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TheThe official official magazine magazine of Oklahoma of Oklahoma State State University University

The of ficial magazine of Oklahoma State University


In T his Issue

From left: Dr. Eric Pfeifer, chief medical examiner; Rep. Kevin Wallace; OSU President Kayse Shrum; Sen. Roger Thompson; and OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony July 28 at North Hall on the OSU-CHS campus.

Celebrating 50 Years The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded in 1972 to combat a rural physician shortage. A half-century later, it continues to train health care providers for rural and underserved Oklahoma and OSU. In this issue, we celebrate that history and dive into other ways OSU is expanding its reach in health care. Pages 52-67 (Cover illustration of OSU Center for Health Sciences: Artist: Moh’d Bilbeisi)

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Expanding Services

All in for CHS

Power Play

A variety of exciting new facilities, hospitals and degree programs will extend the footprint for OSUCHS across Oklahoma.

Why one couple plans to donate most of their estate and their bodies to OSU-CHS.

OSU-CHS’s athletic training program produces professionals like Steve Lintern, who serves as director of health and performance for the Tulsa Oilers and a ‘jack of all trades’ for his organization.


More than a Club OSU alumni family keeps son’s memory alive through nonprofit dedicated to kindness and combating pediatric cancer


‘A Charmed Life’ Retired Regent Calvin Anthony reflects on years of service


‘A Cultural Legacy’ The McKnight Center and New York Philharmonic announce multi-year partnership, residency


Year in Review President Shrum looks back on an eventful first year in office


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Plus ... 4

Editor’s Letter


Socially Orange


President’s Letter


Cowboy Way


Cowboy Chronicles


Campus News


Chapter News


Alumni Update


In Memory






Riding to Remember OSU alumna completes 950-mile Remember the Removal memorial bike ride honoring Cherokee people who endured forced removal from their lands


Loving the Process OSU nutrition professor, graduate student put their stamp on Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon





Megan Horton | Interim Associate Vice President of Brand Management Erin Petrotta | Director of Marketing Shannon Rigsby | Public Information Officer Mack Burke | Associate Director of Media Relations Andy Wallace | Associate Director of Multimedia Dave Malec | Design Coordinator Jordan Bishop | Managing Editor Codee Classen, Paul V. Fleming, Valerie Kisling, Lauren Knori, Chris Lewis, Michael Molholt and Benton Rudd | Design Phil Shockley, Gary Lawson and Brandee Cazzelle | Photography McKinzie McElroy and Meghan Robinson | Video Kurtis Mason | Trademarks and Licensing Leslie McClurg and Kinsey Garcia | Administrative Support Department of Brand Management | 305 Whitehurst, Stillwater, OK 74078-1024 405-7446262 | | | | osu.advertising@ Contributors: Jordan Bishop, Mack Burke, Will Carr, Gail Ellis, Mandy Gross, Samantha Hardy, Hayley Hagen, Harrison Hill, Jessica Novak, David C. Peters, Sara Plummer, Matthew Price, Grant Ramirez, Jillian Remington, Shannon Rigsby, Bailey Sisk and Kaylie Wehr

O S U A L U M N I A S S O C I AT I O N Tina Parkhill | Chair Kurt Carter | Vice Chair Tony LoPresto | Immediate Past Chair Dr. Ann Caine | President David Parrack | Vice President of Finance and Operations Aaron Owen, Baloo Subramaniam, Becky Endicott, Ben Davis, Darin Schmidt, Joe Ray, Scott Eisenhauer, Taylor Shinn, Todd Hudgins and Treca Baetz | Board of Directors Lacy Branson, Will Carr, Chase Carter, Jillian Remington, Chloe Walton | Marketing and Communications OSU Alumni Association | 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater, OK 740787043 | 405-744-5368 | |

O S U F O U N D AT I O N 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 Chris Campbell | Senior Associate Vice President of Information Strategy Pam Guthrie | Senior Associate Vice President of Human Resources Blaire Atkinson, Bryan Begley, Brian Callahan, Bryan Close, Jan Cloyde, Ann Dyer, Joe Eastin, Jennifer Grigsby, Pattie Haga, David Houston, Gary Huneryager, Brett Jameson, Griff Jones, Robert Keating, Diana Laing, John Linehan, Joe Martin, Greg Massey, Ross McKnight, Gail Muncrief, Bill Patterson, Jenelle Schatz, Becky Steen, Terry Stewart, Vaughn Vennerberg, Beverly Walker-Griffea and Jerry Winchester | Trustees Delaney Duffield, Samantha Hardy, Jennifer Kinnard, Lauren Knori, 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 | | 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 Office 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 or call 405-744-5368. Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Higher Education Act), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, genetic information, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, or status as a veteran, in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This provision includes, but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. The Director of Equal Opportunity, 401 General Academics Building, OSU, Stillwater, OK 74078-4069; Phone 405-744-1156; email: has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies. Any person (student, faculty or staff) who believes they are experiencing discrimination may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator, 405-744-1156. 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 $1.06 per issue: 36,296. | August 2022 | #9475 | Copyright © 2022, STATE magazine. All rights reserved.

From the Editor's Desk Fifty years ago this fall, the Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery established a new medical school in Tulsa. Although it wouldn’t open until 1974, the dream of having a medical facility in northeastern Oklahoma was made real with the creation of the first free-standing, state-sponsored osteopathic medical school in the country. Now, a half-century later, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine continues to serve a vital role in educating the next generation of health care professionals and providing critical care to rural and underserved Oklahomans. In this issue, we celebrate that milestone (Page 52), the evolution of the college and the umbrella under which it operates — the OSU Center for Health Sciences — which is experiencing tremendous growth as well with the establishment of the OSU Academic Medical District in downtown Tulsa (Page 58). We also take a look at other health advancements emerging from the College of Veterinary Medicine’s One Health initiative, a Project ECHO program called Heal the Harvester targeting better outcomes for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, and a couple that is committed to taking “loyal and true” to a new level by donating their bodies to science (Page 64). As we welcome students back to campus and a new freshman class, we also look back at President Kayse Shrum’s whirlwind first year in office, the legacy of Regent Calvin Anthony and some touching alumni stories that speak to the power of kindness (Page 16), perseverance (Page 46) and the Cowboy spirit (Page 48). On the OSU-Oklahoma City campus, lives are being changed at the Center for Social Innovation. The center runs a variety of programs designed to help those recovering from addiction, incarceration, those who have experienced homelessness and more. One by one, this program is changing lives, providing opportunities, second chances and hope. (Page 88). The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts has established a new, three-year partnership with the New York Philharmonic that will delight audiences and provide unrivaled learning opportunities for music students (Page 28). In short, it’s a great time to be a Cowboy! Mack Burke Editor


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Join the conversation on social media with the Cowboy family.

Success Crosses the Stage

Cowboy Family Starts Young @BeAnOSUCowboy


Over 3,400 undergraduate and graduate students walked across the stage for #okstate’s 144th graduation last weekend. Congratulations to our #okstate22 graduates!


Home Turf Competition @OSUAthletics

What unites the #CowboyFamily? The Cowboy Code!

Fun and Learning Are Grand @OKStateAlumni


Only schools will host NCAA postseason events for golf, tennis, baseball and softball this spring. Welcome to our home field advantage.


Paying It Forward @OSUFoundation


YEE HAW! Our 20th Grandparent University has begun! We’re excited to welcome over 550 #OKStateAlumni grandparents and legacies for several awesome days of fun and learning at #okstate! #GoPokes

Elementary education senior Anna Perry will leave @okstate debt-free thanks to the generosity of #okstate alumnus Bryan Close. Close surprised Perry with the Bryan Close Teaching Endowment. After the announcement, Perry FaceTimed her dad to share the life-changing news.


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LOOKING FOR SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES? ORANGE IS THE ANSWER. AT OSU, OPPORTUNITIES ARE ABUNDANT. We provide great scholarship programs to help students elevate their success and academic excellence. To ensure consideration for our most prestigious and competitive scholarships, encourage a high school senior you know to apply by Nov. 1.


Cowboy family, As I reflect on my first year as president of Oklahoma State University, I could not be more pleased with the past year, the progress we’ve made and the bright future that lies ahead. My goal is for OSU to become the nation’s premier land-grant university, and we are well positioned to do just that. A bold goal requires vision, and my vision for OSU starts with the strategy process we launched this past year. The steering committee and working groups have been hard at work to develop a strategy that will guide the future of the Oklahoma State University system. The strategy will inform our efforts to build on the successes of the past while charting a clear course for the future of our modern land-grant institution. There’s a role for everyone to play in building our future. We’ve gathered input from the Cowboy family through strategy listening sessions in order to craft a plan that incorporates ideas and feedback from our campus community. For us to truly become the nation’s premier land-grant institution, our faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors will all be involved in executing the strategy and advancing the OSU system together. Another milestone was the selection of a new provost. Following a nationwide search, and after serving in an interim capacity for more than a year, Dr. Jeanette Mendez was named provost and senior vice president in May. Permanent academic leadership is vital to the health of a university, and Dr. Mendez’s selection means a seamless transition as the university moves forward into the fall. At the heart of our mission as Cowboys is service. Within the pages of this magazine, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the College of Osteopathic Medicine within the Center for Health Sciences, which has made such a difference to the people of Oklahoma, and to me, both professionally and personally. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to meet so many students and alumni over the past year and look forward to deepening those connections and making more. OSU is on the precipice of life-changing partnerships, innovation and discovery. I’m humbled to be president of this amazing system and am excited for the future that we will build together.

Go Pokes!

Dr. Kayse Shrum OSU President


Whether flying into Stillwater or out...


Stillwater Regional Airport is the official airport for OSU Athletics

Use airport code "SWO" at to book your next flight.


Moving Forward With New Frontiers Construction progresses on new home for OSU Agriculture


he sounds of construction coming from the corner of Monroe Street and Farm Road on Oklahoma State University’s campus are signs of progress on the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall — the new home for OSU Agriculture. “Campus is a little noisier right now as construction ramps up on our new facility,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture. “We have been working on the idea to replace our current Agricultural Hall

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building for about six years, so we are at a pivotal point right now.” Cornerstone donors Kayleen and Larry Ferguson announced a historic gift in January 2020, launching the $50 million public phase of the New Frontiers campaign and renaming the college the Ferguson College of Agriculture. A little more than a year later, OSU Agriculture celebrated a groundbreaking event for the transformational project, which will strengthen the three pillars of the

land-grant mission: teaching, research and Extension. In July, the New Frontiers campaign surpassed its $50 million fundraising goal for the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, thanks to the generosity of more than 600 donors. The milestone comes two and a half years after publicly launching the campaign. “This new facility will transform and modernize OSU Agriculture,” said OSU President Kayse Shrum. “It also will strengthen OSU’s position as a leader in innovation and continue our


Construction workers drill nearly 200 piers, which will extend down 50 feet to support the new building.

tradition of recruiting talented students and faculty. The New Frontiers project embodies our land-grant mission and supports the important role OSU plays in the lives of Oklahomans and the state’s economy.” CONSTRUCTION BEGINS Phase one of construction began in May 2021 with the removal of the parking lot and Agriculture North to make room for the footprint of the new building. Contractors delivered more than a thousand truckloads of fill on the building site, followed by loads of gravel recycled from the parking lot and Ag North debris. They followed that with civil engineering and utilities work in preparation for the second phase of construction. In addition, construction crews demolished the 4-H Youth Development building, formerly known as the Poultry Science building, and cleared this location on the corner of Monroe Street and Hall of Fame Avenue to serve as the construction staging site and headquarters for the New Frontiers project. BIDDING PROCESS With activities completed for the first construction phase, OSU Agriculture initiated the second bidding phase in early 2022. “Considering the volatility and instability of the construction market, we continued to be prudent stewards when making decisions regarding the bidding process,” Coon said. “However, it was important we didn’t lose momentum, and we continued to generate excitement for the opportunities and the innovation that the new building will foster.” Randy Raper, assistant vice president of facilities for OSU Agriculture, said the bidding process gave a better understanding of the total cost of the building.

“With the uncertainty in the construction market, we were expecting an increase in the total cost of the building,” he said. “After the construction bids were opened, reviewed and finalized, the process revealed the cost was about $15 million more than the original $100 million.” Coon worked with the OSU administration to propose a solution for the building cost increase. “During the April 2022 meeting, the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents approved financing for an extra $15.2 million to support New Frontiers,

bringing the total project cost to $115.2 million,” Coon said. “This action enabled us to continue to progress on the construction site while protecting against any further market inflation.” Currently, the construction site is booming with activity. During the peak of construction, 100-plus workers will be on site during a day. It is estimated 350 to 400 people will be involved with various work during the duration of the construction project. The new building is expected to open in fall 2024.

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The rainwater catchment system add-on will enhance sustainability and efficiency throughout the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall.

An artistic monolith is designed to span the three floors of New Frontiers Agricultural Hall. The feature is one of several project add-ons that only will be possible through private funding.

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BUILDING HIGHLIGHTS The facility is being created with modern teaching methods in mind, utilizing flexible laboratory spaces to serve multiple disciplines and interactive classrooms to harness Ferguson College of Agriculture students’ energy and the excitement of innovation, Coon said. “It will transform our efforts to become even more collaborative, bringing all of OSU Agriculture’s expertise to bear on the challenges and opportunities facing the state of Oklahoma,” he said. “The facility will change and modernize OSU Agriculture.” By strengthening teaching, research and Extension missions, the new facility will help to attract and retain scientific leaders and students while equipping collaborative teams with state-of-the-art teaching laboratory and field facilities. In addition, the facility will include an expanded space and presence for student organizations, including the Student Success Center and a re-imagined Dairy Bar, which was a staple on the Stillwater campus from 1928 to 2006. “Having a facility like this can excite people, and our faculty, staff and students deserve a spot like this,”

Raper said. “The new facility will help recruit more faculty and students.” ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES During the design process, the OSU Agriculture team worked with architects to come up with a base plan as well as alternate add-ons, or a wish list for the building should funding become available. “When you’re building a facility like this, you always want more than you can afford; it’s just the nature of doing it,” Raper said. “So, you must figure out what is critical to the mission of the building. What we’re trying to achieve with the building is a tighter integration of all our purposes with teaching, research and Extension, as well as an elevated student experience that exceeds all other buildings on campus.” Heidi Williams, associate vice president for the OSU Foundation, said the funds raised through the capital campaign will be used solely for the base project. Any add-ons needed would have to come from private funding. “Even after reaching the $50 million campaign goal, we will continue to raise support for the project as we have naming opportunities available and features of the building that we know will enhance our efforts,” Williams said. “These naming opportunities and



“We wish to thank all the donors who joined alongside us in making this building a reality and giving a new home to the faculty, staff and students of the Ferguson College of Agriculture. Thank you for advancing our mission to help feed the world through the programs, people and facilities of OSU Agriculture.”



additional features will only be possible through more donor support.” The add-on items include birdfriendly glass for some of the building’s windows to minimize bird collisions, a rainwater catchment system for sustainable teaching and research purposes, colonnades for the front exterior of the building, an artistic monolith located in the lobby of the building and a media wall for programming visibility inside the building. “Of all the add-ons, the one to me that is central to everything we are doing is the monolith,” Raper said. “I think it will be the place that when students graduate, they will want to go to have their picture taken. It’s going to enhance the experience of everyone entering the building.” The monolith is composed of three orange oblique structures rising vertically through the main lobby. The three structures are meant to represent teaching, research and Extension and convey the need to explore as the everchanging world evolves. All the add-ons appeal to different groups, Raper said. “The media wall is something that could be core to the mission,” he said. “I see everyone in the building benefiting from it. The programming, as well as

maintaining the content of the media wall, is going to be an important part of the building.” The rainwater catchment system is an add-on alternative that enhances sustainability and efficiency. “We are always looking for ways to incorporate peoples’ passions in the New Frontiers campaign,” Williams said. “The rainwater catchment is one of the many creative naming opportunities within this project.” PARTNERS From concept to execution, many partners have contributed to the project. The idea started with the OSU Foundation partnering with consultants Marts & Lundy on a feasibility study to identify how to proceed with seeking private funding for creating a new home for the OSU Agriculture family. Then, donors stepped forward in early commitments that propelled efforts and inspired a lead gift from the Fergusons, launching the capital campaign. “We wish to thank all the donors who joined alongside us in making this building a reality and giving a new home to the faculty, staff and students of the Ferguson College of Agriculture,” Kayleen Ferguson said. “Thank you for advancing our mission to help feed the

world through the programs, people and facilities of OSU Agriculture.” The design process has been a collaborative effort, soliciting feedback and recommendations from faculty and students. Raper is taking the lead in working with Studio Architecture and PGAV architects, as well as construction partners Flintco and OSU Long Range Facilities Planning. Working on the building project is a generational change to embrace, Raper said. “Not everyone has the opportunity to work on a project like this and see people come together,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult for a bit when we move in and acclimate to change, but the end goal of seeing everyone work together, I think that’s going to be the exciting part.”

To learn more about how you can get involved in the New Frontiers campaign, visit OSUgiving. com/new-frontiers.

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I think students who go to school at OSU ought to have a basic understanding

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.

of where all agriculture starts — soil. I thought our gift to the New Frontiers campaign was a great investment to the future of agriculture.” Malone Mitchell Jr. New Frontiers Cornerstone Donor

To learn more about the campaign and to view construction progress, visit

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OSU alumni Holly and Luke Barrón pose together with their children — (from left) Holden, Conley and Reid — at their Edmond home.

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More Than a Club

OSU alumni family keeps son’s memory alive through nonprofit dedicated to kindness and combating pediatric cancer


uke Barrón was at a meeting in Tulsa on Aug. 29, 2012, when he got the call that his 2-and-a-half-year-old son, Keaton, was being rushed to a hospital where a team of doctors was standing by. Luke’s wife, Holly, had taken Keaton to see his pediatrician because he had been uncharacteristically lethargic after a few months of unexplained issues, such as a low-grade fever and a minor cut that wouldn’t heal. But Holly didn’t expect anything out of the ordinary. Keaton’s doctor instructed Holly to take him to the hospital immediately. Keaton’s doctors had never seen such a high white blood cell count. They were surprised he hadn’t had a stroke or was even conscious. After Keaton was stabilized and doctors delivered the news to Holly, she dialed her husband. But she handed the phone over to a physician to deliver the news: Keaton had leukemia. Luke’s back hit the wall and he slid to the ground in shock. “Everything just kind of stopped,” he said. Luke said he doesn’t remember hearing much else before he raced to Oklahoma City to meet Holly and Keaton at the hospital. As he arrived, Luke expected to see his son inundated with wires and surrounded by doctors. Instead, he found him laughing in his mother’s lap while playing with a tablet. “That’s kind of a reflection of who Keaton was,” Luke said. “He was extremely sick, but he was still smiling.” The Barrón family spent nearly the next six years focusing on the next step, the next treatment, the next digestible increment from a tragic buffet. But for Keaton, they kept it simple. “We never used the word cancer because we didn’t want to scare him,” Holly said. “And so we said that his blood was sick and he needed special medicine and we stayed with that all the way through … and he was fine with that.” Holly said they were always honest with Keaton about the treatments — when something would hurt and what to expect — but they remained certain


Keaton Barrón — Lego aficionado and OSU super fan — founded the K Club in 2018.

that he would overcome his illness. They wanted him focused on being a kid — and all that does and does not entail. But life for the Barróns would never be the same. The rigorous treatment demands and trying to provide a somewhat normal childhood for Keaton and his younger siblings — Reid, now 8, Holden, now 6, and Conley, now 3 — proved to be an immense challenge. Even with Holly leaving her job to manage Keaton’s treatment regimen and the family full time, she said there’s no way the family could have gotten through the process without a lot of help. Holly said grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, friends, hospital volunteers and so many others played a vital role in keeping their family afloat. The financial strain of cancer treatment was significant — Keaton’s first intensive care unit stay

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“... We’re going to go out of our way to be kind in the hopes that we will eventually find a cure for cancer and bring people back to a world that is nice to each other.” HOLLY BARRÓN

cost $130,000 before insurance and he would later receive a drug that ran $475,000 a pop — but the emotional toll was often top of mind. Holly said they just tried to stay focused on the present and lift each other up. “We did not for a second think that he was not going to come out of it,” she said. “The fact that we’re sitting here talking is still insane to me because we just knew that he was going to beat it.” Keaton passed away at home on May 11, 2018. It seemed there were no steps left to take. But before he died, Keaton created a blueprint. Kay Tangner, a longtime volunteer at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City who frequently worked with Keaton, was looking to keep his mind on something else during one of his many hospital stays. So, she suggested they start a club. On that fateful day — Jan. 2, 2018, just a couple The K Club logo, shown months shy of his eighth birthday — Keaton here on a cup, was designed by Keaton Barrón. founded a kindness club known as K Club. As founder and club president, Keaton had fun exploring the idea, coming up with a mascot, a clubhouse, a logo, an official snack and setting dues at $1 for members, which would be donated to charity. Holly said it kept Keaton, who she often calls K, entertained for hours. It wasn’t long before word of his new club got around and others wanted to join, TO LEARN MORE too. At the beginning it was mostly hospital staff, about K Club and but donations started to stack up. Soon there were how to get involved, official membership cards. visit kclubkindness. “As we got more money, we actually brought org. projects to Keaton and said, ‘What do you want to do with this money that you’ve raised?’ We gave FOR MORE INFORMATION him some options, and he picked and, we started to about the Keaton get to do some cool stuff,” Holly said. Barrón Charity “When Keaton passed away, we had a friend Classic, visit who said, ‘Do you want to continue the K Club as keatonbarron a nonprofit?’ And so we took Keaton’s kindness piece and combined it with the cause of fighting childhood cancer and came up with Keaton’s Kindness Foundation, or K Club, the nonprofit.” After Keaton formed K Club, Holly and Luke were quick to reach out to their alma mater

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— Oklahoma State University — where Keaton received an outpouring of support. Center for Pet Therapy Director Kendria Cost found out about K Club, and within weeks many members of the Cowboy family, including Pistol Pete, former OSU President Burns Hargis and voice of the Cowboys Larry Reece, were card carrying members. Since then, football coach Mike Gundy, men’s basketball coach Mike Boynton and countless others have supported K Club’s mission, which is “to spread joy and improve the lives of others through kindness, courage, compassion and caring with a special emphasis on pediatric cancer patients and their families.” That, Luke said, would make Keaton happy, as there’s never been a more loyal and true Cowboy fan. He even has Pistol Pete on his headstone, Luke said. “We would do anything for OSU, and that was so special to our entire family,” Holly said. “I wish more people who have that kind of platform understood what it means to families. Like if you can take one family and walk them through Gallagher-Iba, that just feels so special and so important.” Holly said the club’s outreach efforts often have a connection to something Keaton loved in life, like OSU, the Oklahoma City Thunder (Rumble the mascot is a K Club member) and Legos. Lots of Legos. “Our favorite project is Keaton’s Lego project,” Holly said. “Every month, we take the biggest and best sets that Lego makes up to the hospital and we set up about 50 to 60 Lego sets, and the kids get to come in and pick a Lego set to keep.” Since its inception in 2018, Keaton’s Kindness Club has raised roughly $850,000, which includes $75,000 to renovate a lounge on the oncology floor at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. It opened in 2021 under the name Keaton’s Clubhouse. A special place for pediatric cancer patients to connect with other kids and find joy, Holly said the clubhouse is a fitting tribute to Keaton, who was more concerned with others than himself. Despite living much of his life in hospital rooms, Holly said he never complained and was always looking for ways to help others.

