behind helping more people attend OSU and ultimately walk across the graduation stage.
Since 2012, the number of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded each year has more than doubled. During that time, degree production for mechanical and aerospace engineering has increased 151%, a figure exponentially higher than the university average of 28.6%.
Industrial engineering as well as electrical and computer engineering have also seen huge boosts in degree production with 207% and 84% increases, respectively.
“The growth of our engineering programs over the past decade has been remarkable,” said Dr. Jeanette Mendez, OSU provost and senior vice president. “And the scholarships and other student programs funded by the Dolese gift have certainly played a part in that. I’m so glad we have been able to fulfill Mr. Dolese’s goal of increasing the number of engineering graduates in the state.”
Last year, over $1 million of Dolese funds went toward direct scholarships that included CEAT Scholar awards, need-based applications, national
merit scholars and other STEM scholarships. Another $152,500 was awarded as global study scholarships. Each of these awards is significant, as none was worth less than $2,500.
The CEAT Scholars program in particular, which used the Dolese funds to match other donors resulting in a combined impact of $722,935 in 2022, has seen significant growth in recent years.
Molly Hoback is a CEAT S cholar and OSU senior studying architectural engineering. The program completely transformed her college experience, including allowing her to go on a 10-day study abroad trip to Finland last summer.
She said her time in Stillwater wouldn’t be complete without being involved.
“The CEAT Scholars program is not only a scholarship; it is a platform to enrich our college experience,” Hoback said. “It’s connected me to other motivated CEAT majors and allowed me to do so many more things that I simply would not have gone out and done on my own.”
Hoback has been impacted by the Dolese effect in more ways than one. She is also involved with Parker Engineering, Architecture and Technology Experts and CEAT Summer Bridge, which both helped ease her — and countless other students’ — college transition.
These two programs wouldn’t have been possible without Dolese’s generosity.
PEATEs are upperclassmen mentors who live in Parker Hall, a residential hall designated for CEAT students.
Hoback is one of nine PEATEs who work to create a community feel, help residents build relationships with each other and provide general guidance.
Many CEAT Scholars also serve as CEAT Ambassadors, a group of students who work to promote the college to prospective students and guests.
“Parker was a small community where we all could support each other through the struggles of college and freshman-level engineering classes,” Hoback said. “I applied to be a PEATE because they made the dorm a home for everybody my freshman year, and I really wanted to contribute and make it better.”
Summer Bridge, meanwhile, lends a helping hand to freshmen before they even start their classes. It’s a three-week preparatory program for students who plan to study a CEAT major.
Students can become accustomed to the rigors of CEAT coursework with academic review, mock exams, orientation seminars and engineering design projects. Preparation for Calculus I, specifically, is a focus.
The program is a factor in helping students navigate college, and even has the potential to help them shorten time to graduation depending on their level of math readiness.
Hoback participated in Summer Bridge as a freshman, and her experience motivated her to become a program counselor, a role she held for two years.
“Summer Bridge really set me up to succeed,” Hoback said. “The program helped me get familiar with campus, meet new friends and mentors, and get acclimated to the rigors of college. By the first day of the classes, I was still nervous, but I felt prepared.”
Dolese’s role in increasing CEAT’s student success rate isn’t just limited to students in their first year. The Dolese gift allowed the college to host student-led discussion and tutoring sessions. They were so beneficial that the sessions are now university-funded.
CEAT has even benefited future generations of engineers by holding K-12 STEM summer camps.
Current OSU students work with second-eighth grade students, while young professionals and graduate students mentor ninth-12th graders to hopefully cultivate an interest in a future STEM career. The camps, which were started with Dolese funds, are now sponsored and funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Not only are these programs beneficial to the attendees, but they also give our students a chance to hone their communication skills,” Tikalsky said. “They have to figure out how they can explain thermodynamics in a way that anyone can understand.”
Along with the academic impacts of Dolese’s gift, OSU research efforts have benefited, too. For more than a decade, numerous undergrad research positions and assistantships have been created.
For example, student work at the Bert Cooper Structures and Materials Laboratory has all been funded by Dolese. Fittingly, the lab’s primary focus is research related to concrete.
Students working at the lab, such as Josephine Lee, a senior studying civil engineering, gain a new understanding and appreciation of the industry. Lee has been involved with the lab since her freshman year.
“Concrete is such a widely used material, it is important for us to understand how to improve it,” Lee said. “The skills I’ve learned working there, along with the relationships I’ve built with other engineering students at the lab, will definitely be valuable in my future career.”
Even 11 years after the gift was made, the Dolese effect continues to make an impact throughout CEAT. And the ripples won’t stop anytime soon.
“Engineering is everywhere — from Dolese concrete to my desk chair,” Tikalsky said. “This gift has been an instrumental part of our college’s success. Dolese continues to change lives at OSU and beyond, and its impact shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Make a gift to benefit CEAT or find out how you can make a difference by contacting Bryce Killingsworth at bkillingsworth@OSUgiving.com or by visiting OSUgiving.com.
"Through this gift, we've not only been able to create a bright future for numerous engineering students, but also ensure our company remains true to our Oklahoma community and gives back to each Dolese employee for their service to the company."
MARK HELM, PRESIDENT & CEO OF DOLESE BROS. CO.
Living by the unique Cowboy culture means constantly striving to uphold the Cowboy Code, which defines hard work, integrity and grit.
The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association hosted Cowboys for a Cause to provide an opportunity for all members of the Cowboy family to accomplish acts of service to better the communities in Oklahoma and beyond.
Cowboys for a Cause inspired nearly 200 students and alumni to give back to the communities they live in. Volunteers impacted more than 10 community organizations across Stillwater, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Altus, Noble County, Kansas City and North Texas.
In Oklahoma City, Kelley Newkirk Konarik, OKC Metro OSU Alumni Chapter president, said their Cowboys for a Cause event was hosted to benefit Special Olympics of Oklahoma for their winter games.
“It was so wonderful to work with these kids,” Newkirk Konarik said.
“We volunteered with the Unified Bowling event. Each volunteer worked at a bowling lane, we had things to hand out and we made so many new friends.”
For Newkirk Konarik, building connections with the kids was what made the experience worthwhile.
“I think it is so important to get out in the community and give back,” Newkirk Konarik said. “We have so much with the Alumni Association as far as membership engagement, it was good for us to give back to the community and be able to provide a service to the athletes. We probably converted half of the athletes to Cowboy fans by the end of the day.”
In Stillwater, volunteers had the opportunity to serve at the Humane Society of Stillwater, Our Daily Bread and the Saville Center for Child Advocacy. Volunteers cleaned up the facilities of both the Humane Society and the Saville Center. At Our Daily Bread, volunteers assisted community members in shopping and helped sort food donations.
The Jackson/Harmon County Chapter hosted a supplies drive to collect items to benefit Booker’s Place and the Stephen E. Booker Foundation. The drive collected 300 items valued at $1,250 to benefit the cause.
In Tulsa, members of the Cowboy family walked dogs and collected supplies for the animals at Tulsa SPCA. The Tulsa Chapter collected close to 220 pounds of food, treats, leashes, collars, toys and dog coats.
The Noble County Chapter hosted an opportunity for volunteers to benefit the Perry Recycling Center. Volunteers came to the center to assist with general recycling or electronics recycling.
A little further from Stillwater, the Kansas City Chapter volunteered at Harvester’s Food Bank. Volunteers worked together to sort and re-package donations for the warehouse before they are distributed to numerous pantries throughout the region.
The North Texas Chapter supported the Bridge Homeless Recovery Center, a shelter providing services to the homeless population in Dallas. Fifty people came out to support the Bridge, but one special incoming student made a huge impact. Parker Fort, a senior at McKinney North High School, and his father, Darren, donated 40 backpacks filled with necessities for clients of the Bridge.
“My dad was looking for somewhere to donate extra backpacks he had from his work,” Fort said. “I love the feeling I get when I get to give back and help those in need. It warms my heart. I’ve always liked volunteering, but I have gotten more into it as I realized how much of an impact I can make.”
Although Fort hasn’t officially started his journey at OSU, he is a firm believer of alumni and students participating in Cowboys for a Cause. He said it is a great opportunity to give back.
“It is especially great when you are on campus and can give back to the community of Stillwater,” Fort said. “OSU has given us a great opportunity at life and giving back. Anyone that wants to help should go to a Cowboys for a Cause event.”
Cowboys for a Cause inspired nearly 200 students and alumni to give back to the communities they live in.
Study Abroad program provides historically underrepresented students with opportunity of a lifetime
Many students look forward to summer break as a time to travel for leisure, yearning for an escape from everyday life. Some even dream of standing at the base of the 984-foot-tall Eiffel Tower at dusk as the sparkling lights appear all over its surface.
However, for students who are first-generation, low-income or underrepresented, attending college, let alone studying abroad, may be just that: a dream. It seems impossible due to a lack of support or resources.
In 2019, the Oklahoma State University Center for Global Learning (CGL) was awarded a $15,000 grant by the French embassy as part of the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative to design a sustainable course offered to OSU students for five years or longer.
In collaboration with the University of Limoges in France, OSU’s Division of Institutional Diversity and CGL, this program was designed to introduce French culture, language, cuisine and entrepreneurship innovation.
Dr. Jeff Simpson, assistant dean and director of global partnerships, and his team helped to develop the course and schedule tours with the Bernardaud Porcelain factory, various research laboratories, the Oradour-sur-Glane memorial, the Padirac Chasm cave and meetings with industry leaders.
“This was probably the most impactful experience I have had as a leader,” Simpson said.
The first program was slated to begin in 2020 but was postponed until the summer of 2022.
Prior to departure, students were provided with online learning modules and 360-degree videos as preparation. The innovative approach helped reduce
anxiety before the trip to allow students to be fully immersed in the French culture, said Catie Miller, CGL global programs coordinator
Through Retention Initiative for Student Excellence (RISE), 11 OSU students packed their carry-on suitcases and traveled to Limoges — about four hours southwest of Paris — for 16 days to study the intersection of culture and technology in partnership with the University of Limoges.
“We’re talking about kids who had never been on a flight before,” said Dr.
opportunity through her involvement in RISE.
“When they told me that I could go, I thought, ‘Oh, well, I probably can’t afford it. It’s too expensive,’” Rodriguez said.
Maura Loyola, RISE coordinator, encouraged students to apply for scholarships provided through new and existing funding sources to help navigate the process of traveling abroad.
Through scholarships, the human development and family science junior’s dream came true. Last summer, she stood at the base of the 136-year-old
Clyde Wilson, associate vice president for institutional diversity. “It’s one of the most diverse study abroad trips OSU has sent out. It was a great representation of OSU.”
As a little girl, Leslie Rodriguez was obsessed with all things Paris and the Eiffel Tower. However, in middle school, she came to grips with the reality that she would never see the landmark in person.
The first-generation student discovered the study abroad learning
tower in awe and felt what she could only describe as a “full-circle moment.” As a native Spanish speaker, she was also able to understand various French words which came in handy when visiting with locals at the farmers market.
Accordéons Maugein, one of the oldest accordion manufacturers, stood out to the cohort not only because of the history and design of the instrument, but also the people they met.
At the end of their tour, they met a man who had fought and been injured in the Russia-Ukraine War. He came to France to heal and be with his mentor. He even put on an impromptu concert and played Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” and then shared his life experiences with the group.
Originally, Brittanie Cannon decided she couldn’t afford the trip and instead would save for her next semester. She didn’t like flying and as a self-proclaimed “homebody,” the idea of traveling so far away stretched her out of her comfort zone.
“I had a meeting with Dr. Wilson and some other people to talk about the trip and I told them I literally thought I would die before I saw the Eiffel Tower,” Cannon said.
However, with support, she hit submit on her application with five minutes to spare hoping to receive scholarships to alleviate any financial worries and trusting it would produce a fruitful experience.
While engaging with tour guides, Cannon noticed the sustainable practices of different businesses committed to Sustainable Development Goals.
J.M. Weston, a company known for hand-sewn leather shoes and belts, stood out to her for its sustainable succession program. Its threeyear training program teaches the meticulous craft of shoemaking to preserve the quality of its products.
In comparison, while in Ganterie Agnelle in Saint Junien — a French leather glove factory responsible for supplying Paris Fashion week with Dior and Chanel gloves — Cannon noticed few employees and few machines. The company had no succession plan to pass on its skills.
“They don’t have a school or any type of academy that teaches people how to do what they do with their skill level,” said Cannon, a psychology junior. “They’re trying to figure out how they’re supposed to keep the business going now that all of them are older, and they don’t have anybody that they’ve been training, they don’t have any internship programs.”
In every presentation, speakers shared individual business plans to actively work toward those goals. In
RISE, I have found value to me, in some way, shape or form and so I saw this and I thought this is a perfect opportunity,” Moseley said.
When the zoology/pre-vet major had time to tour the city on her own, she visited the Gran Galería de la Evolución for an opportunity to connect the trip to her studies.
“It was an immersive experience to get an idea of what the industrial side of the French culture looked like in more remote areas and a lot of the touristy areas, like Paris. It’s stuff that you may not necessarily hear about,” Moseley said.
However, she gained more than just educational assets on this trip. Moseley flew home with a new take on life, which all started with one meal.
When Moseley arrived at the restaurant, she noticed groups of people finished eating and they were still there when she left. They had taken an hour to eat and another to socialize. For the rest of the trip, she noticed stores closed in the middle of the day so workers could go home or enjoy a sit-down meal with others.
labs, tour guides were sad they couldn’t reuse the gloves they wore whereas she didn’t think twice before throwing them in the trash but understood the need for better practices.
Around the city, she noticed trash cans without liners to reduce the use of plastic even if it caused an unwanted odor.
Kalissa Moseley always thought about studying abroad if the opportunity was presented, but she never really set her sights on it.
“I really love RISE and I have a lot of great experiences with the people in it. All of the stuff that is provided through
“My biggest takeaway is the fact that they take life so much slower than we do. And it honestly made me rethink how I’m living my life,” Moseley said.
The enriching experience influenced Moseley to quit trying to complete school at an accelerated rate and to re-evaluate what she held as priorities in her life.
While visiting the University of Limoges, OSU students stayed in an international dorm where they interacted with students who were primarily refugees from Ukraine, but also Tunisia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria.
“We were there on July 4 and they had a little party for us. It was at that experience that they then invited the students that lived in the residence halls to come connect with Americans,” Wilson said. “The students came and then next thing you know, they were talking and mingling and the international students embraced the American students and said, ‘Hey, we can show you around town.’”
The students began to feel so much more at home as they shared their life experiences with the other students
highlighting their similarities and differences, Wilson said.
When the cohort arrived back at Stillwater Regional Airport around midnight, their families were eagerly waiting with flowers, balloons and signs, ready to hear the stories of their travels.
Looking forward to future study abroad experiences, a significant challenge is funding, Miller said. While this trip was partially funded through a grant, securing funding for future programs is a critical priority.
“We are actively exploring options to secure funding and engage potential donors who are passionate about providing RISE students with opportunities to learn about global issues and expand their horizons,” Miller said. “Our hope is to continue to build on the success of the France program and create similar transformative study abroad experiences for RISE students in the future.”
“I really love RISE and I have a lot of great experiences with the people in it. All of the stuff that is provided through RISE, I have found value to me, in some way, shape or form and so I saw this and I thought this is a perfect opportunity.”
KALISSA MOSELEY, RISE STUDENT
Let’s celebrate your impact during this annual day of giving:
• Supported campus-wide programs and initiatives to combat food insecurity on OSU’s campuses
• Provided support to meet students’ most urgent and immediate needs through the Cowboy Strong Student Emergency Fund
• Invested in students’ futures though scholarships
• Impacted every aspect of OSU with unprecedented ambassador engagement and support
full impact of Give Orange
Dr. J.D. Polk has already accomplished more than most do in a lifetime, but he has no plans of slowing down.
As NASA’s chief health and medical officer and a student at Oklahoma State University, he aims to provide the next generation with information critical to the field of spaceflight.
Despite already being triple boardcertified as an osteopathic doctor, an emergency medical doctor and a flight surgeon specializing in aerospace
medicine, Polk decided to add another set of credentials to his title. He recently earned a Doctorate of Education in Applied Educational Studies, with an option in aviation and space education.
Polk successfully defended his dissertation in October 2022 and graduated in December 2022. His dissertation — “Extreme Case Study Analysis: Lessons for Future Human Spaceflight Mishap Investigators and Technical Authorities” — brings a new level of dedication to space research
and unparalleled expertise to OSU’s aviation and space education program.
Dr. Kat Gardner-Vandy, aviation and space assistant professor as well as Polk’s academic advisor, said his recommendations will have profound ramifications for the future of spaceflight.
“His dissertation is centered on case study analysis and interviews with past NASA investigators and technical authorities who were working firsthand on past spaceflight disasters that have
resulted in loss of life,” Gardner-Vandy said. “The people who worked on the Challenger and Columbia have great knowledge, but it has to be teased out or the lessons learned from those events perish with the people.”
Polk’s role at NASA carries immense responsibility. He wanted to share his findings with future generations of aerospace leadership, whether they go on to join NASA or pursue privatized spaceflight.
“I kept telling myself, ‘I know what to do, I know where the gaps are.’ This was an opportunity to go vector,” Polk said. “I feel I have a moral and ethical responsibility. This is my method of succession planning.”
One of the most critical aspects of Polk’s position is overseeing the occupational health of employees at all NASA locations. He provides waiver authority for current and former astronauts who remain under his care and surveillance after their spaceflight missions until the time of their death. In a way, the Apollo mission is still ongoing despite the program officially ending in 1975.
Polk’s team helps prepare for human spaceflight alongside the rocket, spacecraft and aircraft crews, and all share a goal of mitigating errors.
“There’s a great deal of emotional intelligence required in such a role,” Polk said. “There are times when you, unfortunately, must keep moving forward with minimal emotional response.”
NASA’s Orion spacecraft recently circled the Moon on a flight test with no crew aboard, splashing down safely on Dec. 12. Future Orion flights to the Moon will include astronauts — something Polk aims to see through.
From an early age, Polk showed interest in a career in medicine or aerospace engineering. He recalls watching the Apollo 13 launch as a child.
“I was home sick with chicken pox and had nothing to do but watch the launch on our television — I was glued,” he said.
While serving as the chief of Metro Life Flight in Cleveland, Ohio, Polk was a member of the U.S. Air Force reserves and provided assistance in search and rescue missions as well as support for space shuttle launches. This became his segue to work for NASA, first as a flight
surgeon and then climbing the ranks to his leadership role.
“The big question for me has been ‘How do I educate the next generation of leadership in my field?’ and pursuing further education of my own was the answer to that question,” he said. “It creates the opportunity to shift to teaching, whether that’s in affiliation with NASA or elsewhere.”
When looking at Ed.D. programs, Polk initially thought a doctorate of education was the pathway, but after finding OSU’s aerospace and aviation education doctoral program, the decision was a no brainer. Not only would he obtain an Ed.D., as was the aspiration, but it would be done specifically in the field that fit his passion with an ability to tailor the program to his unique goals.
“He’s truly the hardest working individual I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. His dissertation will become a benchmark and a catalyst for future work. Not just for NASA, but the FAA and commercial spaceflight.”
DR. KAT GARDNER-VANDY, AVIATION AND SPACE ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
The aviation and space doctoral program is offered entirely online, which was beneficial for his career and life overall, considering that he is based in the Washington, D.C., metro area.
“Not often, or really ever, do you see a current high level government official becoming a student,” GardnerVandy said. “J.D. carried an immense responsibility for his research. He was privy to information, data and people at NASA that other students are not.”
Initially, Polk attempted to remain incognito to his fellow students but it didn’t last long. He made a concerted effort to be sure he was just another student in class, contributing as was appropriate.
“If he faced any challenges in the curriculum, though, you wouldn’t know it,” Gardner-Vandy said. “J.D. was always incredibly respectful, eager to learn, enthusiastic and acted with the utmost humility. He’s truly the hardest working individual I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with.
“His dissertation will become a benchmark and a catalyst for future work. Not just for NASA, but the FAA and commercial spaceflight.”
There has been a huge shift in spaceflight in recent years, and it’s no longer just NASA completing missions. With a rise in commercial and private spaceflight, there are numerous lessons NASA can teach those entities in regard to forensics, pathology and more. Many of these lessons are already being taught
through NASA’s position as an anchor customer to some new ventures.
For these commercial and private vessels, NASA is not an investigator in the event a mishap occurs, but rather it is local first responders, coroners and officials who may be experiencing such an event for the first time.
What’s unique about spaceflight mishaps is that the physics, engineering and ultimately, the causes of death, are all different. Each occurrence is a new study conducted to discover potential errors and to inform future missions. In many instances, experts look to aviation findings as plans are made for spaceflight. This is in part due to the fact that from a systems engineering perspective, each vehicle’s construct, function and purpose are all specific to the mission at hand and vary between the numerous companies that now exist in the field of spaceflight.
“The position you never want to be in is one where you’ve identified an error but didn’t alter plans,” Polk said. “If people can understand the ‘Why?’ it’s easier to accept change. There are nuances in education that allow you to check competencies.”
Polk’s new education credentials will give him the opportunity to spread his research firsthand.
He said his next big career goal is to continue to be valuable to NASA until we next see boots on the moon, which will happen as part of the Artemis
With Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and to establish the first long-term presence on the moon.
missions — and then to add value for the next group of aerospace leaders.
Polk is currently working toward a graduate certificate in forensic investigative sciences at OSU and anticipates completing the coursework in spring 2023.
“This has been so fortuitous, with J.D. thinking about life after NASA,” GardnerVandy said. “This is an opportunity for continued work and is truly just the beginning of his next chapter.”
Aviation and space programs within the department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Aviation are focused primarily on aviation, particularly for undergraduate offerings. For more information about the College of Education and Human Sciences’ aviation and space programs, visit okla.st/osuspaceFrom left: Dr. Chad Depperschmidt, Dean Jon Pedersen, Dr. James D. Polk, Dr. Jon Loffi and Dr. Kat Gardner-Vandy pose for a picture.
Gabby Barber, plant biology, Lawton, Oklahoma
Erica Besch, hospitality and tourism management, Bonham, Texas
Alexandria Bias, chemical engineering, Orlando, Florida*
Piper Boswell, biochemistry, Bedford, Texas Rio Bonham, biosystems engineering, Madill, Oklahoma*
Kimberly Burns, international business, Pilot Point, Texas
Jerret Carpenter, natural resource ecology and management, Poteau, Oklahoma
Keaton Carter, industrial engineering and management, Stillwater
Kallie Clifton, agribusiness, Soper, Oklahoma
Jessica Cortez, human development and family science, Tulsa
Raegen Daigle, industrial engineering and management, Owasso, Oklahoma
Alexandra Dusky, sports media, Knoxville, Tennessee*
Kyla Ellis Woodbridge, hospitality and tourism management, Edmond, Oklahoma
Calissa Marie Fletcher, applied exercise science, Frisco, Texas*
Emily Forster, chemistry and biophysical chemistry, Round Rock, Texas
Emily Katherine Garrett, agricultural communications, Kingfisher, Oklahoma*
Dawson Gates, management information systems, Owasso, Oklahoma
Madelyn Gerken, animal science, Kingfisher, Oklahoma*
Maggie Grappe, zoology, North Little Rock, Arkansas
Jacquelyn Harsha, geospatial science information systems, Edmond, Oklahoma*
Taylor McKynna Hatheway, strategic communications, Tulsa
Eva Hinrichsen, agribusiness, Westmoreland, Kansas*
Manoj Jagadeesh, microbiology and molecular genetics, Stillwater
Amelia Jauregui, multimedia journalism and strategic communications, Plano, Texas
Ryan Jeffries, accounting and finance, Tulsa
Cade Jenlink, agribusiness, Jet, Oklahoma
Sloane Johnston, civil engineering, Tulsa
MacKenzie Jones, human development and family sciences, Orlando, Florida*
Bree Kisling, agricultural communications, Enid, Oklahoma*
Kate Kouplen, biology, Tulsa
Natalie Leding, strategic communications, Colleyville, Texas
Sarah Lindley, economics, Guymon, Oklahoma
Georgia Milhem, marketing, Springdale, Arkansas
Edward Matthew Myers II, agribusiness, Culpeper, Virginia
Madison Neighbors, chemical engineering, Kellyville, Oklahoma
Michael Pynn, finance, Tulsa
Macy Rosselle, agribusiness, Adams, Oregon
Chloe Scheitzach, physiology, Edmond, Oklahoma
Bailey RiAnn Smith, communication sciences and disorders, Clarksville, Texas
Traber Smithson, agribusiness, Enid, Oklahoma*
Kaitlin Taylor, animal science, Milton, Tennessee
Tanner Taylor, agricultural education, Adair, Oklahoma*
Emily Tran, architecture, Carrollton, Texas
Whitney Walker, agricultural leadership, Prairie Grove, Arkansas*
Karley White, chemical engineering, Mannford, Oklahoma*
Garrin Williams, human development and family sciences, Manhattan, Kansas
Emma Wilson, industrial engineering and management, Houston, Texas
Aubrey Wolfe, chemical engineering, Tulsa
Morgyn Wynne, strategic communications, Concord, California
Sarah Ziehme, psychology, Edmond, OklahomaSTORY JILLIAN REMINGTON | PHOTO GENESEE PHOTO SYSTEMS
Oklahoma faces significant health challenges. That’s not news to many, but the numbers highlight the enormity of the challenge.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from 2020, Oklahoma has the second highest death rate from heart disease in the country — only Mississippi fared slightly worse. Oklahoma also posted the second highest death rate from lower respiratory disease mortality, the fourth highest death rate from cancer and the fifth highest death rate related to diabetes.
Those are just a few examples, but they speak to the crucial need for an innovative approach to health that will have a significant impact in Oklahoma and beyond.
Enter OSU’s new Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute (HPNRI).
The institute was created last year with a vision to address changeable health outcomes. Now, through the power of research, the academic institute is establishing the groundwork for developing preventative therapeutic strategies to combat obesity and chronic diseases. So far, it has made some notable strides in the long race to come … and it’s just getting started.
At the helm of this novel institute is Lance Walker, a licensed physical therapist with an international reputation as an expert in fusing sports performance, sports science and sports medicine for both the elite athlete and the non-athlete.
Walker has spent his entire life obsessing over human performance and
health. In his two-and-a-half decades of professional experience, he’s worked with organizations such as the NFL and the NCAA and companies such as Nike, where he served as a contributor to the Nike Innovation Kitchen, a member of the Nike Performance Council and as a liaison for Nike Science and Research projects at a first-of-a-kind applied sport science lab. He has contributed to more than 50 professional publications in sport science and presented at over 100 national conferences and 25 international courses.
Still, Walker said his greatest challenge lies ahead. And that’s just the way he likes it.
In December, OSU announced that Walker would lead the newly formed HPNRI as the inaugural Rick and Gail Muncrief Executive Director, a position endowed through a gift from the eponymous OSU alumni couple.
“The state is in need of more resources in practical and researchsupported solutions that can trigger and fuel generational and transformational change in health outcomes,” Walker said. “Oklahoma State University will be aligning its world-renowned expertise and proven research and teaching capabilities across dozens of disciplines, departments and resources to extend service to the people of Oklahoma. The vision of elevating the human performance and nutrition of both Oklahoma State and the state of Oklahoma transcends any individual or entity. The combination of this grand vision and innovative strategic approach makes HPNRI a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create transformational and long-lasting change.
“We have so much knowledge across this university, and I’m extremely grateful to be in this position to empower and promote the work of our talented researchers and find new ways to bolster Oklahomans’ health with a positive, performance-focused approach.”
Walker has hit the ground running with a vision to shape the new institute into an interdisciplinary powerhouse. OSU President Kayse Shrum said Walker’s experience and ambition made him an ideal fit to lead the institute.
“The institute will be the first of its kind — a university-based center focused on human performance and nutrition science for optimizing health and performance,” Dr. Shrum said. “As Oklahoma’s land-grant university, OSU is uniquely positioned to serve as the leader in improving the state’s health outcomes, and we are thrilled to have such an accomplished and innovative director in Lance Walker.”
HPNRI Focus Areas
• Therapeutic compliance
• Cognitive performance
• Chronic disease prevention
• Non-pharmaceutical chronic disease management
“THE INSTITUTE WILL BE THE FIRST OF ITS KIND — a university-based center focused on human performance and nutrition science for optimizing health and performance.” OSU PRESIDENT KAYSE SHRUM
How will HPNRI turn aspiration into perspiration and expertise into results? It all starts with OSU student-athletes.
Using research and information already collected from student-athletes, whose nutrition, physical activity and other biometrics are closely monitored while they train and compete, HPNRI will take a data-driven approach to advancing improved health outcomes in Oklahoma and a performance mindset aimed at driving Oklahomans toward healthier lifestyles.
“Research in the realm of sport and exercise science has informed health advice that applies to everyone,” Walker said. “It helps us not just to understand but to prevent major health challenges such as diabetes and heart disease. Whether we’re talking about an individual or society at large, physical activity combined with nutrition is the key to unlocking our full health potential. Studying these athletes will give us tremendous insight that we will allow HPNRI to make a lasting public impact.”
The institute has received $50 million in initial funding from the state of Oklahoma through the American Rescue Plan Act. With 25 cents of every health care dollar currently being spent on the treatment of diseases or disabilities that are related to changeable behaviors, the potential economic impact of the new institute is incalculable, with the economic benefits of healthy eating alone estimated to be $114.5 billion per year. The benefits include decreased health care spending, a more productive workforce and saving lives.
The institute will operate under the mantra “Driven by science. Powered by humans.” Its mission is to discover, develop and deliver scientific knowledge
to empower people of all abilities to realize their optimal performance.
There are three strategic pillars to guide the institute’s work:
• Investigate and innovate human optimization
• Teach and inspire the next generation of students, service providers and solutions
• Extend and amplify outreach that empowers individuals’ performance and health
In accordance with its land-grant mission to address society’s toughest challenges, and through the expertise and resources available at the new institute, Dr. Shrum believes OSU is perfectly positioned to abate the state’s unhealthy trends.
OSU has a presence in all 77 counties through its Extension offices. It also has clinical care programs in major rural areas. Through Project ECHO and OSU’s telemedicine network, the university has an established virtual infrastructure to push out best practices quickly across Oklahoma. HPNRI will be able to tap into these assets to promote therapeutics that will help Oklahomans lead healthier, more productive lives.
“It is the right time for us to be involved, and we are excited to be supporting OSU. We are energized by the university’s leadership, who are committed to OSU’s mission as a landgrant institution in their strategic focus forward,” Gail Muncrief said. “I am proud to see the transformational work of HPNRI amplified through OSU’s Extension efforts.”
Rick Muncrief said he and Gail enjoy investing in a project that will benefit a state they are both extremely proud of.
“We are pleased with the role that Oklahoma State University will
“The vision of elevating the human performance and nutrition of both Oklahoma State and the state of Oklahoma transcends any individual or entity. The combination of this grand vision and innovative strategic approach makes HPNRI a once-in-ageneration opportunity to create transformational and long-lasting change.”
play in the advancement of human performance through the capture and utilization of critical data, understanding the important role of nutrition, applying emerging science and technologies, and effectively communicating and implementing the results,” he said.
This spring, Walker presented the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents with new plans for a purpose-built research facility on the Stillwater campus to house HPNRI’s headquarters.
The Human Performance Innovation Complex will be on Hall of Fame Avenue adjacent to the Sherman E. Smith Training Center and the existing practice fields. Building specifications are currently in the conceptual design phase and will be finalized following the selection of an architectural firm, with final building specifications subject to approval from the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents.
“Seeing the concept of the new facility and the ambitious scope of Lance’s vision for this institute brings us a step closer to reality,” Shrum said. “This first-of-a-kind institute is sparking collaboration between our academic,
medical, veterinary and sports research experts to elevate the very definition of a land-grant university system. Our goal is to generate a greater understanding of human performance, and then take that knowledge to positively change health outcomes for all Oklahomans.”
To maximize efficiencies, the institute headquarters will share a roof with the new operations home of Cowboy football. It’s a synergistic arrangement for HPNRI and OSU Athletics, which unveiled those andTO LEARN MORE about how HPNRI is shaping Oklahoma’s future, visit hpnri.okstate.edu .
other details in February as part of its new Athletics Vision Plan.
But Walker is quick to note that the scope and impact of the institute’s research goes far beyond athletics. In fact, he said, it’s just beginning to scratch the surface of how deep and wide it can reach to draw in different facets of the health and human performance ecosystem. The institute will leverage research and expertise from several departments and colleges across the OSU system, including the the College of Arts and Sciences; College of Education and Human Sciences; Ferguson College of Agriculture; the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology; Robert M. Kerr Food and Agriculture Products Center; College of Osteopathic Medicine and more.
“Every day, we are building and expanding the scope of the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute,” Walker said. “We will leverage our academic and athletic partnerships for the benefit of OSU’s elite college athletes, students and ultimately, for the well-being of all Oklahomans.
“Of course we’re going to work with departments like athletics and
nutrition, but it’s so much bigger than that. I’ve had great conversations with Dean Jon Pedersen of the College of Education and Human Sciences, OSU Center for Health Sciences President Johnny Stephens and many others from across the university about how we can innovate in this space together, how we can find and promote connections, new discoveries, new ideas and methods that will make a difference.”
HPNRI is also in the process of forming a scientific advisory council composed of esteemed leaders in the human performance and nutrition industries to join OSU experts in bringing new thought and discovery to this sector. An inaugural summit on April 28 in Stillwater highlighted and raised awareness for the goals and vision of the institute as a springboard for the institute’s work.
While Walker is extremely optimistic about HPNRI’s future, Regent Chair Jarold Callahan said HPNRI is already garnering attention in Stillwater, at the state Capitol and even globally.
“Lance Walker’s contagious energy and unsurpassed passion in this field and the number of world-class researchers from different departments working together to spark new ideas will quickly catapult this institute to national prominence,” Callahan said.
The rendering below highlights the new Athletics Vision Plan, which was released in February. The plan focuses on providing for the success of the studentathletes, improving the fan experience and bolstering the university’s ability to attract student-athletes across all programs through the creation of a unified and connected athletic village unrivaled in college sports.
Included in the plan are a new football operations center, a new wrestling training facility, a new softball stadium, an indoor track, a new training center for basketball, upgrades to the Pedigo-Hull Equestrian Center and to Karsten Creek Golf Course as well as repurposed areas in the west end zone of Boone Pickens Stadium and Gallagher-Iba Arena for student-athlete services that include a new academics center and spaces for mental health, leadership and career development.
To learn more, visit okla.st/athleticvision
The OSU Center for Health Sciences Physician Assistant program is a 28-month Master of Science degree. Throughout the curriculum, the program focuses on interprofessional education as well as rural and underserved medicine.
Find a career in one of the nation’s top 10 jobs.*
Learn more at medicine.okstate.edu/pa
The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association honored four new members of the OSU Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Feb. 10 in the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center.
Burns and Ann Hargis, Cecil O’Brate and Maj. Gen. Michael Thompson all received the university’s highest honor. The award celebrates outstanding lifetime achievement in society and professional life.
V. Burns Hargis graduated from OSU in 1967 with a degree in accounting. Following graduation, Burns earned a law degree from the University of Oklahoma. Ann Hargis received an honorary doctorate from OSU in 2019 for her dedication to health and wellness. She holds degrees in math and Latin from the University of Texas.
Burns and Ann served as the 18th president and First Cowgirl of OSU from 2008 to 2021. They enthusiastically united the broad OSU community of students, employees, alumni and donors behind Burns’ bold vision of a modern land-grant university that cuts across disciplines to better prepare students for success. The results of their efforts have been historic.
Under Burns’ leadership, OSU saw record enrollment and record fundraising, with pledges and cash surpassing the $1 billion Branding Success campaign goal nearly two years ahead of schedule. In total, OSU raised more than $2.2 billion in private support and added more than 82,000 new donors during his time as president.
OSU’s giving has focused on student scholarships, faculty and other vital resources and programs. Burns also oversaw a construction boom and beautification initiatives that transformed the Stillwater campus.
The Hargises were active across campus, interacting regularly with OSU’s diverse student body. Strong proponents of wellness, they led OSU’s initiative as America’s Healthiest Campus. They also took OSU’s story of success to alumni around the world.
Ann Hargis was instrumental in developing and launching OSU’s nationally recognized pet therapy program, Pete’s Pet Posse, and is an active participant with her therapy dog, Scruff.
As president, Burns held several leadership positions related to intercollegiate athletics, serving on the NCAA, Football Bowl Championship and Big 12 Conference boards.
Burns was only the second OSU graduate to lead the university as president. Before coming to the university, Burns had a long and distinguished legal and business career, while Ann worked for several years in the information technology industry as well as advertising and marketing.
Burns and Ann have two children and three grandchildren. They are both life members of the OSU Alumni Association.
“We are honored to be inducted into the OSU Hall of Fame.”
“Thank you to the Board of Regents who took a chance, a big leap, to give us an opportunity to be here and make a difference.”
Cecil O’Brate attended what was then known as Oklahoma A&M College from 194648 and received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from OSU in 2018.
As a child of the Great Depression, he worked diligently to provide for his family. During the time spent at his grandparents’ farm in Hamilton County, Kansas, he met the love of his life, Frances Cole. The two of them have been married for 75 years. Along with meeting Frances, he also discovered his love for farming and ranching.
While working on the farm, O’Brate saved money for college. In 1946, he headed to Stillwater to attend OAMC and study structural engineering. Two years into his degree, he was given the opportunity to farm 3,000 acres alongside his grandfather and ultimately decided to put college aside.
After years as a farmer and rancher, O’Brate purchased Palmer Manufacturing and Tank Company. O’Brate bought the company when it had only two employees and a few pieces of equipment, but he turned it into a business with millions of dollars in annual sales. After selling in 2013, O’Brate repurchased the company in 2018 and is still in the tank manufacturing business today.
In addition to owning Palmer, he began investing in oil and gas in 1984, which resulted in American Warrior Inc., one of the largest independent oil and gas producers in Kansas.
O’Brate has donated to numerous charities to help those less fortunate, often focusing on children. In 2013, the O’Brate Foundation was established to provide college scholarships and life skills training for students who are graduates of the foster care system or from households with income below the poverty level. Since then, the O’Brate Foundation has provided over $6 million in scholarships to approximately 600 students.
In 2018, O’Brate donated $35 million to OSU Athletics for the new baseball facilities that now bear his name.
Now at 94, Cecil and Frances O’Brate reside in Garden City, Kansas, and are proud parents of four boys: Patrick, Michael, Steve and Mark; eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Most recently, he has focused on development in his community of Garden City.
Maj. Gen. Michael C. Thompson graduated from OSU with a master’s degree in natural and applied science in 1998. He earned his bachelor’s degree in corrections and criminal justice from Langston University in 1995 and a second master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2007. Thompson is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the United States Secret Service Executive Seminar.
Thompson joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 1983. He was later commissioned to second lieutenant in 1986 through the Oklahoma Military Department Officer Candidate School. In previous assignments, Thompson commanded at the company, battalion and brigade levels. He was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2008.
As a citizen soldier, Thompson had a distinguished 28-year career with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS). Thompson joined DPS as an Oklahoma State Trooper in 1990. He concluded his DPS career by serving as commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and Cabinet Secretary for Safety and Security from 2011 to 2017.
In 2017, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Thompson as adjutant general for the Oklahoma National Guard. He served as the top military advisor to the governor and commanded the Oklahoma Army and Air National Guard from November 2017 to November 2021.
Thompson was inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame in 2019 and received the Governor George Nigh Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. He also served as the deputy director for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation in 2022.
Thompson and his wife of 38 years, Debbie, have two children who are combat veterans of the U.S. Army and the Oklahoma Army National Guard. Their oldest son, Brandon, is a West Point graduate. Their youngest son, Jared, flew helicopters in Afghanistan and graduated from the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. They also have a daughter-in-law who is a combat veteran and is currently a major with the U.S. Army.
It’s a restaurant on the surface, serving different international cuisines each week, but it’s also a business. And at the heart of it is a business class — restaurant operations — one that every student in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) is required to take because food will be involved anywhere an HTM grad goes to work in their field.
The learning lab is part of the unique curriculum HTM students experience in their time in Stillwater. The school not only teaches the next generation of hotel and restaurant managers, but also managerial roles in other industry segments such as resorts, clubs, events, beverage, casino and gaming, theme parks, cruise ships, and property and real estate management. Anything involving people paying for a service falls under hospitality and therefore, HTM.
“In order to be a manager, you have to walk in the shoes of frontline employees,” said Dr. Brij Thapa, professor and head of HTM. “So, we require every single student to do three or four food related courses. Regardless of the interest in hotels or theme parks, you’ve got to understand the food service business because food is a common denominator in everything that defines hospitality. It’s the great equalizer. Food is really the window to the soul of a culture.”
HTM is one of the oldest programs at OSU, dating back to 1937 as the School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration (HRAD). For 82 years, HRAD was a campus institution but bounced around from college to college. In 2019, it found its current home in the Spears School of Business and renamed itself to HTM to reflect its core identity as a business program. It has now been reimagined to focus on the business of hospitality and tourism.
Thapa arrived in 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting the HTM industry hard. It has since bounced back, but being prepared for the worst is among the reasons students in the program are taught finance, accounting, entrepreneurship, analytics — everything it takes to run a business. The degree program has evolved and is now a Bachelor of Science in business administration, hospitality and tourism management.
“Our students have the skill sets to really work in any sector that deals with people,” Thapa said. “Our focus is on learning by doing and is triangulated with content-based lectures, experiential learning through our signature events, and an immersive experience with a mandatory internship. Also, students are involved in actually operating a business via our labs — Taylor’s Restaurant, Planet Orange Cafe and Planet Orange Express. Students are equipped with a myriad of skills and are ready to take on the challenge upon graduation.”
For three hours a day, four days a week, anyone on the Oklahoma State University campus can be transported to a different part of the world.At Taylor’s Restaurant in the Nancy Randolph Davis Building, a hustle and bustle of professionally dressed students run the business — from the kitchen all the way to the host stand.
James Leewright is a shining example of HTM graduates’ versatility.
Although he is now president and CEO of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association (ORA), most of Leewright’s career has been spent in areas outside the realm of hospitality and tourism.
A 1994 HRAD graduate of OSU, he initially stayed in that field as he managed a private club throughout college. He went on to become a general manager at a Whataburger and eventually was the director of food and special events for his hometown Tulsa Zoo.
Leewright had a career change at his next stop, though, working in energy for Williams Companies, a Fortune 500 natural gas corporation. He then ran a restoration and construction company before setting his sights on politics. He started in the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2014 but quickly moved over to the Senate two years later.
Leewright credits the versatility from the curriculum with helping him in all his endeavors — from the kitchen to the campaign trail.
“Strong skill sets like ‘thinking quickly on your feet’ and understanding logistics from procurement, inventory controls, production and ultimately to delivery of a product that I obtained from my HRAD degree, served me well,” Leewright said.
He was the only freshman senator of his class to lead a standing committee, which was on Business, Commerce and Tourism, an area Leewright was strongly familiar with. After a decade in the Legislature, he gave up his seat and used the knowledge he had from running that committee to lead the ORA.
In his current role, Leewright oversees an industry that ranks third in terms of total economic impact for the state. Tourism brings in $10.1 billion to Oklahoma annually, he said, with the restaurant industry making up a large portion.
That figure outpaces numbers from neighboring Arkansas and Kansas.
Although it is a fruitful industry, it is tough to make it, with nearly half of restaurants failing in the first two years. Leewright said with schools like HTM and the Culinary Arts program at the OSU Institute of Technology, graduates have a leg up on operating a successful venture.
“There is much more to having a successful restaurant than a great family recipe,” he said. “Understanding logistics, financing, labor scheduling, inventory controls, food safety, restaurant layout, etc. are essential for the prosperity of a restaurant.”
Mike Rogers understands the trial of maintaining a successful restaurant business. The 1977 HTM graduate is now the vice president of Hal Smith Restaurant Group, which he co-founded in 1992 with Smith, David Brauckmann and Hank Kraft.
The company has a plethora of concepts, including Charleston’s, Louie’s and The Garage, among many others. With 6,500 employees, it is one of the largest restaurant companies in the state. And more than 20 HTM grads manage a Hal Smith restaurant.
HTM has changed immensely from when Rogers was there. With it moving into the business school, graduates are becoming even more prepared to enter the industry.
“You can teach kids a lot. But man, it’s that passion, and that drive and work ethic of those that want to be in the business, those are the kinds of kids that set you on fire, and that’s what we’re looking for there,” he said. “And I think it’s all that exposure right there that they’re getting in. I think it just helps fuel the fire for somebody to really know what they want to do when they come out of college.”
“There is much more to having a successful restaurant than a great family recipe.”
— James Leewright
Restaurants can have the best equipment, friendliest staff and freshest ingredients, but without a top-notch chef and a good menu, people aren’t going to keep coming back.
Jennifer Hill Booker knows this. Almost three decades into her career as a world-class chef, instructor and author, Booker understands the important role food has had for people and culture throughout history.
Booker grew up watching Julia Child on TV and quickly became infatuated with French cuisine. She even took French language classes in school. Her family moved to Tulsa when she was a teenager and she graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and following that, the University of Tulsa.
Knowing she wanted to be a chef, the recently married 20-something enrolled in culinary school at OSUIT.
Back then, it was known as OSU-Okmulgee. Booker remembers it as the place that taught her everything she needed to know about running a kitchen.
“I called it soup to nuts,” Booker said. “Our knife skills, our sauces and stock. Of course, you learned salads. We had ice carving, we learned how to make sushi and baking and pastry, American cuisine, French cuisine. We did everything.”
Booker earned an associate degree in occupational science from OSUIT in 1995.