OUTSTANDING ALUMNI AWARD The Barrón family’s philosophy embodies the Cowboy Code, and Holly was recognized as one of the 2022 recipients of the OSU Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Education and Human Sciences. Holly Barrón said she was surprised and honored by the selection, noting that her OSU connections have been a foundational pillar of K Club’s growing success. She encourages everyone in the Cowboy family to stay as connected as possible.

The Barrón family enjoys being together, whether they’re playing games, watching their beloved Cowboys or working to promote kindness through K Club.

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OSU football coach Mike Gundy, men’s basketball coach Mike Boynton and countless other Cowboys have supported K Club’s mission through donations, financial support and special engagements.


To that end, the club encourages random acts of kindness, from taping a dollar to vending machines with a K Club sticker or simply sidewalk chalking their neighborhood with uplifting messages. “Keaton was probably the most thoughtful, kind person and was always thinking about how everybody else was feeling when he was the one who was going through everything,” Holly said. “When he was really, really sick and really, really hurting, he had wanted Luke in his room. And so Luke was sitting next to his bed. While Keaton was up hurting, he said, ‘Dad, you can go to bed. I don’t want you to be tired tomorrow for work.’ And I was like, this kid is in so much pain and he’s worried that Luke’s not gonna get enough sleep. … I mean, the kid was just something else, an amazing person.” K Club also provides care packages for children and kits to create hand prints and lasting memories with their families and assists with funeral costs. The club has hosted countless birthday parties and graduation ceremonies and has been there to provide a boost to kids who have relapsed or just need a lift. “Another big part is that we are really passionate about childhood cancer research,” Holly said. “Obviously, we’re ultimately looking for a cure, but in the meantime, trying to get as many treatments as possible and the best doctors possible locally, so that children don’t have to leave their families for treatment.” In addition to a slew of smaller events, the nonprofit currently hosts two major charity events annually: The Keaton Barrón Charity Classic — a golf tournament hosted each spring in Edmond, Oklahoma — and the Keaton Barrón Charity

WATCH an Inside OSU feature about the Barrón family and K Club, at keatonskindness.

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Auction, a fall event slated this year for Sept. 23 at Aspen Ranch in Edmond. Holly manages the foundation full time and the Edmond-based couple is excited about how they can continue to spread kindness. Last year, Parents Magazine recognized the Barrón family with a cover story naming them the “kindest family in America.” Holly said she doesn’t think they’re the five kindest people, but they’re very intentional with their efforts. She said Keaton would have been happy to know that his club is making positive waves. But she said she hopes he’s remembered not as the kid with cancer or even through the legacy being generated by his namesake, but as the kind, funny and wonderful person he was. “People just don’t understand it,” Holly said. “They see the kids with the cute bald heads and they may be dragging an IV pole. They don’t see when they’re hooked up to 19 lines and a ventilator, that kind of thing. We don’t want to depress people when we talk about K Club, because it’s a happy thing and we’re spreading joy and we’re doing this stuff for these kids. But the reality is that it’s brutal. And I hope that our kids never take school for granted, never take a vacation or a birthday party for granted and never forget their brother. Reid is going to remember Keaton, but just barely. Holden is not going to remember him and Conley never even got to meet him. “And so we want to teach them about their brother and what an amazing kid he was, but then instill this legacy that we’re going to do things for other people. And we’re going to go out of our way to be kind in the hopes that we will eventually find a cure for cancer and bring people back to a world that is nice to each other.”


Capitol Cowboys

OSU launches inaugural event with Oklahoma lawmakers in OKC

Oklahoma State University students and alumni, as well as Oklahoma lawmakers, gather at the Oklahoma Capitol building in April.


rom early in the morning till late in the afternoon, the Oklahoma Capitol was a sea of orange, with “orange power” and O-S-U cheers echoing through the halls. Capitol Cowboys Day, hosted April 6 by the OSU Alumni Association, was a chance for Oklahoma State University alumni and students to visit with state lawmakers about their OSU experience and share feedback on areas where they would like to see expanded partnerships between the university and the Legislature. At the lunchtime program, OSU President Kayse Shrum addressed the crowd. “It is so great to see all of this orange in the Capitol today,” Dr. Shrum said. “We are so grateful for all the support that our state leaders give to Oklahoma State University, and we look forward to a bright future and continuing to work with them.” Jessica Russell, director of public policy for the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, works daily as a liaison between OSU and legislators. “I love seeing orange everywhere. Everybody’s so excited and engaged,” Russell said. “It’s a great opportunity to celebrate OSU.” Russell is a familiar face for Oklahoma’s lawmakers, but she thinks this was a unique chance to connect them with other OSU faces.

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Many of the lawmakers at the event had a connection to OSU already. As the representative from District 34, which includes OSU and Stillwater, Trish Ranson is very familiar with the university. “What I’ve experienced here at the Capitol during my tenure is just how far the connections go from Oklahoma State,” Rep. Ranson said. “And you know, especially with being a land-grant college with Extension [offices] in every county, there are quite a few representatives who are either graduates of OSU or they have connections with OSU. Because of that, it’s fitting that we have the event here today and celebrate that connection.” For Ranson, the partnership with the state and OSU is important. “We’re good partners in the sense that what we decide here at the Capitol impacts our campus, but it also impacts our students and our alumni,” she said. “So how do we work together to make sure that the policies that we’re passing help the population going forward?” Ranson’s counterpart in District 33, Rep. John Talley, said he was impressed with the dedication students showed at the Capitol.


“Students went to every representative’s office and talked to us,” Talley said. “They spent the first couple of hours going to offices and meeting representatives and talking to them about policy — really just showing how much, as an OSU student, they care about government and what legislators think. And I think that helps a lot. “It’s all about communication. Just exactly what OSU is doing. We have to keep working at that, letting the government know what the needs are of state institutions. We need to let the government know how what happens at OSU helps the whole state, whether it be research or graduates going into our workforce.” In their meetings with lawmakers, alumni and students focused on a handful of topics such as STEM programming, teacher training, engineering and nursing. “Being able to share my love and pride of the university with legislators was amazing,” said Natalie Evens, a chemical engineering senior. “By giving me the opportunity to provide our elected officials with a student’s perspective of how what they are doing impacts my life and my future, shows how OSU values student input.” Alumni also enjoyed the experience. “As graduates of Oklahoma State, we understand that it’s our responsibility to be civically engaged,” said Tina Parkhill, chair of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. “Today was about communication and building relationships to enhance our elected officials’ understanding that OSU is important to their constituents.”

“It’s really nice to have the opportunity to have a little Cowboy orange all through the Capitol. Higher education is extremely important to the state, and OSU is a premier player. The people of Oklahoma deserve an educational leader and Oklahoma State University fits that bill.” TOM DUGGER, SENATOR, DISTRICT 21

During the daily floor sessions, Pistol Pete and Shrum were formally recognized and received a citation honoring and thanking the university. As the senator from District 21, Tom Dugger was asked to officially recognize OSU on the Senate floor. “It’s really nice to have the opportunity to have a little Cowboy orange all through the Capitol,” Dugger said. “Higher education is extremely important to the state, and OSU is a premier player. The people of Oklahoma deserve an educational leader, and Oklahoma State University fits that bill.” Organized by the OSU Alumni Association with the assistance of key legislators, the event will become an annual staple that continues to build the relationship between OSU and state leaders.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact Jamie Schuermann at jamie.schuermann@

OSU students speak to Sen. Jo Anna Dossett, who represents District 35 near Tulsa.

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A Charmed Life

Recently retired board member Calvin Anthony reflects on years of service

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Calvin Anthony took his seat at the table with his nine fellow colleagues, knowing his 16 years considering decisions on the OSU/ A&M Board of Regents would be over once the meeting was adjourned. Before the final agenda item came to pass that day in the Wes Watkins Center on March 25, Anthony was showered with gifts, kind words and well-wishes as he stepped back to enjoy the next chapter of life. “If Will Rogers was known as Oklahoma’s favorite son, OSU’s favorite son is you, Calvin, and for good reason,” said Oklahoma State University President Kayse Shrum at the meeting. “Ever the humble and measured statesman, you have championed causes throughout the OSU system, and you have tirelessly supported OSU and your beloved city of Stillwater.” A pharmacist by trade, Anthony was raised in a home where taking responsibility for the well-being of the community and believing in the importance of education was modeled for him. He took that foundation with him as he married, bought his first drug store and had children. Anthony moved with his parents and brother to a farm outside Carney, Oklahoma, when he was 7. It wasn’t long until the family opened Anthony’s Grocery, Dry Goods and Feed in downtown Carney. The store had everything: food, greeting cards, bolts of material, buttons, Wolverine shoes and boots, Levi’s jeans, overalls, paint and hardware. The kids all worked in the store as Anthony learned customer service and business from the ground up. Anthony’s father was on the school board and a member of the town council. “You know, in the little towns, the school is the hub of everything,” Anthony said. “Carney was lucky; they had enough attendance to keep the school, but it was always close. My dad was always looking for families that had lots of kids. My dad had a few rent houses. One of the first questions he would ask before he talked about money or anything was how many kids they had.” Besides working at the store and attending school, Anthony’s life revolved around baseball. He had so much promise that a Philadelphia Phillies scout came to the house with a contract in hopes he would sign. He didn’t. His folks had a view that stretched beyond a young man’s fleeting baseball career. They wanted Anthony to get a college education. Was he disappointed? No.

From top: Calvin Anthony in Tiger Drug; Anthony with his family on the farm; The 1968 Oklahoma All-State Baseball Team for the north half of the state. Calvin Anthony (first on left, bottom row); Tiger Drug celebrated 100 years of service in 2008 and the Anthonys gave away a Ford Mustang to celebrate the event.

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Former Oklahoma A&M Regent Calvin Anthony recognizes former Oklahoma State men’s basketball coach Eddie Sutton and player Bryant “Big Country” Reeves at the Oklahoma Capitol.

Calvin and Linda Anthony were inducted into the Proud and Immortal Society at Oklahoma State University. It recognizes individuals who have given more than $1 million to OSU. They are pictured with former OSU president Burns Hargis.

“Being able to do something like that is a long shot,” he said. “I felt like, if I plan on going to college, then if I’m as good as they think I am, there will be something there for me after I get my degree.” Anthony enrolled at OSU, planning on being a dentist. But there were no schools for that in Oklahoma at the time. He worked as a student at Tiger Drug and liked the atmosphere, the customer service and the idea of being his own boss as a pharmacist. For Christmas break in 1968, Anthony — then a senior in college — returned home to visit. At a basketball game in Chandler, he saw a girl he knew from church. Linda Thomas was calling her father to pick her up from the game. Anthony decided it was on his way, and the gentlemanly thing to do would be to offer her a ride. They talked all the way home. Phone calls turned into weekends at her parents’ house or his. By the summer, the pair were “hot to trot to get married,” Anthony said. In the back of their minds was the Vietnam War draft. They wanted to be married before he got a call. A week after they were married, Anthony’s draft number came up. Linda dropped him off in Oklahoma City, both believing he was bound for deployment. He made it to the last stop in the process when he was marked unfit for duty because of an asthma diagnosis that plagued him since childhood. Anthony was home the same day. One life-changing moment seemed to follow another. Anthony went to work as a pharmacist in a grocery store as the couple scrimped and saved to buy a house. Six months later, Anthony’s former boss from Tiger Drug — Mr. Phillips — called with an offer. He was nearing retirement and asked if Calvin would like to buy the pharmacy.

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“It was a dream come true,” Linda said. “That was the thing that made our lives. The opportunity to buy that store was the thing that really helped us the most. We were looking for a store and we had said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could buy Tiger Drug?’” The same year — 1969 — Calvin and Linda were playing cards with friends when the phone began ringing off the wall with calls of congratulations. Anthony’s name had been drawn for a televised competition they had forgotten they entered, sponsored by RCA/Whirlpool. The young couple won a trip to Europe that included picking up a brand new blue Volkswagen and $500 of spending money. In the years that followed, they raised three children. The Anthonys bought or opened other pharmacies in the area. Calvin was on the board of the Stillwater Savings and Loan and active in the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. In the mid-1980s, he was approached by the mayor who was ill and asked to run for the spot. “I never thought of myself as a politician and I still don’t,” he said. “But my dad taught us that we need to be civic minded.” He won without a runoff. The same thing happened in 1992. The state representative in office fell ill, and Anthony was asked to run for office again. “I let them talk me into running for that,” he said. He handily won the seat for District 34 in the state House of Representatives. He was appointed to the appropriations committee and chaired the health committee. He believes he would have been in line to be speaker of the House, but another opportunity appeared. In ’96, the CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association decided to retire.

“The best part about being a regent is the ability to help improve young people’s lives by getting a college education.” Calvin Anthony “The board talked me into taking the job. I had to make a decision,” he said. “There were things in my profession I wanted to do, changes and improvements. I learned in the legislature that I understand and know health care policy. There was a real need for that for several years there.” They packed up and moved to Virginia. His position was of such national importance, he had access to the White House, and he and Linda traveled the world representing the pharmacy industry. But in 2002, Linda convinced Calvin that he wouldn’t get everything done he wanted. Their mothers were both in poor health. It was time to go home. It wasn’t long after he got back that he was asked to serve once again. Gov. Brad Henry appointed him to the first of two terms on the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. He felt like it was an opportunity close to home to do good. “I’m very proud of the good education a student gets at OSU,” Anthony said. “And the best part about being a regent is the ability to help improve

In August 1996, Calvin Anthony (right) was named the new CEO of the National Association of Retail Druggists. He is pictured with Dr. Charles West, the outgoing CEO.

young people’s lives by getting a college education. I look back and I think, ‘What made it for me and for Linda and my brother and family?’ It’s getting a college education. It’s the key. You have to take advantage of it. My kids, my grandkids, their lives are so much different than mine. They have so much more, and I’m thankful they do.” The decisions were often difficult. “The hardest part of being a regent was dealing with the financial obligations for education,” Anthony said. “The cost of education is the most frustrating thing, trying to keep the fees and tuition in a reasonable margin. And you have to make hard decisions over certain things, whether it’s coursework or certain types of degrees.” If it had been a necessity, Anthony would have signed on for another term, but he felt like it was the right time to let someone else take the seat. “I have enjoyed that service,” he said. “I have nothing but good things to say about the board I’ve been privileged to serve with, and I feel like I’ve done my best to contribute and be a good board member. My inclination is that it’s time to step aside. I don’t feel like I have the energy I once had.” He’s leaving behind big shoes to fill. “I cannot say enough about Calvin Anthony’s contribution to OSU,” Dr. Shrum said. “He can make friends with anyone and work with people successfully regardless of their background or political stance. There are not enough words to express my appreciation for his wisdom, patience, guidance and servant’s heart.” Anthony and Linda have adult children, growing grandchildren and not much to offer in the way of regrets. Life has been good, they’ve given back and are taking an opportunity to slow the pace down a bit. They’ll pick the grandkids up from school and attend more Cowboy and Cowgirl athletic events. “I’ve been lucky. The good Lord has just blessed our family. Linda and I — we are small town people,” he said. “All I wanted was to have a house that was paid for to take care of my family. That was what we set out to do. We’ve been so blessed, so much more than we ever dreamed. “We’ve just had a charmed life.”

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The New York Philharmonic performed to soldout audiences the last time it was at The McKnight Center in 2019.

‘A Cultural Legacy’ The McKnight Center and New York Philharmonic announce multi-year partnership, residency


fter christening the performance hall of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts in October 2019, the New York Philharmonic has established a new three-year residency partnership that will see the renowned orchestra return to Stillwater on a regular basis. The partnership, which provides valuable educational opportunities for the Oklahoma State University Greenwood School of Music and Stillwater Public Schools students, will include an annual gala event,

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public performances, a youth education concert and a multitude of masterclasses where students can interact with some of the world’s most talented performers. As part of the program, select OSU music students will travel to New York City each year for immersive learning opportunities with the New York Philharmonic. With a commitment from OSU to transform its arts facilities, The McKnight Center was established in 2016. Philanthropists Ross and Billie

McKnight provided leading support through a $25 million gift, establishing a visionary and unique programming endowment. The center’s partnership with the New York Philharmonic reflects an aligned commitment between two organizations dedicated to sharing world-class education and art. “We are pleased to expand our partnership with a distinguished institution like the New York Philharmonic through this three-year residency,” said Ross McKnight, who serves as a board member at the New


York Philharmonic and as board chair at The McKnight Center. “We envision the center as a transformational space for our university, community and region to experience world-class art. Over the next three years, the residency will help to establish a cultural legacy in Stillwater that will draw audiences and develop the next generation of musicians.” The New York Philharmonic returns to The McKnight Center on Sept. 23, 24 and 25 with music director Jaap van Zweden conducting. The weekend of performances will feature acclaimed violinist Gil Shaham and pianist Conrad Tao. The orchestra also will return during the center’s 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 seasons. “The musicians of the Philharmonic and I are very much looking forward to returning to Oklahoma State University’s McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. When we inaugurated the beautiful new concert hall in 2019, we were touched by the warm welcome we received and by the enthusiasm of the audience. It will be a joy to return,” van Zweden said. A special highlight of the gala concert on Sept. 23 is the opportunity for more than 100 OSU vocal students to share the stage with the orchestra, providing an incredible and unique learning experience. The students will perform the choral section of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, “Ode to Joy.” “We strive to create a professional environment that stimulates the highest standards in music education and have enjoyed a strong relationship with The McKnight Center,” said Dr. Jeff Loeffert, former professor and director of the Greenwood School of Music. “A partnership of this magnitude with the New York Philharmonic sets the standard in music programs and provides OSU students with opportunities not available anywhere else.” The New York Philharmonic and The McKnight Center have a history of meaningful partnership. In 2019, the New York Philharmonic kicked off The McKnight Center’s inaugural season with a four-day residency that included 16 masterclasses, four performances, a gala event and engaging performances for elementary school students. In

2018, prior to the center opening, the orchestra’s principal musicians led mini-residencies that included masterclasses and guest performances with student music ensembles. “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the New York Philharmonic, which includes some of the world’s most accomplished musicians,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “Their expertise will further advance the learning opportunities and academic excellence at Oklahoma State University. I am grateful for the vision and support of Ross and Billie McKnight and to the New York Philharmonic for bringing their talents, artistry and the beauty of their music to our student musicians and our community.” Mark Blakeman, The McKnight Center’s Marilynn and Carl Thoma executive director, said the New York Philharmonic’s three-year residency illustrates OSU’s commitment to present top-tier artists in a format that goes deeper than performances alone. “Our partnership with the New York Philharmonic strengthens the center’s growing reputation as a venue that attracts top talent,” he said. “Through the residency’s main components — performance, education and outreach — we are poised to foster a powerful artistic environment for our community.” The performing arts center’s fourth season kicks off in September with country artist Sara Evans and concludes in April 2023 with a solo concert by award-winning star of Broadway’s Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry. Other noteworthy performances include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Legally Blonde – The Musical, the legendary Count Basie Orchestra and blues guitar legend Buddy Guy. “It’s thrilling each year to curate a season of legendary artists to inspire all audiences, from the most experienced arts aficionado to those who are visiting the theater for the first time,” Blakeman said. “This season is made all the more special as we see our expanded partnership with the New York Philharmonic elevate the audience experience beyond what we witness on stage, immersing our community in world-class arts.”

MCKNIGHT CENTER 2022-23 SEASON LINEUP ■ Sara Evans — Sept. 9 ■ Lightwire Theater’s The Adventures of Tortoise and Hare: The Next Gen — Sept. 16 ■ New York Philharmonic — Sept. 23-25 ■ Buddy Guy — Oct. 7 ■ 5th Annual Chamber Music Festival — Nov. 3-6 ■ Legally Blonde - The Musical — Nov. 10-11 ■ Elf In Concert with the Tulsa Symphony — Dec. 1 ■ The Swingles — Dec. 3 ■ Chicago Symphony Orchestra — Jan. 28 ■ On Your Feet! — Feb. 2-3 ■ The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra — March 3 ■ Late Night with Leonard Bernstein — March 5 ■ Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie: Starring Indigo Blume — March 11 ■ Curtis on Tour: The Soldier’s Tale — March 24 ■ Peter Pan: Silent Film with Live Organ Performance by Peter Krasinski — April 2 ■ An Evening with Renée Elise Goldsberry — April 28-29 McKnight Center season subscribers enjoy benefits including discounts, exclusive access to tickets and pre-sales, seats to high demand performances and the opportunity to renew into prime seats each year. Subscription packages and tickets to single events are on sale now. To join the center’s family of subscribers, contact the box office at 405-744-9999 or info@

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Pep Rally Concert Series Featuring


SARA EVANS September 9, 7:30 p.m.