After an externship in Hot Springs, Virginia, Booker moved to Germany with her husband, who was in the military. She cooked for members of the German community who lived around the military bases, preparing them American cuisine like fried chicken with gravy or string beans with bacon and onions. In the U.S., it was typical Southern homestyle cooking, but in Germany, it was a delicacy.
After a few years in Germany, Booker applied to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, the pinnacle of French culinary institutions.
It was extremely rigorous, but the foundation Booker had built at OSUIT (and her background in French) paid off. She went on to graduate at the top of her class as one of only two American women to finish that year.
Booker was ready to start her own restaurant, but life had other plans. She had two daughters, moved back to the states and eventually settled in Georgia. She got back into the cooking business a few years later, becoming an instructor at the Le Cordon Bleu branch in Atlanta. Along with that, she expanded her portfolio by opening a catering business, restaurants and writing two cookbooks: Field Peas to Foie Gras: Southern Recipes with a French Accent and Dinner Déjà Vu: Southern Tonight, French Tomorrow
It is a busy slate for Booker, who is currently overseeing her newest venture: Bauhaus Biergarten in Springdale, Arkansas, but she enjoys it. Despite all her success, she still thinks about her training at OSUIT. In 2019, she established the Jennifer Hill Booker Culinary Arts Scholarship for students in the culinary arts program to help students in the same position she was in 30 years ago.
“For me, as an educator, teaching someone cooking is absolutely a life skill,” said Booker, who is also a fellow on the James Beard Foundation. “I know that no matter what, they can cook a hot meal for themselves and for their family. And that’s empowering. If you can do that for yourself, then you already are building a sense of pride, you started your day out right.”
TO DONATEto the Jennifer Hill Booker Culinary Arts Scholarship, go to okla.st/hillbookerscholarship
J. Mays didn’t need to go to OSU to learn how to cook. He grew up in his family restaurant, Bill’s Fish House in Waurika, Oklahoma, opened by his great-grandparents. There, he got his culinary chops, but in HTM, he learned how to make a living with them.
Mays initially attended OSU as a finance major but quickly changed course. In the HRAD program, he and friend Chris Kana hit it off and planted the seeds for what would blossom into a thriving company — Killer Squid Hospitality, with the name coming from the initials K.S., the same as their fraternity, Kappa Sigma.
Mays and Kana came up with the idea of their first concept in a capstone class: Cafe 7, a fastcasual Italian restaurant inspired by how Chipotle had revolutionized the industry in the mid-2000s.
Mays graduated in 2005, with Cafe 7 opening in 2008. Its success propelled Mays to open other concepts: The Hamilton, an upscale dining experience; and most recently, Dado’s Pizza, a Harlem-inspired concept.
Having three successful concepts isn’t a fluke, and Mays credits OSU with preparing him to innovate and compete.
“A lot of people don’t see hospitality as a career. They see it more as a stepping stone to a career. In my opinion, hospitality is one of the greatest careers,” said Mays, who is also a partner in
several Tulsa restaurants. “Yes, you do have some challenging people that you have to deal with. But it’s one of the most rewarding experiences you could do for a career. From that perfect guest experience down to the perfect bite, down to the perfect drink in the perfect evening in the perfect setting. That’s really what we wanted our hospitality crew to reflect was that moment where you just know everything is right. And it just hits you.”
Jeff Denton knows what it takes to keep a restaurant fresh. Denton, affectionately known as Chef Jeff, has been in the kitchen for almost all his life. A 1982 HRAD graduate, Denton remembers having to take beverage education classes at the Holiday Inn off campus and notes how far the program has come since then.
A native of Ponca City, Oklahoma, Denton has been director of child nutrition at Ponca City schools for more than 30 years. He estimates he has supervised over 37 million meals in his time there.
Outside of the cafeteria, Denton is an author, former TV host and has a restaurant concept, TS Fork, in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, that he has made a name for itself over the past decade. In a 105-yearold building, TS Fork is open two nights a week with a made-from-scratch menu that changes every couple of weeks. It gives Denton time to experiment and the people of north central Oklahoma worldclass cuisine.
Denton credits his years of success to his time at OSU.
“I felt like when I was there, I got a very rounded perspective on the business itself,” Denton said. “That set me up to get interviews with companies that I worked at that would normally not hire me. So I think that was critical. I wouldn’t trade my experience at OSU for absolutely anything. And that’s why I bleed orange deep down. That’s why my kids went there.”Chef Jeff Denton owns TS Fork in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, and is the director of child nutrition at Ponca City Schools. J. Mays owns three separate concepts in the Oklahoma City area: Cafe 7, The Hamilton and Dado’s Pizza.
Manny Neundorf wants to use his HTM degree to see the world, and he plans on making that dream come true.
Neundorf, a junior from Edmond, Oklahoma, was adopted. He hopes to someday work in the resort industry in Mexico and build a deeper connection with his own cultural heritage. But first, he wants to complete his degree.
Despite having worked in kitchens throughout Edmond as a teenager, Neundorf wanted a degree so he could one day manage the restaurant, not just work in it. At OSU, he has learned accounting, health and food safety, and restaurant operations.
He currently works at Planet Orange, another student-run restaurant on OSU’s campus, and is using the skills he is learning there to prepare for his career. He credits HTM’s unique curriculum with making sure he is ready for whatever comes.
“At some point, I will be expected to run the restaurant. And if I really want to do that, I have to be capable,” Neundorf said. “So I’ve really used this job as sort of a way to experiment, a way to learn things, a way to grow. And I’ve had a lot of growing moments.
“I’ve really tried to take full advantage of that job. And they’ve given me room to fail, which I really appreciate because not a lot of jobs have done that.”
Thapa said allowing room to experiment and learn is what empowers graduates to succeed. The restaurant business is competitive, but OSU graduates have the edge.
“At OSU, we encourage our students to dream big,” he said. “But the dream is just the beginning. We show them how to make those dreams into reality and share their passion with the world.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION on the HTM program, go to business.okstate.edu/departments_programs/htm/
And to learn about the OSUIT Culinary Arts program, head to osuit.edu/sash/culinary/
“Food is a common denominator in everything that defines hospitality. It’s the great equalizer. Food is really the window to the soul of a culture.”
— Brij Thapa
The restaurants and restaurant groups listed are owned by Oklahoma State University alumni. Results were compiled from an online survey and the OSU Alumni Association database. This is not a comprehensive list.* DENOTES FRANCHISEE
If you are an OSU alumnus and own a restaurant but aren’t on this list, you can update your information at okla.st/update.Ardmore Davis Glenpool Owasso Broken Arrow Krebs Stillwater Tonkawa Prague Eufaula Gore Edmond Kingﬁsher Enid Oklahoma City Tulsa
Two Frogs Grill
Grand Selections Restaurant
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ
Alvarado’s Mexican Restaurant
Hal Smith Restaurant Group HQ
Provision Concepts HQ
Enid Brewing Company and Eatery
E’s Hideaway Restaurant
Fin and Feather Resort
The Shed Grill and Bar Restaurant
Pete’s Place Restaurant
Springdale • Bauhaus Biergarten
Paris • Sonic*
Healdsburg • Jimtown Store
South Lake Tahoe • Nephelas
Castle Rock • Chick-fil-a*
Creede • Bristol Head Bakery
Telluride • Cosmopolitan Restaurant
Lilburn • Your Resident Gourmet
Davenport • Riefe’s Restaurant
Garden City • Baron’s Steakhouse & Bar
• Old Chicago*
Lawrence • Old Chicago*
Liberal • Old Chicago*
Manhattan • Old Chicago*
Salina • Old Chicago*
Killer Squid Hospitality HQ
Mahogany Prime Steakhouse
Duncan Catering Company
Freddie Paul’s Steakhouse
Red Rock Bakery
Stan Clark Companies HQ
The Curty Shack
Silver Spoon Catering
Bluestone Steakhouse and Seafood
The Wild Fork
Boston • Stillwater
Eden Prairie • Bruegger’s Bagels*
Nashville • McDonald’s*
Austin • Alamo Café and Salata
Canadian • Alexander’s Grocery and Deli
Dallas • Chip’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
• Forget Me Not
Denton • Horny Toad Café & Bar
McKinney • Local Yocal
Lynchburg • County Smoak
Tijuana • Hornero Express
Lawry’s The Prime Rib
OSU’s Food and Agricultural Products Center a valuable resource for students and entrepreneurs alike
In Oklahoma, creating and bringing a new food or agricultural product to market is easier than ever thanks to the Oklahoma State University’s Food and Agricultural Product Center (FAPC).
With many factors to consider, from production and packaging to labeling and marketing, FAPC offers guidance to entrepreneurs, helping them navigate challenges and successfully launch their products.
Combining research and education, FAPC’s programs, training and seminars keep food and agricultural processors and entrepreneurs on the forefront of cutting-edge processing and technology.
“We do a lot of applied research, there’s nowhere else quite like FAPC anywhere in the United States,” said Andrea Graves, a business planning and marketing specialist at the center.
One area that sets FAPC apart is the amount of resources they have under one roof, said Dr. Rodney Holcomb — a professor of agricultural economics and Extension specialist for food economics.
From new product development and new process development to research, outreach and education, FAPC covers it all in one location, Graves said.
FAPC currently offers over 50 education and training events each year on a variety of topics, including food safety, starting a food business, baking and more.
One course has become a staple. The Basic Training for Food Entrepreneurs class is focused on educating new entrepreneurs along with growing and promoting Oklahoma-made products. The course intends to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to start their own food business. Because of its broad nature and appeal, many people apply.
“There’s really two frames of mind when we first talk to an entrepreneur that’s interested in starting a food business,” Graves said. “There’s always the one that thinks they know everything. And it turns out they don’t. And it takes them a little bit to figure out they really don’t know that much. The other type of entrepreneur feels completely overwhelmed and panics. They need a lot of hand-holding.”
But being overwhelmed is exactly what FAPC is there to help with.
“People don’t understand the importance, the liabilities and the big responsibility of producing a food product,” Graves said. “There’s so much more to it — we all take it for granted here in the United States, because we are one of the safest food chains in the world.”
FAPC’s main goal is to help food businesses in Oklahoma, which aligns with OSU’s land-grant mission to enrich and bolster the state’s economy.
“We want to keep the dollars here in Oklahoma so that they’re not taking commodity items and products outside our state to get them processed, and then bringing them back here. It is a big part of our mission,” Graves said.
The Basic Training course has been a pillar for FAPC since its inception in 1999. The course covers not only legalities and liabilities but also brings in speakers to illuminate best practices and raise awareness — from the State Department of Agriculture talking about the Made in Oklahoma program, to food industry entrepreneurs sharing their insights, both the good and the bad. Even representatives from the Oklahoma health department have made appearances to talk about regulations.
“So it turned into a full-day workshop, and we have been doing it ever since,” Holcomb said.
The program is offered every other month in person, but there is also an online self-guided version that people can take at their own pace.
“We’ve had people from coast to coast who have shown up,” Holcomb said. “We always have alumni, but it’s usually people in Oklahoma, whether they grew up here or whether they just moved here, they have an idea for a food business, and they want to figure out what they need to do to get it started in the right manner.”
“We do a lot of applied research, there’s nowhere else quite like FAPC anywhere in the United States.”
— Andrea Graves
Sitting in the class at any moment could be farmers who are looking at processing because they want to maximize their leftover fruits and vegetables; ranchers who want to see what it takes to become a meat marketer; and even restaurant owners who want to commercialize some of their products that have become fan favorites.
In 2012, one of those people was Susan Witt, founder and owner of the Ace in the Bowl salsa, which has been on the market for over a decade.
For Witt, her journey started in her kitchen and took her all the way through FAPC to the Oklahoma market.
“I had been making the salsa forever and a day,” Witt said. “One of my husband’s golf buddies also worked for FAPC and one time I took it to a gettogether. And he said, ‘Who made the salsa? And my husband said ‘Susan did’ and he said, ‘Have you ever thought about making this commercially?’”
Witt dismissed the idea at the time, but 20 years later, Witt and her husband decided it was finally the right time to look into commercialization.
“The next time they had a Basic Training program, I enrolled and went through the day process and learned all the things about it,” Witt said. “Ten months later, I had the product on the shelves.”
Witt emphasized the professionalism and care FAPC has for its clients.
“Our motto is, it’s your business, so you have to do at least 51% of the work; we can help you for the remainder up to 49%,” Holcomb said. “We’ll answer your questions, we’ll find you alternatives, we’ll help you fix problems. But at the end of the day, it’s still your business.”
Outside of the course, FAPC also helps create awareness of Made in Oklahoma products.
“We work with almost, I would say, 98% of all the Made in Oklahoma companies that you see out
on the market,” Graves said. “We also help with innovation. ‘How can we do things better? How can we create new innovative products, out of what we have here in Oklahoma and add more value?’”
FAPC also serves as a resource for educating students and providing unique networking opportunities, Graves said.
“We give students the opportunity to help with real life projects. They learn firsthand how product development happens, how food processing facilities work. We’ve also taken students to food manufacturers that typically most don’t have access to, and they can learn about food safety, learn about auditing,” Graves said. “There is a strong demand for careers in food production and food safety. There are so many hands-on experiences and skills students can learn with our connections that they can’t get elsewhere. FAPC has worked hard to develop trust and these close relationships with food companies.”
While FAPC covers everything from new research and development to offering courses on all the different elements of product development and even services for nutrition labels and other regulatory needs, all this serves their main goal — helping people.
“Everybody is so interested in getting Oklahoma products out, and [Oklahoma] has some great products,” Witt said. “It’s just amazing what has come out of some of these young people that are getting into this. It’s really a great opportunity.”Chuck Willoughby, business and marketing relations manager at FAPC, teaches the Basic Training for Entrepreneurs class.
The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association is proud to honor 21 students with the 2022-2023 Outstanding Seniors Award. This award recognizes students who distinguish themselves through academic achievements; campus and community activities; academic, athletic and extracurricular honors and awards; scholarships; and work ethic. After reviewing the students’ applications, the Alumni Association Student Awards Committee met with 47 of the Seniors of Significance who were announced in November 2022 and selected 21 for this prestigious honor.
*Denotes Alumni Association Life Member
During her time at OSU, Bias served as vice president of the Student Government Association and received the Barry M. Goldwater National Scholarship. She was a member of the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity and was diversity chair for Tri Delta sorority. Bias was also a Niblack Research Scholar in the Fennell Lab for Computational Chemistry.
Madill, Oklahoma Biosystems engineering
While at OSU, Bonham presented research to legislators at the Oklahoma Capitol, studied abroad in Spain and installed 22 fishing line recycling bins at six locations. He also traveled to student club rallies in Iowa and Florida and packed meals for humanitarian efforts in Haiti.
After graduation, Bias plans to attend the University of Cambridge for a one-year master’s degree funded by the W.W. Allen Scholar program and then continue to pursue her Ph.D.
Pilot Point, Texas
Burns was recognized as a Top 10 Freshman Woman, a Class IX Scholar and mentor for McKnight Scholars. She served as president of the OSU Marketing Club. Burns also volunteered regularly at Our Daily Bread and the Stillwater Humane Society.
Natural resource ecology and management
Carpenter served as a student leader with the OSU Center for Sovereign Nations and a community mentor for OSU Housing and Residential Life. He represented OSU at the 2022 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference. Carpenter is a Women for OSU Scholar and National Udall Scholar honorable mention.
After graduation, Bonham plans to pursue a Ph.D. in agricultural and biological engineering from the University of Florida.
After graduation, Burns will be actively pursuing her MBA with a graduate assistant scholarship.
After graduation, Carpenter will continue to work in higher education while pursuing a master’s degree in Native American leadership with an option in education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. His ultimate goal is to receive his Ph.D. and begin a career in academia.
Industrial engineering and management
During her time at OSU, Carter was a two-time Wentz Research Scholar in quantitative finance and a College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Scholar. She is the recipient of the inaugural Outstanding Learning Assistant Award for the Department of Mathematics. Carter
volunteered at a food bank for refugees and led the CEAT Student Council K-12 Outreach team.
After graduation, Carter will be working full time as an automation engineer for Walmart Inc.
Soper, Oklahoma Agribusiness
Clifton served as an officer for the Aggie-X Club and on the OSU Ranch Horse Team Executive Committee. She was named a Transfer Student of Excellence for the Ferguson College of Agriculture and attended the American Future of Agriculture Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Clifton also volunteered
Cortez served as president of the Hispanic Student Association and was a McNair Scholar. She was a member of the College of Education and Human Sciences Student Council and named a CEHS Senior of Distinction. Cortez also volunteered weekly at Turning Point Ranch.
During her time at OSU, Ellis Woodbridge served as vice president of the Business Student Council and the inaugural state president of Oklahoma Collegiate DECA. Ellis Woodbridge is a winner of the 2022 Riata Center for Entrepreneurship and placed first at the Collegiate DECA International Career Development
by decorating graves of veterans on Memorial Day in memory of her great-uncle. After graduation, Clifton will pursue a master’s degree in agricultural economics at OSU. She would eventually like to return to her family’s ranch and be an advocate for agriculture.
Upon graduation, Cortez plans to move to Austin, Texas, to begin her master’s degree program in STEM education at the University of Texas.
Kingfisher, Oklahoma Agricultural communications
Garrett served as president of the OSU Panhellenic Council and chapter president of Alpha Omicron Pi. Garrett was the recipient of the Panhellenic Council Woman of the Year award and the Michael and Judith Johnson President’s Distinguished Scholarship. Garrett also graduated summa cum laude in December 2022.
Conference. She also was a leadership workshop presenter for Oklahoma DECA. After graduation, Ellis Woodbridge will be starting her own company, Events Unboxed, which delivers high quality, pre-themed and packaged parties directly to the customer’s door.
After graduation, Garrett will be attending law school at the University of Tulsa in the fall.
Gerken served as undergraduate coordinator for OSU President’s Leadership Council and an athletic pride executive for the centennial celebration of America’s Greatest Homecoming. She was a Ferguson College of Agriculture student success leader and state secretary of the Oklahoma FFA Association. Gerkin also was a finalist for OSU Student Employee of the Year.
Microbiology and molecular genetics
During her time at OSU, Harsha was selected in a highly competitive process to be a 13S Space Operations Officer in the United States Space Force. She is the recipient of the HSSP AFROTC Scholarship and the General Carl A. Spaatz Award. Harsha served as an intern and resident at the Oklahoma State Wesley Foundation. She also studied abroad in Granada,
While at OSU, Jagadeesh was the recipient of SEBM Young Investigator of the Year and performed undergraduate research as a Niblack Research Scholar. He served as president of the Pre-Health Club and was a member of the President’s Leadership Council. Jagadeesh was a finalist for Student Employee of the Year.
After graduation, Gerken will be attending graduate school for a master’s degree in health administration.
Enid, Oklahoma Agricultural communications
Johnston was a member of the Oklahoma State Scholars Society and CEAT Student Council. She was a K-life small group leader for high school girls and an officer for Engineers Without Borders. Johnston was also a research assistant in Civil: Environmental Engineering Lab.
Spain, for a semester after receiving the Humphrey’s’ Long-Term Travel Grant.
After graduation, Harsha will go to undergraduate space training at Vandenberg Space Force Base, where she will learn about her future job in the Space Force.
After graduation, Jagadeesh plans to attend medical school with the hopes of becoming a doctor specializing in cardiology.
During her time at OSU, Kisling was a leadership team member with Countryside CollegeLife ministry and an administrative director for Rooted Conference. She served as president of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. Kisling was a Women for OSU Scholar and presented at the National
After graduation, Johnston will begin a position as a hydraulic and hydrology civil engineer at Langan Engineering and Environmental Services in Austin, Texas.
American Association for Agricultural Educators Conference.
After graduation, Kisling plans to pursue a career that combines her experiences in communications and event planning with her passions for ministry and nonprofit work.
Enid, Oklahoma Agribusiness
Adair, Oklahoma Agricultural education
While at OSU, Smithson served as the 93rd Pistol Pete and organized funding for the OSU Student Stache Network. He performed undergraduate research with OSU Rural Renewal Initiative Research. Smithson was a Ferguson College of Agriculture Ambassador and a member of Zion Lutheran Church.
During his time at OSU, Taylor served as president of the OSU Intrafraternity Council. He was the agricultural education intern for the Oklahoma Department of Career Tech and director of Oklahoma FFA Alumni Leadership Camp. Taylor was recognized as Top 10 Freshman Man and Agricultural Education Outstanding Freshman.
Carrollton, Texas Architecture
While at OSU, Tran was the founder and chapter president of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students and president of the Vietnamese American Student Association. She served as treasurer and a volunteer with Architecture Students Teaching Elementary Kids. Tran was recognized as CEAT
Prairie Grove, Arkansas Agricultural leadership
During her time at OSU, Walker was an OSU President’s Distinguished Scholar, Ferguson College of Agriculture Burrus Family Scholar and Express Ranches Scholar. She was a member of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Encounter Class XIX and on the President’s Honor Roll.
During her time at OSU, Wolfe served as first vice president of Pi Beta Phi and a student ambassador for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. She was a staff summer intern for the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in Washington, D.C. She raised $3,944 for Big Brothers Big
After graduation, Smithson will attend T he Oklahoma State College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall of 2023.
After graduation, Taylor will work as an agriculture educator and FFA advisor. Taylor said he hopes to inspire the next generation of problem solvers that provides the leadership Oklahoma needs.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student of the Year and selected for a yearlong architecture preceptorship program with Pelli Clarke and Partners.
After graduation, Trans plans to work as an architectural designer and eventually return to school for her master’s degree.
After graduation, Walker will return to her family’s ranch to live and raise livestock. She will be opening an event center, managing a livestock DNA verification program, and overseeing a statewide nonprofit providing leadership development and educational opportunities to Arkansas 4-H and FFA students.
Sisters of Oklahoma by leading a Williams intern fundraiser. Wolfe was also a student in The Honors College.
After graduation, Wolfe will be working for Williams in their three-year rotational Engineering Development Program.
Wynne was recognized as a Senior of Significance and participated in the Women in Sports Celebration. She took part in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Walk and provided cards for terminally ill children in multiple hospitals. Wynne was a member of the National Student Advertising Competition team and the Cowgirl softball team.
After graduation, Wynne plans to begin graduate school, studying sport and fitness administration.
Ziehme was president of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council. She performed undergraduate research as a Wentz Research Scholar and OSU Research Scholar. She served as a research assistant for Dr. Sarah Kucker and Dr. Jaimie Krems and as a research leader for the College of Arts and Sciences.
After graduation, Ziehme plans to obtain her master’s degree in public health, specializing in epidemiology. She plans to later attend medical school to become an OB-GYN.SARAH ZIEHME Edmond, Oklahoma Psychology MORGYN WYNNE Concord, California Strategic communications
OSU Online is ranked #1 “Best Online College in Oklahoma” by Intelligent.com
Continue your Cowboy legacy at Oklahoma State University with a flexible online graduate degree. We offer graduate degrees and certificates in high-demand and rewarding careers along with all the support and services of an in-person degree.
OSU waives the application fees for our OSU alumni and has a special nonresident tuition rate, making an OSU graduate degree even more affordable.
For more than a century, Oklahoma State University Extension has provided research-based information to all 77 Oklahoma counties. Education in areas such as agriculture, youth leadership, and family and consumer sciences improves the lives of Oklahomans and is critical to the state’s economy.
OSU Extension will soon benefit from a new, cutting-edge facility that will help equip faculty, staff and students with the skills, knowledge and ability to work together to advance teaching, research and outreach efforts.
“From state-of-the-art research laboratories to interactive teaching classrooms, the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall will provide a useful space to encourage innovation and collaboration,” said Dr. Damona Doye, associate vice president of
OSU Extension. “This interaction will help develop more Extension programs that will benefit all of Oklahoma.”
The new building will address the two key challenges of attracting and retaining scientific leaders and students as well as equipping collaborative teams with teaching laboratories and field facilities, modernizing the three landgrant mission areas.
With educators stationed across the state, OSU Extension provides educational programs, services and resources to solve problems Oklahomans face with information backed by the latest scientific research.
One OSU Extension program that has gained momentum recently is the disaster assistance recovery program.
Living in Oklahoma means dealing with natural disasters, Doye said. This could be drought, earthquakes, flooding, tornados, wildfires, winter weather and more.
“The disaster assistance recovery program is a priority for me,” she said. “When I was a state specialist, as wildfires and other disasters happened, county educators would call me and ask, ‘What can we do?’”
In Doye’s current role, she strives for OSU Extension to be better prepared for disasters and support each other in the recovery process.
As a result, the Disaster Assistance Response Team, or DART, was formed as an integrated Extension team to enhance preparedness, provide support during an emergency or disaster response and work alongside OSU Extension educators during recovery.
“OSU Extension educators in county and area offices are deeply rooted in their communities and often find themselves immediately thrust into a response support role when a weather disaster occurs,” said Dr. Amy Hagerman, DART leader and OSU Extension specialist for agriculture and food policy. “We have three specific roles.”
First, the team proactively prepares OSU Extension educators before an incident occurs through in-service training and online resources. DART leverages the wealth of knowledge and experience in Extension to assist in local emergency plan preparation, provide practical hands-on training, and participate in statewide and multi-state emergency response exercises.
One example of DART preparation was
comprehensive live animal handling training for the U.S. Army Reserves 486th Civil Affairs Battalion in 2022. The training focused on identifying characteristics in animals, assessing health or disease concerns that would be reported to veterinarians, gauging animal behavior to adjust handling accordingly and participating in live, hands-on activities moving cattle and horses.
“Many of the battalions have little to no experience with large animals,” Hagerman said. “This was an opportunity to engage entirely new audiences with OSU Extension while providing a critical service to the battalion.”
The second role is to develop disasterready offices, farms and ranches, households and communities by providing resources and consulting. Established relationships with local agricultural producers, youth and households, and local organizations allow educators to connect local resources with the people who need them.
“DART offers a sounding board for challenging issues and ideas, connection to resources they simply don’t have time to identify or a bootson-the-ground helping hand,” Hagerman said. “Perhaps most critically, DART members check in on our Cowboy family during the crisis and make sure Extension personnel know they are not alone. Help is always at their fingertips.”
Finally, DART provides short- and longterm support to county and area Extension offices and state agencies for faster, more
“The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall will provide a useful space to encourage innovation and collaboration.”
DR. DAMONA DOYE, OSU EXTENSION ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT
“Each of these efforts works from the bottom up — starting with local needs since every disaster begins locally — and laterally by building relationships across organizations and agencies,” Hagerman said.
DART has evolved during the past three years through disaster response experiences. It also serves as a central hub for sharing ideas and concerns during or after an incident. The members facilitate conversations to bring change when needed.
For example, during the recent drought, Extension personnel brought forward the idea of reduced-cost forage, livestock water and nitrate toxicity testing to complement other drought programs being implemented by state and federal agencies.
DART worked with Extension leadership and the OSU Department of Plant and Soil Science’s Soil, Water and Forage Analytics Laboratory to make the cost reduction a reality, saving Oklahoma agricultural producers more than $17,000 in just three months.
The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall will include multidisciplinary research labs to support these kinds of efforts and meet the ever-changing needs of OSU Agriculture specialists.
The state-of-the-art flex labs will provide a transformative environment, which encourages collaboration, teambased research and engagement among peers with diverse research interests.
“Many of our state Extension specialists in various departments have joint appointments in research, so the new facility will help support the applied research that informs their programming,” Doye said. “Many of our impactful programs are also interdisciplinary in nature, so even if a faculty member doesn’t have a lab, their teammates may, so new facilities and equipment benefit the team, projects and programs.”
Hagerman is eager to see what the future holds for DART and other Extension programs as the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall opens in the fall of 2024.
The building will help attract and support students and researchers, which in turn creates great resources that can be used by Extension, she said. In addition, the laboratories will assist in Extension efforts and responding to stakeholders.
“DART continues to evolve to meet the needs of OSU Extension and Oklahomans,” she said. “The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall will create opportunities for research, outreach and resource development to aid in the core functions of DART and Extension programming in general.”
The New Frontiers campaign to help build a new home for OSU Agriculture reached its $50 million fundraising goal in record time.
Recognized as one of the fastest capital campaigns at OSU and the first academic capital campaign of this magnitude to reach its fundraising goal prior to the building opening, Dr. Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture, said there is more work to be done.
“Although we have surpassed our New Frontiers fundraising goal, we continue to raise support for the project due to increased construction costs and additional features of the building that will enhance our efforts,” he said. “The remaining naming opportunities for research laboratories and teaching classrooms are a great way to honor a mentor or loved one, and some additional features and laboratory needs will only be possible through additional donor support.”
To learn more about getting involved in the New Frontiers campaign, visit OSUgiving.com/ new-frontiers
For more information about OSU Extension, visit extension. okstate.edu
State-of-the-art research labs in the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall will allow for better collaboration with OSU Extension.
“ DART continues to evolve to meet the needs of OSU Extension and Oklahomans.”
DR. AMY HAGERMAN, DART LEADER AND OSU EXTENSION SPECIALIST
People in agriculture take a tremendous amount of risk to feed the world, and I admire that. They do so much to provide the things we take for granted every day. That's why we made a gift to New Frontiers."Jeff Hilst, Ferguson College of Agriculture '84 BS Agricultural Economics and Accounting and Spears Business '87 MBA Lynn Hilst, Spears Business '84 BS Accounting and '92 MBA New Frontiers Cornerstone Donors
When you give to the New Frontiers campaign, you are investing in OSU Agriculture and the efficacy of its research, the quality of education, the power of Extension and OSU's important role in feeding the world.
To learn more about the campaign and to view construction progress, visit OSUgivin g.com/New-F rontiers
Through a new university strategy, an increase in student recruitment and retention, increased donor support and a strong focus on alumni relations, OSU is poised to become the nation’s preeminent land-grant university. OSU President Kayse Shrum said she is grateful for the opportunity and for the visionary leadership both in the aforementioned roles and across the university.
“I took an opportunity and it ended up leading me into leadership roles early on,” Dr. Shrum said. “Don’t wait and pass up an opportunity. If you want to do it, do it.”
Shrum’s late mentor, Isabell Baker, once asked her, “How do you expect women to know how they’re going to practice in their career and how they’re going to manage life if they don’t have anybody who can actually understand what they’re going through?”
Shrum took that to heart, and it became part of her mission as a leader to remain true to her identity so others can feel comfortable doing the same. That is the advice she gives when asked what a leader is.
“Be really comfortable with who you are,” Shrum said. “And don’t try to be anything different than that. Because if you take on a leadership role, that is the identity of a leader. Whatever it is that you did to get there, that’s what you need to continue doing, because when we’re true to ourselves, that’s when we’re able to lead people. People want to connect with somebody who’s authentic.”
Shrum began her time at OSU as a student, earning her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. She later returned to her alma mater as a faculty member in the medical school at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in 2002.
That decision set her on a path that would take her all the way to the president’s office in Whitehurst Hall.
“We do have unique challenges as females, but I’ve never wanted to focus on or talk about these obstacles because I think that they get a stronghold when you validate them,” Shrum said. “So, I always see them as opportunities to either prove someone wrong or to get better myself.
“As a woman, I certainly don’t want to be discriminated against. But I don’t want to be hired just because I’m a female, either. I really try to focus on my own performance and in doing the best I can to be the best team member I can.”
Over the past three years, the Oklahoma State University campus has seen immense growth and change, including a new leadership team that is unique in higher education.
From the president and provost of the university to the presidents of the OSU Alumni Association and the OSU Foundation, OSU is being led by an all-female team.
A first-generation student of a single mother, attending college was a long shot for Dr. Jeanette Mendez, and the idea of being in her current position — OSU provost — seemed an absolute impossibility.
Mendez studied at Santa Clara University where she earned a Ph.D. in political science and government. She joined OSU in 2005 as a visiting faculty member. That visit turned into a 12-year stint teaching political science, followed by multiple administrative roles at OSU before Mendez became the first female dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Now, Mendez is blazing a trail for people with similar stories, inspiring the next generation to dream big.
“I think representation matters. In terms of political science, that’s really what I spend a lot of time studying,” Mendez said. “We want faculty that look like us, we want members of Congress that look like us, we want to be able to see that someone like us is achieving these different accomplishments at different levels.”
Mendez is committed to upholding the university’s core values of respect and equality for all Cowboys. She said she hopes to continue reforming general education and promoting representation for women and underrepresented students in higher education.
“I think it’s opened the door for female students to think, ‘Oh, there’s a career path I didn’t really know existed.’ And I think faculty and staff are saying the same thing,” Mendez said. “When you see women as your department head or in your dean’s office, or as provost or president, you see yourself in that leadership. Representation matters.”
Named president of the OSU Foundation in 2020, Blaire Atkinson has worked many years to get to her current role.
She began a career in the private sector but returned to her alma mater in 2011, spending seven years serving in a variety of roles at the OSU Foundation before being appointed the first female president of the OSU Alumni Association in 2018.
When she was first approached to take on the new role, her friends and peers were hesitant to advise her to take the job.
“I have three kids, and they said ‘How are you going to balance that? Are you sure you want to do that?’” Atkinson said. “But, I had a friend at the time who said, ‘Hey, I need to talk to you. If you’re interested in that job, take it. Do not let anyone say that you’re not going to be a good mom … You can figure it all out if you want it. I know you can.’ And that just gave me the encouragement to say, ‘OK, I’m going to do it, too.’”
The Oklahoma native has been steeped in Cowboy culture for decades. The daughter of two OSU alumni, she followed in her parents’ footsteps and earned her bachelor’s in business administration from OSU.
Atkinson sees the female representation among OSU’s leaders as a sign of progress, both for the university and for women in general.Dr. Kayse Shrum OSU president
“Women want to be educated, we want to contribute to society. We want to make an impact and make a difference,” Atkinson said.
She truly believes in the OSU mission and is proud of the progress that has opened new opportunities for women to serve at the highest levels of university leadership.
“Never in a million years did I expect to be here doing this,” she said. “I would have never dreamed that or never thought that, and now, in this role, that’s part of what drives me.
“I feel so passionate about land-grant universities. I’m an example of that. Never in a million years, did I think this would be my story. And I think it’s all because of a land-grant that gave me these opportunities and helped me to get a job here.”
OSU Alumni Association President Ann Caine has built her career through a focus on education and leadership, which comes through strong relationships.
A graduate of Kansas State University, Dr. Caine earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s in special education. Caine then earned a doctorate of education from OSU.
Caine has served in almost every role in the education system from teacher and principal to administrator. She was the first female superintendent in Stillwater and understands what it takes to be a strong leader from those years working with students and faculty.
“Truly, it’s all relationships,” she said. “When you think about what I’ve done my entire career, it is relationships with students, their parents and faculty.”
Now, Caine is focused on building those same strong relationships with OSU alumni.
Caine was appointed president of the OSU Alumni Association in 2022 and is leading the university’s efforts to grow and connect with a network of hundreds of thousands of alumni across the globe.
“We’re here to serve,” Caine said. “We want everybody engaged back into OSU when they graduate. That’s our job here. I want them to be proud of not just OSU, but that they’re a member of the Alumni Association.”
Caine said the reason for the OSU leadership team’s success is rooted in everyone’s ability to work together. Their personalities blend well, and their relationships are free of power struggle.
“We’re a team,” Caine said. “And all four of us are here leading our organizations for the good of OSU. Regardless of our gender, we’re all just here to do the best we can. We each play a role and understand that we have value and bring something unique to the table.
“Because all four of us understand that, have open conversations and respect for each other, we thrive.”Blaire Atkinson OSU Foundation president Dr. Ann Caine OSU Alumni Association president
For many industries, the pandemic started a supply chain crisis that made it difficult to source much needed items.
But for Johnny Rodriguez, a medical industry veteran, that crisis shed light on what was needed even before COVID-19 began. Oxygen concentrator filters were in high demand as the virus severely affected breathing, but there were so many different sizes of filters.
That’s when the idea for a one-size-fits-all oxygen concentrator filter was born.
The Colter Labs Universal Concentrator Filter has the potential to streamline the supply process for manufacturers, distributors and end users for all major oxygen concentrators on the market today.
“The universal filter concept originated from my personal experience working in the industry with existing filters,” Rodriguez said. “We realized how urgently a universal filter was needed and what began as a wish, hoping someone else would create, quickly turned into myself designing a solution to bring to market with the help of Oklahoma State University’s New Product Development Center (NPDC).”
Alfred Salazar, business partner and longtime friend of Rodriguez, first suggested they visit OSU and began the process with Alex Efird at the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development. From there, Rodriguez and Salazar were referred to the team at NPDC, an engineering Extension unit of the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology.
“I had heard great things about the people at OSU and knew they would be pivotal in designing and bringing the filter to market,” Salazar said. “After a few weeks and a couple of meetings, the first prototype was 3D printed in-house at NPDC.”
Before the first prototype was printed, the team discussed many facets of the design that needed to be considered. It was important to the inventors that the filter fit and work in all major oxygen concentrators on the market and in use today.
Rodriguez said the filter has a unique elbow adapter along with another cool feature: special
intake sinkholes designed for smoother airflow, with layers of insulation resulting in less noise for patient comfort.
Jennifer Vinyard, senior design engineer at NPDC, completed the design, prototypes and final drawing package for the filter.
“There were a total of seven prototypes designed, tested and printed before the final design met the needs specified and would fit each of the oxygen concentrators on the market,” Vinyard said. “Flow analysis (and other testing) was done with the help of our interns to make sure the design of the filter accomplished its main purpose.”
The Universal Concentrator Filter will benefit the industry twofold.
First, it will diminish inventory overhead by reducing the number of bar codes and open shelving space for distributors, nursing homes and technicians, allowing them to stock a single filter.
It will also solve supply chain challenges. Distributors and dealers alike may substitute a Colter’s filter for the five or six different filters they are currently trying to source to fit a range of oxygen concentrators. This alone will save time and money for patients and professionals.
“I have repaired oxygen concentrators for over 35 years and have always struggled to keep up with and stock the different filters manufacturers require for their concentrators,” Rodriguez said. “Recognizing the need to create a solution to simplify and solve the sourcing and demand challenges I faced would ultimately benefit the industry in its entirety, and that motivated me to keep pushing forward with the project.”
The inventors behind the Universal Concentrator Filter are currently in talks with several home medical equipment distributors and dealers throughout the United States to get their product to the market that needs them most.
“The excitement and response we have received has been phenomenal and greater than we could have expected,” Salazar said. “Working with the team at NPDC has been instrumental in getting our idea to production and now to market. Without their expertise, we would not be where we are today.”
What was the most impactful gift you have been a part of?
The most impactful gifts I have been a part of are the ones that go to the Cowboy Strong Student Emergency Fund. I really enjoy explaining to prospects how much this fund could significantly benefit an OSU student like myself.
The Cowboy Callers are student fundraisers who focus their efforts on academic and financial support for Oklahoma State University students. Located in the Engagement Center at the OSU Foundation, Cowboy Callers play a significant role in annual giving efforts by serving as OSU’s voice while connecting with alumni, parents and friends of the university. Cowboy Callers not only raise money but also share the impact of giving on the Cowboy family.
For information on how to support OSU, visit OSUgiving.com.
Do you have an interaction with an OSU alumnus that stands out to you?
One alumni story that stands out to me happened recently. I spoke with an alumnus that currently works for the Philadelphia 76ers. This experience stands out to me more than others because it let me know that if he could do it, I could, too.
What have you learned about the OSU Foundation through working there?
When I first started working at the Foundation, I didn't fully understand the amount of work that goes into making the whole place run outside of the Cowboy Callers in the Engagement Center. I've learned more about how working professionals come to the Foundation to live out their careers in a great environment.
Hometown: Jay, Oklahoma
Major: Strategic Communications
What is your favorite part about being a Cowboy Caller?
My favorite part about being a Cowboy Caller is being able to connect with alumni and friends of the university. Being a Cowboy Caller has allowed me to connect with some really amazing people that always offer really helpful and encouraging advice.
How would you describe the Cowboy family after speaking with so many people?
I would describe the Cowboy family as united. When I call the Cowboy family, something I always like to ask them before I get off the call is whether they have any advice for me as a sophomore in college. The advice they give me 95% of the time is to enjoy my time here in Stillwater, go to all the games, go out with friends, and of course, study hard. The fact that almost everyone I talk to misses Stillwater made me realize that many people have called Oklahoma State University their home at some point, and to me, that makes us a united family.
How has being a Cowboy Caller influenced your perspective on giving back?
Before becoming a Cowboy Caller, I hadn't really thought about giving back. I had it in my mind that I didn't have enough to give, but working in the Engagement Center made me realize that a donation of any size can make an impact. Being a Cowboy Caller has helped me to understand and appreciate the act of giving back, and it is something I look forward to doing more often in the future.
Hometown: Altus, Oklahoma
Major: Pre-Med Biology and Pre-Med Psychology
What is your favorite part about being a Cowboy Caller?
My favorite part about being a Cowboy Caller is seeing the confidence grow in all of our new callers As the callers get more comfortable making connections, they a re able to direct our alumni to the parts of OSU they care about most.
How would you describe the Cowboy family after speaking with so many?
The Cowboy family is, simply put, loyal and true . I have learned that everyone's experience here is different, but Oklahoma State becomes a part of you. The Cowboy family welcomes all with open arms, a smile and e ndless opportunities. This is why we are loyal and tru e because there is genuine love for Oklahoma State University.
What was the most impactful gift you have been a part of?
My most impactful gift was not even technically a donation, it was a memorial bench. It meant the world to the young man I was speaking with. As soon as I said I was with the OSU Foundation, he asked me if I could get him in touch with the person who makes the benches. He shared with me how his favorite professor who helped him through undergraduate and graduate school had recently passed This interaction made me realize that my job is not about obtaining donations, my job is about keeping our Cowboy f amily c onnected.
Cowboys in America are revered; a symbol of both the Old West and ruggedness on the frontier. Across the Atlantic Ocean, though, in the small African country of Ghana, the word has a different meaning. In a culture where family means sticking together, working alongside each other at the farm, the idea of up and leaving to go on the path of a cowboy is reviled.
So, when Clinton Wuanka was called Cowboy Clinton in school growing up, it was an insult. But Wuanka embraced it. To him, it was a badge of honor that he wore proudly.
It all started with an orange T-shirt.
On a Saturday afternoon in 2000, Wuanka — 6 years old at the time — received the garment emblazoned “Oklahoma State University” from a Peace Corps volunteer and OSU student named Anaya.
“I don’t forget her name,” Wuanka said. “I always tell myself I’ll give the name to my daughter because her name is really precious to me.”
How that shirt arrived in the small town of Dzolo Gbogame in the southeastern part of Ghana called the Volta Region starts with the story of Wuanka’s grandfather: Denqueh.
Denqueh Wuanka was a former staff member of Operation Crossroads Africa. Founded in 1958 by Dr. James H. Robinson, Operation Crossroads Africa was designed to facilitate service projects in African countries each summer. It was a predecessor to the Peace Corps in that region.
For almost 30 years, Denqueh served as a director of the program where he coordinated the projects of volunteers, usually students, who offered to construct buildings and provide education. During this time, he earned the nickname of NOWAY because of his firm stance on raising his grandchildren through education.
In 1972, Robinson died and Operation Crossroads Africa dwindled, sending Denqueh back to his hometown of Dzolo Gbogame where he farmed with his grandchildren.
Traditionally, a child born into a farming family in Ghana is old enough to work at 2 years old. Although the children had jobs on the farm, they would still attend school. Oftentimes, they woke up early to go work at the farm before school, wearing their school clothes under their work clothes. After class, they went back to the farm for more work before going home at night.
When Waunka was growing up, the custom warranted when men reached the age of 20, they married a woman from the area, had children and the cycle continued.
This would have been Wuanka’s life if it weren’t for his grandfather.
The day Wuanka got the shirt from Anaya, he and his family were cultivating their cocoa system when his grandfather received a message that they had visitors back at the house.
“We were so traditional to the extent that when they said you have a visitor, you need to give serious priority to the visitor, because you may not know the message they came with, so we rushed home,” Wuanka said.
Two hours later, they arrived home to find 10 individuals waiting to greet his grandfather. They had met him through the Peace Corps and came to volunteer in the area.
From that day on, Wuanka developed a passion for OSU.
“I would always tell everyone around me that one day, I would go to Oklahoma State University,” Wuanka said. “I went around everywhere including the farm, school, market and riverside saying I would one day go to Oklahoma.”
Receiving an education past junior high school was not popular in Wuanka’s hometown at the time as it was felt someone’s time could be better spent on farming.
Wuanka’s friends mocked him for his college dreams, people in the community told him he was going crazy and his parents told him it was impossible. In Dzolo Gbogame, the highest level of education usually received is junior high school.
Denqueh composed a library of his journals, diaries and letters from Operation Crossroads Africa and used them to teach Wuanka to read and write English.
Wuanka learned from Anaya that people at OSU were called Cowboys and Cowgirls. Therefore, Wuanka wanted to be known as Cowboy.
Wuanka was one of five students in his class of 47 who received admission to senior high school. At a new school with new people, he introduced himself as Cowboy Clinton Wuanka and again he was mocked.
“I knew Cowboy came from being a student of a prestigious university located somewhere I’ve never been before, but I had hope — one day, I would be there,” he said.
He completed high school in 2013, stayed home and worked for the next three years. In 2016, the same year his grandfather passed away, Wuanka decided to attend the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana to obtain his bachelor’s degree, which he would then use to transfer to OSU.
When he told his parents his plans to attend UCC, they disapproved. They informed him they wanted him to be a teacher and earn a diploma in basic education from a nearby school.
He agreed to go to avoid backlash, but ran away at night to Accra, the capital city, without anywhere to stay.
“I slept at some car transport terminals when they closed from work,” Wuanka said. “I just asked permission from the drivers and said I don’t have a place to go.”
He slept in the back of the cars, then got up and showered in the station washrooms.
For the next six months, Wuanka worked as a driver’s assistant and in construction to get enough money to apply to UCC. He eventually graduated in 2020. He then served his year of mandatory national service in the Parliament of Ghana.