Plus – show your Orange Pride at a pre-performance tailgate party in the plaza!

on Tickets w! sale no ll a Bundle s n 3 eve t . to save

BUDDY GUY October 7, 7:30 p.m.

LEGALLY BLONDE – THE MUSICAL November 11, 7:30 p.m.



Cowboy100 Gala

At the inaugural Cowboy100 Honoree Gala last November, 76 businesses from 11 states and two foreign countries were recognized as either Cowboy100 businesses or Blazing10 award winners. A complete list of the honorees is available on the Cowboy100 website.

Hosted by the Riata Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in conjunction with the OSU Foundation, the Cowboy100 is designed to recognize outstanding entrepreneurship throughout OSU’s alumni base while raising funds for the Riata Center’s student programs and activities. It also provides additional resources for students to engage with industry leaders and for the Riata Center to become the reference point for entrepreneurship throughout the university. Applications and nominations are being accepted for the 2023 edition of the Cowboy100, celebrating the fastest-growing and top 10 revenuegenerating OSU graduate-owned or OSU graduate-led businesses. The 2023 Cowboy100 Honoree Gala is scheduled for March 31, 2023.

I M P O RTANT DATE S August 31, 2022 | Nominations Close

March 31, 2023 | Cowboy100 Honoree Gala

October 31, 2022 | Applications Close

Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development

February 2023 | Alphabetical List Announced





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• • •


• • • •

Symposium emcee Julia Benbrook (left) and keynote speaker Lauren Bush Lauren

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The 2022 Women for OSU Symposium returns to Gallagher-Iba to celebrate the Cowboy community

Returning to Gallagher-Iba Arena for the first time since 2019, the 2022 Women for OSU Symposium drew a crowd of more than 500 Cowboy faithful — along with a large virtual audience — to celebrate philanthropy and scholarship at Oklahoma State University. Women for OSU is comprised of a diverse group of women who share a passion for inspiring leadership and financial support to OSU. On April 28, the symposium brought the Cowboy community together as it recognized former First Cowgirl Ann Hargis as the 2022 Philanthropist of the Year. Hargis, who served as OSU’s first lady for 13 years, exemplifies the true meaning of philanthropy, said OSU President Kayse Shrum. “It wasn’t just her time and passion, but she also gave to the things that were important at Oklahoma State University, and really that’s what philanthropy is,” Dr. Shrum said. “Someone who is willing to give and invest in other people. That is what she did here as the First Cowgirl at OSU.” Also among the honorees were 15 outstanding student scholarship recipients. The scholars — undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students — study various disciplines at OSU including medicine, education, agriculture and business. Lauren Bush Lauren served as the keynote speaker for the event. She is the creator and CEO of FEED — a global,

socially conscious clothing brand committed to feeding the children of the world — and great-granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush as well as daughter-in-law to fashion icon Ralph Lauren. The packed venue was beautifully decorated and hosted an engaged crowd after an exclusive livestream event in 2020 and a more intimate gathering with a livestream option in 2021. “We are grateful to have the OSU family together again in Gallagher-Iba,” said Jayme Ferrell, director of Women for OSU at the OSU Foundation. “We are thrilled to host a large crowd, as well as a virtual audience that celebrates the remarkable work of so many at OSU. Thank you to our sponsors for providing this wide reach so that we can share inspiring philanthropic work.” Women for OSU recognized its second group of Partnering to Impact grant recipients. The program aims to support unbudgeted projects across campus that benefit health and wellness, education, campus beautification or arts and culture. The inaugural 2021 class featured four recipients, but thanks to the growing number of Partners — those who give a minimum of $1,000 annually to the Partnering to Impact Fund or $500 annually for those younger than 35 — six grants were awarded this year.

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Partnering to Impact LEADHERSHIP SPEARS Dr. Alexis Smith Washington, Associate Professor & Senior Inclusion Officer | Sarah Teague, Manager Outreach Programs, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship

OPPORTUNITY ORANGE SCHOLARS Dr. Jennifer Jones, Director, Institute for Developmental Disabilities | Dr. Kami Gallus, Associate Director of Research, Institute for Developmental Disabilities

BREAK THE CHAIN: STOPPING SEX TRAFFICKING WITH BIG DATA Dr. Miriam McGaugh, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, School of Marketing & International Business

“Partnering to Impact has been wildly successful due in part to its mission to connect the Women for OSU’s passions with tangible and meaningful ways to impact the university,” Ferrell said. “Through this initiative, their financial impact continues to grow while Women for OSU has been able to move forward with its philanthropic efforts within the OSU community.” OSU-Oklahoma City’s Fridays are for Careers is a 2022 Partnering to Impact grant recipient. OSU-OKC Director of Recruitment and Admissions Brandee Morgan developed the program to improve the accessibility of higher education and career exploration for Oklahoma City high school students. The program invites students to the OSU-OKC campus where they experience a higher-education environment first-hand, learn about various career programs and work with faculty despite any financial or transportation barriers. “This grant gives us the opportunity to reach out to students so they can start seeing themselves as being capable of going to college and putting themselves in those careers that they never thought they would ever be able to do,” Morgan said. Dr. Alexis Smith Washington, associate professor and senior inclusion officer at the Spears School of Business, and Sarah Teague, manager of outreach programs and the Riata

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2022 G R A N T R E C I P I E N T S FRIDAYS ARE FOR CAREERS Brandee Morgan, Director, Recruitment & Admissions, Oklahoma State University - OKC

LOCAL SCHOOL PARTICIPATION IN NAISEF ON OSU CAMPUS Dr. Cynthia Orona, Program Coordinator, Water Resources Center | Dr. Nicole Colston, Assistant Research Professor, Department of Natural Resource & Ecology Management

PARTNERING TO IMPACT THE ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Dr. DJ McMaughan, Assistant Professor in Health Education & Promotion | Dr. Richard Alan Jones, Visiting Assistant Professor in Integrative Biology | Dr. Madeline Brodt, Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology

Center for Entrepreneurship, created LeadHERship Spears, another 2022 Partnering to Impact grant recipient. The program’s goal is to increase programming specifically designed for female students in the Spears School of Business. “We devised LeadHERship Spears as a cohort-based program so that a select group of female students would be poured into with additional resources and training, so that not only do they walk away with the fundamentals of business — they walk away with polish, professional savvy and a network,” Washington said. Teague said she believes LeadHERship Spears will make a difference. “This is our chance to make an impact for these women,” Teague said. “It’s an opportunity for Spears to really dig in and provide this culture.” Washington said she felt deeply honored to receive the grant and is grateful for the impact mentorship and scholarship will have on these students’ lives. “Thank you to the Women for OSU. This is going to provide such a rich opportunity for women at Spears and the 10 recipients of our scholarship. I know they are going to be over the moon,” Washington said.

TO LEARN MORE about the 2022 Women for OSU Scholars, pictured above, visit

Feeding the World As keynote speaker, Lauren shared her passion to end child hunger, which coalesced after her first trip abroad serving as an ambassador for the World Food Programme — the food-assistance branch of the United Nations. She visited a therapeutic feeding center tasked with treating severely malnourished children. At the center, a mother placed her crying little boy into Lauren’s arms. Lauren thought the boy was about 3 years old, but later learned he was 7. The experience changed her life. “Hunger is so often this faceless, abstract, overwhelming issue,” she said. “I’ve been able to meet so many people and so many families abroad and here in the U.S. who struggle to make ends meet. I think that’s been part of my wanting to start FEED.”

As a former model and fashion student, Lauren uses FEED to combine her love for design and passion to combat hunger. FEED’s mission is to create products that help feed children around the world, with each clothing item sold providing meals to hungry children globally. Over nearly 15 years, FEED has given more than 120 million meals. For Lauren, FEED strikes the right balance between personal fulfillment and transformational, philanthropic work. “If you can make a career out of something you like doing that also gives back to make the world a little bit better, then that is obviously very much a path worth pursuing,” she said. Recognizing OSU’s initiatives to tackle food insecurity, Lauren encouraged collaboration to end world hunger.

“I am so grateful to be with you guys and to be able to share my story and my journey, and also to be really inspired by you and what you’re doing,” she said to the audience. “Hopefully, together, we can move from a world that needs FEED to a world that is well-fed and well-nourished.” The event also included the announcement of the 2023 Women for OSU Symposium keynote speaker — Elizabeth Smart. Smart is an abduction survivor, author, activist and communicator for hope after tragedy.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on becoming a Partner or sponsoring the symposium, visit

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Ann Hargis

2022 Philanthropist of the Year

Women for OSU Chair Jami Longacre (left) and Philanthropist of the Year, Ann Hargis

“There are people who are loved and people who are beloved. She is definitely beloved.” ­- KENDRIA COST DIRECTOR OF THE ANN HARGIS OSU CENTER FOR PET THERAPY

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Former First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, who served Oklahoma State University for 13 years alongside President Burns Hargis, is the 2022 Women for OSU Philanthropist of the Year. Her love and care for the Cowboy family has left a lasting impact as she was instrumental in creating the America’s Healthiest Campus initiative and turning OSU into a leader in university wellness. In 2013, she co-founded Pete’s Pet Posse, which has grown to become the largest university pet therapy program in the country. “Ann’s generosity and passion for helping others has left a long-lasting imprint on our university,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “We share a love of dogs, and Ann took that love and turned it into a gift for the campus with Pete’s Pet Posse. I am so grateful for her dedication to making an impact on the lives of our students.” In 2021, Women for OSU surprised Ann by establishing the Ann Hargis OSU Center for Pet Therapy Endowment. Once the endowment is fully funded, it will secure the long-term future of the center, where she continues to be involved today. She and Burns also established an endowed professorship and made the OSU leadership scholarship possible. Her love for the arts has transformed the OSU cultural experience as the Hargises have made considerable contributions to The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, the Doel Reed Center and the OSU Museum of Art. “As First Cowgirl, she was a pioneer of initiatives on campus,” OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson said. “Those are projects she led with her time, her talent and her incredible intellect, but also her philanthropy. She is very generous.”

Ann was awarded an honorary doctorate at OSU in 2019 for her work in the area of wellness and improving the lives of others. She continues to be an active and engaged member of the community, making contributions to a wide variety of philanthropic organizations in Stillwater and throughout the state. “We had no idea the gift we’d been given all those years ago when she enthusiastically came on board as first lady,” said Diane Tuttle, former Women for OSU councilwoman. “In all situations, she exemplifies how a person should live their life. She is the epitome of an energetic, caring and generous person.” Ann’s long-lasting impact on OSU is one of service and love. “There are people who are loved and people who are beloved,” said Kendria Cost, director of the Ann Hargis OSU Center for Pet Therapy. “She is definitely beloved.” Inspired by the OSU community, Ann emphasized the importance of philanthropy. “The whole idea of a philanthropist is that you take what you have and come out of yourself to be able to give to others,” she said. “A philanthropist is someone who gives back — from the tiniest, kindest gestures through the multimillion dollar donors and everything in between.”

Watch a video highlighting Ann’s incredible philanthropic impact on the OSU community at:


April 27, 2023 F E AT U R I N G K E Y N O T E S P E A K E R

Elizabeth Smart Abduction survivor, author, activist and communicator for hope after tragedy


P L AT I N U M S P ONS OR OSU Foundation G OL D S P ONS OR S Bank of Oklahoma Sheryl Benbrook Amy Cline Suzanne Day Kayleen Ferguson Susan Glasgow Anne Greenwood Jill Hainkel Virginia Hellwege Claudia Humphreys Susan Jacques Jami Longacre

Gail Muncrief Amy Mitchell and Vicki Howard OSU Athletics OSU College of Arts and Sciences OSU College of Education and Human Sciences OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology OSU Ferguson College of Agriculture OSU President's Office Jan Polk Jenelle Schatz Spears School of Business Becky Steen and Robin Byford Karen Stewart Lucina Thompson

S I LV E R S P ONS OR S Jennifer Callahan Kirsten Daniel Pat Knaub Julie Lambert Retta Miller OSU Academic Affairs OSU-OKC Gwen Shaw Terry Slagle Melinda and Joel Stinnett Sharon Trojan Kristine Waits Denise Weaver Leslie Woolley

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CELEBRATING ONE MONUMENTAL YEAR Shrum looks back on whirlwind first year as president



hen Shrum became interim dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2011, she saw it as an opportunity to make some positive changes. But as with the best laid plans in any organization, unforeseen challenges emerged. Returning home each evening, her husband, Darren, would ask about her day. In that safe space, she outlined the difficulties in each situation. One day before she returned home, she decided focusing on the negative was counterproductive. She knew he would ask, so she made the choice to reframe how she talked about her experiences. So, this time when he asked, she said, “There were a lot of opportunities today.” It became her mantra, a valuable mental reframing that helped her through the first 365 days as president of the OSU system.

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EARLY CHALLENGES Shrum took office on July 1, 2021, the same day as Athletic Director Chad Weiberg. On July 20, the athletic world was rocked by the news that two Big 12 Conference universities were set to leave the conference in favor of the Southeastern Conference. She hadn’t even unpacked her office or assembled her leadership team when the news broke. How OSU would react to the news was pivotal. Shrum took a strong stance, vowing to fight for what was in the best interest of Oklahoma State. It was round-the-clock phone calls and strategizing for her first non-COVID challenge since taking office. And what did Shrum say about the ordeal? “The Big 12 shake-up added a whole other level of complication to things, but it gave me a really good opportunity to spend some time with Chad Weiberg,” she said. “We got to know one another and work through a challenging situation right off the bat. Retrospectively, I think it has turned out very well. You know, we can find opportunities in all of those challenges.” How Shrum dealt with the shake-up impressed Weiberg. “She didn’t back down and she didn’t shy away from the difficult questions or decisions. Instead, she stepped up and did what good leaders do — she led,” he said. “And in the process, she provided confidence to our coaches, our staff and our faculty, as well as our alumni and donors, that Oklahoma State was going to be just fine. In fact, we were going to find the opportunity in the midst of the change.” Since then, more changes have been announced for the Big 12, providing a new slate of possibilities in 2023. Shrum believes the new arrivals — Brigham Young University, University of Central Florida, University of Cincinnati and University of Houston — will be great additions, and she plans for OSU to be at the top.

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“We certainly have the strength in all of our athletic programs with the leadership and energy,” she said. “I’m very excited about it. We hired a new women’s basketball coach, Jacie Hoyt. I think she’s going to do amazing things here, and I’m excited to see what she does. [Football] coach Mike Gundy had a tremendous year last year, and we anticipate that that will continue to build.” A primary focus for Shrum over the past year has been assembling the leadership team that will lead the entire OSU system. One of the key positions was that of Dr. Jeanette Mendez — former interim provost who was named to the position permanently in June after a nationwide search. Dr. Johnny Stephens filled another key position, taking over as president of the Center for Health Sciences and interim president at OSU-Tulsa. “Dr. Shrum’s background as a student-athlete and pediatrician really informs how she leads, even today,” Stephens said. “She’s all about the team. She’s collaborative and listens well, which I think is influenced by the athlete and the physician in her. This background and perspective really set her apart and contribute to her success as president.”

SHRUM AND THE STUDENTS With experience as president of the Center for Health Sciences, Shrum had an idea of the roles and responsibilities that would come with being president of the OSU system. The notoriety, though, was surprising, she said. People stop her at the airport and gas station, and her go-to hairstyle, the “Shrum bun,” is instantly recognizable. Social media accounts have popped up following Shrum’s sense of fashion. As she moves through campus, students stop her in hopes of getting a photo with her. Shrum always agrees. With her training in medicine, Shrum is most comfortable in her element one-on-one. Connecting with people individually and caring about them personally is her greatest joy. “A fun surprise, I think, is just how much I’ve enjoyed the students and the opportunity to walk across Library Lawn and have them there,” she said. “It’s been really rewarding for me having the opportunity to visit with them. When the equestrian team won the national title, I got to go visit with them. And that was a really special moment for them and for Coach [Larry] Sanchez, and we got to be a part of that and so many other amazing moments.”

Shrum made national news when she was arriving at an event at the Student Union in heels just the right shade of orange. As she was getting out of Darren’s truck, she heard a student, Jami McKibbin, comment on her shoes; she had been looking for a pair but couldn’t find any in the right color. “What size do you wear?” Shrum asked McKibbin. The answer was close enough to the right size. Shrum loaned the heels to the student for a few special shots, then took some photos with her. The photographer was so moved she was crying. A colleague rolled up on the scene, surprised to see a barefoot Shrum, holding someone’s else’s shoes and watching a student have her picture taken. So, they took a photo of Shrum in that moment that went viral. Shrum had no idea anyone would care other than the student. It was an opportunity to bestow kindness, to give a meaningful moment disguised as borrowed orange heels. It cost Shrum nothing but time, and she found joy in the student’s delight. The photos made the rounds on social media. Then, the president’s office was inundated with other students who wanted to take their picture with Dr. Shrum. A serendipitous moment soon evolved into an event. Shrum set aside an hour to take pictures with any graduate who wanted to come by. And more than a hundred did. “It’s those moments that I think you can’t anticipate, that you don’t plan for, that have been the most special to me,” Shrum said.

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LIFE AT HOME The Shrums have been living in Stillwater for a year now, after more than a decade on a Coweta farm. They’ve grown accustomed to living with nearby neighbors while they wait for construction on the OSU president’s residence — named University House — to be finished. Some adjustments have been necessary, though. “Darren likes to cook. When he made bacon at our home in Coweta, if the smoke detectors went off, you fan them and then it’s OK,” she said. “We found out that ours here are connected to the fire department. We had a great moment meeting the firefighters and police.” In November 2021, Shrum announced the Later this year, the Shrums will move to the imminent launch of a process to create a guiding new house. It will have space to host events, as well strategy to move OSU forward, digging deep into as private living quarters. the meaning and responsibilities of being a land“We are really looking forward to that,” she said. grant university and opportunities to leverage the “It’s a beautiful home and has a beautiful space to be entire OSU system for the greater good. able to host events. I think it’s going to be a special “My desire is for us to be the premier land-grant place for everyone at the university.” university,” she said. “As we move forward, we’re Getting used to new living arrangements hasn’t looking at what our strengths are. How do we been the only adjustment for the Shrums. create an educational opportunity for students Darren — a gregarious entrepreneur — has that’s unique to Oklahoma State University and embraced his role as the First Cowboy, meeting that other universities will be looking towards and people, making friends and cooking the occasional asking, ‘How do they implement that?’” breakfast for groups on campus such as the staff A steering committee was selected at the end of at University Health Services and the OSU Police 2021. The working groups were in place in January Department. 2022. “Honestly, I think he was made for this “I don’t think changing lives is a new thing for particular role,” she said. “He has really enjoyed Oklahoma State University,” she said. “That’s why getting to know people on campus and experiencing so many people love Oklahoma State.” what the students do academically — engaging Slated to be unveiled this fall, the strategy really with almost everybody on campus.” will be systemwide and student-centric, with a The pair recently celebrated their 30th goal of providing a clear vision to maximize the anniversary, and this is the first time they’ve had possibilities of a diverse, five-campus system. an opportunity to be part of the same organization “The next year is really about rolling that out and and have their paths cross during the workday. implementing it — of bringing everyone around the Shrum said it’s been a blessing for the two of them same goals,” she said. “Having everyone buy into to work together in a new way. the plan and support it moving forward together is In the spring, Cowgirl softball player Chelsea going to determine its success.” Alexander approached Darren about a new Besides outlining the broad pillars that will fundraiser for the Special Olympics: the Chilly become the foundation for OSU’s future success in Cowboy. Darren dove in with both feet, helping key areas, she also intends to highlight all the areas launch what will become an annual event that that make the university unique, like having the brought in more than $30,000 for Special Olympics highest number of STEM grads of any university in Oklahoma in 2022. the state and having Oklahoma’s premier College of “I always say Darren is living his best life Veterinary Medicine. because every day is an opportunity for him to meet “It’s the only one in Oklahoma and it’s really a new people and engage in new things and he just crown jewel,” she said. “Investing in elevating that college is something I want to be able to do this year.” loves it,” she said. “It’s wonderful.”


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ACCOMPLISHMENTS Shrum’s first year in office was a whirlwind for OSU, but it was also a year punctuated by incredible milestones, vision and victories both on and off the field. There were moments of connection and joy, like her first Homecoming Walkaround as president. She and Darren delivered cookie cakes to all the Greek houses. They met students, made friends and went on tours. There was the Fiesta Bowl triumph — an unforgettable come-from-behind win over Notre Dame. Shrum worked with students on philanthropic endeavors like the Cowboys for Veterans drive, which provided Christmas gift bags to veterans across the state. And there were accomplishments that will shape OSU’s future. The creation of the Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University, the launch of Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) and a new research partnership with the University of Arizona (Page 58).

“The partnership with the University of Arizona is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “And the opening of the Hamm Institute was an amazing experience. I’m excited about what that will do for the university, our students and for the world. The university is on course to make significant advances in key fields in the years to come. I’m delighted about what we have accomplished in the last 12 months. I think where we go from here will be revolutionary.” The past year has been a mixture of the expected and unexpected, difficult decisions and too many late nights to count. All of it though, has been laced with opportunities because that’s how Shrum has trained herself to see both the difficult and the mundane. “I remain honored and humbled to be chosen as Oklahoma State University’s president,” Shrum said. “I would not trade this opportunity for anything. So many great things have happened this year. I would say the best part for me is always the people and interacting with the students. And I am excited about what’s ahead. With our worldclass faculty and a vision solidifying our path for the future, there is not another university system better positioned to effect meaningful change in the lives of students, the state and nation. “There’s no limit to what the Cowboy family can accomplish together.”

Watch an Inside OSU interview with President Shrum at

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Riding to Remember

OSU alumna bikes the trek her ancestors made over 180 years ago

OSU alumna Kayce O’Field (second from the right) and her teammates proudly display the flag of the Cherokee Nation while entering Oklahoma.

O’Field graduated from OSU with a business administration degree.

O’Field (second from the left) and her teammates were the first all-female team to participate in the Remember the Removal ride.