With his new job came access to a good phone, a laptop and a paycheck. He said to himself, “Now it’s time for the Oklahoma dream to begin.” He began looking for sectors of Ghana lagging behind that he could use education to improve. He landed on trade policies.
“I typed ‘international trade at Oklahoma State University’ on the laptop but … I made up my mind that even if Oklahoma State did not have anything about trade, I would not let go of it because I was not ready to trade Oklahoma State for any program,” Wuanka said.
The first result was OSU’s School of Global Studies. Amazed by the variety of programs available, Wuanka reached out to then academic programs coordinator Cara Menasco Eubanks.
Eventually, in his inbox was an email from Eubanks notifying him of a nonresident tuition reduction award, which can be used in situations like Wuanka’s.
“Waiving that portion of the tuition for international students helps a lot and it helps them get a visa,” Eubanks said. “International students have to show proof that they have the finances to cover their education expenses for at least a year before they even get here. When we can do anything to reduce the cost of attending OSU, it drastically helps them.”
Eagerly waiting for his admission letter, Wuanka said he called OSU’s Graduate College sometimes 10 times a day. Eventually, the day came — he was granted admission.
Holding his grandfather’s picture, he said “my dream is coming true, watch out.”
Visa appointments in Ghana were unavailable until 2024, prompting Wuanka to travel to the embassy in the nearby nation of Burkina Faso.
However, the embassy was prioritizing its own citizens and placed him in an administrative process to review his documents where he stayed for six weeks.
“I nearly died at that time because a dream that had been lingering for over 20 years was about to be fulfilled. What stood between me and Oklahoma State was a consular officer who didn’t want to issue my visa,” Wuanka said.
Wuanka began advocating for himself and worked with Eubanks — also known as “mom” to him and other international students — to contact the embassy to approve his visa.
“Clinton is very persistent, which is needed. It’s difficult to get a student visa to the United States. You need that persistence and Clinton certainly has it,” Eubanks said. “ I don’t know if his persistence is just his personality or his background and his story, but it’s just so clear how much passion he has for OSU.”
Hoping to move his case along, he went as far as working with Eubanks and Dr. Jami Fullerton, associate dean of the School of Global Studies, as well as U.S. Sen. James Lankford and faculty
at OSU Global to send inquiries on his behalf to the embassy in Burkina Faso.
In order to begin his studies at OSU, the last day Wuanka could report to campus was Aug. 29 or he would have to defer to the next semester. Using his network, he contacted leaders in the Ghana parliament who tried to contact the consular section of the embassy on his behalf.
Wuanka finally got an interview appointment for Aug. 25. Unfortunately, he was again put into an administrative process for verification of his documents and enrollment, causing him to defer his program.
While waiting, the team at OSU Global kept in contact with Wuanka and helped him emotionally get through the hard times. On Sept. 1, his visa was approved.
His goal was to be in Oklahoma before 2022 ended. On Dec. 29, Wuanka left Ghana to chase his Cowboy dream.
“We are so fortunate to have Clinton studying in our program,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, associate provost and dean of OSU Global. “Not only does he bring a fresh perspective to our classes from his life in Ghana, his lifelong desire to study at OSU reminds us and our students as to the immense privilege of working, and studying, at OSU.”
Now a first-year graduate student at OSU, Wuanka plans to get a master’s and doctoral degrees while working in the Center for Global Learning and then return to Ghana.
“When I look at where I’m coming from — a village where mostly we are predominantly made of families — nothing was working when it came to education, and I’ve been able to get this far,” Wuanka said. “Sometimes when I lay on my bed I say ‘God, you really exist.’
“I thank God a lot for that kind of grace.”
When Clinton arrived at OSU, he gifted Cara Menasco Eubanks with a traditional Ghanaian dress commonly used to honor someone of high importance.
“We are so fortunate to have Clinton studying in our program. Not only does he bring a fresh perspective to our classes from his life in Ghana, his lifelong desire to study at OSU reminds us and our students as to the immense privilege of working, and studying, at OSU.”
Dr. Randy Kluver, associate provost and dean of OSU Global
The Hargis Leadership Institute’s Lead4Success program is transforming leadership development at Oklahoma State University, and it’s at no cost to students.
Lead4Success is a 16-hour weekend training that features hands-on, real-world application of the four fundamental skills of leadership: selfawareness, leadership agility, influence and communication. OSU is the only university in the country to partner with the internationally recognized Center for Creative Leadership to offer the program, and all accepted students receive a $300 full scholarship through the Hargis Leadership Institute.
OSU’s Lead4Success pilot program launched in spring 2022 with one cohort of 24 students. Since then, it has expanded each semester. Josh Taylor, director of the Hargis Leadership Institute, said that if the funding is available, their goal is to double their enrollment next academic year.
When students apply to Lead4Success, they are asked to identify a real and current leadership challenge. During the training weekend, students use the program’s framework to navigate their leadership roadblock.
OSU junior Andre Abit, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, attended the training in the fall. He said the experience struck the right balance between education and application.
“The weekend was aimed to teach us about ourselves and how to improve, but there was a unique aspect that everyone had their own mission,” he said. “We could pick and choose what we wanted to utilize in order to meet our own specific goals.”
Taylor said using current, relevant issues have long-term benefits.
“The program is rooted in a real experience and gives students an opportunity to practice the things we are teaching. It anchors all the learning,” he said.
Lead4Success training weekends start on a Friday evening with dinner and networking with key university leaders and alumni and conclude with a distinguished alumni speaker. In the past, students have heard from Joe Eastin, CEO of ISN, and Piyush Patel, an entrepreneur and bestselling author. On Saturday and Sunday, students take a deep dive into the program’s curriculum.
The institute is committed to growing Lead4Success because it is a life-changing experience, Taylor said.
“It can absolutely change the trajectory for a student,” Taylor said. “It’s going to increase the students’ influence and it gives the students not only the skills, but the confidence to step into leadership opportunities.”
The institute reduces Lead4Success’ operating costs by licensing a small number of the program’s graduates to be facilitators, who are selected after an application and interview process. As Lead4Success grows, the in-house facilitators will lead the cohorts. It costs $1,500 to train one facilitator, but all training expenses are covered by the institute’s scholarships
Taylor and Ana Morrow, coordinator of leadership programs at the Hargis Leadership Institute, said their long-term goal is to host Lead4Success cohorts across OSU campuses after securing more funding.
“We want to eventually be able to have cohorts running in each of the academic colleges,” she said. “The curriculum is all the same, but we could cater conversations and the focus group conversations and our debrief work to be congruent with their respective majors and colleges.”
To learn how you can support Lead4Success, contact Annie Wells at awells@osugiving. com or 918-282-0422.
Taylor said Lead4Success is a natural fit within the institute because its outcomes align with its definition of leadership.
“We don’t see leadership as titles and positions, but rather as influence and decisions,” Taylor said. “It’s not that we’re waiting for someone with a title to say, ‘This is what we need to do,’ but instead it’s a shared responsibility that says, ‘As you step in and take initiative, you create positive change and momentum.’”
Morrow believes students who complete the program will feel empowered because it fosters leadership self-efficacy.
“The program is a commitment, but the training and education they are receiving is very impactful,” she said.
Abit said the personalized feedback around the four fundamentals of leadership was the most valuable aspect of the experience.
“It was eye-opening how, if given constructive feedback in the proper tone at the right time, it can be very useful,” he said.
The program’s graduates earn a certificate, and the experience is part of their professional resume and digital portfolio.
“The student facilitators have a license from the Center for Creative Leadership and The Hargis Leadership Institute so they can facilitate Lead4Success as a trained professional,” Taylor said. “At that point, they are professional leadership educators.”
Taylor and Morrow see a bright future for Lead4Success at OSU. With more funding and scholarships, they are confident the program will not only enhance the OSU student experience, but equip them with the professional training and skills to be successful leaders after graduation.
“We don’t see leadership as titles and positions, but rather as influence and decisions.”
JOSH TAYLOR, DIRECTOR OF HARGIS LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
Craig Abbott, ‘01
Floyd Abbott, ‘67
Amy Ackerson, ‘96
Sean Ackerson, ‘94
Kimberlee Adams, ‘88
Branden Adams, ‘22
Riley Adams, ‘22
John Adkison, ‘92
Jay Akard, ‘84
Jimmy Aldridge, ‘07
Emily Alexander, ‘22, ‘22, ‘22
Shelby Alexander, ‘16
Trent Alford, ‘22
John Alig, ‘66
Judith Alig, ‘67
Patrick Alland, ‘14, ‘21
Garrison Allen, ‘22
John Allen, ‘21, ‘21
Megan Allison, ‘07, ‘10, ‘13
Jack Allred, ‘60
Caleb Alvez, ‘22, ‘22
Ashtyn Anders, ‘16
Craig Anderson, ‘21, ‘22
Kase Anderson, ‘22, ‘22
Darrel Anderson II, ‘96, ‘96
Billy Anderson, ‘65
Rachel Archangel, ‘22
Wayne Ardrey, ‘70
G. Timothy Armstrong, ‘64
Bryan Armstrong, ‘89, ‘90
Waldo Arreola, ‘10
Olivia Ary, ‘22
Jonathan Asuru, ‘85, ‘90
Agatha Asuru, ‘93
Paul Atkins, ‘89
Kurt Atterberry, ‘87
Cora Avlos, ‘22
Bryan Axtell, ‘85
Anna Ayin, ‘13
Samuel Bailey, ‘22
Sandy Baldridge, ‘74
Larita Balentine, ‘59
Nathan Bales, ‘22, ‘22
Tracy Ballinger, ‘93
Bobby Bankston II
Roger Banos-Rangel, ‘21
Alexander Barger, ‘22
Avery Barker, ‘21
Stuart Barnes, ‘00, ‘03, ‘11
Tracy Barr, ‘82
Michael Barr, ‘15
Dalee Barrick, ‘22, ‘22
Darla Barrick, ‘89
Stephen Bashore, ‘94
Lucy Bates, ‘14
Avery Bates, ‘22
Greelie Bauman, ‘21
Terry Beals, ‘64
Bryan Bean, ‘22, ‘22
Deborah Beard, ‘90
Tommy Beasley, ‘97
Wesley Beasley, ‘92
Daniel Beatie, ‘14
Bradley Beaty, ‘87
Khristi Beckwith, ‘94
Barbara Beeman, ‘71
Catherine Behrenbrinker, ‘98
Otto Behunin, ‘64
Jalen Bell, ‘22, ‘22
Tylan Bell, ‘22, ‘22
Lauren Bell, ‘17, ‘19
Kevin Benton, ‘81
Wayne Benyshek, ‘82, ‘82
Lucas Berlanga, ‘20, ‘20
Cathy Berner, ‘72
John Berry, ‘76
Princess Berry, ‘22
Maggie Berry, ‘21
Catelin Berry, ‘22
Erin Bettles, ‘01
Reid Biagini, ‘22
Bryan Bickle, ‘91
Jake Bilger, ‘22
Sarah Billings, ‘22
Preston Binnig, ‘22, ‘22
Roy Bishop, ‘82
Anthony Black, ‘97
Chloe Black, ‘22
Mark Blair, ‘76
Richard Blake, ‘96
Cody Blalock, ‘22
Karen BlankenshipElkins, ‘84
Michael Blanks, ‘22
Julie Blatt, ‘92, ‘19
Caroline Blevins, ‘22
Ryan Bloom, ‘10
Allyson Blosser, ‘21
Kara Blubaugh, ‘05
Dave Bluethman, ‘68
Jordan Boatman, ‘22, ‘22
Lora Boggs, ‘22
Adam Bohl, ‘04
Rachel Bohl, ‘07
Valerie Bonnett, ‘22, ‘22
Desiree Bottorff, ‘00
Corey Bouffleur, ‘01
Brandon Boughen, ‘06, ‘10
Chase Bowen, ‘22
Kelsey Bowers, ‘14
Justine Bowers, ‘22
Jessie Bowersock, ‘86
Brandon Bowling, ‘22
Mary Bowman, ‘59
Julie Boyd, ‘01
Daylan Boyer Gilliland, ‘22
John Boynton, ‘70
Patricia Bradley, ‘75
William Bradley, ‘90
Robert Bradley, ‘85
Blair Bradley, ‘21
Stephen Bradley, ‘75
Ryan Brady, ‘09
Alexander Brainerd, ‘22, ‘22
Mark Branch, ‘97, ‘00
Kaylyn Branen, ‘22, ‘22
Linda Branscum, ‘76, ‘78
Ryan Breish, ‘22, ‘22
Cadesman Brickley, ‘22
Jeffrey Brinlee, ‘03
Larry Brinlee, ‘76
Nathan Brooks, ‘22
Gregg Brooks, ‘84
Chandler Brown, ‘21
Jennifer Brown, ‘97
Gina Brown, ‘00
Robert Brown, ‘75, ‘77
Nancy Brown, ‘77
Suzanne Brown, ‘03
Harold Brown, ‘71
Alison Brown, ‘21
Karen Brown, ‘72
Maxwell Browne, ‘22, ‘22
Carol Brumbaugh, ‘67
J.C. Bryson, ‘61, ‘63
Ainslee Buckley, ‘22
Edward Buckspan, ‘73
Kelsey Bufford, ‘06, ‘10
Dennis Burbank, ‘92
Matthew Burchard, ‘21
Benjamin Burchard, ‘22
Marcus Burgess, ‘02, ‘02
Elizabeth Burks, ‘21, ‘21
Kylie Burleson, ‘22
Brittany Burlison, ‘21, ‘21
Casey Burnett, ‘22
Madison Burnett, ‘22
Devin Burns, ‘82, ‘83
Mary Sue Burrell
Bryan Burrell, ‘61
Thomas Butcher, ‘74
Garrett Butler, ‘22, ‘22
Larry Buttress, ‘78
Donald Byrd, ‘70
Samuel Cain, ‘21, ‘22
Brenda Calahan, ‘85
Zachary Caldwell, ‘22
Leslie Caldwell, ‘18
Kyle Callahan, ‘06
Gregory Campbell, ‘85
Robert Canady, ‘77
Kayla Canis, ‘22
Gage Cantrell, ‘22
Kacie Cardenas, ‘17
Zachery Carnahan, ‘22
Logan Carter, ‘22
Taylor Cartmell, ‘22
Bradford Cary, ‘22
Norma Casad, ‘55
David Casey, ‘84, ‘84
Kent Castle, ‘84
Mason Castner, ‘17
Letha Caudle, ‘71, ‘77
Jamie Caves, ‘97
Kimberly Cerny, ‘03
Jim Chandler, ‘63
Cole Chapman, ‘22
David Chastain, ‘75, ‘77
Edwina Chatham, ‘69
Nicholas Chavez, ‘22
Camdon Cherry, ‘22
Christopher Chesnut, ‘22
Nancy Chipukites, ‘69
Lachea Christian, ‘00
Frances Church, ‘80, ‘81
Lisa Clark, ‘84
Keely Clarke, ‘19
William Clymer, ‘76, ‘80, ‘88
Megan Cobble, ‘08, ‘11
Steven Cochran, ‘73
Katherine Cockreham, ‘22
Richard Coffey, ‘86, ‘90
Macey Colbert, ‘16
Richard Cole, ‘83, ‘84
Ashley Collier, ‘06
Lori Collins, ‘86, ‘87
Natalie Collyar, ‘22
Ashten Colwell, ‘22, ‘22
Kinzie Conley, ‘22
Susan Conlon, ‘83
Joseph Conrad, ‘61
Casey Cook, ‘22
Nicholas Cook, ‘22
Joey Cooper, ‘00
Andrea Cooper, ‘95
Larry Copeland Sr., ‘78
Sarah Corcoran, ‘22
John Cornyn, ‘68
Lee Cothran, ‘11
Brock Courtney, ‘22
Madeleine Courtright, ‘22
Alexis Covalt, ‘22
Katherine Cox, ‘93
Wesley Cox, ‘72
Deborah Craine, ‘74
Christian Crawford, ‘99
Hayden Crawford, ‘21, ‘22
Amy Crawford, ‘01
Cynthia Crick, ‘79
Clay Croasdale, ‘07
Stephanie Croft, ‘22
Charles Crooks Sr., ‘62
John Cross, ‘64
Brady Cross, ‘21
Lisa Croston, ‘97
Patricia Crow, ‘70, ‘84
Dorlana Crowell, ‘73
Shelly Crowley, ‘85
Greg Crowley, ‘88
Krystle Cunningham, ‘03, ‘05
Victoria Cunningham, ‘74
Jan Curran, ‘86
Alexandra Curtis, ‘09
Claire Dabney, ‘22
Billie Dadgar, ‘84, ‘87
Jimmy Dale, ‘94
Michael Danielson, ‘93
Kimberley David, ‘83
Madissen Davidson, ‘22
Katie Davidson, ‘20
Rachel Davidson, ‘22
Charles Davis, ‘64
Jay Davis, ‘79
Debbie Davis, ‘78, ‘83
Zachary Davis Sr., ‘81
Elizabeth Davis, ‘22
Cole Davis, ‘22
Everett Davis, ‘79
Steve Davis, ‘80
Michael Dawson, ‘18, ‘22
Kami Dawson, ‘96
Amber Day, ‘13
Stacy Dean, ‘86
Michele Dean, ‘01
Cooper Degner, ‘22, ‘22
Nathalia DeLeon Hiatt, ‘91
David Delker, ‘78, ‘79
Laura Denney, ‘18
Dylan Denny, ‘22
Deedra Determan, ‘95
Thomas Determan, ‘57
Scott Dickson, ‘97, ‘99
Becky Dilbeck, ‘86
Erika Diluca, ‘22, ‘22
Ronald Divine, ‘82
Matthew Dixon, ‘84
Kierra Dixon, ‘22, ‘22
Rae Dixon, ‘84
Brady Dixon, ‘08
Darryl Dixson, ‘86
Dianna Dodd, ‘12
James Dodrill, ‘84
Hannah Dodson, ‘18
Jaren Dolsky, ‘22, ‘22
Terry Donathan, ‘79, ‘79
Michael Douglas, ‘22
Nancy Dowell, ‘03
Regan Downing, ‘78
Katherine Drake, ‘22, ‘22
Molly Drakeley, ‘18, ‘18, ‘22
Darcey Drullinger, ‘22
Macey Drullinger, ‘22
Riley Dubois, ‘22
Callie Duncan, ‘22, ‘22
Scott Dunham, ‘22, ‘22
Allen Dunn, ‘69
Lori Earl, ‘84
Stephen Eddleman, ‘94
Fred Edens, ‘75
Donald Edmonds, ‘69
Kenzy Edmondson, ‘22, ‘22
John Edwards, ‘22, ‘22
Kaitlyn Ehn, ‘11
Jay Eischen, ‘22
Jordyn Eldridge, ‘22
Kristen Elliott, ‘92
Carson Elmore Jr, ‘22
Daniel Emory, ‘20
Bill England, ‘21, ‘21
Monte Epperson, ‘09
Windi Epperson, ‘92
Ericka Eppler, ‘03, ‘18
Stephanie Eschman, ‘96
Beatrice Essel, ‘22
Katherine Ethridge, ‘22
Gwen EuchnerZelewski, ‘84
Sean Evanko, ‘22, ‘22
Emily Evans, ‘22
Zachary Evans, ‘20
Natalie Evans, ‘22
Dakota Evans, ‘22
Robert Evans Jr.
Ted Evicks, ‘74, ‘85
Brian Exline, ‘88
Haley Fair, ‘22
Jacob Fanning, ‘18
Francis Farrell III, ‘84
Nicole Farris, ‘14
Connie Feddersen, ‘70
Eddie Feddersen, ‘70
Judy Ferrell, ‘71, ‘02
Dennis Ferrell, ‘71
Chad Ferrell, ‘92
Amaya Fields, ‘22
Jacie Fields, ‘22
Monica Fimple, ‘86
Mary Fink, ‘22
Robert Finken, ‘22
Samuel Firth, ‘22
Stephen Fisher, ‘78
Theresa Fisher, ‘86
Carlie Fleig, ‘22
Dale Flowers, ‘87
Brandi Ford, ‘04
Patti Ford, ‘01
Nicholas Forhan, ‘22
Gino Fornaro, ‘22, ‘22
Kevin Fowler, ‘86
Kris Fowler, ‘90
Joe Francis, ‘78
Lindra Frandinata, ‘95, ‘97
Makayla Franks, ‘22, ‘22, ‘22
Sharon Freeny, ‘68
Michael Freer, ‘22
Evan Freitas, ‘22
Bridgette FrenchHarbison, ‘20
Jack Fritts, ‘77
Madison Frizzell, ‘18, ‘22
Julia Frusciante, ‘22
Chandler Fuller, ‘18
Candice Fuqua, ‘19
Jennings Gabriele, ‘14, ‘19
Charity Gage, ‘98
Steven GaikoII, ‘22
Thomas Gallery, ‘90
Sarah Galligan, ‘22
Mitchell Gammons, ‘98
Lara Gardner, ‘16
Anitajane Garnand, ‘07, ‘21
Carissa Garrett, ‘97, ‘00
Ryne Garrison, ‘22
Jennifer Gass, ‘21
Ronald Gass, ‘73
Carlyn Gay, ‘22
Heather Geller, ‘12
Cayden Germany, ‘22
Jerald Gilbert, ‘89, ‘90
Peter Gill Jr., ‘80
Leslie Gilliam, ‘56
Tommy Gilliam, ‘58
Kaylyn Gise, ‘22, ‘22
William Glover, ‘12
Betty Goldblatt, ‘67
Delia Gonzalez, ‘22
Ryan Goodman, ‘10
Joshua Goodwin, ‘18, ‘18
Kale Goodwin, ‘22
David Gordon, ‘82
Michael Gotwald, ‘16
Jessica Grant, ‘02
Jacob Gray, ‘22
Jennifer Gray, ‘98
Darrin Gray, ‘91
Farrah Greasley, ‘17
Betty Greeley, ‘57
Isabella Green, ‘22
Warren Greenlee, ‘84
Gary Greenwood, ‘62
Kayleigh Griffard, ‘22
John Griffin, ‘04
Dane Griffin, ‘21
Carter Griffith, ‘22
Kathleen Grimes, ‘88
Derek Grimes, ‘88
Dylan Grimes, ‘22
Tara Groden, ‘22
Mitchell Groom, ‘22
Howard Ground, ‘80
Zachary Guest, ‘22
Samantha Guinn, ‘08
Joshua Gunnells, ‘22
Lindsey Gurley, ‘16
Connie Guthrie, ‘72, ‘78
Brisa Gutierrez, ‘22
Tate Hackler, ‘22
Brittney Hackler, ‘22, ‘22
Brandon Haddican, ‘17
Austin Haddock, ‘20
Sherman Hadley, ‘90
Jackson Hahn, ‘22
Bret Haines, ‘11, ‘16
David Hall, ‘81
Zachary Hall, ‘22
Cindy Hall, ‘82
Ashley Hallenbeck, ‘22
Kimberly Hamilton, ‘95
Wayne Hamilton, ‘78
Tyler Hammonds, ‘22
Wyatt Hancock, ‘22
Sarah Hand, ‘21, ‘22
Mason Harbour, ‘21
Aaron Harney, ‘90, ‘94
Tamara Harney, ‘93, ‘94
James Harrel, ‘64
Marilyn Harrel, ‘64
Zachary Harrel, ‘05
Suzanne Harrell, ‘75
Judy Harris, ‘71
James Harris, ‘79
Greyson Harshman, ‘22
Gary Hart, ‘92
Matthew Harter, ‘22, ‘22
Raegan Haskins, ‘22
Wallis Hatch, ‘22
Dean Hatch, ‘83, ‘84
Dwight Haub, ‘79
Mamie Haydon, ‘22
Presley Hayes, ‘22
Brett Hayes, ‘90
Blakelee Hayes, ‘22
Christian Hayes, ‘22
Lee Haygood, ‘89
Tayler Hays, ‘21
Brandon Head, ‘22
Charles Headrick, ‘61
Sean Heard, ‘93
John Hearn, ‘20
Conner Heffernan, ‘22
Clifford Heise, ‘84
Jodi Heisterkamp, ‘05
Janis Helmey, ‘72
Richard Helmey, ‘71
Adrienne Hembree, ‘95
Justin Hembree, ‘96
Conner Hemphill, ‘20, ‘20
Makenzi Henderson, ‘22
Brandi Henderson, ‘95
Marcia Henderson, ‘79
Donald Henderson, ‘79
David Henderson, ‘83, ‘83
Jud Horning, ‘03
Chris Housley, ‘78
Gary Howard Sr.