O’Field, (left) and her teammates who are all members of the Cherokee Nation.

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ore than a decade ago, Kayce O’Field watched her brother complete a ride to honor their ancestors. After seeing how it affected him, she knew that one day, she would make the journey, too. The Remember the Removal ride is a 950-mile memorial bike ride that honors Cherokee people who endured forced removal from their lands between 1838-1839. Every year since 1984, a team selected by the Cherokee Nation starts in New Echota, Georgia, to follow the northern route of the Trail of Tears. The team is accompanied by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians until they finish their ride in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. New Echota was the capital of the old Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah is the current capital. O’Field and her fellow riders biked through seven states: Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. O’Field, originally from Tahlequah, initially applied to be a rider after her brother’s trip in 2009 and wanted to feel a deeper connection with her ancestors and her family’s history. She said it was a big honor to have been chosen. Applicants write an essay about why they want to participate in the bike ride, submit three letters of recommendation, go through an interview and pass a physical before being selected for the team. “When selected, you’re an ambassador, and I take that role with very high regard,” O’Field said. “During our training, we read a lot. On the ride, we made stops in places we had just learned about. Being able to stand where our ancestors stood and listen to what they experienced was very powerful.” O’Field said the team is challenged with six months of training and education before they ever start on their ride. Training for the ride was more than just biking, O’Field and her team also learned history, songs and language. “Training began in December with about three miles in one day. We rode together on weekends,” O’Field said. “Due to COVID-19, we had Zoom lessons for book work. The training process was gradual, but after a while, we would do 15 miles, then 30 miles, then 60.” The route the team travels is full of obstacles. Not only did the team bike through several mountains and consistent hilly terrain, but they also endured heavy weather. O’Field said that any time she wanted to stop riding, she thought about her ancestors. “When we were climbing this mountain in Missouri, I started thinking about what my ancestors went through,” O’Field said. “We had all these necessities and people following behind us to help if needed. I told myself that I would never have it as bad as my ancestors, and that encouraged me to keep going.”

The team selected this year was the first allfemale team. O’Field said being on that historic team made her feel empowered. She said each team member brought something different and beneficial to the team, and anytime someone needed something, they were there for each other. “We went through seven states together,” O’Field said. “The ride was very hilly, and we climbed two mountains in Tennessee. The bond that I had with my team is what pushed me over those obstacles. I could not have made it up those mountains without my team.”

“During our training, we read a lot. On the ride, we made stops in places we had just learned about. Being able to stand where our ancestors stood and listen to what they experienced was very powerful.” KAYCE O’FIELD

O’Field and her team reflected on their ancestors throughout the ride in several ways. Stops along the way included Meramec Spring Park in Missouri, Mantle Rock in Kentucky and Port Royal State Park in Tennessee. O’Field said when the team stopped at locations, sometimes they would sing a song in the Cherokee language, or they would say a prayer and reflect on the meaning of each location. The cyclists found meaning while biking as well. O’Field said the team would talk about how they saw signs from their ancestors. “My team knew my favorite flower is a daisy,” O’Field said. “When we saw daisies while riding, they told me that my ancestors put those there for me, so that I would know to keep going. When we saw butterflies, we said it was our ancestors coming to check on us.” The Remember the Removal team finished their ride on June 17 in Tahlequah surrounded by family, friends and fellow Cherokee citizens. O’Field said their final half mile of the ride was full of emotions. “As soon as we got into Tahlequah, it was just unreal,” O’Field said. “There were marshals in front of us, blocking the streets. I was sad it was over, but happy that I finally got to see my family.”

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OSU assistant professor McKale Montgomery crosses the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon finish line, setting a new female course record.

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Loving the Process

OSU nutrition professor and graduate student claim victory at Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon

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career. While her preparation for each race varies, one thing remains the same: she’s always on to the next thing. “I could just run every single day, and a lot of people do,” Montgomery said. “But having a race in mind gives you something to target. Just like having a publication or a grant to submit. Something else to look at, then it’s on to the next one.” Montgomery keeps that mindset as she balances the different responsibilities in her life. Dividing her time between training, researching and being a mother of one keeps her moving but allows her to shift gears and Dr. McKale Montgomery rest, though her definition of rest is more like crop rotation than down time. “You’re never done,” Montgomery said. “I do cancer research and I just got funding for an Alzheimer’s disease study. We’re probably not going to cure cancer, right? So, I’m never going to be done with my job. It’s kind of nice to have that balance between running, research and caring for my daughter because when else would I stop?” However, it isn’t accomplishing those goals that make the journey worthwhile for her. As she prepares for qualifying for the Olympic trials, she is pushing herself to enjoy the process rather than focusing on Bryant Keirns the outcome. “What I’m really working on right now is not just setting goals but remembering to enjoy the process,” Montgomery said. “Because whether I get funded for this grant or qualify for the Olympic trials, it won’t be the end.” Learning to enjoy the process becomes easier with company. Keirns and Montgomery have been training partners for over two years now. Montgomery was confident in Keirns’ ability to win the OKC Memorial Marathon. “I knew it could happen,” Montgomery said. “I asked him, ‘Why don’t we both try to win Oklahoma City?’ And I think he had never even had it in his mind.”



he arrival fallacy asserts that reaching your goal does not bring lasting happiness. For McKale Montgomery and Bryant Keirns, who won the women’s and men’s divisions of the 2022 Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, happiness lies in the journey itself. On April 24, more than 20,000 participants took part in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon to honor those who were affected by the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Strong work ethic and teamwork helped drive the two Cowboy standouts to victory in the 26.2-mile race. Both are part of Oklahoma State University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences and have been training together for over two years. Dr. Montgomery is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences. While she was determined to win the “Run to Remember,” she also had another expectation. Although she won the annual marathon previously, Montgomery pushed herself to not only place first in her division, but to also break the female course record, which she did with a time of 02:41:07. “I won this marathon in 2013 as well, when I was a graduate student here,” Montgomery said. “That was maybe only my second or third marathon, so I had it in my head that I wanted to win again this year. I also wanted to beat the course record. So, training for that was just knowing what that course record was and trying to go faster than that during my workouts.” Each year before the race, a three-minute moment of silence is held to acknowledge the 168 lives that were lost in the Oklahoma City bombing. Montgomery was in the fourth grade when the OKC bombing occurred. She distinctly remembers watching the news and realizing the traumatic weight of what was unfolding on screen. “It’s neat that they’ve stayed so true to their mission of honoring these victims and their families, and yet have been able to grow it into such a big thing,” Montgomery said. Winning this special race punctuated the 33rd marathon in Montgomery’s ongoing running

OSU doctoral student Bryant Keirns finished the OKC Memorial Marathon with a time of 02:24:51 for the first win of his career.

TO LEARN MORE about McKale and Bryant’s marathon success, watch an Inside OSU feature at okcmarathon.

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Keirns crossed the finish line at 02:24:51 — more than seven minutes ahead of the next finisher. Keirns is entering his sixth year as a doctoral student in nutritional sciences after earning his master’s in the same field. He considers the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon to be one of his ‘highlight races’ because it was his first win and his seventh marathon. The training was an adjustment for him as he prepared for the event. “I’ve been trying to slowly increase my mileage,” Keirns said. “That was really the focus going into Oklahoma City. You’re doing a lot harder workouts and faster paces, but thinking long-term, I knew I needed to put in some more mileage. I ended up getting to about 80 or 85 miles for most weeks.” Staying consistent with his training is what he believes will take his running career to the next level. “You’ll overestimate what you can do in the short-term and underestimate in the long term,” Keirns said. “I think the marathon really kind of highlights that because it takes a long time to get your body strong enough to really take time off. It’s one of those things where every week stacks up and then, after a while, you’re running a lot faster than you really ever thought you would.” Although it’s Keirns’ offseason, he still runs with Montgomery each day as she prepares for her

Olympic qualifiers. The two start their morning off at 5 a.m. with the “tour of Stillwater,” which can get up to 20 miles, depending on how they complete it. “If I can handle her workouts with whatever mileage I am doing on my own during times like this, I just like to help because she has helped me quite a bit over the years,” Keirns said. The duo’s dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. Cameron Cardona is a doctorate student studying iron metabolism in OSU’s Department of Nutritional Sciences. She works as Montgomery’s lab assistant. “Seeing them win the marathon has been awesome,” Cardona said. “It’s great to see people you work with be successful and fulfilled in other parts of their lives. They are both very hardworking and inspiring individuals, so I know the wins are well-deserved.” While Montgomery and Keirns reached their goals of winning the OKC marathon, they continue to find inspiration in every stride. “Winning a marathon, that was the goal, I wanted to win,” Montgomery said. “Some people think that that’s the key to happiness. It’s not. It’s over and it’s done, people forget. What you have to be in love with is the process.”


“Working at the OSU Museum of Art has provided me with tons of practical and professional experience. It’s so gratifying to learn about the artwork and see the OSU and Stillwater communities interact with it.” —Paige Henderson, museum associate and OSU marketing major

“During my time at the museum, I experienced the world of art through handson research and curatorial work, while also making incredible friends and professional connections, too!” —Sam Holguin, OSU graduate and former museum intern


720 S. Husband St. in Downtown Stillwater / 405.755.2780 / @osumuseumofart

HALF-CENTURY H I G H L I G H T S OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s legacy continues to grow

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IN 1976, RONNIE MARTIN WAS ACCEPTED INTO THE THIRD CLASS OF MEDICAL STUDENTS AT THE NEW OKLAHOMA COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE AND SURGERY IN TULSA. After serving in the Army and leaving active duty in 1969, Martin decided to go back to school. “It became clear to me I wanted to get involved in health care,” he said. He went to pharmacy school and then worked at a hospital in Enid, Oklahoma, where he became acquainted with several of the osteopathic physicians who worked there. “I got some letters of recommendation from them and applied to OSU, which wasn’t OSU then, it was the Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (OCOMS), and I was accepted,” Martin said. “I always say I can never pay back the osteopathic profession and that college for what they gave to me — the ability to raise my family, practice medicine and help other people.” At the time, Oklahoma was combating a rural physician shortage so severe that in 1972, state leaders came together to create and pass Oklahoma Bill 461 establishing the osteopathic medical school. OCOMS was the first free-standing, state-supported osteopathic medical school in the country, and its mission was to train doctors to meet the health care needs of rural and underserved Oklahomans.

The 1974 inaugural class of the Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, which was established just two years earlier in 1972.


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WE FELT THE BEST WAY TO STABILIZE THE OSTEOPATHIC SCHOOL IN OKLAHOMA WAS TO BECOME A PART OF OSU. Dr. Ronnie Martin, 1979 OCOMS Graduate On March 10, 1972, Gov. David Hall (left) signed the historic bill that created the Oklahoma College of Medicine and Surgery. Dr. James F. Routsong, was president of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association that year and is credited as one of the founders of the college.

“Fifty years later, we are still fulfilling that mission,” said OSU Center for Health Sciences President Johnny Stephens. “OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSU-COM) is a family. We continue to advance the mission of the college to train health care providers for rural and underserved Oklahoma. Our students are part of that long legacy.” In 1974, two years after the bill was signed into law by Gov. David Hall, OCOMS welcomed its first class of 36 students. The campus at Southwest Boulevard and 17th Street, just west of the Arkansas River, was still under construction, so the inaugural class met in a building in downtown Tulsa at Ninth Street and Cincinnati Avenue, now the location of Tulsa Community College’s downtown campus. The school’s founding president — Dr. John W. Barson — had previously served at Michigan State University as professor of medical education in the College of Human Medicine and associate dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. His son, Dr. John V. Barson, was in the medical school’s third class of students, along with Martin. Because of his unique position as student and son of the president, Barson was able to bridge some of the communication gaps between students and the faculty and administration. “Me coming to the school, it was a bit of a mixed blessing for my parents. They were proud of me, but also worried how that would be perceived by people, so I had to get in on my own abilities,” Barson said. “My brother went to the University of Oklahoma medical school because he didn’t want to be where our father was, but the D.O. program was what I wanted. I knew my father and the type of program he and his team were developing, and that was very important to me.” During their second year as medical school students, Barson, Martin and their fellow classmates moved to the new OCOMS campus before going out on rotations across the state.

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“We’d go out to these small towns and their clinics, hospitals and doctors’ offices, and people were just excited to be part of this. They gave us all sorts of experiences that I’m not sure a lot of students at other medical schools had,” Barson said. “The towns would welcome us. We would go to the local café and people would say, ‘Hi, Doc’ and they meant it. Even though we were medical students, we were their doctors. That was exciting.” Martin remained involved with the school after graduating with his doctorate in 1979. He served as alumni president and worked with leaders in state government on the merger of OCOMS with Oklahoma State University in 1988 to become the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine. “We felt the best way to stabilize the osteopathic school in Oklahoma was to become a part of OSU. In my opinion, we’ve been a contributing part of OSU since then,” said Dr. Martin, who went on to serve on OSU-COM’s advisory board and as chairman of the school’s capital campaign a few years later. “It gave me an opportunity to remain involved with the school and contribute to the school. At one point we contributed two daughters, who are now physicians and leaders in their fields, so it’s a big part of our family. They gave me the opportunity and I’ve been trying to pay them back ever since. I’m extremely appreciative of OSU and I’ve tried very hard to support them.” After OSU took over the osteopathic medical school, the next step was growing the institution, which meant adding graduate programs and turning the medical school into a broader health sciences center. In 1997, the School of Biomedical Sciences was established, and other graduate programs were soon added, including the schools of allied health, forensic sciences, health care administration and the newest graduate program — the physician assistant program, which launched in 2021.

“At the time, it was a much different institution,” Hess said. “We were trying to take what was just a college of osteopathic medicine and turn it into an academic health center. The requirements to become an academic health center are you have to have a medical school, a partnership with a teaching hospital, and then have at least three graduate programs. The idea was for OSU to belong to that prestigious group of academic health centers.” There are only 250 academic health centers in the U.S., according to Hess. “It’s been really fun for me to be there during these two decades of growth,” he said. “The things that are the most important for the future are the hardest to attain. I give a lot of credit to the different leaders along the way. Each in their own right identified something that was going to be hard to do, but it would greatly impact the future of the institution.” One of those leaders was OSU President Kayse Shrum. Dr. Shrum, a 1998 graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was named president of OSU-CHS and dean of the medical school in 2013, becoming the first woman and first alum to lead the school. During her time as OSU-CHS president, Shrum oversaw the opening of the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Medical Academic Building in 2017. Around that same time, the Center for Wellness and Recovery was established to combat opioid addiction in Oklahoma and the nation through

The institution was renamed OSU Center for Health Sciences, with the College of Osteopathic Medicine under the OSU-CHS umbrella. During the 2021-22 school year, nearly 900 students were enrolled in OSU-CHS graduate programs, and the medical school had a total enrollment of 565 students. Enrollment isn’t the only thing that’s grown. The campus has undergone several major changes and transformations in its 50-year history. OSUCHS and OSU Medicine have continued to extend their reach across Oklahoma. Between 1997 and 2010, OSU-CHS celebrated the opening of the Center for Advanced Medical Education (C.A.M.E), Founders Hall and the Forensic Sciences and Biomedical Sciences building, which also houses Tulsa Police Department’s forensic lab. Leadership at the institution also focused on building up OSU Medicine’s presence in the Tulsa area and working closely with the medical school’s teaching hospital, which was called Tulsa Regional Medical Center at the time. Jim Hess, interim vice provost for graduate programs, has worn a lot of hats and served in several roles during his 20 years at the OSUCHS campus. When he moved from OSU-Tulsa to OSU-CHS in 2002, he worked to create an OSU physicians group as well as strengthen ties to the Tulsa Regional Medical Center in order to better the experience for residents and physicians.



Then OSU Center for Health Sciences President Kayse Shrum (second left); Mike Bartel with the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Foundation; former OSU President Burns Hargis and former First Cowgirl Ann Hargis take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Medical Academic Building in 2017.

From right: Dr. Ronnie Martin, Sherri Martin, Matthew Bray, Dr. Natasha Bray, Preston Bray and Elliott Bray at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation in July 2021.

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achievement for all of Indian Country as we produce more Native and rural doctors for our people,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. at the school’s official ribbon cutting ceremony in January 2021. “We know that Native Americans make up only 0.2% of medical students nationwide and through this partnership, we can now actively increase the shortage of diverse physicians and recruit them to work upon graduating. Through these efforts and our partnership with Oklahoma State University, we will continue to make advances in our tribal health system.” Fifty years after it was established, OSU-COM remains dedicated to its mission to educate and train doctors to meet the health care needs of those in rural and underserved communities, and OSUCOM at the Cherokee Nation is a shining example of that dedication. “The students can attend medical school, complete their residency training and practice medicine all right there in Tahlequah under the auspices of both OSU Medicine and the Cherokee Nation,” Shrum said. “I can’t think of a better way to attract and train primary care physicians for rural and underserved Oklahoma.” PHOTO COURTESY

research and treatment. It later became the National Center for Wellness and Recovery after a nearly $200 million endowment from Purdue Pharma was established. She was also instrumental in developing and cultivating partnerships with key organizations and leaders including the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, which led to OSU-CHS and OSU Medicine becoming recipients of six floors of Legacy Plaza West for clinic and program space, and the Hardesty Family Foundation donating $2 million for the establishment of the Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience. But perhaps the most important and lasting partnership Shrum developed while leading OSUCHS was with the Cherokee Nation and its tribal leadership. That partnership led to the creation of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation — the country’s first tribally affiliated medical school. The goal of the additional medical school site in Tahlequah is to attract more Native American and rural students interested in becoming physicians and returning to their hometowns to practice medicine. “The opening of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at Cherokee Nation is a historic PHOTO MATT BARNARD

From left: Dr. William Pettit, inaugural dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation; Bryan Warner, Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief; and Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU President, attend the topping out ceremony for OSU-COM at the Cherokee Nation in November 2019.

OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation welcomed its inaugural class of 54 students in August 2020 in Tahlequah.

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The Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine has been impacting our state’s health for 50 years and counting. What began in 1972 with an inaugural class of 36 in Tulsa is now one of the top osteopathic colleges in the nation and boasts more than 3,700 graduates, most of whom went on to practice across the state of Oklahoma. In the Tulsa area alone, 385 of our alumni are practicing today in family medicine as well as pediatrics, OB-GYN, cardiology, anesthesiology and other subspecialities. Our mission to educate Oklahoma’s future physicians is stronger than ever. Here’s to the next 50 years. To learn more about our mission and impact, visit

EXPANDING S E R V I C E S OSU-CHS growing footprint in Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma


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In 1972, it was founded as the Oklahoma College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, then in 1988 it became Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Nine years later it expanded to become the OSU Center for Health Sciences. Now, through historic and exceptional partnerships, the OSU Center for Health Sciences continues to change lives in Oklahoma and across the country. NORTH HALL OFFERS ADVANCED LAB SPACES The newest addition to the OSU-CHS campus is the 120,000-square-foot North Hall, located next to Cowboy Park. The $55 million building houses the new Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the eastern region of Oklahoma. The Medical Examiner’s Office takes up 23,000 square feet of the first and second floors of the four-story North Hall. The anatomy and neuroanatomy labs have been relocated to the new building as well as three additional classroom and lab spaces. There are also 55 dedicated study workspaces for graduate program students, and the physician assistant program and School of Health Care Administration will be housed in the new facility. “We are so excited to welcome students, faculty and staff to North Hall on the OSU-CHS campus,” said OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens. “We can now offer our medical students state-of-the-art anatomy and neuroanatomy labs and give some of our graduate program students their own dedicated study space. This beautiful building would not have been possible without the support of our Oklahoma legislators



Dr. Joshua Muia, assistant professor of biochemistry.

who helped fund this project because they understand the importance of having an advanced and modern space for our state medical examiner’s office as well as lab and teaching spaces for our future physicians and health care professionals.” Other departments located in the new building include the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Office of American Indians in Medicine and Science; Center for Rural Health; Center for Health Systems Innovation; Information Technology; Budget and Finance; Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; Office of External Affairs; Office of the Provost; Office of the President; and other administrative and leadership offices.

North Hall also adds 136 office spaces and 21 conference and meeting spaces to the OSU-CHS campus, as well as several collaborative spaces throughout the building. The North Hall ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration honoring OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s 50th anniversary was held in late July. “I want to say thank you to everyone — our faculty, staff, students, leadership at OSU Center for Health Sciences and across the OSU system, our state regents, alumni, leaders at the local, state and federal levels, our tribal partners, our nonprofit and philanthropic partners, and our countless supporters. You are why we can continue to advance our mission to serve the health care needs of rural and underserved Oklahoma,” Dr. Stephens said. “It truly is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the past 50 years and look forward to the future.”

North Hall

HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE RURAL HEALTH CARE Four years ago, OSU-CHS announced a historic partnership with the Cherokee Nation to open the country’s first tribally affiliated medical school. On July 31, 2020, leaders from OSU and the Cherokee Nation came together to attend the White Coat Ceremony for the inaugural class of 54 students. Six months later, a small ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially open the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. “As we mark the official opening of the first tribally affiliated medical school in the United States, we know that we will one day look back on this day and what will matter most is whether our efforts have changed lives for the better,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. at the ceremony. “I believe that this partnership will advance quality health care for all by allowing us to teach a new generation of medical professionals to serve our communities for years to come.” The $40 million, 84,000-square-foot medical school site is located on the W.W. Hastings Hospital campus in Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.


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OSU President Kayse Shrum said the opening of the site was the culmination of a nearly decadelong journey to transform a dream shared by leaders at OSU and the Cherokee Nation into a reality. “This medical school site is here because the Cherokee Nation and Oklahoma State University endeavored to find a common solution to their individual challenges through a shared vision,” Dr. Shrum said. “This partnership is an example of the tremendous good that can occur when trust is the foundation of a relationship. My hope is that the students who train at OSU-COM at the Cherokee Nation will strive to emulate the special relationship that we are blessed to share with our good friends at the Cherokee Nation.” Ashton Glover Gatewood, a member of the Choctaw Nation, said she wanted to be part of the OSU-COM at the Cherokee Nation inaugural class specifically because of the school’s tribal affiliation. “I feel a responsibility to represent this campus — OSU-COM at the Cherokee Nation — and I also feel a responsibility to represent my tribe. I love being a member of the inaugural class,” she said. “We’ve been through a lot, not just because everything was new, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, everything was constantly changing. I think we’ve had a unique set of challenges; we’ve really grown together, and we uplift each other and we help each other. It’s a very supportive environment and we celebrate each other’s successes inside and outside the classroom.”