Ashley Howard, ‘22
Jeralynn Howell, ‘10
Ridge Howell, ‘17
Kevin Howell, ‘19
Cynthia Hudgins, ‘78
Sue Hull, ‘93
Kanon Jones, ‘22
Jessica Jones, ‘00
Benjamin Jones, ‘22
Susan Jones, ‘80
Jeffrey Jones, ‘92
Mike Jones, ‘86, ‘91
Robert Jones, ‘79
Charles Jones III, ‘83, ‘86, ‘93
Travis Jones, ‘03, ‘22, ‘22
Ashleigh Joy, ‘22
Kimberly Joyce, ‘96
Kit Kampschmidt, ‘81, ‘83
Taylor Knight, ‘22
Charles Kolar Jr., ‘60, ‘62
Christopher Kolar, ‘89, ‘90
Diane Kolar, ‘62
David Kolb, ‘83
Tanner Komlodi, ‘22, ‘22
Cody Konen, ‘13
Hannah Kornele, ‘22
Susan Korthals, ‘81
Larry Kraemer, ‘88
Connor Krejci, ‘22
Ananth Krishnan, ‘70
Janice Krug, ‘83
Paul Kusbel, ‘88
Mary Kusbel, ‘88
Taber Lobaugh, ‘22
Breann Loeber, ‘22
Ryan Lombard, ‘00
Joseph Lombardi, ‘18
Erin Looney, ‘22, ‘22
Luke Loughren, ‘22
Midajah Lovejoy, ‘22
Scott Lowe, ‘87
Brittany Lucio, ‘22, ‘22
Mike Lyons-Samples, ‘92
Anthony Mabrey III*
Jacob Hendrickson, ‘10, ‘10
Suzanne Hendrix, ‘67
Alexandria HensonKinney, ‘18
Harl Hentges, ‘77
Ann Hentges, ‘75
Heather Heon, ‘22, ‘22
Jorge Hernandez, ‘89
Madylin Hernandez, ‘22
Nathan Herndon, ‘20
Larry Hesler, ‘92
Holly Hetrick, ‘96
Todd Higgins, ‘22, ‘22
Douglas Hilbig, ‘91
Steven Hildebrand, ‘76
Dayna Hill, ‘22
Barbara Hill, ‘81
LeAnn Hill, ‘93
Gary Hill, ‘71
Braden Hillery, ‘22
Calvin Hilliard, ‘97
Alyssa Hillman, ‘01
James Hinkel, ‘22
Paul Hobbs, ‘66
C Hodge, ‘79, ‘82, ‘86
Michael Hogan, ‘66
Samantha Holguin, ‘22
Pamela Holland, ‘76
Kirsten Hollansworth, ‘21
Trace Holloway, ‘22
Kasie Hollrah, ‘18
Gene Holmes, ‘72, ‘74
Ing-Tsann Hong, ‘80, ‘83
Hailea Hooten, ‘20, ‘20
Colton Humphrey, ‘21
Devery Hunt, ‘22
Melody Hunt, ‘00
Alaina Hurst, ‘22
Kim Hurst, ‘80
Mary Huston, ‘85, ‘91
Lora Imler, ‘12
Klaire Irwin, ‘22
Louisa Ivey, ‘22
Emma Jackson, ‘22
Timothy Jackson, ‘89, ‘92
Kendall Jackson, ‘22
Dana James, ‘89
Don James, ‘65
Rodney James, ‘89
Mary Janssen, ‘53
Arlo Janssen, ‘53
Lorrie Janzen, ‘96
Juergen Janzen, ‘89
Ravyn Jarreau, ‘22, ‘22
Ashley Jeffers, ‘22, ‘22
Conner Jennings, ‘22
David Jensen, ‘70
Jeffery Jensen, ‘77
Ashlie Jerkes, ‘22
Caili Jester, ‘18
Paige Johnson, ‘22
Sierra Johnson, ‘22
Mitchell Johnson, ‘85
Katie Johnson, ‘21
Shayne Johnson, ‘85, ‘86
Morgan Johnson, ‘16, ‘16
Derek Johnson, ‘06, ‘10
Cameron Johnston, ‘13
Andrew Johnston, ‘22
William Johnston, ‘61
James Jones, ‘84, ‘87
Kelly Jones, ‘00
Harlan Karbs, ‘68, ‘70
Donna Karbs, ‘66
Wendy Kaysen, ‘00
George Keely, ‘67
Holly Keely, ‘67
Bradley Keller, ‘93, ‘94
James Keller, ‘78
Mary Keller, ‘76
Janna Kelley, ‘98
Marcie Kelley, ‘95
Carrie Kelly, ‘97
Christopher Kelly, ‘96
Caroline Kelton, ‘22, ‘22
Eric Kennedy, ‘01
Kimberly Kennedy, ‘22
James Kenny, ‘83, ‘87, ‘93
Peppi Kenny, ‘87, ‘93
Donald Kern, ‘84
Amy Kerntke, ‘82
Ken Kerntke, ‘79, ‘80
Jacob Kettner, ‘22
Mark Keuchel, ‘09, ‘13
David Keys, ‘78
Taylor Keys, ‘22, ‘22
Lucia Kezele, ‘22, ‘22
Steve Kiester, ‘80
Glenda Kilmer, ‘70
Mallory King, ‘22, ‘22
Marlon King, ‘89
Danette Kirby, ‘22
Kimberly Kirschner, ‘91
John Kirschner Jr., ‘90
Sydney Kiser, ‘22, ‘22
Gerald Kitch, ‘59
Caylee Kline, ‘22
Russell Kline, ‘59, ‘71
Ryan Knam, ‘17, ‘17
Robert Knight, ‘22
Pamela Knight, ‘77
Joanne Kuster, ‘60
Grant Lackey, ‘22
Michelle Lagaly-Hyde, ‘83
Judy Lambert, ‘71
Paul Lambert, ‘71, ‘75
Lauren Landrum, ‘22
Kaitlyn Lane, ‘22
Ashley Lang, ‘22
Savannah Lantz, ‘22
John Larson, ‘78
Hannah Lasater, ‘22
Ian Lattimore, ‘22
Noah Laubach, ‘22
George Lauffer, ‘66
Linda Laverty, ‘70
Emily Lawhorn, ‘98
Catherine Lawrence, ‘84
Kenneth Lawrence, ‘83
Jillian Lawson, ‘21, ‘21, ‘22
Gary Lawson, ‘73
William Lebold, ‘69
Stephanie Lee, ‘20
Christy Lee, ‘99
Billy Lee, ‘52
James Lefler Jr., ‘80, ‘81
Cheryl Lefler, ‘79
Sarah Leger, ‘22
Max Lehew, ‘54
Karen Leisy, ‘77
Robert Lemke, ‘85
Nurhan Leroy, ‘18
Wade Lessert, ‘95
Abby Lestina, ‘22, ‘22
Sandra Lewis, ‘81, ‘88
Stephanie Lewis, ‘18
Kyle Lewis, ‘81
Chelsea Liles, ‘22
Joyce Limber, ‘87
Nathan Lindsey, ‘22
Kara MacDonald, ‘02
Carol Maciula, ‘81, ‘96
Janine MacKenzie, ‘83
Erin Madden, ‘00
Erika Madlambayan, ‘22
Nyla Maere, ‘20, ‘22
Emalee Mahand, ‘15
Charyse Maher, ‘99
Alexis Main, ‘20
Bob Maine, ‘56
Emily Maixner, ‘17, ‘19
Dora Mallinger, ‘22
Amanda Mallory, ‘21
Abigail Mansfield, ‘22
Michael Maon, ‘77, ‘79
Katarina Mapes, ‘22
Samuel Marcear, ‘22
Robert Marchy, ‘22
Brook Marino, ‘22
Paul Marsh, ‘92
Debbie Marsh, ‘82
Rick Marsh, ‘81
Trevor Marshall, ‘22, ‘22
Cynthia Marshall, ‘81
Greg Marshall, ‘93
Mark Marston, ‘94
Jerry Martin, ‘57, ‘59, ‘61
Adam Martin, ‘21
Doneasha Martin, ‘22
Melissa Martin, ‘71
Ricky Martin, ‘99
Taylor Martin, ‘21
Gabrielle Martin, ‘22
Clifton Mason, ‘79
Kenzie Massaro, ‘21
Sandra Massey, ‘69, ‘93
Ronald Maxfield, ‘90
Jeffery Maxson, ‘95
Brenda May, ‘92
Sher-Reese Mayberry, ‘97
Dorothy Mayfield, ‘58
Gerald Mayfield Jr., ‘58, ‘58
Braden McAlister, ‘22
Hunter McAlister, ‘14
Rebekah McBride, ‘05
Shannon McCord, ‘93
Sarah McCormick, ‘22
Matthew McCormick, ‘18
Catherine McCraw, ‘22
Donald McCroskey, ‘94
Brylee McCue, ‘22
Jerry McCutchan, ‘53
Ella McDonald, ‘22
Charles McDonald, ‘66, ‘67
Riley McDonald, ‘22
Alyssa McElhoe, ‘22, ‘22
Mark McGee, ‘73
Jack McGinnisII, ‘71
Vern McHargue Jr., ‘93
Braeden McKee, ‘22
Paige McLaughlin, ‘11
Larry McLaughlin, ‘77
Jentry McLaughlin, ‘13, ‘17
Cameron McLemore Jr.*
Cory McLoud, ‘16
Jerry McMahan, ‘99
Aaron McMillan, ‘97
Miller McNew, ‘22
Patricia McTighe, ‘74
David Mead, ‘01, ‘12
Matthew Means, ‘02
Darilyn Mecklenburg, ‘94
Kyle Medders, ‘22
Hunter Meek, ‘22
Stephanie Meissen, ‘06
Christina Melocik, ‘22
Cameron Mendoza, ‘22, ‘22
Taliessa Mescall, ‘80
Blake Messer, ‘00
Laura Messer, ‘01, ‘07
Mallory Metcalf, ‘20
Steven Meyer, ‘75, ‘77
Joan Meyer, ‘75
Paiton Miller, ‘22
Judy Miller, ‘03
Robert Miller, ‘05
Larry Miller, ‘72
Teddy Miller, ‘75
Rachel Miller, ‘22
Paula Miller, ‘73
Karyl Miller, ‘84
Robert Mills Jr., ‘72
Johnathon Minson, ‘98, ‘01
Mary Minson, ‘72
John Minson, ‘73, ‘75
Kaitlyn Mires, ‘22
Craig Mirkes, ‘01
Bradley Mitchell, ‘95
Janice Mitchell, ‘70, ‘92
Taylor Mitchell, ‘12, ‘12, ‘15
Craig Mittelstaedt, ‘86, ‘90
Emile Mittelstaedt, ‘22
Kim Mittelstaedt, ‘83
Robert Montgomery, ‘68
Abigail Moore, ‘22
David Moore, ‘80, ‘81
Dierdre Moore, ‘22
Paula Moore, ‘81
Jonathan Morales Gonzalez*
Adam Morey, ‘22, ‘22
Kailey Mori, ‘22
Mitchell Morris, ‘21
Regan Morris, ‘22
Rylee Mosley, ‘22
Deborah Moss, ‘94
Krystal Mota, ‘19
Kenneth Moyes, ‘78
Jennie Moyes, ‘82
Nancy Mudd, ‘98
Timothy Murray, ‘22
Jack Murray, ‘85
Ramona Nance, ‘85, ‘13
Ashley Nance, ‘79
Mandy NaumanFresneda, ‘91
Kent Neeland, ‘01
Kizzi Neeland, ‘14
Mark Neftzger, ‘88
Kristi Nelms, ‘92
John Nelson, ‘19
Brady Nelson, ‘22
Jim Nelson, ‘84
Neal Nester, ‘94
Raphael Nguyen, ‘96
Christopher Nichols, ‘95
Elizabeth Nieman, ‘22
Michelle Nisbett, ‘91
Norman Nixon, ‘83
Hadley Nixon, ‘22, ‘22
Jana Nordquist, ‘79
Aaron Norgaard, ‘22
Ronald O’Connor, ‘73
Kira O’Connor, ‘22
Justin Odom, ‘22, ‘22
Marilyne O’Hara, ‘98
Grant Ohland, ‘86
Kevin Oliver, ‘88
Mary Osborn, ‘60
Karen Osborn, ‘86
Lindsay O’Shea, ‘22
Angela Owen, ‘96
Grace Pack, ‘22
Wade Pagett, ‘79
Bob Palmer, ‘85
William Parker, ‘57
Katelynn Parker, ‘22
Lee Parker, ‘80
Alexzander Parks, ‘22
Matthew Parr, ‘22
Kevin Pata, ‘81
Christina Patton, ‘89
Todd Patton, ‘84
Chattie Pawelek, ‘22
Gordon Payne, ‘69
Braden Payne, ‘22
Dion Pearce, ‘99
Paul Pearson, ‘51
Levi Peckenpaugh, ‘22
Lori Pello, ‘89
George Pendell III, ‘87
Kacie Penman, ‘16
Colten Penner, ‘22
Jordan Perkins, ‘22, ‘22, ‘22
David Perry, ‘66
Steven Perry, ‘21
Cory Peters, ‘97
James Pfeiffer, ‘79
Rebekah Pfeiffer, ‘83, ‘97
Janet Phelps, ‘81
Sharon Phibbs, ‘91
Charles Pickens, ‘59, ‘67
Julia Pierce, ‘22
Jennifer Pierotti, ‘94
Michael Pinkston, ‘87
Phillip Pitts, ‘88
Breanne Poff, ‘20
Charles Poindexter, ‘72
Charles Pollock, ‘91
Kelsey Pope, ‘95, ‘97
Steven Pope, ‘80
Isabelle Posey, ‘22
Michael Poston, ‘73
Thomas Powers, ‘09
Deborah Preschler, ‘90
Colin Price, ‘17
William Priest, ‘90
Marcus Propps, ‘98
David Prucha, ‘75
Rick Pugh, ‘82
Meredith Queal, ‘22
Allison Ragsdale, ‘22, ‘22
Sharla Rainbolt, ‘96
James Rainey, ‘77
Brett Ramsey, ‘93
Terroll Ramsey, ‘71
Greyson Randle, ‘22
Lee Raney, ‘52
Emma Rapplean, ‘22, ‘22
Nathaniel Ratcliff, ‘22, ‘22
Sandra Rawlings, ‘96
David Ray III, ‘68
Sarah Rector, ‘05
Diana Reddington, ‘05
Terry Reece, ‘91
Piper Reese, ‘21
Madalynn Reid, ‘22
Paula Reif, ‘86, ‘91
Richard Reif, ‘97, ‘09
Mary Reigh, ‘06, ‘18
Gwendolyn Reilly, ‘22
George Renison, ‘80, ‘88, ‘90
Frank Revard, ‘66
Gary Revas, ‘22
Benjamin Reynolds, ‘00, ‘07
Sheri Rhodes, ‘05
Stephen Rice, ‘74
Jonathan Rich, ‘22
Pamela Richeson, ‘05
Polly Richison, ‘81
Linda Richter, ‘92
Charles Riddle, ‘74
Piper Riddle, ‘74
Bryan Riffe, ‘94
Mark Ritchie, ‘60
Brianna Rivera, ‘22
Jimmie Robbins, ‘80, ‘82
Taryn Roberts, ‘21
Zachary Roberts, ‘13
Ridge Roberts, ‘12
Lance Robertson, ‘93
Larry Robertson, ‘82
Karsten RobinettI, ‘21, ‘22
Christa Robinson, ‘78, ‘80
Allen Robinson, ‘77
Andrew Robison, ‘22
Jessica Robledo, ‘22, ‘22
Lydia Rockers, ‘22
Richard Rodgers, ‘65
Emalee Rogers, ‘90
Cooper Rogers, ‘22
Michael Rogers, ‘96
Stephanie Rogers, ‘06, ‘11
Ronda Rogers, ‘90
Martha Rohrbach, ‘86
Debra Romero, ‘03, ‘10
Reid Romine, ‘21
Ernesto Rosas Jr., ‘22, ‘22
Craig Rose, ‘96
Angela Rose, ‘85, ‘88
Hannah Rost, ‘14
Tammie Rostant, ‘94
Thomas Rountree, ‘77, ‘78
Jerry Rowe, ‘95
Blake Runner, ‘22
Kimberly Sadler, ‘81, ‘83
Darrell Sadler, ‘68
Daisy Salcedo, ‘22
Aisha Sams, ‘20
Doyle Sanders, ‘75
Jamie Sanderson, ‘82, ‘82
Jeff Sarchet, ‘85
David Sartin, ‘78
Emily Sasser, ‘22
Bradyn Satterfield, ‘22
Colby Satterfield, ‘21
Arthur Sauder, ‘78
Connie Sauder, ‘79
Steven Sawatzky, ‘21
Kevin Scarsdale, ‘89
Mattie Scheihing, ‘64
James Schiermeyer III*
Theo Schmedt, ‘71
Alex Schmidt, ‘05, ‘20
Tate Schneider, ‘22, ‘22
Jeff Schoenhals, ‘79, ‘82
Ariel Scholten, ‘22
Jill Schooler, ‘86
Robert Schroeder, ‘92
Natalie Schuermann, ‘81
Joseph Schulte, ‘73
Bruce Schultz, ‘98
Justin Schwarz, ‘22
Michael Schwarz, ‘85
Trent Scoggins, ‘01
John Scott, ‘69
Marsha Scott, ‘68
Edmund Scribner, ‘85
Seth Seabolt, ‘18
Betty Seal, ‘48
Jackie Seeley, ‘53
Paul Seeley Jr., ‘51
Mary Segars, ‘62
Desirae Self, ‘87, ‘91
Oluwayemisi Semola, ‘19
Shelby Sequira, ‘22
Mark Shackelford, ‘82, ‘82
William Shaddox, ‘78
Richard Sharp, ‘76
Madeline Shea, ‘22
Brittany Sheridan, ‘19
Sarah Sherman, ‘22
Anthony Sherrer, ‘21
Kayse Shrum, ‘98
Dawn Simon, ‘93, ‘94
Edward Simon, ‘94
Aaron Sims, ‘95
Laura Singletary, ‘22
Stetson Singleterry, ‘16, ‘16
Roy Sinor, ‘74
Loren Sizelove, ‘80, ‘19
Kathryn Slade Smith, ‘77
Bryce Slagell, ‘22
Craig Slagle, ‘22, ‘22
Ellen Slater, ‘22
Rachel Slater, ‘22
Brian Smith, ‘92, ‘96
Jerry Smith, ‘65
Bradley Smith, ‘91
Chandler Smith, ‘22, ‘22
William Smith, ‘68
Christopher Smith, ‘22
Tamara Smith, ‘88
Leslie Smith, ‘22, ‘22, ‘22
John Smith, ‘80
Hopper Smith, ‘86
Troy Smith, ‘09
Cynthia Smith-Walters, ‘84, ‘88
Meredith Sneed, ‘22
Elizabeth Snook, ‘91
Jimmy Snow, ‘93
Peggy Snyder, ‘95
Marilyn Sokolosky, ‘74
Sarah Spinks, ‘05
Daniel Stallard, ‘22
Kathryn Standridge, ‘79
Braden Steidley, ‘20
Kelly Stein, ‘83
Caleb Stein, ‘22
Audrey Stephens, ‘22
Jerred Stephenson, ‘01
Danny Sterling, ‘78, ‘83
Don Stern, ‘81
Trevor Steward, ‘14
Buck Stewart, ‘82
Sheryl Stewart, ‘79, ‘80
Mary Stewart, ‘81
Charley Stewart, ‘80
Dianna Stieber, ‘84, ‘90, ‘95
Bruce Stieber, ‘87
Autumn Stimpson, ‘16
Savannah Stimpson, ‘16
Sarah Stinnett, ‘22
Trent Stites, ‘94
Phillip Stoll, ‘74
William Stone, ‘63
Peyton Stone, ‘22
Kyle Stone, ‘22
Dylan Strachan, ‘22
Michael Stump, ‘81
Glen Summers, ‘65
Randall Sumpter, ‘72
Brianna Sumwalt, ‘22
Jim Surjaatmadja, ‘73, ‘76
George Surratt Jr., ‘89
George Suthers, ‘67
Destry Suthers, ‘93
Sherry Suthers, ‘70
Jerry Sutterfield, ‘79
Damian Sutton, ‘84
Kathy Swallows, ‘89
Jennifer Swezey, ‘04
James Swindell, ‘79
Catherine Swindell, ‘80
Nathan Swisher, ‘22
Emma Sylvester, ‘22, ‘22
Logan Taber, ‘21
Catherine Tanner, ‘22
Noah Taylor, ‘22, ‘22
Kenna Taylor, ‘22
Bree Taylor, ‘22
Billy Taylor, ‘81
Jillianne Tebow, ‘08, ‘12
Donna Tefft, ‘55
Tessa Test-Record, ‘75
Ted Test-Record, ‘07
Joanne TetensWoodring, ‘92
Matthew Teuscher, ‘01, ‘04
Madelyn Theis, ‘21, ‘21
Alyssa Thelin, ‘22
Robert Thiessen, ‘64
Amanda Thomas, ‘22
Chad Thomas, ‘95
Brooke Thomas, ‘22
Bobby Thomasson, ‘95
Michael Thompson, ‘22, ‘22
Lawrence Thompson, ‘65
Robert Thompson, ‘72
William Thompson, ‘73
Candace Thrasher, ‘04, ‘07
Daniel Thrasher, ‘04
Nicholas Thurman, ‘22
Brad Thurman, ‘83, ‘85
Clayton Tiesman, ‘21
Glennda Tiller, ‘17
James Todd, ‘50
Holly Tompkins, ‘21
Brenda Towe, ‘80
Victoria Townley, ‘22
Reilly Townsend, ‘22
Rona Tracy, ‘89, ‘92
Ly Tran, ‘79
Le-Mai Tran, ‘87
Mary Trotter, ‘97
Austin Troxel Jr., ‘63
Ronald Truelove, ‘84
Lester Tucker, ‘98
Anita Tufts, ‘80
Judith Turner, ‘66
Marvin Turney, ‘73
Tonya Upp, ‘93
Bill Van Sickle, ‘62
Kelsey Vejraska, ‘22, ‘22
Curtis Vickery, ‘81, ‘83, ‘92
Diego Vincent, ‘22
Keelon Viney young*
Vicki Vinson, ‘92
Rachael Visina, ‘22
Jennie Wade, ‘94
Jill Wagar, ‘96
Abbie Waggoner, ‘21, ‘21
Derek Walker, ‘84, ‘86, ‘90
Brenita Walker, ‘83
Rick Walker, ‘87
Jaxson Wall, ‘19, ‘22
William Walters, ‘82
Macy Walterscheid, ‘21
David Ward, ‘95
Madison Ward, ‘22
Nancy Ward, ‘90
Ellen Ware, ‘76, ‘79
Kaitlyn Warren, ‘22
Sara Warren, ‘22
Baylee Washington, ‘21
Kaylee Washington, ‘22
Austin Watkins, ‘22
Mary Watson, ‘86
Randy Weaver, ‘73
Jenny Weaver, ‘05
Angelica Weaver, ‘22
Katelyn Webb, ‘22
Clyde Weber Jr., ‘87
Tyler Wedel, ‘22
Sydney Weiser, ‘22
Janet Weiss, ‘86
Madelyn Wells, ‘22
Michael Wendel, ‘68
William West, ‘22
Michael Whaley, ‘02
Linda White, ‘74
Chelsea White, ‘12
Lyndon Whitmire, ‘93
Meredith Wichman, ‘22, ‘22
Sonya Widowski, ‘96, ‘98
Dalton Wilcox, ‘22
Sydney Wilguess, ‘22
Adriana Wilhite, ‘19
Allan Will, ‘22
Chester Willey, ‘69, ‘70
Madison Williams, ‘22
Skyler Williams, ‘22
Patrick Williams, ‘22, ‘22
Amy Williams, ‘90
Hailey Williams, ‘22
Graham Williams, ‘94
Christopher Wilson, ‘21
Eugenia Wilson, ‘82
Kailey Wilson, ‘22
Jerry Winchester, ‘77
Abbie Winchester, ‘21
Drew Windmueller, ‘22
James Winslow, ‘58
Stephen Wise, ‘77, ‘78
Braden Witt, ‘22
Grace Wolf, ‘22
Tyler Wolgamott, ‘22
Michael Woltmann, ‘89, ‘93
Emma Wood, ‘22
Jerry Wood, ‘65
Joshua Wood, ‘22
Richard Woodman, ‘68, ‘69
Ernest Woodruff, ‘13, ‘22
David Woods, ‘80
Christopher Woosley, ‘91
Melony Woosley, ‘92
Justin Worley, ‘22
Megan Wyatt, ‘22
Denise Wyatt, ‘86
Teddy Wyatt, ‘85, ‘16
William Yadon, ‘22, ‘22
Tristin Yarber, ‘22
Ronald Yeck, ‘59
Tiffany Yoder, ‘93
McKenzie Young, ‘22
Alicia Young, ‘21, ‘21
Joseph Young, ‘14
James Young Jr., ‘71, ‘73
Anna Zabinski, ‘22
Thomas Zelewski, ‘84
Armando ZepedaTorres, ‘16
Robert Zimmerman, ‘96
Adam Zlatnik, ‘22
Emma Zompa, ‘22
After years of working in the food service industry, Cazzelle, a 2010 English and business administration alumna, decided she was going to do something different, something new. After a quick trip to Dallas for a hot dog cart, the Stillwater staple was born.
“It’s kind of important to know when you start a business,” Cazzelle said. “You have to put all your whole guts into it, your soul, your heart and all your sleep.”
The Curty Shack, formerly “Cazzans,” began as a little hot dog stand for football games, but quickly moved to The Strip as a popular late-night destination. Through the years, cream cheese and chili were added to the hot dogs, and the dogs were dubbed “Curtys.”
“It just started building from the ground up because of something that was necessary for our family,” Cazzelle said. “I just always felt like inside, if I start something, I want it to be something real, not just something I do because I have to.”
For Cazzelle, it’s about giving when you can, and giving more than you should. After long nights of working, Cazzelle would hand out hot dogs to other workers on the strip. This, in turn, led to more attraction to the stand.
“I say, any time you have an opportunity to give more than you feel comfortable giving, you should,” she said.
The Curty Shack has grown into a Stillwater institution. It has concession stands in nearly every OSU sporting arena and has its own building on Washington Street. Cazzelle’s whole family helps out with the Curty Shack, and she said she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You love a community, and you love everything about it,” Cazzelle said. “Well, OSU is at the center pretty much. And so, the more I was here, the more I felt this is a real place that’s part of my heart.”
Cazzelle can be found at most sporting events or at the shack, making tasty hot dogs for hungry customers. She has found that the Curty dog is more to people than just a hot dog, but a memory that is integral to students’ time at OSU.
“It makes me feel proud,” she said. “You know, we’re part of the school that I love, the people that I love and the community is all here.”
Sarah Cazzelle wanted the Curty Shack to be more than just a place to get a good hot dog, but a place people remember when they leave Stillwater. More than a decade after founding the Washington Street eatery, she has her wish.
Emeritus faculty member Dr. Carol Jones, former Buchanan Chair in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, is Oklahoma State University’s next ombuds officer.
The Office of the Ombuds Officer was established in October 2013 to promote a supportive learning and working environment at OSU. The office serves as a resource for all members of the OSU communities on the Stillwater, OSU-Tulsa, and Okmulgee campuses (faculty, students, staff, administrators and post-doctoral fellows) and offers a safe, confidential place to talk about campus-related problems.
“I have a passion for making sure OSU policy and procedures are fair, appropriate, agile and functional across all of our divisions and campuses,” Jones said. “I look forward to welcoming faculty, students and staff into my office, finding positive solutions and helping to ensure that the campus community is heard.”
As ombuds officer, Jones listens to and reviews issues, explores options, makes inquiries and referrals as appropriate, and facilitates resolutions in an impartial manner where no party feels fear of retaliation. She will not act as an advocate or take sides in the performance of these duties.
After over 20 years of combined service to the Cowboy family, both as a faculty member and a representative on a wide array of university boards and organizations, Senior Vice President for Executive Affairs Kyle Wray said Jones is an ideal fit for the position.
“We want to ensure that everyone in the Cowboy family feels comfortable to raise concerns and communicate openly,” Wray said. “This role plays a crucial part in that effort, and I know Carol Jones will serve the university well. She has the background and personality to be an extremely effective mediator, and her decades of experience — both in academia and industry — reflect not only her experience and skill but her lasting commitment to this institution.”
Oklahoma State University’s Dr. Jamey Jacob testified at the Capitol before the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on March 23 in Washington, D.C., highlighting the need for continued investment in drone research for the benefit of national defense, technology development and the public good.
The meeting served as the legislative hearing for The National Drone and Advanced Air Mobility Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Frank Lucas from Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District that aims to provide for a coordinated federal initiative to accelerate civilian unmanned aircraft systems along with advanced air mobility research and development to strengthen economic and national security.
In addition to her extensive work as a graduate faculty member and researcher, Jones has served as OSU Faculty Council chair, Academic Standards and Policy Committee chair, Oklahoma Fire Council Chair, and as a member of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Faculty Advisory Council, among many others. She also has served as an advisor for several student organizations, academic advisor for biosystems students and a Student Integrity Facilitator. She has served on various university committees, as well, including the Grade Appeals Committee, Student Conduct Committee, Late Drop Committee, Tuition Appeals Board, Graduation Speaker Committee and the Reinstatement Committee. She and her dog, Otis, have been proud members of Pete’s Pet Posse since 2017.
Jones has extensive experience in industry, as well, having served as president of CL Jones Consulting since 2012 and having authored 170 publications and numerous industry e-zine articles.
As executive director of the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE), director of the Counter-UAS Center of Excellence and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at OSU, as well as president of the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma, a chapter of Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), Jacob continues to be a thought leader in unmanned drone technology, an industry with major implications for national defense, emergency response and commercial enterprise.
See Jacob’s full written statement to the committee below and follow this link to see the full hearing: okla.st/ jacobcapitol
the state. Regina served as a member of the Board of Regents at Murray State College and was the founder and director of the Ardmore Beautification Council. Leadership Oklahoma recognized her with the Community Leadership Excellence Award in 2004. Regina is a retired teacher who taught in Missouri and Oklahoma. Education is important to the Turrentines and their legacy is an expression of gratitude to a profession that has been good to them.
“We have had a great life in the osteopathic profession, and we have been part of it for a long time,” James said. “We’ve never looked back. It’s been great.”
James said their own story inspires them to give in meaningful ways.
“We really started out with nothing,” he said. “Life has been good to us. For some reason, we’ve had a guiding hand that put us in the right direction. We want to leave a legacy and a better world. This is a way we can continue to educate future osteopathic physicians.”
Longtime Ardmore residents Dr. James and Regina Turrentine have pledged $500,000 to the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine to establish scholarships for Oklahoma students with a preference for those from Ardmore, Stigler and the surrounding counties.
Dr. Turrentine remained involved in the osteopathic medicine community throughout his career and was the recipient of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association’s “Outstanding and Distinguished Service Award.” He believes his family’s gift is an investment in Oklahomans.
“We hope it will help to educate Oklahomans close to home, and that they will stay close to home to practice medicine,” he said. “Osteopathic medicine has a strong history in rural Oklahoma, and we want it to continue.”
Dr. Johnny Stephens, president of OSU Center for Health Sciences, said the Turrentines’ gift will support
OSU-CHS’s focus to serve rural communities in the state.
“All of us at OSU Center for Health Sciences are incredibly grateful for the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Turrentine,” Stephens said. “The impact of their gift will be felt by our students for decades to come and allows us to continue to fulfill our mission of educating physicians for rural and underserved Oklahomans. This legacy the Turrentines have created is truly immeasurable.”
The Turrentines were high school sweethearts who started from humble beginnings in Stigler — James’ childhood home didn’t have running water. Together, their commitment to education blossomed in high school.
“I was valedictorian, and he was president of his class,” Regina said. “In high school, we had supportive teachers and received encouragement from our school family.”
The Turrentines care deeply about the well-being of their community and
“We are always looking to do one step better,” Regina said.
She reflected on James’ career and the communities he served with fondness.
“It was exciting to watch his career grow,” she said. “He lived for his medicine and his patients. We still can’t go to the grocery store, or anywhere, without someone stopping to talk to him.”
James earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Kansas City College Osteopathy and Surgery and Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Oklahoma. Regina received her Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Oklahoma.
Since OSU began the College of Osteopathic Medicine more than 50 years ago, the Turrentines have been supporters of its commitment to prepare physicians to practice in rural Oklahoma.
“When they started the program, we jumped in,” James said. “We are all for it.”
Oklahoma State University and Tinker Air Force Base have signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) which will develop technology that directly impacts the readiness of the United States Air Force.
The agreement will allow students, faculty and staff at OSU to work handin-hand with engineers and technicians at Tinker Air Force Base to research, develop and employ technology that will provide a faster, safer, higher quality and more cost-effective means of maintaining and upgrading existing and new aircraft.
“This partnership will allow research that will help improve maintenance operations in the depot to better advance the readiness of our Air Force,” said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey King, commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex at Tinker Air Force Base. “These aircraft provide no support sitting in the depot. The faster we can accomplish maintenance on each aircraft, the faster we can get them back in operation for our men and women serving around the world.”
As part of a larger educational partnership agreement, this CRADA
addresses an immediate need of Tinker Air Force Base and will provide students and faculty in the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology the opportunity to make a direct impact on the nation’s armed forces. Specifically, this research opportunity will facilitate technology insertion and process improvement for removing the many and various aircraft and engine fasteners, an essential step in depot operations.
“This agreement gives us a realworld, impactful way to exercise our research expertise in a way that benefits society almost immediately,” said Dr. Kenneth Sewell, vice president for research at OSU. “This puts a realworld problem in the hands of our students and provides them with experiential research training that they wouldn’t experience under normal circumstances.”
The research conducted under this CRADA will supplement each participating student’s educational experience and create a more knowledgeable, experienced graduate that is more prepared to enter the workforce and address the growing
engineering needs of the state of Oklahoma and the nation.
“Our graduate and undergraduate students benefit from understanding the engineering challenges facing the Air Force in sustaining aircraft and engines,” said Dr. Kurt Rouser, assistant professor in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, serving as the University Technical Point of Contact for the CRADA. “This opportunity will enhance a pipeline of talent uniquely prepared for the aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul industry that has a national hub situated at the crossroads here in Oklahoma.”
While addressing a very specific, immediate need, the CRADA also provides a foundation for the partnership between OSU, Tinker Air Force Base and the U.S. Air Force to build upon. A partnership that the leaders at OSU believe is their obligation.
“We, as a university, see it as our role to contribute, not only to our local community and our state, but to our nation, as part of our land-grant mission,” Sewell said.
The Oklahoma State University School of Global Studies and Partnerships (SGSP) has changed its name to OSU Global.
The name change is strategic and is intended to increase OSU’s international engagement, creating awareness and clearly identifying the scope and responsibilities of the department for the sake of international and domestic audiences.
“This new brand, OSU Global, will enable us to better serve our university and external partners,” Dean Randy Kluver said. “A simplified, broad name will bring a greater awareness of the impact the university has on global engagement. As we position the university to be a preeminent landgrant university, this will help us to build a broader set of international partnerships to facilitate our service to the state and the world.”
The rebranding will create awareness that the administrative offices serve the entire university and represent the entire university
to external constituencies. The new name updates the unit to reflect national norms and positions OSU as a committed leader in international engagement with a focus on overall global engagement.
Since its inception in the early 1950s, the central international office has held many names. Beginning with OSU’s global work in the 1950s, the unit was called the Office of International Programs. In 1997, it transitioned to the International and Economic Development department. In 1999, the unit was named International Education and Outreach (IEO). In 2017, the unit went under another rebranding to the School of Global Studies and Partnerships (SGSP) and added the International Students and Scholars (ISS) office to the unit.
OSU Global will remain the overall administrative office for a variety of globally oriented programs at OSU, including the Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development (CITD), International Students and
Scholars (ISS), the Center for Global Learning (CGL), the English Language and Intercultural Center (ELIC) and the School of Global Studies.
The dean’s office will remain responsible for internationally focused functions across the university, such as international partnerships and agreements; promotion of the Fulbright and other internationally oriented scholarship programs; coordination of universitywide external branding efforts (such as the Times Higher Ed Impact rankings effort and related efforts); the Mexico Liaison Office; and other communications.
OSU Global will continue to house the academic unit — the School of Global Studies. The unit includes the Master of Science in global studies, two graduate certificate programs, the Iranian and Persian Gulf studies program, the global briefing series and administration of the interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in international studies.
There’s a changing of the guard underway in the Oklahoma State University Department of Public Safety.
After 20 years at OSU, Michael Robinson, chief of Public Safety, retired. Former Mississippi State University Chief of Police Vance Rice took over the role.
Robinson first joined the OSU Police Department in March 2003 as the assistant chief of police after retiring with 20 years as chief of police for the City of the Village. In 2004, he was named chief of police and director of public safety. Over the years, his role with public safety has grown with the OSU Department of Parking and Transit, Environmental Health and Safety, and Lake Carl Blackwell falling under his purview as well. In November 2011, he was named chief of public safety.
Robinson said leaving was bittersweet.
“I’ve enjoyed the culture here, the sense of community, and I’ve gotten a chance to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise met,” Robinson said. “I’m a sports junkie. I’ve gotten
to meet childhood heroes and travel to the Cotton Bowl, the Coliseum in L.A. I’ve met (former president) George W. Bush, (former United Kingdom prime minister) Tony Blair and Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow.”
Dr. Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean of Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, is retiring on July 10 after nine years of dedicated service and visionary leadership to the university.
“We are blessed that Dr. Coon has spent the last nine years in positions of leadership with Oklahoma State University,” said Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU president. “He has been an influential force in an area where OSU is a recognized leader across the nation. His career of making a difference in the lives of young adults and shaping the agricultural landscape spans 40 years.”
Joining OSU in July 2014, Coon provides leadership for the Ferguson College of Agriculture and the university’s two state agencies: OSU Extension and OSU Ag Research.
located on-campus and across the state.
Coon has been the driving force behind New Frontiers, a capital campaign to raise funds for a $115 million new state-of-the-art teaching, research and Extension facility for OSU Agriculture. New Frontiers is recognized as one of the fastest capital campaigns at OSU and the university’s
But after 40 years in the public safety sector, Robinson is ready for a change. He and his wife, Kathy, have plans to travel and spend more time with family. The couple have a grown son and daughter, two adopted sons still at home and an adopted daughter.
Rice, who started with the department Feb. 20, spent 25 years with the University of Arkansas Police Department before taking over as chief of police at MSU. He has a bachelor’s degree in human resource development and a master’s in operations management through UA’s College of Engineering.
“I wanted to stay in the public safety realm, but wanted new opportunities and challenges,” he said. “This will be my third land-grant university to serve.”
He and his wife have enjoyed Stillwater so far.
“I’m excited to be here and have liked everything I’ve seen about Stillwater,” he said. “This is a great town. I’m overwhelmed with how friendly everyone has been.”
first academic capital campaign of this magnitude to reach its fundraising goal before the building opens.
Coon earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude) in biology from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and a Master of Science and doctorate in ecology from the University of California, Davis.
He began his career as an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at the University of Missouri. He went on to work as an assistant professor and associate professor of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University before becoming a full professor.
Coon also served as the director of Michigan State University Extension before assuming his leadership role at OSU.
For a full story on Coon’s retirement, look forward to the fall edition of STATE.
Dr. Jennifer Borland was named the first director of Oklahoma State University’s Center for the Humanities.
The Center for the Humanities, a College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) initiative that formally launched in 2022, was created to increase the visibility of humanities research on campus and foster the production of new interdisciplinary projects. The center aims to increase advocacy and connections to expand the reach of the humanities.
“I am pleased to see Dr. Jennifer Borland step into this role,” said Dr. Keith Garbutt, CAS interim dean. “Dr. Borland will have a transformative impact on humanities research, and I am looking forward to witnessing the growth and engagement she will continue to promote.”
Prior to being named director, Borland served as the center’s interim director and has led several humanitiesrelated initiatives. She will continue to teach as a professor of art history in the Department of Art, Graphic Design and Art History.
“I am eager to work alongside campus partners such as those working in interdisciplinary programs,” Borland said. “We provide an inclusive and collaborative environment in which we
want to foster dialogue and engage communities, demonstrating the powerful impact of the humanities to address problems and impact change.”
Outside of the daily tasks of operating the center, Borland will collaborate on outreach opportunities, maintain relationships with the team of faculty on the center’s advisory committee and grow the center’s initiatives.
One initiative Borland is especially excited to expand is the Research Group Fellowship program that was launched earlier this year.
“This flagship program provides support to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research in areas like medical humanities and environmental humanities,” Borland said. “Very few universities have this type of program to foster new research, and I can see OSU’s ambitious and unique model becoming one that is emulated by other institutions.”
Members of the Oklahoma State Athletics family took an icy plunge Feb. 6 to support Special Olympics Oklahoma during the second annual Chilly Cowboy.
After easily surpassing their goal of $30,000 in 2022, event organizers raised the bar to $50,000 this year. Once again, coaches and athletes took the plunge, and once again the Cowboy family came out in droves to support the cause, ultimately raising just over $50,000.
Former Cowgirl softball player Chelsea Alexander and First Cowboy Darren Shrum created the event last year.
“Every time Darren and I get the opportunity to support student philanthropy that goes toward making students’ lives better, we are so excited to do that,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “This is a great example of our
student-athletes supporting our Special Olympics athletes.
“Part of the Cowboy Code is we finish what we start, and this is finishing and jumping in the water.”
The first fundraising threshold for this year’s event was $10,000, with more prominent OSU personalities to be dunked as the total climbed. At the $50,000 goal, first-year Cowgirl basketball coach Jacie Hoyt found herself in the cold seat.
Fundraising included a text-to-give raffle, an auction during the recent Cowboy men’s basketball home game against TCU and donations made to the Chilly Cowboy website. During the auction, a game-worn jersey from Detroit Lions linebacker Malcom Rodriguez, an OSU alumnus, sold for $9,500.
This year, a portion of the proceeds will go to an organization called the
OSU Unified College Program, which benefits Special Olympics studentathletes at OSU. The organization partners OSU students with Special Olympics athletes who compete against other unified university athletes.
Members and coaches from OSU baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, equestrian, football, rodeo, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, track and field, and wrestling participated. Among them was football coach Rob Glass, assistant athletic director of athlete performance, who was at the $40,000 tier.
See more, Page 120.Jennifer Borland
In September 1899, young men attending Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College organized an athletic association in preparation for the recruiting of sports teams, particularly football.
They had no coaches, and there wasn’t a physical education department on campus. John Fields, Agricultural Experiment Station director, served as an advisor to the new football squad with the support of several other faculty members.
There was little understanding of rules or penalties; even young men from the Stillwater community played on the OAMC football team. After their first game that fall, a loss to Kingfisher College, the opposing team’s newspaper referred to the Oklahoma A&M crew as the “Clodhoppers and Blacksmiths.”
Clodhoppers and blacksmiths wasn’t the brand, or identity, the young team desired.
Shortly after the humiliating loss, Professor George Holter’s chemistry class, meeting in the basement of the (Old) Central Building, decided it was time for the college team to create its own identity and select a mascot.
Students in the class admired Harry Thompson, a popular young faculty member who had a connection to Princeton University. His father, Rev. Henry Pendleton Thompson, had earned a divinity degree at Princeton. Princeton was well regarded and the most southern member of the Ivy League. Princeton teams were the “Tigers” and the school colors were orange and black. The class reasoned: Who wouldn’t fear the Tigers?
The chemistry students made their decision. OAMC athletic teams were to be known as the Tigers and their colors were orange and black. The rest of the student body and the football team accepted the proposal. The college in Stillwater would consider itself the “Princeton of the West,” or alternatively, the “Princeton of the Prairie.”
Before this momentous decision, each entering freshman class had adopted its own class colors, but these annual changes created a visual clash on campus and no consistency for the entire student
body. Early athletic contests were mostly intramural occasions during college field day competitions. Freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors would each form teams to compete in these athletic events.
Occasionally, the academic colleges would select teams where the students majoring in agriculture, engineering, education, domestic science (Human Sciences), and science and literature (Arts and Science) would compete against each other. Flags and pennants of many colors would be displayed. But beginning in the fall of 1899 with the initial intercollegiate athletic competitions, the only college colors displayed for these contests were orange and black.