This rendering shows the new Veterans Hospital in Tulsa (VHiT). Construction is slated to be completed and turned over to the VA for outfitting by late 2023 and open to patients in late 2024.

REVOLUTIONIZING CARE IN DOWNTOWN TULSA In addition to helping meet the need for more rural physicians in Oklahoma, OSU-CHS is also working to meet the health care needs of those in the Tulsa area. For decades, the OSU Medical Center has been the only hospital in downtown Tulsa, but that is about to change as a new veterans hospital and psychiatric hospital will open just across the street. These will be the pillars of the OSU Academic Medical District, which also includes OSU Medicine’s Physicians Office Building and Houston Center, which house several clinics. Future phases will include additional research and medical facilities. The VA Hospital in Tulsa project is a collaboration between OSU, federal, state and local governments as well as Tulsa-area philanthropy, led by the Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation. The 275,000-square-foot, 58-bed veterans hospital will be located in the former KerrEdmondson buildings, which the State of Oklahoma gifted to the project. “Our veterans in northeast Oklahoma deserve a much-needed, easily accessible modern medical center where they can receive quality, compassionate care in a timely manner,” said Shrum, who previously served as OSU-CHS president. “For OSU-CHS, it’s been a great privilege to be part of this visionary project. While caring for veterans is a top priority, the affiliation with the Veterans Affairs hospital near our Tulsa campus will benefit our students and residents tremendously and further enhance our medical school nationally.” The next major piece of the OSU Academic Health District will be a new 150,000-square-foot psychiatric hospital — operated by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) — which will more

than double the number of beds in the current facility. “What Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma need is a modern psychiatric hospital with expanded bed space and one that is designed to meet current and future treatment needs,” said Carrie SlattonHodges, ODMHSAS commissioner. OSU Medicine physicians and residents, as well as third- and fourth-year medical students on rotation, will treat patients at both new facilities. An estimated 100 additional residency spots will be created between the new VA and psychiatric hospitals, along with about 30 new clinical faculty positions. “The new mental health hospital in the OSU Academic Medical District will offer the chance to expand care and services to these patients while at the same time enable us to grow our behavioral health staff and residency programs,” Stephens said. “This will be a tremendous offering for our medical students, residents and physicians

This rendering shows the new mental health hospital, which will be part of the OSU Academic Medical District in Tulsa.

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in terms of more learning and patient care opportunities.” JOINING FORCES TO COMBAT ADDICTION AND PAIN In April, OSU and the University of Arizona formally announced a partnership between the two institutions’ academic health centers which aims to combat the opioid crisis and chronic pain through research, treatment and education. Through this partnership, institutional resources will be shared among the three research centers — OSU-CHS’ National Center for Wellness and Recovery (NCWR); the University of Arizona Health Sciences’ Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center (CPAC); and UA’s Center for Excellence in Addiction Studies (CEAS). “As a modern land-grant university focused on offering research that solves society’s most pressing problems, OSU is tackling a major issue head-on by addressing chronic pain and addiction in our state and nation,” Shrum said. “So many lives will be impacted by this partnership, and I am confident our collaboration will truly make a difference.” The NCWR was established in 2017 to help combat the opioid addiction crisis in Oklahoma. With the addition of a $200 million endowment following the state’s settlement with Purdue Pharma in March 2019, the center broadened its scope to a national level and expanded its addiction and treatment research. The partnership between NCWR, CPAC and CEAS involves sharing research assets and knowledge, as well as preclinical and clinical expertise gained from years of research and treatment by scientists and clinicians at both OSU and UA. “The goal of NCWR is to identify and pursue innovative technologies to help address the opioid addiction crisis in our country,” NCWR CEO Don Kyle said. “Scientific collaboration is crucial for success in the challenging areas of pain and addiction research and this unique partnership represents a significant step in the right direction.” The inherent synergies among the three centers will accelerate impactful scientific research and new medical treatments on a national scale.

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“The collaboration with Oklahoma State University and their National Center for Wellness and Recovery will exponentially grow research, clinical care, education and training programs at both universities,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “This is one of those true, rare, win-win situations. We believe by tackling chronic pain and opioid use disorder together, the University of Arizona and OSU will lead to the discovery of novel, non-addictive treatments for those with chronic pain while discovering new ways to treat substance use disorder.” FACILITIES EXPAND REACH OF CARE AND RESEARCH While the new North Hall is the most visible example of growth at OSU-CHS, improvements are taking place across campus. The Barson Building recently underwent an exterior facelift with new windows, fresh paint and the removal of berms around the building that have been replaced by brick and new landscaping gardens. A much less visible project is the renovation and buildout of the fifth floor of the Forensics and Biomedical Sciences building, which will house state-of-the-art research and vivarium laboratory spaces. “I’m excited to see this space become a worldclass research laboratory for the National Center for Wellness and Recovery,” Stephens said. “The research and lab space will provide an opportunity for our faculty and researchers to make profound discoveries related to addiction and treatment.” The research team at NCWR works closely with forensic and medical researchers at OSUCHS to study epidemiology, neuroscience, genetics, biomedical sciences and behavioral sciences. The fifth floor will include research space to hold the thousands of biosamples NCWR has collected and acquired, as well as an animal vivarium and advanced research equipment. “Our increasing number of faculty and research scientists are not only advancing addiction and pain research, but are also engaged in research that impacts other critical areas of medicine,” Stephens said. “In fact, we are pursuing key

Dr. Kyle Simmons works at an MRI control station at the Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience.

The ribbon cutting for Legacy Plaza took place in April and included OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens (far left), Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum (second from right) and other dignitaries.

OUR INCREASING NUMBER OF FACULTY AND RESEARCH SCIENTISTS ARE NOT ONLY ADVANCING ADDICTION AND PAIN RESEARCH, BUT ARE ALSO ENGAGED IN RESEARCH THAT IMPACTS OTHER CRITICAL AREAS OF MEDICINE. Dr. Johnny Stephens, President, OSU-CHS biomedical research related to COVID-19, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and psychiatric disorders.” Over the last year, growth has happened outside of the OSU-CHS campus as well. In July 2021, leaders from OSU, NCWR, Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma came together to celebrate the opening of the Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience to aid in research and clinical trials related to NCWR’s mission of addiction research and treatment. The Hardesty Family Foundation donated $2 million for the establishment of the center that houses the OSU Medicine Biomedical Imaging Center, which utilizes an advanced MRI to support clinical studies of brain structure and function as well as other advanced technology to measure brain activity in infants, children and adults. “The Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience is equipped with space for clinical trials and is home to the most advanced MRI system in the state,” Shrum said. “The generous gift from the Hardesty Family Foundation will allow OSU and NCWR to find personalized, evidence-based therapies for those struggling with addiction.”

Nine months later, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for Legacy Plaza West. The tower was donated by the Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation, which was also recognized during the event. Formerly the Dollar Thrifty headquarters, Legacy Plaza comprises three office buildings that were renovated by the foundation and donated to seven nonprofit organizations in Tulsa. Legacy Plaza West’s 14 floors were donated to OSU-CHS and Family & Children’s Services. Several OSU-CHS programs and initiatives were relocated to Legacy Plaza including the OSU Behavioral Medicine clinic; OSU Medicine Primary Care clinic; Project ECHO; the Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy; and the OSU Health Access Network. NCWR’s Addiction Medicine clinic is also located in the west tower. “We are so grateful to the Anne & Henry Zarrow Foundation for their immense generosity in gifting OSU the significant footprint at Legacy Plaza,” Stephens said. “It’s an amazing space where we can treat patients in a modern facility, expand our Project ECHO service lines that provide health and mental health resources to rural care providers and offer dedicated space to research better health outcomes for Native American populations.”

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From left: Kevin Gabel and Scott Blakemore.

‘LASTING IMPACT’ Couple to donate bodies, most of estate to OSU-CHS

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“IT SEEMED LIKE THE RIGHT THING.” That’s what Scott Blakemore and his partner Kevin Gabel said about deciding to leave most of their estate to the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences and their bodies to the OSU-CHS Body Donor Program after they pass away. Both said it’s a way to say thank you and to give back for the care they’ve received at OSU Medicine clinics. “One thing we like about receiving care at OSU — you’re not a number,” Gabel said. “It’s not a revolving door, you’re not pushed in and pushed out. It’s much more personalized.” Blakemore said the medical care from OSU is unmatched. “I think I get better care at OSU than at the bigger health systems in Tulsa,” Blakemore said. “They make an effort to get to know you.” And, he said, they accommodate the needs of their patients. “I’m that patient who comes in with a list of things I want to talk about, and if they’re backed up or have a tight schedule that day, they’ll schedule a longer appointment to go over questions and concerns,” Blakemore said. “And the case managers call you. They take care of their charges.” Blakemore and Gabel became patients at OSU in 2013. Among their health care team was Dr. Damon Baker — now chief medical officer at OSU Medical Center and chair of the internal medicine department — and OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens. Stephens and Baker were instrumental in providing medical care to the couple while working in the internal medicine department. “I see them outside of the clinic scene, and they always make a point to say hello. We’re friends,” Blakemore said. Both had earlier ties to the university and attended OSU at one time — Gabel was an architecture student while Blakemore worked and was enrolled in the speech

communication program as well as serving as the founding president of the Gay and Lesbian Student Organization at OSU. Blakemore stayed in Stillwater and was director of the gymnastics program at the YMCA in addition to working at OSU, where he also assisted with the gymnastics portion of the physical education degree program. The two met in Tulsa in 1984 and hit it off right away. “But we were always dating someone else — for 10 years,” Blakemore said. Their friendship became something more after a trip to Stillwater and dinner at Leo’s Peking Restaurant at Cowboy Mall, now student housing. “Kevin called me and said ‘We’re coming up to have dinner, do you want to join us?’ and then that was all she wrote,” Blakemore said. Blakemore moved to Tulsa in 1995 and worked in the hospitality industry as a server and administrator. Gabel worked in sales and was a manager of Novel Idea bookstore. Both are now retired or semi-retired and thinking about their legacy. “We wanted to make a gift to a program where it would make a lasting and significant impact,” Gabel said. Their estate will go to the President’s Excellence Fund, which is administered by the OSU-CHS president to utilize where there is the greatest need. And the two are thrilled to see the advancement of their former care team, who are now leaders at OSU-CHS and the OSU Medical Center. “I’m so proud. Their success fills me with joy because their friendship brings me joy,” Blakemore said. “To see the ones who were breaking ground early on stay and grow with the institution is a testament to this place.” Gabel agrees and said it’s impressive to see not only the success of their

friends, but also the institution they help lead. “It’s exciting to see them grow with the progress of the school and health system,” he said. “The thing I find most exciting is the expansion of the medical school and the continued development of the medical center campus in downtown Tulsa with the addition of the VA hospital and the state mental health hospital. That’s what we want to be a part of.” Their final gift to OSU-CHS will be the donation of their bodies to be used to teach anatomy to future physicians, physician assistants and athletic training students. “We can help teach the up-andcoming medical students and health professionals, that’s why we will be leaving our bodies for medical research,” Blakemore said. “I believe that when my body goes into the ground it decays and goes away, so why not get the best use out of it.” Thom Garrison, director of the OSUCHS Body Donor Program, said those who donate their body understand how important that final gift is to students and their future patients. “They know how important it is to study different bodies and different diseases. If somebody can learn how to find better treatments or if they can cure diseases, they want to be a part of that,” Garrison said. “It’s an honor and privilege to have them here. They lived a life and gave a wonderful gift to us.” For Gabel, it’s the legacy they will leave behind. “Again, it’s the lasting impact,” he said. “We want to create a lasting impact on as many people as we can.”

To support OSU Center for Health Sciences, visit For more information on the OSU-CHS Body Donor Program, contact Thom Garrison at

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POWER PLAY Athletic trainerſ fill crucial roleſ for teamſ, patients

The Tulsa Oilers athletic training room was fairly quiet before the opening face-off on the ice at the BOK Center on March 11. A few players went through their pregame stretches on resistance bands and foam rollers. Some came to Director of Health and Performance Steve Lintern, the hockey team’s athletic trainer, for ankle taping and more extensive stretches. Lintern is also a clinical athletic trainer with Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences’ athletic training program and works with the school’s athletic training students, as well as some of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students. “Everything I do is osteopathic in nature, that’s why I fit so well with OSU-CHS,” he said. “Before I came to Oklahoma, I didn’t know anything about DOs. It’s really developed my path. It’s the best thing that could have happened to me.” Lintern grew up in Ohio playing sports and then transitioned into athletic training. He was working with the University of Arkansas when he branched out to do some athletic training work with the university’s club sports, including ice hockey.

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“I fell in love with it. You’re dealing with people on blades, carrying a weapon, shooting rubber bullets and falling onto frozen concrete,” he said. A connection with the Oilers’ former athletic trainer led Lintern and his family to Tulsa and eventually to OSU-CHS. This is his seventh season with the Tulsa Oilers and sixth with the OSU-CHS athletic training program. “It was exactly what I needed,” he said. “It was an opportunity for us to go someplace new.” For the players, Lintern was exactly what they needed, too. “He’s invaluable, there’s so much treatment involved in this job,” Oilers coach Rob Murray said. “We carry 23 players and he’s one guy. Any given day, he’s treating seven to eight guys at a time.” Adam Pleskach, Oilers team captain, said he’s been playing hockey since he was about 4 years old, so he’s sustained multiple injuries during his career, including several separated shoulders, broken teeth, broken fingers and — the worst of his career — a torn adductor tendon that kept him off the ice for several months. “At our level, athletic trainers and their staff are very important. Because of our grueling schedule, most members of the team are dealing with an injury of some sort, whether it’s small and nagging or something more serious,” Pleskach said. “Athletic trainers also have very important roles as emergency managers. If something very serious happens, they are essentially our first responders and need to think quickly and be able to handle the most serious of situations.” Lintern said athletic trainers learn to read people and learn how to communicate with players and clients. Pleskach said Lintern has been a joy to work with since day one. “His eagerness to learn how to handle injuries and the day-to-day operations of a team in a sport that he hadn’t necessarily been involved with much before has been unmatched in my experience,” Pleskach said. “Being together this long, Steve



I FELL IN LOVE WITH IT. YOU’RE DEALING WITH PEOPLE ON BLADES, CARRYING A WEAPON, SHOOTING RUBBER BULLETS AND FALLING ONTO FROZEN CONCRETE. Steve Lintern, Tulſa Oilerſ Director of Health and Performance and Clinical Athletic Trainer at OSU-CHS and I have a wonderful professional and personal relationship. His attention to detail, willingness to continue learning and teach students that help him during the season is excellent and very professional.” Murray, who played professional hockey for 16 years before becoming a coach, said Lintern takes it personally when someone gets hurt and only wants the best for the players. “At any sporting level, it’s invaluable to have an experienced guy like Steve,” he said. “His training and schooling, he’s as good as they come. He loves it, he loves what he’s doing with the team, he loves what he does at OSU.” Lintern said teaching has always (secretly) been a passion he wanted to pursue. “When I first got into athletic training, I knew I loved it and it was what I wanted to do. Seven years

into my career I finally got to teach,” he said. “It’s a constant reminder of what I learned and a constant reminder of what we need to do. It’s more of what I needed than I ever imagined.” At OSU-CHS, Lintern teaches in some of the more hands-on labs on campus and works with athletic training and medical students who get real-world experience assisting him with the Oilers. “It’s a great chance to sculpt minds and give them hands-on experiences and learning. I get to share that with students,” he said. “I could have been a nurse or a doctor or a physical therapist. As athletic trainers, we can be a jack of all trades. It’s a beautiful thing.” To learn more about OSU’s athletic training program, visit

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Mental health has become a critical issue in rural Oklahoma, especially among farmers and ranchers.

Healing the Harvester

Extension and OSU-CHS partner to offer mental health care to farmers and ranchers


n a profession defined by backbreaking labor, life-altering financial decisions and the mood of Mother Nature, farmers and ranchers are especially vulnerable to mental health issues. The percentage of Oklahomans with a mental health condition — such as anxiety or depression — was nearly four times higher during the pandemic than it was in 2019, according to the Oklahomabased, nonpartisan Healthy Minds Policy

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Initiative. The organization also reports the state’s rural suicide rate has increased 27% since 2017, compared with a 3% rise in urban areas. To help combat the trend, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry secured a $500,000 grant last year from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to provide one year of funding for the Project ECHO program: Heal the Harvester.


Hundreds of Project ECHO programs worldwide link community providers and support specialists to serve underserved and remote communities through virtual mentorship. The Project ECHO line at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences offers training courses on topics such as addiction medicine, pediatric psychiatry and now the heartland’s growing mental health concerns. Launched in October 2021, Heal the Harvester provides OSU Extension educators and other community leaders with the knowledge and skills to identify a mental health crisis and connect farmers and ranchers with medical assistance. “Life in agriculture is sometimes tough and isolating,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur. “Producers are certainly some of the most resilient people, but natural disasters, disease, retailer demands, market uncertainties and misconceptions and a seemingly growing list of other issues, wear on everyone.” The OSU-CHS Project ECHO line provides management and information technology infrastructure for Heal the Harvester while OSU’s Dr. Jason Beaman facilitates video sessions on mental health education and consultation for Extension educators. Beaman is chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at OSU-CHS and the executive director of training and education for OSU’s National Center for Wellness and Recovery. “Having Extension educators interact with farmers and ranchers on the ground is paramount,” he said. “When someone comes into a county Extension office with schizophrenia, or a rancher is going to lose his ranch because of alcoholism, educators can offer information and support. We want to equip educators with the skills to do their daily jobs even better.” The education segment of each biweekly video session involves a 15-20 minute lecture followed by designated time for OSU Extension educators to discuss real cases of farmers or ranchers in need of mental health assistance. Beaman answers questions and directs educators to therapists, physicians and other mental health professionals. Dr. Damona Doye, associate vice president of OSU Extension, said helping health care providers reach people in underserved rural areas is impactful for many Oklahoma families. OSU Extension educators naturally connect with farmers and ranchers, families and youth. “Addressing mental health issues contributes to our mission of providing practical, researchinformed knowledge for communities,” Doye said. “We’ve assisted in this educational area throughout my career, dating back to challenges experienced during the farm financial crisis in the 1980s. The pandemic has added to everyone’s stress, and we want to assist.”

Beaman also has conducted research indicating that the opioid epidemic, often a factor in mental health struggles, has affected more residents and spread faster in rural counties than any other demographic. “Farmers and ranchers have a strong work ethic that sometimes works against them,” Beaman said. “When they are injured and are instructed to take it easy, they take medication to work through the pain. Opioids block the pain the body uses to signal a need for rest.” As Heal the Harvester programming progresses, Beaman said the webinars have been highly attended with great participation and questions. The OSU team is currently identifying three county Extension offices where telemedicine services can be made available in the future. “If you were to call my clinic to make an appointment, the wait list is six to nine months,” Beaman said. “But if you go to an Extension office, we’re going to get you in much quicker, whether that involves meeting on an iPad or facilitation with another specialist. We’re going to prioritize our farmers and ranchers with immediate access to mental health care.” After the one-year USDA NIFA grant project concludes Oct. 1, Beaman and the OSU team will continue analyzing data they’ve collected from rural areas. Beaman said he has received inquiries about Heal the Harvester from around the country, and once the findings are published later in 2022, he anticipates many more opportunities to serve rural Oklahomans. “We’re happy to pave the way on the methodology and framework of determining mental health outcomes,” he said. “We’ll be able to study our research over the next few decades, continuously building on this rural mental health infrastructure.”

WATCH AN INSIDE OSU interview discussing mental health among farmers and ranchers at healtheharvester.

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Dr. Xufang Deng, a professor in the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, researches coronaviruses in people and animals.

Improving Human Health

Vet Med research advances One Health initiative


esearch done within the scope of veterinary medicine has a direct impact on humans. With this in mind, researchers at Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) approach their work from a One Health perspective. According to the Centers for Disease Control, One Health is an approach that recognizes the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. While this is not an entirely new concept, it has become increasingly relevant in recent years with humananimal interactions on the rise. One Health research topics in the CVM vary widely, from viruses that can transmit across species, such as coronaviruses, to cancer therapy.

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CROSS-SPECIES DISEASE TRANSMISSION The COVID-19 pandemic likely began with animal-to-human transmission. You may be surprised to learn that it’s not an uncommon occurrence. Research of coronaviruses and how they affect the human population aids in the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs. Dr. Xufang Deng is an assistant professor in the CVM’s physiological sciences department. His research focuses on studying coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2, as well as a variety of animal coronaviruses. “My research is applicable to the development of vaccines, as well as antiviral drugs,” Deng said. “The molecule I am currently working with, we found, is a potent viral interferon antagonist, but when we mutate or inhibit the activity, the virus becomes super mild. We are trying to target this


molecule for the development of effective antiviral drugs or vaccines.” With the COVID-19 pandemic possibly on the verge of approaching endemic status, people may be wondering if another or different kind of animalborne outbreak is possible. “Yes, another human outbreak due to crossspecies transmission is very likely,” Deng said. “The interaction between human environments and animals has increased, especially in developing countries, and those zoonotic coronaviruses could possibly jump to the human population.” While another human outbreak is likely, Deng said the knowledge we’ve gained over the last three years has better prepared us for the future. “We learned a lot during this pandemic,” he said. “As we look at the possibility of a future outbreak, the vaccines and antiviral drugs that have been developed will aid us in being much more prepared for a cross-species transmission in the future.” BENEFITS OF BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a contagious virus that causes infections of the respiratory tract. Affecting mainly the elderly and young children, this common human virus can lead to serious problems, such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia, which can be life-threatening for these vulnerable populations. In the animal world, cattle are plagued by bovine RSV, which contributes to a complex cattle disease called shipping fever. In 2019, out of 481 studies, there were 33 million RSV-associated acute lower respiratory infection episodes among children under 5. An estimated 101,400 deaths were attributed to the virus. Dr. Tom Oomens, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, is focused on vaccine development to treat RSV. Over the past few years, his lab has developed unique vaccines with weakened bacteria that have the goal of making a safe and broadly effective vaccine that targets immunity in the respiratory tract where the virus enters the body. Some of the prototype vaccines were tested in mice and were shown to be safe and protective. For the next stage, Oomens will seek opportunities for more preclinical development, especially in more relevant models such as non-human primates. The development of a vaccine to prevent RSV in humans is promising as researchers now also look at preventing bovine respiratory disease in cattle. “Having developed promising vaccine approaches for humans, we are now beginning to see if we can translate these approaches into the veterinary world by looking at bovine RSV and testing it in calves,” Oomens said.