During the next two decades, the OAMC athletic teams were known as the Tigers. It was common for colleges and universities of this era to identify a mascot to symbolize their teams and hopefully bring them good luck. While never utilizing a real tiger, nor a student dressed in a tiger outfit, images of tigers were widely used on campus and in the Stillwater community. Drum heads, pennants, advertisements and gathering places featured tigers.
In the Stillwater community surrounding the campus, there were locations known as the Tiger Tavern, Tiger Drug, Tiger Lunch, Tiger Sweetshop and an annual meeting known as the Tiger Roundup.
The early 1920s brought expanded use of the term “Aggies” for OAMC teams.
Many of the land-grant colleges in the Midwest were known as Aggies: Kansas Aggies (Kansas State), Iowa Aggies (Iowa State) and a few to this day retain the name such as the Texas A&M Aggies. In Stillwater, the term Aggies was used for the first time regarding athletic teams in 1915. Prior to this time, it was generally used in the college and local newspapers for only the School of Agriculture faculty and students. But by the 1920s, surrounding states increasingly used Oklahoma Aggies when identifying visiting athletic teams from Stillwater.
There were other developments that ushered in changes for the college at this time. Coach Edward Gallagher’s OAMC wrestling team was extremely successful at home and on the road. The football team also competed more regularly in surrounding states. Sports writers in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and at other colleges and universities began referring to the OAMC visiting squads as “Cowboys” based on their clothing preferences including cowboy boots and hats.
A Texan named J. Frank Dobie arrived in Stillwater as the new head of the English department in 1923. He inspired a new emphasis on stories, essays and writings at the college about ranch life and cowboy culture in the Southwest. Cowboys were to be admired and venerated, he said. Dobie was a colorful character and remained at Oklahoma A&M until 1925 when he returned to Texas for fame and fortune, but he left behind a new pride in being a cowboy.
The November 1923 Armistice Day parade in Stillwater included an old cowboy and blacksmith from Perkins, Oklahoma. Frank Eaton was in his early 60s and riding a horse in the parade to commemorate the end of World War I. Eaton and his old pals frequented parades and events all around Oklahoma. OAMC alumnus Leslie L. Swim, from the class of 1920, other alumni and then current students decided Eaton was the perfect personification of an Oklahoma cowboy. The Swim family had operated a student store and hangout since 1912 on Elm Street just east of the campus and received permission from Eaton for a caricature of him to be drawn. The Swim brothers — Leslie, Paul and Elmer (known as Bus) — then placed the caricature, called Pistol Pete, on items sold in their store.
The Cowboy moniker became quite popular and the Peck brothers, who owned a competing student store and multiple businesses at the corner of Knoblock and College (University) Avenue jumped on the theme. The Peck boys — Oliver, Clarence and Harold — were also OAMC graduates. The oldest, Oliver, had started a bookstore on campus in 1907 and then movedAbove: Sophomores from the Class of 1902 relax after winning the inter-college championship in 1899. Middle: Front page for the athletic department section in the 1915 college yearbook. Bottom: The 1923 Armistice Day Parade in downtown Stillwater included a Perkins, Oklahoma, cowboy named Frank Eaton.
to the Knoblock location in 1909. They eventually built Peck’s Lodge, also known as Aggieville, that had a lunch room, bookstore, barber shop, cleaners, drugstore, shoe store
Their advertisement in the spring 1924 OAMC college yearbook was the first to feature the caricature of a distinctive looking cowboy resembling Frank Eaton.
The Oklahoma Aggies had competed in the Southwest Conference at the beginning of the century, but the college applied for membership in the Missouri Valley Conference on Dec. 9, 1924.
The MVC accepted their application and the OAMC teams began athletic competitions in 1925 with a new set of rivals. In a conference that already contained the Kansas State Wildcats and Missouri Tigers, there had been growing discussions in the Stillwater community to consider replacing the Tigers as the college team mascot. In the meantime, the term Aggies was increasingly utilized and Tigers was dropped. The 1924 college yearbook was the last to use Tigers when referring to any athletic team and the student newspaper dropped the term as well.
None of the mascot deliberations or decisions took place in any official capacity. The student newspaper, local businesses and alumni groups seemed
Above, top right: Illustrations of cowboys on bucking horses were featured in OAMC publications, correspondence and postcards beginning in the late 1920s and into the early 1960s.
Middle: A younger brother serves as a team mascot for an early OAMC intramural football contest.
to be the leaders in the discussions for a new mascot. A number of brand possibilities were proposed; from regional animal species such as buffaloes, cougars and bobcats, to naming selections from Native American nations and terminology. There were suggestions related to herding livestock in the Southwest such as: waddies, punchers, pokes, cowpokes, cow punchers and bullwhackers. Other suggestions involved those related to law enforcement: marshals, outlaws and bandits.
Few records exist from this time documenting university administration,Coach John Maulbetsch’s OAMC football teamed traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1926 and stopped to pose at a train station in route. Known for their cowboy hats and boots their opponent’s sports reporters frequently would write that “the cowboys were coming to town” when playing OAMC teams.
physical education department, athletic director or athletic council participation in the mascot selection or discussions.
There was a reference to a 1926 athletic council meeting authorizing Gallagher, the athletic director, to produce and distribute 2,000 balloons for sale at home football games that fall. The balloons were imprinted with the slogan “Oklahoma Aggies – Ride ‘em Cowboy.” By the mid-1920s, all references to Tigers were gone, and the athletic teams were referred to as the Cowboys or Aggies with the caricature of Pistol Pete found on merchandise sold around campus increasing in popularity.
Through the years, Eaton continued visiting Stillwater and the OAMC campus when appearing at local events. He was a popular, entertaining and wellliked personality. In the early 1950s, Eaton began a collaboration with Eva Gillhouse, a Hollywood screenwriter and author, to compile and record his cowboy tales. Published in 1953, his book, Pistol Pete: Veteran of the Old West, increased Eaton’s local celebrity status. After the book’s release, Eaton, who was then in his 90s, was invited as a speaker for Dr. B.B. Chapman’s Oklahoma history classes, student and alumni organization meetings, and other events.
Above: The college and specifically the athletic department utilized a number of different brands and logos through the years as transitions occurred within the institution and athletic conference memberships changed.
The legend of Pistol Pete continued an upward trajectory and admiration for Eaton grew as well.
On May 15, 1957, OAMC changed its name to Oklahoma State University of Agricultural and Applied Sciences. The following year, the college left the Missouri Valley Conference after joining the Big Eight.
Eaton, the unofficial symbol and caricature of the Cowboys, passed away at his home in Perkins on April 8, 1958. In the fall of 1958, the Cowboys started the football season in their new conference with the first home game on Sept. 27 against North Texas State. They won the game and finished the season with eight wins and three losses, ranked as the No. 19 football team in the nation.
At Lewis Field, a student dressed in cowboy attire for the first time, wearing a large paper-mache head resembling Eaton. The OSU Cowboys were a brand, and they had a mascot named Pistol Pete.
Join OSU this fall as it celebrates the Year of the Cowboy, a joyous commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton’s involvement with the university. Future updates will be announced at news.okstate.eduAbove: The mascot of Pistol Pete premiered during the 1958 football season. A student dressed in cowboy attire and wore a large paper-mache head with a resemblance to Frank Eaton.
The Cowboy100 is a celebration to acknowledge the business and leadership achievements of Oklahoma State University graduates. The Cowboy100 highlights the contribution of entrepreneurial graduates from across the university and their positive influence on OSU, our students and the world.
For m ore i nformation, v isit okla . s t/cowboy100.
Bowers Trucking & Logistics
DeWitt Paruolo & Meek, PLLC
Embark Global Holdings
Homes by Taber
Schrader + Wellings Real Estate & Auction Co.
Payne County Tree Service
405 Vet Animal Hospital
A.C. Owen Construction
Exchange Traded Concepts
Little River Energy Co.
Community Escrow & Title Co.
Cain & Cain, PLLC
Medical Billing Wholesalers
Magellan Executive Partners
Bedlam Law Firm
Retirement Investment Advisors
Cowboy Driving Academy
Elocin Psychiatric Services
Bridgecreek Investment Management
Swallowing and Neurological Rehabilitation
Stillwater Medical Center
Boadie L. Anderson Quarries
Joe Smith Company
ISN Software Corporation
Claims Management Resources
Video Gaming Technologies
WeightWise Bariatric Program
Cooperative Processing Resources
Tri County Tech
Dream First Bank
Tuttle-Click Automotive Group
Hartman, Wanzor, McNamara, LLP
Community Infusion Solutions
Whisper Intimate Apparel
Matt C Sims Auction
Pete’s Place Restaurant
24 Our Care
Red Bluff Resources
Inner Circle Vodka Bar
Taurex Drill Bits
SNB Bank, National Association
Alert Rental Software
Air Hygiene International
Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ
Stephen H. McDonald & Associates
The FerVID Group
Sawyer Manufacturing Co.
Big Elk Energy
All American Pewter
Evans Building Concepts
No stranger to what life in Stillwater could be like, Kristy Lambert, vice president of the Kansas City OSU Alumni Chapter, followed in her family’s footsteps when she chose to be a part of the third generation to attend Oklahoma State University.
After growing up in Stillwater, when Lambert was a senior in high school, she had a drawer full of recruitment letters from other universities, but she only applied to OSU.
“I knew OSU had strong academic programs,” Lambert said. “The university’s strong Greek system also attracted me. Specifically, the prospect of joining the OSU chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, as my three older sisters had, led me to decide to attend OSU over all the others.”
Lambert graduated with a degree in finance with minors in accounting and economics. In addition to being a Theta, Lambert was involved in the President’s Leadership Council, Order of Omega and Phi Kappa Phi.
Since graduation, Lambert has worked as an attorney in Kansas City, Missouri. She has continued to stay involved with OSU by joining the Kansas City OSU Alumni Chapter. The chapter hosts events in support of OSU athletic teams, community service and social activities.
“One of the most important endeavors the chapter has ever taken
on is actually underway right now,” Lambert said. “We have officially launched an effort to endow a scholarship with the OSU Foundation for an incoming OSU freshman from the Kansas City metro, a long desire of our chapter.”
Alumni chapters can give people the opportunity to make a difference, meet new people and have access to
a network of fellow alumni that can enhance professional and personal life, Lambert said.
“It is never too late to get involved,” she said. “Whether you are a recent graduate, an empty nester or retiree who finally has time to enjoy one’s own pursuits a bit more, joining in the activities of your local chapter can be rewarding and meaningful.”
OSU Student Network welcomes recent alumni back to campus for an Emerging Professionals Night. Student Network members were able to meet and build connections with current professionals in their future career fields.(Photos by Ashton Cartmell)
The Jackson/Harmon Counties Alumni Chapter visit Stillwater for an evening at O’Brate Stadium. Alumni enjoyed watching Cowboy baseball go head-to-head with the Baylor Bears.
Kansas City Alumni Chapter hosts local alumni for a morning coffee to mingle and make new friends!KANSAS CITY WRESTLING FAN FEST The OSU Alumni Association, Cowboy Wrestling Club and OSU Athletics hosted a Fan Fest for Cowboy wrestling fans at the 2023 NCAA Wrestling National Championships in Tulsa. RODEO ALUMNI
The Cleveland County Alumni Chapter hosted Pete’s Pet Posse member, Sophie, and her mom, Joy, at their board meeting. Local chapter members gathered for a meeting of furry fun.
OSU Alumni Association President Ann Caine joins fellow alumni in Kansas City as they prepare to cheer on Cowboy and Cowgirl basketball at the Big 12 Championship tournaments.
BRIGHTER ORANGE OF NORTH TEXAS
North Texas chapter leaders and volunteers dedicate hours of service to Brighter Orange of North Texas to help raise funds for student scholarships. (Photo by Bri Crow Creative)
BRIGHTER ORANGE OF NORTH TEXAS
Future student Parker Fort receives a surprise scholarship from the OSU Alumni Association. Fort has already demonstrated great leadership and service before ever even arriving on campus as a student.
Harry Wickes , ’53 agricultural economics, retired from dentistry and is now 90 years old.
Helen K. Brown (Underhill), ’59 education, is 84 and still plays golf twice a week.
Richard L. Tredway, ’59 architecture studies, and his wife, Cherry L. (Pyron) Tredway, ’61 home economics, ’92 interior design, will celebrate their 64th anniversary on Aug. 29, 2023. They have two sons: Tory Anthony, who is in Nashville, Tennessee, and Tyler Garren, who is in Fort Worth, Texas. Tredway and his wife now have eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. ’60s
Dennis R. Logan , ’60 geology, and his wife, Judy, are doing well and continue to live in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, after retiring from ConocoPhillips. The two continue to follow OSU activities — athletics and in the Boone Pickens School of Geology.
John W. Reynolds , ’60 mechanical engineering, is retired and expecting his sixth great-grandson.
Connie Sheridan , ’64 elementary education, has two grandchildren who have attended OSU. One of her grandsons will be getting married in July.
Jerry Smith ’65 electrical engineering, retired from Lockheed Martin after 45 years working at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Stephen R. Frazier, ’72 accounting, is retired and enjoys crappie fishing as much as possible.
Barry G. Stafford , ’73 business administration, recently retired from the legal services division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. He enjoys visiting campus and attending athletic events.
Kenneth Long , ’75 business administration, is enjoying his
retirement in Stillwater and driving a black and orange 2008 Ford Mustang in America’s Greatest Homecoming parade each year. On Valentine’s Day 2023, he and his wife, Jody, celebrated 50 years of her saying yes to his proposal in front of the Kappa Kappa Gamma house. This July, the two will celebrate 50 years of wedded bliss and are taking an OSU trip to celebrate.
Frank Max Smith , ’75 construction management technology, celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary in May 2022 with his wife, Angie (Albrecht) Smith. Their daughter, Patience, passed away last April and the two are working to find a new normal.
Debra L. Lester, ’82 business administration, is an instructional designer for Novant Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has been working remotely from her home in Grady, Oklahoma. Her oldest niece and nephew, Regan Lester, ’21 civil engineering and Jacob Wade, ’19 animal science, are now both OSU alumni. Wade married Ivy McPherson on April 29, 2023. The two of them met at OSU. Wade is graduating in May 2023 from pharmacy school and McPherson will be getting her master’s degree in counseling in 2023. Another niece, Larin Wade, will be graduating from OSU in May 2024 with a degree in education.
Thomas Blalock , ’83 marketing, was recently elected to serve on the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Meredith Everett , ’88 animal science, ’21 master’s in engineering and technology management, started a new role in her program as a project integration engineer for a minor projects team at Boeing Company.
Godwin Dixon , ’89 business, recently decided to go out on his own to create a new reimagined senior care facility with memory care called Teresa’s House. The facility opened in the summer of 2022. Teresa’s House is unlike any care center a person will find and provides quality care while feeling like home.
Dixon opened the first facility in 2020 and opened a new location in March 2023. He was lucky to have the support of his wife, Christa, who helped in the opening and works at Teresa’s House.
Mark McNitt , ’89 business administration, is celebrating 30 years in residential real estate. He is joining Berkshire Hathaway Homes Service in Phoenix as an associate realtor.
Polly Wenzl (Basore), ’89 journalism and broadcasting, is the newly named editor of The Wichita Beacon. Wenzl is a graduate of Stillwater High School and a former editor of the Daily O’Collegian. She has deep ties in the Wichita community to journalism, nonprofits and education. Wenzl’s background includes 15 years as a reporter and editor with experience covering government at all levels, including as a Washington correspondent. The author of five books, she also specializes in narrative nonfiction and teaches a course at Wichita State University called “The Power of Storytelling,” with her husband, Roy Wenzl. Her newest book, Apocalyptic Polly: A Pandemic Memoir, is now available on Amazon. She also has a son, Henry Elliott , who graduated from OSU in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in math. Wenzl holds a degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Jeff M. Livingston , ’90 finance, came to OSU as a legacy himself. Livingston now has a daughter, Lauren, who will graduate from OSU in May 2025.
Billy Parker, ’90 accounting, was named the new vice president of Blue Peak Business and Connected Properties.
Stacy Coleman , ’91 marketing, was promoted to the president of SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest in Midwest City, Oklahoma.
Cecilia Robinson-Woods , ’94 elementary education, was recently elected to serve on the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Deedra Determan , ’95 journalism, was recently elected to serve on the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Bryce Herkert , ’96 political science and ’98 masters in speech, was assigned as the resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Springfield, Missouri, office.
Delana A. McManus (Campbell), ’96 masters in curriculum and instruction, ’99 doctorate in curriculum and instruction, was awarded Bixby Public Schools District Educator of the Year in 2010-11.
Gene Brown , ’98 architectural engineering, took over FSB Architects and Engineers as its next president and CEO in January 2023. Brown, who previously served as principal over the firm’s Federal Market Sector, will lead FSB’s overall strategic growth in each of its market sectors and continue to play a critical role in fostering client relationships, including key federal contracts. Brown is a leader on both a local and national scale. His impressive resume includes overseeing the construction of the future Air Force One facility, performing the engineering modeling for the Dome over the Oklahoma State Capitol and an influential position on the Professional Advisory Council at OSU’s School of Architecture.
Kevin Cooper, ’99 finance, was named Oklahoma City market president of Commerce Bank. Cooper will bring 24 years of broad experience in commercial
banking, capital markets transactions, treasury solutions and strategic advisory services.
Eric Grote, ’00 engineering technology, is now a partner in Grote-Caston Construction Management.
Denny Kellington, ‘00 health is an assistant athletic trainer for the Buffalo Bills. On Jan. 2, he performed life-saving CPR when Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin suffered an on-field cardiac arrest against the Cincinnati Bengals. Kellington was honored for his efforts with an official fifth-place MVP vote from ESPN’s Suzy Kolber on the league’s official voting ballot. Michelle Maxwell, ’04 psychology and journalism, and husband, Joseph, welcomed their fifth child, Hart Maxwell, this year. In addition to the birth of their son, Joseph sold his chiropractic practice and purchased a Hotworx franchise in Charleston, South Carolina. The family will relocate to the coast this summer.
Jordan Dean , ’11 business administration, has earned her certified trust and fiduciary advisor designation and has been promoted to assistant vice president, relationship management associate.
Robbie Maples , ’13 agricultural education, recently started his position as a capital consultant with Pennington & Co. Pennington serves as a fundraising and alumni services firm.
Madison Bryant (Anders), ’14 elementary education, ’19 master’s in teaching, learning and leadership, was named the 20222023 Ada City Schools Site Teacher of the Year. She teaches 5th grade English and social studies at Willard Grade Center.
Cameron Moist , ’17 sports media, recently accepted a position as a producer for NASCAR.
Adam Hoak , ’19 fire protection and safety engineering technology, left his safety engineering position this March to continue his self-storage business along with his two other partners. He never would have guessed this would be the career path he would end up being on.
Bertha “Bert” Thomas , has two great-grandsons and is expecting a third one in March 2023.
Mary Jo Gibson , was a freshman in 1948. She is now 92.
Paul V. Fleming , ’90 graphic design, ’00 masters in mass communications, will retire at the end of April after more than 32 years at OSU. As a senior graphic designer in Brand Management, Fleming has worked on various iterations of STATE magazine since starting at the university. For many years, he designed and art directed magazines for colleges across campus. He was also the art director of OSU Athletics’ POSSE magazine for several years. During his time at OSU, Fleming earned many local and national design awards, including for the alumni and athletics magazine. He and his wife, Pam, recently found out that they will be grandparents. His stepdaughter, Lindsey Cathey Santoy, an elementary school librarian in Tulsa, is due this fall.
Valerie Cummins Kisling , BFA in design, visual communications, University of Kansas ’84. Kisling began her career as a graphic designer at OSU on April 8, 1991. The first full-color issue of OSU Alumni (later STATE magazine) was being designed at that time. Kisling retired from OSU on April 1, one week shy of 32 years at OSU. She has worked at OSU through five university presidents and 35 building/ construction/renovation projects. She looks forward to enjoying retirement.
Gas Co. He and his former wife later bought the company where he served as president until his death. He was the proud father of three children who all graduated from OSU: Rex, Heath and Kayla. He also has four grandchildren: Jackson, Gracie, Caden and Connor. Miller loved life, golf and watching Oklahoma State sports.
Sylvia T. Buse, ‘83 doctorate in philosophy, passed away on Oct. 17, 2022. She was born in San Francisco on Oct. 8, 1926. She graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco in 1944. She married her husband, Donald, in 1948. Buse received her bachelor’s degree in physiology and psychology from the University of California in 1948
as a psychometrist at the San Francisco Children’s Hospital Birth Defects Clinic. She followed Don to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and earned her doctorate from OSU in 1983. While living in Oklahoma, she worked at Southwest Missouri State, commuting three hours each way, before eventually moving to Springfield, Missouri. She taught and founded the Learning Diagnostic Clinic with Dr. Virgil McCall in 1984 and served as director until she retired in 1997 as emeritus professor. Buse loved living, traveling and teaching abroad. She was happiest watching tennis and basketball with her husband and visiting with her grandkids and great-grandkids.
Kendra was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2020 but tried to make the most out of her last two and a half years. She cherished her time being the most loving and patient mother and wife to Ross, Riley and Kendall. Kilpatrick worked as a math teacher and girls basketball coach at Stillwater High School. While battling cancer, she led Stillwater to the 2022 state playoffs. She was named the Oklahoma Girls’ Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Kilpatrick loved to travel with her family and touch as many lives as she could.
Kaylee Gillette, ’15 accounting and ’17 master’s in business administration, married Grayson H. Gillette, ’16 athletic training, on July 2, 2022, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Amber Batiste (Livingston), ’15 marketing and management, and her husband, A.J. Batiste, ’14 Spanish, welcomed their son, Quinton Isaiah Batiste, on May 6, 2022.
Darren Burns, ’94 civil engineering, welcomed his first grandson, Jace Daxton Burns, into the family on Jan. 6, 2023.
Bailey T. Stacy (Gollihare), ’16 agricultural communications, and her husband, Ezra James Stacy, ’16 agricultural economics and accounting, welcomed their daughter, Reeve McKayde Stacy, on April 25, 2022, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and she already bleeds orange. She attended her first OSU baseball game at 2 weeks old and has since gone to Cowboy football and basketball games. Her parents think her first words will be “Go Pokes.”
Sheila J. Thomas-Boone (Laskey), ’87 therapeutic recreation, welcomed her first grandson, Jameson, on Sept. 23, 2022.Batiste Burns
TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS, INCLUDING DIAMOND SPONSOR VICKIE HALL
TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS, INCLUDING DIAMOND SPONSOR VICKIE HALL
and everyone who attended the 2023 Women for OSU Symposium!
and everyone who attended the 2023 Women for OSU Symposium!
Congratulations to the 2023 P hilanthropis t o f the Year, , Carol Morsani, our five Partnering to Impact g rant r ecipients and o ur 15 ou tstanding studen t s c holars. For continued coverage of the 2023 Symposium and the latest Women for OSU updates — including next year’s speaker — be sure to follow @OSUFoundation on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, or visit O S U giving.com/Women.
book, , O S U giving.com/Women.