“This will be done in collaboration with two newly hired CVM investigators — Drs. Mayara Maggioli and Fernando Bauermann — who both have considerable expertise in large animal diseases. This expertise not only helps in designing a vaccine to protect cattle, but also gives us a better understanding of how bovine RSV affects calves and how human RSV affects children, thus presenting an excellent opportunity for One Health research.” BREAKTHROUGHS IN RESEARCH Many current cancer treatments can be invasive, have toxic side effects and result in poor outcomes for patients. The CVM is at the forefront of cancer therapy research and is focused on developing methods to improve patient care. Dr. Ashish Ranjan, Kerr Foundation Endowed Chair and professor in the physiological sciences department, leads the Nanomedicine and Targeted Therapy Laboratory at CVM. Ranjan and his team are currently working to develop nanoparticles that enhance the immune system’s ability to detect and kill cancer cells, in combination with focused ultrasound. “Treatment of malignant and surgically unresectable cancers requires a combination of radiotherapy and anticancer drugs,” Ranjan said. “However, such treatments can cause toxic side effects in normal tissues and often result in suboptimal therapeutic outcomes against advanced disease and poor survival of patients. As an alternative, we are focused on leveraging devicedirected nanotherapeutics to activate a patient’s own immune system against the error-prone cancerous cells.” This type of immunotherapy approach can potentially provide new therapeutic options against radio- and chemo-resistant cancers and help patients with hard-to-treat cancers. Ranjan also serves as the director of the OSU Institute for Translation and Emerging Research in Advanced Comparative Therapy. INTERACT’s key mission is to promote One Health research on campus by building new interdisciplinary collaborations. “In addition to efforts from our lab. We are especially interested in leveraging INTERACT to improve bench to clinic research in various colleges on our campus,” Ranjan said. “We invite academic and industrial partners, as well as the public at large to partner in our cutting edge research and help us translate novel therapeutics to patients.”

TO LEARN MORE about the College of Veterinary Medicine’s One Health initiative and how you can support groundbreaking health discoveries, visit vetmed. or contact Ashley Hesser at 405-3850715 or ahesser@

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OSU inducts 69 new members to elite society of donors

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ara and John Awezec never expected to be counted among Oklahoma State University’s most ardent supporters. But on April 12, they celebrated joining the Proud & Immortal Society at a black-tie function in the Student Union Ballroom. The Proud & Immortal Society is made up of individuals, companies and foundations whose cumulative giving to OSU has reached at least $1 million. “The individuals and organizations who make up the Proud & Immortal Society have had a transformational impact on Oklahoma State University,” OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson said. “They will forever be recognized alongside the most celebrated figures in our university’s history.” Including the Awezecs, 69 inductees were welcomed to the group while others were honored for their continued giving. The Proud & Immortal Society, which now has 442 members, has given more than $2.4 billion to OSU in total.

“We have incredible leadership in Dr. Shrum and we are nowhere near finished making a difference in the world around us. In fact, we’re just getting started," said Atkinson of OSU President Kayse Shrum. "The generosity of this elite group has been the foundation of our success and will transform our future." The event was held for the first time since 2019 after being postponed the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kelly Ogle, an OSU alumnus and longtime news anchor at News 9, hosted the evening. OSU leadership including Dr. Shrum, Athletic Director Chad Weiberg and Senior Vice President of Executive Affairs Kyle Wray, among others, were also in attendance. “The event was a wonderful reflection of the commitment of the Cowboy family,” said Scott Roberts, OSU Foundation vice president of development. “As we charge forward with President Shrum’s leadership, we will take on bold challenges that reflect our land-grant mission and commitment to our state.”

OSU President Kayse Shrum (right) presents the Awezecs with a Proud & Immortal Society rosette.

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The Awezecs were honored to be in the room with so many people who share the same commitment to the university and its mission of supporting students in their pursuit of academic excellence. The Dallas couple has deep OSU roots. Tara’s dad is a 1960 OSU graduate. While Tara was growing up, her father made it very clear he had a preference for which university his kids would attend. Her husband’s OSU loyalty doesn’t have any family ties. Rather, John’s Cowboy spirit was established as a junior in high school at Owen Field in Norman. He can still recall every detail of his first college football game, a Cowboy comeback victory against Oklahoma. “The Cowboys grit and determination they showed down on the field just hooked me,” John said. “That, along with the undying support of the OSU fans.” OSU ended up bringing the couple together, and both earned their master’s degrees at the university. After graduating, John and Tara went on to have long, successful careers in civil engineering and business, respectively.

The Awezecs credit OSU for giving them a strong foundation to succeed, and they’ve long wanted to help future students get that same opportunity. Recently, they decided to make an estate gift to OSU that will fund undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in business along with civil and environmental engineering. “We both feel that education is extremely important for success,” Tara said. “The education that both of us received at OSU allowed us to be very successful and competitive in the marketplace. We want to offer that opportunity to other students.” Aside from their personal connection to the areas of support, both John and Tara see significant value in receiving an education in those fields. John’s engineering resumé features projects from Florida to Alaska, ranging from highways to nuclear power. He worked each day to shape his community and world into a better place to live. “Modern life as we know would not be possible without the skill and education of civil and environmental engineers,” John said.

An updated Proud & Immortal Society donor wall was unveiled in the Student Union Little Theater Lobby.

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"The education that both of us received at OSU allowed us to be very successful and competitive in the marketplace. We want to offer that opportunity to other students." TA R A AW EZ EC

“We are the quiet engineers. People don’t recognize us until they don’t have water or they’re stuck in traffic.” During Tara’s 33-year career at IBM, she worked in roles across four different departments, including sales, professional services, procurement and intellectual property licensing. Her ability to make those transitions smoothly and continuously learn new things were developed in the OSU Spears School of Business. “Studying business provides a great background that will help an individual no matter what career he or she decides to pursue,” Tara said. Each member of the Proud & Immortal Society has an equally compelling story. And just like the Awezecs, they’ve all left an immeasurable impact on OSU and future generations of students. “Generosity is truly a defining characteristic of the Cowboy family,” Shrum said to the crowd. “And your generosity creates a ripple effect that continues for generations. “From scholarships to endowed faculty positions, to facilities like the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall, the Hamm Institute and the Booker Flight Center — you transform dreams into reality.”

The event featured performances from the OSU Jazz Orchestra (above) and Student String Quartet. Emcee Kelly Ogle addresses an audience of donors and OSU leadership.

Visit to learn how you can make a difference at Oklahoma State University.

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Experience all that our world has to offer in the company of fellow alumni and friends with the OSU Alumni Association’s Traveling Cowboys program. Enjoy a worry-free experience as our staff and travel partners take care of all the arrangements so you can explore and relax. While visiting exotic, historical or educational destinations, you will have the added value of traveling with other Cowboys and reconnecting to your alma mater in an exciting way! Visit travel to learn more about our upcoming trips.

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“Our Traveling Cowboys trip to Alaska was fabulous! The vistas were outrageously beautiful, the accommodations were first class and all those Cowboys and Cowgirls made it feel like home.” STEVE PITTMAN, ’75 LIFE MEMBER

“Go Next did a super job during the Panama cruise. Oceania is an excellent cruise line with wonderful crew and personal attention to customers. The smaller ships are much nicer than the mega ships we have been on. I would highly recommend your trips to our alumni.” MIKE LORENZ, ’67, ’69 LIFE MEMBER

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2023 CALENDAR: 31 TRIPS TRIP TYPES AVAILABLE: Ocean Cruises, River Cruises, Land and Rail

“We had a great time on the trip to Normandy and would certainly recommend it to anyone. The AHI tour director was superb. A good trip organized by the Traveling Cowboys.” TOM WAKEFIELD, ’63 LIFE MEMBER

“What an adventure Africa was! Nothing I tell people can describe in words what we saw and what I felt after being there in person. I loved it! I’m so blessed having met Joy and all our merry band of Traveling Cowboys!” KAREN JOHNSTON, ’65 LIFE

DESTINATIONS INCLUDE: Alaska, Galapagos Islands, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Peru, Scotland and more SPECIALTY TRIPS: Masters Golf Tournament and Albuquerque International Balloon Festival


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student poll ranks Oklahoma State University among the top 5 online learning schools in the U.S.


Continue your Cowboy legacy at Oklahoma State University with a flexible online graduate degrees in rewarding, highdemand careers along with all the support and services of an in-person degree.

OSU waives the application fee for our OSU alumni and has a special nonresident tuition and military rate, making an OSU graduate degree even more

Learn more at


Pistol Pete Any account with a beneficiary designation (such as IRA and retirement funds, life insurance policies and annuities) can be used to support OSU.

» Easy to do » Easy to give to OSU » Easy on your heirs » Easy to learn To discover more, visit or call the OSU Foundation Gift Planning Office at 800-622-4678.


One of the greatest things about the Cowboy family is the presence of so many multigenerational families with OSU ties. This year, the OSU Alumni Association commemorated the 20th anniversary of a program that celebrates the connection between the generations while also introducing the university to its future students. Since 2003, the organization has welcomed OSU legacies ages 7 to 13 and their grandparents to campus for a unique intergenerational learning experience called Grandparent University, or GPU. The three-day summer camp is a fun-filled

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experience that actively engages kids in academics at OSU while creating memories for grandparents and their grandchildren. From the moment they arrive on campus, the kids get to experience a small taste of college life while the grandparents get a warm reminder of what it was like when they attended OSU. All attendees reside in OSU housing, take classes taught by OSU professors and eat in university dining halls. After two days of fun and learning, the legacies “graduate” with a certificate in their chosen major at a


ceremony at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. In addition to the classes, attendees enjoy a special opening session, a tailgate with appearances from OSU coaches and athletes, swimming at the Colvin Center pool and more. “To have kids come in and spend a few days at OSU with their grandparents is a recipe for success,” said Tanner Roberts, a ’17 marketing graduate and former GPU grandchild attendee. “It’s extremely valuable to have that hands-on experience to learn

what college might look like, even though it’s a ways down the road.” The program originated 20 years ago after Anne Scott, a former Alumni Association staff member, saw a similar program being developed at the University of Wisconsin. The Wisconsin camp was provided by the university’s Extension program, but Scott thought it would be a great idea to bring Grandparent University to Stillwater as an Alumni Association program. “I was really looking for something that would help the association become

more integrated into the university community,” Scott said. “At that time, we didn’t have much interaction with the colleges or the academic side of the university. When I saw the program, I thought we could take this and run with it or give it our own spin.” Moh’d Bilbeisi, a regents professor and L. Andrew Maciula professor, said he enjoys GPU every year. “It is so much fun,” Bilbeisi said. “The faculty that interact with the grandparents and the students can relate to them and make it fun. ... It is fantastic.”

Left page, top left: Terry and Karen Stewart learn some Chemistry FUNdamentals with their granddaughter, Katherine. Left page, top right: A budding scientist experiments in the chemistry lab. Left page, bottom: A group of GPU attendees go on an architecture tour. Right: Moh’d Bilbeisi (far right) poses with the Architecture class at Grandparent University in June 2022.

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Top left: A group of legacies participate in the scavenger hunt at the Grandparent University tailgate in 2019. Top right: Interim Vice Provost and Professor Chris Francisco presents Addy Welch-Britton with her forensic sciences and health care certificate at graduation. Bottom: Anne Scott (second from right) and her husband, Charlie, were able to attend Grandparent University with their grandchildren and experience the camp as attendees.

GPU attendees learn about a variety of subjects. Below are a handful of the many subjects attendees can benefit from.

Hands-On Horticulture

Chemistry FUNdamentals


While the academic aspect of Grandparent University is a valuable part of each summer’s camps, the memories and experiences made by the attendees is what really sets the program apart from others. Grandparents arrive on campus each year excited to share their alma mater with their grandchildren. OSU alumni and grandparents Karen and Terry Stewart of Stillwater have attended GPU for 12 consecutive years. When the program went remote in 2020 due to the pandemic, they even developed their own curriculum for their grandchildren to do at home.

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Bugs in Action

Virtual Reality and Design

Oklahoma Geology

“It is great to be able to spend one-on-one time with the kids,” said Terry, a ’72 chemical engineering graduate. “We love seeing them experience Oklahoma State University and what we had when we went to school there. It is a unique experience that you don’t get if you just go visit them.” Karen said she thinks the program is a highlight of OSU. “Seeing them appreciate and enjoy how loyal and true we are is a real benefit of the program,” said Karen, a ’72 elementary education graduate. As grandparents and grandchildren looked back on their experiences at GPU, many of them mentioned how they continue to spread the word about the great program to other OSU alumni.


A young attendee enjoys a presentation at the forensic lab, a popular venue at Grandparents University.

Grandparents and legacies enjoy Hands-on Horticulture.

“I have told so many people about Grandparent University,” said Carolyn Hamm, Roberts’ grandmother. “I always explain what we experienced and several of my friends have gone on to take their grandchildren after they found out about it. The experience that we had there is unforgettable.” In addition to the grandparents looking back on their time at OSU and GPU, legacies like Roberts have had the opportunity to experience the program before attending OSU himself. It’s a fun moment when these legacies have memories tied to certain places on campus before they enroll at OSU.

“As an OSU freshman, I went to visit a friend in his room, and it was in the same complex that my grandma and I stayed in during my time at GPU,” Roberts said. “It was kind of a full-circle moment for me.” Grandparent University 2023 will take place June 14-16 and June 21-23 in Stillwater. In order to be eligible to attend GPU, children must be officially registered in the Alumni Association’s Legacy Program, which requires a parent or grandparent to hold an active membership in the association.

Carolyn Hamm and Tanner Roberts share a moment together at Roberts’ wedding many years after making memories together at Grandparent University.

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Heritage Society

OSU hosts planned gift donors for event at The McKnight Center


n April 29, the Oklahoma State University Foundation hosted members of the Heritage Society on campus for a special event to celebrate their passion and generosity toward OSU. “We had a tremendous turnout for this year’s event,” said Derrick Davies, assistant vice president of gift planning for the OSU Foundation. “Our members enjoyed being back on campus, visiting friends and seeing the impact that planned gifts have at OSU.” Heritage Society honors alumni and friends who have made a commitment to OSU by will, revocable living trust, life insurance, life-income gift, retirement account designation or other deferred gift arrangement.

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The group currently includes 1,280 members who have made more than $675 million in documented, but not yet realized, estate gifts. Planned giving and estate gifts have also accounted for more than $160 million in realized impact that has been felt throughout OSU, from the arts to athletics. “We all recognize the importance of planned gifts to ensure the long-term success of the university,” said Kyle Wray, OSU senior vice president of executive affairs. “We are so grateful to all our Heritage Society members for making that commitment.” Heritage Society allows its members to experience the impact of their estate gifts during their lifetime. Donors get the


More than 100 donors (right) attended this year’s Heritage Society event at The McKnight Center. (Below) OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson visits with a donor during brunch.

The OSU Jazz Combo (above) was one of three groups to perform from the Greenwood School of Music. Pistol Pete (left) poses for a photo with donors in the Thoma Grand Atrium.

opportunity to meet with students and faculty as well as learn about all the transformational things going on at the university. “Along with the incredible financial impact, estate donors’ leadership and philanthropy leave a lasting impression on our students and faculty,” Davies said. “Their examples of generosity and kindness inspire the next generations to continue paying it forward.” The Heritage Society event included campus and fundraising updates from Wray and OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson. It also featured performances by Greenwood School of Music students — including piano and jazz — and students from the Department of Theatre. Dr. Glen Krutz, former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was excited to share the talents of OSU students and faculty with the donors.

“Many of you here today are generous supporters of the arts at OSU, and for this, we extend our deepest gratitude,” Krutz said. “Your generosity is helping to ensure these talented students are given the opportunities they deserve.” Following the performances, donors enjoyed brunch in the Thoma Grand Atrium before being led on guided tours of The McKnight Center and Greenwood School of Music. The two facilities serve as examples of how donors enrich the lives of students at OSU and prepare them for future success. “Facilities like The McKnight Center and the Greenwood School of Music make opportunities available to our students that would not be possible without the generosity of donors like those in Heritage Society,” Wray said.

To learn more about making a planned gift at OSU, contact Derrick Davies at ddavies@ or 405-385-5661.

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Giving a Second Chance

OSU-OKC’s Center for Social Innovation to receive congressional funding

CFSI student Ella Jefferson-Speed (left) and Letina Itaman, CFSI Program Manager.

CFSI program graduates release butterflies, signifying transformation and new beginnings.


randi Hopkins just needed a second chance. At Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s Center for Social Innovation (CFSI), she found it. Hopkins was hired as an intern by a nonprofit organization during her time in CFSI and now works full time for the nonprofit. Within a month of completing the CFSI program, she regained complete guardianship of her two boys and moved her family into their own apartment. She is currently continuing her education at OSU-OKC. CFSI, a program that provides second chances for many Oklahomans like Hopkins, is set to receive a boost from the federal government. Through the

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It was standing room only at CFSI completion ceremony in OSU-OKC’s Impact Center.

efforts of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice, OSU-OKC will receive an $850,000 congressional allocation in support of CFSI. Program participants are referred to CFSI after completing addiction recovery or prison diversion programs. Many have experienced homelessness, trauma, abuse, addiction and other challenges. The program is designed to give hope to individuals seeking to overcome a wide array of barriers to success in higher education. Participants complete an intensive ninemonth program, which provides a solid start to a postsecondary education, including 12 academic hours and work readiness skills,


Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt spoke to the crowd at the CFSI graduation in May.

access to career services, individualized interest and ability assessments, life skills and direct employment experience through internships and apprenticeships. CFSI was launched in August 2020 and has been building and testing a program to help provide an education for those who have struggled with homelessness, been involved with the foster care system and justice system, have experienced domestic violence or are in long-term recovery from substance abuse addiction or mental health disorders. OSU-OKC works with Oklahoma nonprofit agencies to help move people toward selfsufficiency and stability by providing postsecondary education and workforce training. CFSI is possible thanks to a $1 million, threeyear commitment from the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation. The program also has received funding and support from the Inasmuch Foundation, Merrick Foundation, Simmons Bank and private donors. The services provided through CFSI not only improve the lives of participants, but also help the state build a more skilled and educated workforce. “The sheer number of immediate successful outcomes is major in regard to credits earned, certifications obtained, skills acquired and more,” said Ariel Moore, CFSI senior director. “But it doesn’t end there. Part of being involved with CFSI is rebuilding confidence, identity and a community that they can turn to.” That community includes program peers, community leaders and employers who partner with OSU-OKC to make a commitment to these students’ futures. OSU-OKC has a unique role as an urban, workforce-oriented higher education institution — along with a track record of advancing the social mobility of learners from underserved populations — which allows it to play a critical part in serving the postsecondary needs of Oklahomans looking for hope and a pathway to success.

“It’s OK to make mistakes, and it’s OK to come back from them,” Hopkins said. “That’s been a really big piece of this program for me. I’ve made some really bad choices. Once I decided to make good choices and go through with them, it’s opened many doors for me … I’m looked at now as a professional and someone who’s doing things and going places.” After completing the nine-month CFSI program, participants continue to receive support from CFSI staff and classmates, with many joining the general OSU-OKC student body in pursuit of degree completion.

TO LEARN MORE about the Center for Social Innovation, visit cfsi. To learn how to support the program, visit contact-us or call 405-889-8770.

A group hugs at the end of the ceremony.

2021-22 CFSI HIGHLIGHTS The 2021-22 cohort was honored on May 20. Their accomplishments include the following: ■ 16 CFSI students completed their Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PRSS) certifications through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services ■ 10 CFSI students became certified in Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead training ■ 5 CFSI students now have new vehicles ■ 3 students are completing CFSI with their associate’s degrees ■ 3 students are transferring to four-year institutions in the fall of 2022 ■ 2 CFSI students obtained their first driver’s license ■ The 2021-22 cohort of 23 students earned a combined total of 46 workforce readiness certifications — including in Microsoft Excel, workplace computer skills, project management, nonprofit management, HR fundamentals, leadership, business and Personal Life Coach and JavaScript Developer certifications ■ Several 2021-22 CSFI program completers have achieved gainful employment, including within the nonprofit sector. One CFSI student, Ella Jefferson-Speed, founded Soul Survivor Supportive Living Foundation — a nonprofit, supportive living home for veteran women and their children — the first of its kind in Oklahoma

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IMPACT Spotlight

Hometown: Miles City, MT Major: Biochemistry: Microbiology/Cell and Molecular Biology

Charlie Vermeire Junior

John & Mildred Skinner Chemistry Scholarship Endowment McKnight Leader Scholars Endowed Scholarship Hugh F. and Carolyn J. Wynn - PDS Fund

Oklahoma State University Scholarships When you donate to scholarships, you equip students with the financial and academic support that allows them to pursue their orange passion. Your support offers life-changing experiences to help students be successful at OSU and beyond. For information on donating, visit

Why did you choose Oklahoma State University? As an out-of-state student whose parents are OSU alumni, attending Oklahoma State had always been a dream of mine. When the time came to finally start applying to universities, I felt as though a school that was closer to home might be a better option. I decided to tour OSU, and when I did, I recognized that the friendly environment and the abundance of undergraduate research opportunities available at OSU far exceeded those of any of the other universities I had toured. What impact have the scholarships made during your time in college? Following the completion of my undergraduate studies, I aspire to attend medical school to begin the process of becoming a physician and medical researcher. The scholarships will significantly contribute to this goal in that they will not only support me in my investigation of a specific question, but will also allow me to gain valuable experience in my field of study. What would you like to say to the donors who made your scholarship possible? To the donors of my scholarship, I would like to say thank you for your very generous support of my education. It is due, in large part, to your assistance that I remain financially capable of attending the university. Your investment in me has not only relieved some of the financial stress of tuition, but has also opened countless doors for my education as well. I cannot express how grateful I am for all the support I have received. Thank you.

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Hometown: Woodward, OK Major: Mechanical Engineering CEAT StuCo Creating Engineers, Architects and Technologists Scholar

Taylor Stoll


ONEOK Scholars in Engineering Fund OSU Engineering Scholarship for Oklahoma’s Future Endowed Fund Tom Carson Library Scholarship Fund How will your scholarship help you reach your career goals? As a first-generation student, it was difficult for me to afford college. Now, I am here today as a newly graduated OSU alumna, and I have plans to continue my education and pursue a graduate degree. The scholarships I have received at OSU have quite literally changed my life and led me down a path to success I never would have reached due to financial restrictions. What impact have the scholarships made during your time in college? Attending college was only made possible to me through financial aid I received throughout my time at OSU. I had more time to devote to studying and developing a deep passion for engineering and academia. All the success I have experienced and continue to strive for would not have been possible without the aid of scholarships and the positive effects it has had. How would you express your gratitude to your scholarship donors? Their generosity has made my dreams and future success become an attainable reality. Donors are an incredibly important influence on ALL students — not just me. I would take the opportunity to let them know that their efforts truly make a difference and are not minimal in the slightest. Without you, I would not have made such treasured memories and I most definitely would not have been able to strive for such amazing goals. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Hometown: Trophy Club, TX Major: Veterinary Medicine Sheryl Benbrook Women for OSU Endowed Scholarship

Savanna Smith


How has the scholarship transformed your OSU experience? Being an out-of-state student, especially in professional school, comes with a hefty financial burden. Receiving this scholarship has alleviated some of that stress and allows me to focus more on academia and my rotations in my fourth and final year. I am able to worry less about money and direct all of my attention towards my education. I have excelled in my studies and extracurriculars because of it. How has your scholarship helped you reach your dream job? After graduation in 2023, I will be starting my career as a small animal emergency veterinarian. This scholarship shows that I have support among those that have already carved their path, those that are forging through their career at this very moment. It supports me financially so that I may afford to attain the degree necessary to start my career, and it supports me emotionally so that I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am grateful every day for the foundation I have beneath me. What would you say to the donors who made your scholarship possible? With the rising costs of education and rising rate of suicide amongst veterinarians, it is a leap of faith to embark on the journey of veterinary school. Debt and insecurity are always looming. Your donations are what give our generation the faith to take that jump, because we know that we are being supported by incredible people like you. Your donation has aided in alleviating my stress surrounding my monetary situation so that I may continue to be successful in school. This will help me become the veterinarian I know I am destined to be. And for that I will forever be grateful.

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OSU student Haylee Floyd works the OSU Student Foundation table during Give Orange.

2,430 Gifts in 1,890 Minutes

Give Orange adds new fundraising challenges and sets new record


n April 5-6, a record-setting 2,430 gifts were made during the 1,890 minutes of Give Orange — Oklahoma State University’s annual day of giving. Representing all 50 states, the OSU community made more gifts during the 2022 giving campaign than in each of the previous four years and raised $1,050,630 in total donations. The donations support several aspects of the university, including scholarships, programs, students and faculty. This year’s Give Orange also featured new successful fundraising challenges. OSU alumna and donor Leslie HyerWright provided matching funds for one

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of the new challenges — the purchase of four hospital bed warmers for the College of Veterinary Medicine. “I like to support underutilized programs that don’t get as much attention,” she said. “I love an underdog story, and I wanted to contribute to something that would have a big impact.” During Hyer-Wright’s visit to the College of Veterinary Medicine last fall, Dr. Kim Carter, a clinical associate professor in the CVM, explained to her the post-surgery recovery for animals, which often requires them to share bed warmers. Once Hyer-Wright learned that four bed warmers would fill a

significant need, she didn’t hesitate to create and support this new challenge. “I thought right then and there, ‘I am going to make sure that they get these four warming beds,’” Hyer-Wright said. For every donation made to the challenge, Hyer-Wright matched dollarfor-dollar up to $5,000. After Hyer-Wright left campus, she reflected on how she might make a bigger impact at OSU. She consulted with the OSU Foundation Annual Giving team to determine another area to support — the Daybreak Endowed Program Fund that supports former foster youth at OSU.


Leslie Hyer-Wright (left) observes an operation at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Hide ‘N Pete (below) at Theta Pond during Give Orange.

Although she doesn’t have a connection or experience with the foster care system, once Hyer-Wright learned how she could meet the financial need to unlock more challenge dollars, she quickly agreed to donate. “If you grew up in the foster care system, particularly if you had to move around from home to home, you don’t have that sense of security,” she said. “To be able to help these students who want to go to college, I thought this was really great.” Hyer-Wright matched each donation to the Daybreak Endowed Program Fund dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. Once the $5,000 was matched, it unlocked an additional $25,000 from the Paul Milburn Foundation. For Hyer-Wright, it’s emotional to discuss the impact her generosity made on the OSU community. “They were areas that were underutilized that I was able to support. It’s just a really good feeling,” she said. The Hide ’N Pete challenge was another new feature of this year’s Give Orange. Both mornings of the campaign,

five Pistol Pete bobbleheads were hidden throughout the Stillwater campus. The OSU Foundation donated $100 to each finder’s orange passion. Jacob Stephenson, a graphic design major from Oklahoma City, spotted one of the Hide ’N Petes at the Welcome Plaza on the first day of Give Orange. Excited to be a winner, he proudly carried it to his classes. Stephenson chose to donate to an important aspect of the OSU experience that is enjoyed but oftentimes overlooked — Campus Beautification. “I was checking each area of donation and it seemed that Campus Beautification had the lowest amount of money donated toward it,” he said. “I figured that it would have more of an impact there. Plus, the campus always looks so beautiful and is probably taken for granted.” For OSU alumni who may be interested in participating in Give Orange, Hyer-Wright encourages them to create their own matching gift. “Getting involved in Give Orange helps highlight their passion and gets

other people involved,” she said. “It really takes a village and not an individual person.” OSU Foundation President Blaire Atkinson believes Give Orange offers meaningful opportunities to support the mission and vision of the university. “Give Orange is a direct way the Cowboy family can support OSU,” she said. “When donating any amount to your orange passion, you are helping meet the dollar-for-dollar matching gifts, which elevate the impact. We appreciate each person who participated in this successful event.”

Plans for next year’s event are underway, and you can make a difference by creating matching gifts. To learn more about how you can get involved in Give Orange, contact Adrian Matthys at amatthys@

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HESTER STREET PAINTING 10/19 America’s Greatest Homecoming is the perfect opportunity to share your love and pride for OSU with your children and grandchildren.


Homecoming has many family-friendly events along with our Legacy Coloring Contest. Help us celebrate our Cowboy heroes by including your little Pokes in the festivities!

Download the 20 22 Homecomin g coloring sheet online us ing the address below!


Barbara Allen didn’t have a specific career plan. The Oklahoma State University alumna just knew she wanted to be a writer. At a party during her first week of college, she heard that if she wanted to major in journalism at OSU, she needed to work at The O’Colly. So, Allen walked into the basement of the Paul Miller Journalism and Broadcasting Building, taking the first step toward a career that has spanned 30 years. In April, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. Upon news of her induction, Allen tried to make jokes with her nominator. Allen had never really thought of herself as a hall of famer. She said she always just did what she thought was right. With three weeks remaining in her sophomore year, Allen realized she picked the correct field. That semester, The O’Colly, under the guidance of advisor Jack Lancaster, covered the Oklahoma City bombing extensively. Timothy McVeigh was ultimately arrested just 30 minutes from Stillwater. “At a press conference, I look to my left and there’s a person with a press badge that said The Washington Post and I look to the right and there was a person with a press badge that said The New York Times and I thought ‘I can do this, I can totally do this. I want to do this. I want to do more like this. I want to tell the stories,’” Allen said. After graduating from OSU in 1997 with her bachelor’s degree in news editorial journalism, Allen went to her hometown paper, the Tulsa World, where she helped incorporate Satellite, a section by, for and about Tulsa-area high schoolers. “It really introduced me to journalism education, to the concept of working with students, and how fulfilling and rewarding that can be to empower them a little bit,” she said. Allen then earned her master’s degree in 2009 from the University of Missouri and returned to OSU to shepherd The O’Colly as advisor. Eventually, she also began teaching classes each semester. She inspired students to make a difference in journalism, whether it be at a national outlet or a small-town paper. After a decade at OSU, Allen took a leap and applied for a position as managing editor at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. For the past two years, she’s been the director of college programming, helping students and educators in the everchanging world of journalism. In her role, she continues to share the values she learned at OSU and The O’Colly. She is thankful for the support of her husband, OSU alumnus Billy Berkenbile, stepsons Cal and Sam, and daughter, Vivian, who graduated from OSU in May. “You’re given a great amount of power in a newsroom,” Allen said. “You have a great responsibility, and OSU and The O’Colly were the first places where I really felt connected to a bigger part of the universe and saw the impact of what doing a little research and reporting can do once you hit publish.”


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Swords and Bayonets

OAMC during the Great War (1917-18) Editor’s note: This article is the second part in a series about life at OSU leading up to and during World War I. See part one in the spring 2022 issue of STATE or online at


hen the United States officially entered the Great War on April 6, 1917, the pace of military preparations increased dramatically on the Oklahoma A&M College campus. Additional resources were immediately devoted to address the agricultural, military and engineering requirements of the nation. The college would quickly discover challenges both at home and abroad. Students essential to their family’s farm operations were allowed to leave classes on April 26, 1917, and return home. For the next 18 months, OAMC President James Cantwell, serving on the local draft board, received hundreds of letters from parents requesting draft deferments for male students allowing them to remain on family farms.

Surplus WWI military equipment arrived at the Stillwater Railroad Station before being transferred to the OAMC campus. Stillwater citizens were surprised to see tanks, artillery and troop carriers winding through local streets on their way to the college.

The OAMC Corps of Cadets stand in formation on the college parade grounds north of Morrill Hall. All members of the corps, officers and military band are included. The original Lewis Field is behind them, which was located at the corner of Hester and Athletic with the field going north/ south.

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In May, former OAMC students who had been part of the Corp of Cadets began leaving Stillwater for training camps in Arkansas and Texas. The first group of 82 left for Little Rock and additional instruction. College employees and remaining students joined them for a formal farewell ceremony at the flagpole south of the Central Building the day before they left. This assembly of student soldiers already had experience digging trenches, building temporary bridges, reading maps and living in military style camps. As part of their training on campus, they had resided in camps placed east of the athletic fields. Larger crowds representing the college and community gathered at the Stillwater Railroad Depot over the next 18 months as other groups left for military training and service in Europe. As the campus reconfigured its student services, some changes were more obvious than others. “Big” Ben Banks, director of food services, instituted a food conservation program and worked closely with groups planting “Victory Gardens” to ensure their produce would be integrated into the cafeterias on campus. These gardens, started years earlier, dramatically increased in size during the war and the OAMC Extension service shared improved food preservation techniques on campus and around the state. Entomology professor C. E. Sanborn developed a beekeeping class to promote the production of honey and help families deal with the sugar shortage. It may have been the first correspondence course the college offered. The agricultural experiment station on campus encouraged farmers to experiment with additional feed crops including cotton seed, corn and potatoes. A faculty shortage required some to teach classes on the periphery of their expertise. Dairy science professor Arthur C. “Teddy” Baer taught classes in chemistry and bacteriology. Physical education director Edward Gallagher, who had just started coaching wrestling a year earlier, volunteered to teach wrestling to military cadets for selfdefense situations in hand-to-hand combat. Gallagher also organized a new

event in the annual state interscholastic competitions. The new contest involved throwing a hand grenade for accuracy and was described in the college newspaper: Throwing hand grenades will be a new and novel feature of the 10th annual State Interscholastic track and field meet, to be held in Stillwater, May 3 and 4, under the auspices of the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College. Coach Gallagher is now arranging for the contest. The throwers will stand in a trench 6-feet deep by 3-feet wide and will hurl the grenade from 100 to 125 feet at an area 10-feet wide and running parallel to the trench. Accuracy and not distance will be the aim of the throwers. Women on campus expanded their active roles in the war effort, becoming more involved in student government and campus publications (a similar movement unfolded two and a half decades later during WWII). They participated in military training, sold Liberty Bonds and War Savings Stamps, established a campus Red Cross chapter, created a student loan fund, and wrote letters to classmates training stateside and serving overseas. Letters received from OAMC students in the trenches in France were printed in the Orange and Black, but there were very few other newspaper stories about the war. Cadets were able to purchase better uniforms as they prepared for war. The new uniforms were U. S. Army regulation, higher quality material,

lasted longer and held their shape better. A former commandant claimed he has worn his for 10 years. The band was also able to purchase military style uniforms to match. Bohumil Makovsky had only been on campus a few years before the war started, but he had developed an excellent reputation as director of the military marching band and conductor of the orchestra. The marching band accompanied cadets during drill and parades, both on and off campus, as well as participate in supporting many athletic events. Intimidation, misunderstanding and suspicion led to several difficult situations on the OAMC campus and in the Stillwater community. Captain C. D. Dudley, who served as commandant of the cadet corps, accused Makovsky of performing music at a campus performance with “a German patriotic air.” Dudley documented other Makovsky “infractions” in extensive correspondence with President Cantwell. Stillwater dentist F.R. Greene accused Gustav Friedrick Broemel, head of the foreign languages department and a distinguished professor, of poisoning students’ minds. The Germanborn Broemel had studied at Leipzig University and the University of Kiel but was a well-known and respected faculty member at the college and active in a number of organizations. Mrs. Broemel was a patient of Greene’s.

Individuals pose with Student Army Training Corps rifles arranged on lawn between Gundersen Hall and the College Auditorium (later remodeled as part of the Seretean Center).

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Assembling information gathered from conversations, local gossip and his other patients, Greene wrote to the editor of The Daily Oklahoman, Walter M. Harrison, accusing the couple of aggravated disloyalty. The state health commissioner, Dr. John W. Duke, wrote directly to Gov. Robert Williams that the Broemels “had made themselves quite obnoxious to all the loyal citizens in that community.” Duke went on to inform the governor that the German Kaiser’s picture “hangs in their sitting room.” None of it was true, however. Another member of the foreign language department and close friend of Dr. Broemel, Almon Arnold, also was accused of disloyalty based only on local gossip that he spoke German fluently. Fritz Wilhelm Redlich, originally from Stuttgart, Germany, was a member of the architecture faculty. He fell under suspicion simply because of his name, place of birth and accent. Harrison felt the charges were unsubstantiated. Though pressured by Gov. Williams and Board of Agriculture Regent Frank Gault to fire any disloyal employees, Cantwell refused to fire or reprimand Broemel, Arnold, Redlich or Makovsky on such flimsy accusations. But all 14 German language and literature courses were eliminated from the fall of 1917 through the 1919 calendar year. Broemel was heartbroken, he resigned from the faculty and his family moved to Chicago, where he died the following year at age 56. Student military training continued on campus under Sgt. Maj. Michael McDonald. He was in charge of the

Reserve Officer Training Corps, Military Science and Tactics. He worked closely with 1st Lt. George W. Ewell, who was commandant of students until called into action. Ewell and McDonald ran their student soldiers through competitive exercises and “sham” battles. One newspaper article described such an event: “It was a bright crisp day in May when A&M’s regiment went forth to war. One would not think that the students of an institution would stand up and calmly shoot each other down — but that’s the way they do it in Oklahoma.” The sham battle produced excitement, exhaustion and sometimes desertion. Female students cooked meals, held picnics and observed the events unfold as the male cadets dug trenches, marched through wooded farms and fired their rifles while wearing gas masks. After the battle concluded, the officers led the cadets to the closest pub where they enjoyed a round purchased by the defeated side. Ewell and McDonald also provided military training for general students wanting to become teachers. This was in response to a state board of education mandate that all teachers in the rural schools, high schools, state normal schools, universities, the state training schools and the Oklahoma State School for Dependent or Orphan Children were to teach students eight years or older military training at least one period each day. Gov. Williams suggested replacing sports programs in all schools with

military training. He stated, “I am going to propose a measure in the next legislature to abolish football and baseball in all state schools and institute military training instead of athletics.” President Cantwell also had impressive plans in mind for physical changes on campus. He proposed construction of a new science building and new gymnasium. War efforts delayed construction on both projects, especially the purchase of steel. With the expanding military training programs on campus, Cantwell suggested that the new physical education facility be renamed the Armory and Gymnasium. This simple recommendation enhanced the request to federal authorities for steel girders needed to support military training in the new armory as this was a high priority. In early 1918, less than a year after the United States entered the war, Cantwell told the Board of Agriculture that 600 current and former students from the college had already enlisted in the armed forces. The U.S. government and colleges across the country quickly realized that these enlistments were pulling many students out of college without the skills, trades and training that would be required by the military for successful completion of the war. They would need engineers, architects, managers and mechanics to design and build bridges, run the supply logistics and repair the planes, trucks, tanks, automobiles, radios and other equipment of war. Keeping these men in

OAMC President James Cantwell arranged for surplus military equipment be brought to campus for use by the School of Engineering. A variety of armored vehicles, many of them produced for the first time for use in WWI, were shipped to campus and made available for military training and engineering studies.

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Edward Gallagher

Capt. C.D. Dudley

college while beginning their military training became a top priority. In February 1918, the United States Department of War established the Student Army Training Corps and “… announced its intention of establishing a military unit in every college that could furnish a minimum of 100 able-bodied men of military age.” Cantwell worked to insure that OAMC would become one of 525 institutions nationwide “to train draftees in a variety of trades needed for the war effort, and was jointly administered by the military and the college.” In the spring of 1918, the War Department signed contracts with many of the colleges which had been established through the Morrill Act with the intent of creating technical training centers to utilize the expertise and equipment of their mechanical departments. Trainees in the Student Army Training Corps also received intensive military preparation under the direction of army officers provided to the institutions through the War Department.

Sgt. Maj. Michael McDonald

OAMC passed the War Department’s inspection and male students were able to stay in college while beginning their non-officer military training. Men who did well with their academic classes and military exercises were transferred to the ROTC officer training program on campus. President Cantwell affirmed that all male students, except those who were unfit for military service, or who were below the draft age, were “required to enroll voluntarily” in the SATC on campus. They received the rank of private. SATC training was scheduled to begin on July 18, 1918, and would last at least three months, however there were delays in its implementation. The college had to provide a new building with increased dining hall space and make a number of alterations to existing facilities before the first studentsturned-soldiers arrived in Stillwater. The military was to reimburse the institution for instruction costs, room and board, and other necessary expenses related to the training.

Gov. Robert L. Williams

The men’s dormitory and remodeled livestock pavilion housed the 343 men enrolled in the 90-day program, which began September 1918. The Spanish Flu also arrived on campus that fall with the new recruits. When the war ended on Nov. 11, 1918, the federal government abandoned the plan as the first group approached completion. Cantwell took immediate action to arrange for the purchase at bargain prices of surplus army gas combustion engines, armored vehicles and additional machinery to help the School of Engineering broaden its areas of expertise. The Great War in Europe was over, but its impact would be felt for generations. The war brought out the best and worst in humanity. There were 1,438 men and women associated with OAMC as students and employees who served in a variety of capacities during the war. Over 700 had been officers, 31 decorated for valor and 29 lost their lives. The college yearbook published in the spring of 1919 was titled Victory. It told some of their stories and honored their sacrifices. President Cantwell’s office reached out to many requesting information about their military service. Those replies are preserved and still available to the public at the OSU library archives. To learn more, visit

Student Army Training Corps officers meet on Hester Street just west of the military parade grounds. The Boy’s Dormitory, pictured behind them, served as the home for SATC students at double the original occupancy.

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On May 14, the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art and OSU Art Advocates hosted the 2022 Masterpiece Moments event, which raised more than $121,000. The evening showcased the work and talent of area artists while embodying the spirit of Frank Sinatra’s phrase, “Orange is the Happiest Color.” The event featured many exciting silent auction items, unforgettable entertainment from Wade Tower, beautiful Tablescapes designed by local artists and the OSU Art Advocates, plus live painting by student artists and featured artist Christie Owen. The event included remarks from OSU President Emeritus Burns Hargis, former First Cowgirl Ann Hargis and Vicky Berry, OSU Museum of Art Director and Chief Curator. Malinda and Dick Fischer served as honorary event chairs and were celebrated for their tremendous support of the arts in Stillwater.



OSU climbs to No. 4 in the US for UN Sustainable Development Goals Oklahoma State University is driven to make its campus better for not only current students, but also for future students by eliminating hunger on campus, providing clean water and more. OSU has earned 91.1 out of 100 points on the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking placing it at No. 4 in the U.S. and No. 63 out of 1,410 international universities. In a year, OSU rose from No. 85 internationally and No. 8 in the U.S to No. 63 internationally and No. 4 in the U.S. Globally, OSU now ranks in the top five in zero hunger and top 100 in clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, and partnerships. Domestically, OSU ranks No. 1 in zero hunger; top five in clean water and

sanitation, and partnerships; and top 10 in sustainable cities and communities. “The Global Impact ranking by Times Higher Education is the first effort to really understand what universities do to make our world more livable and sustainable,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, associate provost and dean of the School of Global Studies and Partnerships. “We at OSU are very grateful that this ranking highlights the exceptional contribution made by our faculty, students and staff to sustainability.” The SGSP continues to strive to develop partnerships that will improve the quality of life for both local and global communities. Beginning in 2020, SGSP officially adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals

as the framework for OSU’s global engagement and has been actively engaging different organizations to promote awareness of the SDGs ever since. In April 2022, SGSP partnered with the sustainability office, SGA Sustainability Committee and the academic colleges across the campus to create a series of events — held on campus and online — to raise SDGs awareness through local and global dialogues and call for more actions among our students, faculty and staff. The Edmon Low Library is currently working to provide a database of sustainable publications the OSU community can access.

Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents elects Callahan as board chair The Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents announced the election of Regent Jarold Callahan to the position of Board Chair. Callahan’s term began July 1. He succeeds Regent Trudy Milner in this position. He was appointed to the board by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2016 and again in 2018. “I am excited to continue working with Jarold Callahan to advance Oklahoma State University and our land-grant mission,” said Oklahoma State University President Kayse Shrum. “I congratulate him on his new role and give thanks for the hard work of his predecessor — Dr. Trudy Milner — and every member of the board, which continues to provide critical leadership and support for our university system.” Callahan grew up in northeastern Oklahoma on a diversified family farm and cattle operation. Farming and ranching quickly became his passion. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College where he was the Outstanding Freshman and Sophomore in

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Agriculture. He then received a Bachelor of Science degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University and successfully competed on the OSU livestock judging team as a student, winning national honors. Callahan went on to serve as a faculty member and livestock judging coach at both NEO A&M and OSU. At

both institutions, he was recognized as an exceptional teacher and coach. His livestock judging teams won national championships, and he was recognized as National Coach of the Year on multiple occasions. Callahan served as executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association from 1991-1996 prior to being hired to lead Express Ranches. Under Callahan’s leadership, Express Ranches has been the American Angus Association high point Roll of Victory Breeder for the past 10 consecutive years and is the largest purebred seedstock operation in North America. His many honors include service on the Oklahoma Beef Council and the American Angus Association, where he served on the board of directors and as president. Callahan and Bob Funk of Express Ranches were recognized by the OSU Department of Animal Science with the Master Breeder award in 2014. Both OSU and the University of Arkansas have recognized Regent Callahan as a Graduate of Distinction.

OSU names Mendez provost and senior vice president Oklahoma State University has named Dr. Jeanette Mendez as provost and senior vice president following a nationwide search. The selection, which was announced May 27, was guided by input from the OSU community, as well as a diverse, 24-person selection committee, assisted by the national search firm Buffkin/Baker. A first-generation college student, Mendez graduated from Santa Clara University in 1998, receiving a bachelor’s degree in combined sciences. From there, she went to Indiana University, earning a master’s degree in political science in 2000 and a Ph.D. in political science in 2003. She then became an assistant professor of political science at the University of Houston (2003-2005) before joining the OSU political science faculty in 2005. Mendez was named interim provost in January 2021 following the announcement of Dr. Gary Sandefur’s

retirement. She has served as a member of President Kayse Shrum’s senior leadership team, co-chair of the strategy steering committee, co-chair of OSU’s Pandemic Response Team and co-chair of the campus-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. During her time at OSU, she also has led initiatives to increase collaborative research opportunities across academic colleges and campuses, increased

online degree offerings and enrollment as well as led efforts to examine and provide recommendations for possible reforms to general education at OSU. Mendez previously served as vice provost of academic affairs and a professor of political science, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (2018-2019), associate dean for research and facilities (20172018), interim associate dean for research (2014-2015) and political science department head (2011-2014; 2015-2017). “I believe higher education institutions should be focused on real-world solutions for real-world problems,” Mendez wrote in her application letter. “This is a hallmark of the Cowboy Culture — solving problems for the common good. During the last decade, I have watched OSU grow across all facets of the university and am confident there has never been a more exciting time for OSU than right now.” LOOK to the upcoming winter edition of STATE Magazine for a more in-depth story on Dr. Mendez.

OSU earns Bee Campus USA certification Oklahoma State University received official certification as an affiliate of the Bee Campus USA program designed to utilize campus landscape resources for the benefit of pollinators. OSU is the first university in the state to receive this designation and has also been recognized as a “Tree Campus” by the Arbor Day Foundation for the past 11 years. Post-doctoral fellow Emily Geest and graduate student Teri Cocke, both in the OSU Department of Integrative Biology, led the university’s efforts to apply and receive the Bee Campus USA designation. They established a committee of students and faculty for the project while consulting with OSU’s offices of landscape services and sustainability to demonstrate the university’s active pollinator environment.

“As a Bee Campus USA affiliate, we’re recognized for the work we were already doing with pollinators,” Geest said. “We’re lucky to have an entomology department and some of the best pollinator researchers here at OSU. We encourage the planting of native gardens and habitats for native pollinators to help reverse pollinator decline.” John Lee, interim director of landscape services at OSU, said the university prioritizes native plantings for sustainability and pollinator support. A native plant corridor is located on the north side of Edmon Low Library directly west of the intersection at Athletic Avenue and Hester Street. “Our designer starts all landscape architecture projects with the consideration of incorporating native plants, and we intend to build on our

native corridor location,” Lee said. “We want to assist campus organizations interested in pollination and native plant projects, and we hope to introduce new concepts in the future for supporting native pollinators and their habitats.” FOR AN INSIDE OSU VIDEO, go to

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OSU-CHS adds health care administration doctorate program The School of Health Care Administration at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences is the largest graduate program at OSU with about 500 people enrolled in the school. And it will keep growing with the addition of a doctorate in Health Care Administration degree program. “It was student demand; they begged us for years to offer a doctorate program,” said Dr. Bavette Miller, interim chair of the School of Health Care Administration. “We’ve had so many alumni who want that degree. We’ve been talking about it for 10 years.” Miller, former HCA Chair Jim Hess and others in the HCA program started working toward adding the doctorate degree in late 2019. “It was very frustrating because COVID halted everything,” Miller said, but last fall they finally received approval from the State Regents of Higher Education. “We had to show the demand was there and the benefits of offering the program.”

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Miller said offering a doctorate in health care administration helps rural and underserved health systems in Oklahoma and across the country, which is the mission of OSU-CHS. “We have physicians who may be in administrative positions at their clinics and hospitals,” she said. “Pharmacists, dentists and nurses are in similar situations, and this degree gives them more education and training on the leadership and administration side of health care.” Coursework for the DHA program started in the fall 2022 semester, and 60 students were admitted. “Our goal was 50 for the fall semester,” Miller said. “We just had so much demand and so many people asking for it — everywhere you can think of in Oklahoma. If that doesn’t fulfill our mission, I don’t know what does.” Those who have graduated from the HCA master’s degree program at OSUCHS in the last 10 years will have 30

credit hours automatically put toward the 62-hour DHA program if admitted. If it’s been more than 10 years since earning the master’s degree, a pilot program is being developed allowing prospective DHA students to take and pass two refresher courses, enabling them to earn 30 credit hours toward their doctorate degree. The OSU-CHS DHA program doesn’t require a dissertation or research, but it’s still a doctoral degree program, Miller said. “We don’t take it lightly. It’s a rigorous curriculum, but we go back to our mission to support health care in rural Oklahoma. People who have been in the field for years but don’t have that degree, they come with so much experience,” she said. “This program is getting them what they need to be successful. Getting them the tools they need to do what they want to do.”

OSU Cheer wins back-to-back national championships On April 8, the Cowboys and Cowgirls came away with the national title for the second-straight year and for their fifth in the last decade. It’s OSU’s 18th national championship as a program. “Throughout the year, we were nervous and uneasy because we had a brand new group and lost a lot of our seniors, but at the same time, just throughout the year, everyone was making so many improvements that there were no questions,” said Hunter Batkins, OSU’s senior male captain. “We knew that when the time came, we would ace the routine and defend our title like we should have.” OSU finished ahead of fellow college powers Louisville and Texas Tech in the Large Coed Division and came in

are judged based on five skill-based categories: stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, standing tumbling and running tumbling.

runner-up in the All-girl Division behind Louisville. NCA Nationals take place every year in Daytona Beach, Florida. Teams

Cowgirl equestrian captures first overall national title For the first time in program history, the No. 1 Oklahoma State equestrian team won the overall NCEA National Championship on April 16 in Ocala, Florida, after defeating No. 3 Texas A&M, 11-9. This year marked OSU’s first return to the final round of the national tournament since 2013. Oklahoma State’s overall national championship will stand alongside its previously won six Western National Titles and one individual champion. “Honestly, I could not be more proud of this group of women,” coach Larry Sanchez said following the victory. “They left everything on the line, trusted the process and did more than we ever expected them to do. They deserve every bit of this.” Oklahoma State finished the season with a record of 15-2, breaking the program record for wins in a season of 14 that was previously set in 2009. The

Cowgirls defeated a No. 1 overall ranked team two separate times throughout the year, only lost one meet over nearly the last five months of the year and capped off their historic run with a national championship trophy.

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Hoyt named OSU women’s basketball coach

Jacie Hoyt was introduced as Oklahoma State’s women’s basketball coach March 20. She came to OSU after serving as coach at Kansas City from 2017-22. Her roots in Big 12 country run deep. Her mother, Shelly Hoyt, is a Kansas high school coaching legend and Jacie, who played for her mother in high school, went on to play collegiately at Wichita State. In addition to leading the Kansas City program, Hoyt’s coaching career includes stops at Fort Hays State, Nevada and Kansas State.

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“There are a million reasons to be excited about Oklahoma State,” Hoyt said. “First and foremost, it’s the people and the leadership here. Everyone I’ve had conversations with at OSU aligns with the beliefs and characteristics that lead to success. It’s the community, as well. OSU has a fan base that supports the program and we are passionate about giving them something to be proud of.” She took the reins of the Kansas City program after gaining three years of Big 12 experience as an assistant coach

under Jeff Mittie at Kansas State from 2014-17. Hoyt helped the Wildcats to NCAA Tournament victories in back-toback seasons. The 2016-17 squad won 22 games overall and 11 in Big 12 play, which marked the highest totals for the program in nine seasons. Prior to her time in Manhattan, Hoyt’s first full-time Division I coaching job came at Nevada, where she was an assistant under her college coach, Jane Albright, from 2011-14.

OSU-CHS’ Operation Orange summer camp turns 10 Ten years ago, Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences launched a unique summer camp experience for secondary students living in rural communities in Oklahoma. Operation Orange, a one-day traveling medical school summer camp, aims to spark or encourage an interest in medicine and health care in middle and high school students in communities outside the larger metropolitan areas in the state. Participants practice chest compressions, putting in a breathing tube and run a medical simulation case on one of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s high-fidelity manikins. They also learn about OSU-CHS’ athletic training program and preparing for medical school. This year, Operation Orange traveled to Ada, Enid, Lawton, Stillwater and Tahlequah during the first two weeks of June.

When Operation Orange began, a group of OSU medical school students, faculty and staff traveled to four communities to host the camps. “The inaugural Operation Orange summer camps were a huge success. More than 150 middle and high school students from across Oklahoma had the opportunity to learn more about OSU’s medical school and interact with students and faculty,” said Ashley Adkins, who helped organize the camps in those first years and now serves as associate vice president of facilities management at OSU-CHS. Operation Orange was created to recruit students in rural areas of Oklahoma to medical school. “With our state facing a growing physician shortage, it has become imperative that we attract medical students who want to stay and practice in rural Oklahoma after completing their degree,” OSU-CHS President Johnny Stephens said. “One of the key factors

that determine where physicians will set up their medical practice is where they were raised. Physicians who grew up in rural Oklahoma are more likely to practice medicine in a rural community.” In the 10 years since Operation Orange started, the locations and number of communities visited each summer has changed and grown. For the past few years about 400 high school students have participated in the six camps offered across the state. This summer, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah hosted two Operation Orange camps — one for middle school students on May 31 and one for high school students on June 1. “We wanted to give middle school and junior high students the chance to be involved and ignite that spark in medicine and believing that they can be doctors,” said Dylan Tucker, OSU-CHS outreach coordinator.

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OSU names Chen VP of enrollment management Karen Chen was named vice president of enrollment during the OSU/A&M Board of Regents’ board meeting June 17. As vice president of Enrollment Management at Oklahoma State University, Chen will oversee the offices of Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid and First Year Success. “Karen has been an integral part of enrollment growth. She completely understands the operational side of enrollment as well as the recruitment side and the science of enrollment management,” said Senior Vice President for Executive Affairs Kyle Wray. “She’s got the relationships across the campus with the colleges and other departments. It takes an entire university to have a solid enrollment management plan. So the partnerships she’s created across the university are integral to our success.” Chen helped shape enrollment efforts that led to some of the largest incoming freshmen classes at OSU. For her, fostering positive and effective working partnerships is critical to the success of strategic initiatives and outcomes. “There are always opportunities to help more students achieve a college education. We have an opportunity to serve and help even more students from underserved populations. There is need in our state and everywhere else,” Chen said. “We are trying to help students not only in our own backyard, but also across the U.S. and on the international landscape. It is a worldwide recruitment effort.”

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OSU becomes first Special Olympics Unified College Program in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University is expanding its partnership with Special Olympics Oklahoma as it becomes the first Special Olympics Unified College Program in the state and launches unified intramural sports this fall. Special Olympics college programs connect college students and community members with intellectual disability through shared experiences, building accepting campus communities and friendships that lead to social inclusion. Thanks to a collaboration from the OSU Department of Wellness and the Institute for Developmental Disabilities, Special Olympics athletes can participate in OSU Unified Intramural Sports starting in August. “We are thrilled about this partnership and the opportunities to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion on the Stillwater campus,” said Dr. Jennifer Jones, Institute for Developmental Disabilities director. “This is another natural expansion of our work at the Institute for Developmental

Disabilities where we learn from and work alongside individuals with disabilities and their families.” Unified intramural teams will include OSU students serving as unified partners alongside Special Olympics athletes. Cornhole, esports, bowling and bocce tournaments, a 5v5 flag football league, a 6v6 volleyball league and more will be offered this fall. “Through this partnership, we are looking to provide an experience for athletes and partners that they might not get anywhere else. We hope to bring people together to play, compete and build relationships with one another through sport and to embody what it is to be an OSU Cowboy,” said Brandon Bermea, coordinator of competitive sports and summer camps in the OSU Department of Wellness. For more information, contact the Institute for Developmental Disabilities at 405-744-3991 or


Gillian Clinton, North Texas Chapter Oklahoma State University sits at the top of Gillian Clinton’s list of favorite places, even after having lived all over the world. Clinton refers to her hometown as Tulsa, but she only lived there for two years. She spent most of her youth moving, having lived in Houston; Venezuela; Ponca City, Oklahoma; and Singapore. “We moved around a lot but would still be seen on any vacation wearing matching Eskimo Joe’s T-shirts,” Clinton said. “I loved OSU, and it was always the plan to go there.” Clinton graduated with a degree in international business in 2014. On campus, some of her favorite memories include her sorority, Sigma Phi Lambda; her husband proposing to her on Engineering South Lawn; and America’s Greatest Homecoming. Clinton now resides in Dallas with her husband, Dann, and their 5-yearold daughter. After moving, she joined the North Texas OSU Alumni Chapter to meet people and build new connections. “I may not have much in common with someone who attended OSU in the ’80s,” Clinton said. “But there is always something to talk about when you have OSU in common.” Clinton said her favorite chapter event is a fundraiser called Brighter Orange of North Texas. Clinton has served on the committee, been co-chair and chairperson on her own. As chairperson for Brighter Orange, she is tasked with planning the event. The

fundraiser includes a live and silent auction to provide scholarships for future and current OSU students from North Texas. “My proudest moment was when we hit $200,000,” Clinton said. “That was our goal for five years. Everyone was eager to get involved and we were excited to reach that goal. I hope it helped a lot of kids.”

Clinton encourages everyone to try to find their place in an alumni chapter. She advises alumni and current students to find value in working together and to always enjoy the connections that OSU brings. “I do not care what your major or your experience is,” Clinton said. “There is something for everyone in an alumni chapter. You are welcome here, so jump right in.”

NORTH TEXAS CHAPTER BY THE NUMBERS 18,125 alumni and friends 2,240 members 3,883 current OSU students from Texas 234 miles from Stillwater

Gillian Clinton (left) and her husband, Dann, snap a picture with Pistol Pete at Brighter Orange of North Texas.


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AIAS SCHOLARSHIP Kate Kouplen (left), a biology and pre-med major, was presented with the first OSU American Indian Alumni Society scholarship at an event at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center in April. Twauna Williams helped celebrate the moment with a certificate for Kouplen.

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AIR FORCE CHAPTER REUNION In April, OSU Arnies and Angels from the 1970s and 1980s reconnected at an OSU Air Force ROTC reunion at Happy H Ranch in Comfort, Texas. Attendees enjoyed reminiscing and viewed memorabilia from their time in the OSU Air Force ROTC program.


COWGIRL SOFTBALL SOCIAL Cowgirl softball coach Kenny Gajewski speaks to the crowd at the Cowgirl Softball Social at Plenty Mercantile in Oklahoma City. The event celebrated the team and its fans the night before the Women’s College World Series. A group of young Cowgirls were all smiles as they waited for the softball team to arrive. The team spent time signing autographs and taking pictures with some of its biggest fans.

Get involved with an OSU alumni chapter, watch club or society at chapters.

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EATON FAMILY REUNION Former Pistol Petes attended the Eaton Family Reunion to help celebrate and honor Frank Eaton, the inspiration for OSU’s beloved mascot.

KAY COUNTY JOCKEYS AND JULEPS Cowboys and Cowgirls in Kay County dressed in their Kentucky Derbyinspired outfits for this year’s Jockeys and Juleps event at Marland Mansion in Ponca City. Attendees enjoyed traditional Derby fare, fun party games and watched the race together.

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BRIGHTER ORANGE OF NORTH TEXAS The Brighter Orange of North Texas committee took time to celebrate with OSU President Kayse Shrum at this year’s event on June 5. The event helped raise more than $200,000 for scholarships for OSU students from the North Texas area. Current OSU students Avery Anderson (center) and Ryan Graham (right) took the stage with Larry Reece to share how the Brighter Orange of North Texas event and their scholarship helped them achieve their OSU dreams.

OKC GOLF This foursome of Cowboys was among the 200 golfers who participated in the OKC Metro OSU Alumni Chapter golf tournament this year. The chapter looks forward to seeing everyone on April 17 for the 2023 event.

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’60s Dan Roe, ’62 mechanical engineering technology, is retired and very proud of his grandchildren who chose OSU. One grandchild, Crystal James, graduated in 2019 and another, Davis Roe, is currently a sophomore at OSU. Go Pokes! Anthony Crawford, ’67 secondary education, has published two poetry books, “Life Shards” and “Flint Hills and Beyond,” since retiring as associate professor and curator of manuscripts in the library of Kansas State University in 2015. Crawford co-edited the “Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at 25: People and Spaces” and edited the “Autobiography of George Washington Owens: First African American Graduate of Kansas State University,” both published by New Prairie Press. He served as president of Friends of the Beach Museum of Art, 2020-2021. In 2013, he co-edited “Generations of Success: A Photographic History of Kansas State University; 1863-2013.” Doveline Borges (Steer), ’69 physical education and health, wishes to thank the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association for acknowledging her birthday, and she acknowledges that turning 75 is a major milestone. She shares being a part of the OSU community allowed her to find the love of her life!


Anthony Noe, ’71 pre-law, is working part-time at Lockheed Martin, as well as enjoying his five grandchildren while he waits for a kidney transplant. Jerry Sherrer, ’71 physical science, and his wife, Pamela, ’68 elementary education, have their first grandchild attending OSU as a freshman. Right now, they have two nieces, three nephews and one grandchild attending OSU. They also have one niece who is planning to attend OSU next year. The legacy continues!

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Jim Surjaatmadja, ’72 master’s in mechanical engineering, ’76 doctorate in mechanical engineering, is happily retired in Kansas City after a 44-yearlong career with Halliburton. He is now working on a textbook on ultra-high pressure fluid mechanics. Birda C. Worth, ’72 business education, retired 11 years ago after 37 years with Oklahoma City Public Schools as a teacher and administrator. Sharon S. Ward, ’74 sociology, retired from Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon, in January 2016. She returned to her family home in Fairview, Oklahoma, to live with her mother. Doug White, ’74 industrial engineering and management, dedicates his education, skills and wonderful career in the oil and gas industry to Oklahoma State University, the industrial engineering program and his brothers in the Sigma Nu Fraternity. White visited much of the world with his family and will forever be grateful to OSU and all it provided him to succeed in his life and career. He is now enjoying retirement and volunteering so much he may have to go back to work to rest up! Pam Street (Stewart), ’75 elementary education, and her husband, John, ’76 chemical engineering, reside in Willis, Texas. They have now been retired for one year. Although retired, she still works as a dyslexia therapist for nine students. Patty J. Dixon (Fisher), ’75 recreation, served the city of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, as vice mayor for the past three years. In September 2021, at the Oklahoma Municipal

League Mayor’s Breakfast in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Alliance for Arts Education presented Dixon with the ArtStar Award given to mayors or vice mayors who have contributed to the arts locally and statewide. Dixon’s service on the board of the Sand Springs Community Theatre and the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association provided her with those opportunities. Dixon has Andrea Campfield to thank for the nomination. Campfield has two daughters who attend OSU, so they are all into the brightest orange! Go Pokes! Jody FurnasWright, ’76 theatre, and late husband, Jimmie, ’75 theatre, dedicated the 20th anniversary show of the Good Works Community Theater in Wayzata, Minnesota. David Delker, ’78 technical education, ’79 master’s degree in electrical engineering, recently retired from being a professor and associate dean emeritus at Kansas State University-Salina. Robert J. Jones, ’79 zoology secondary education, is halfretired after working as an athletic trainer and high school science teacher in California, Oklahoma and Texas for 33 years. He is now teaching parttime at Denton Guyer High School.


Micki Canfield (Wright), ’80 political science, shared that her older son, Jared Canfield, graduated from OSU in May 2021. He moved to Liechtenstein and works for Hilti Corporation. He majored in German. Glen L. Snyder, ’81 trade and industry education, wrote and self-published a book and sold 2,000 copies. He has put this book with two others! It is 90 years of his memories with 417 pages.

Angela Shipley (Davidson), ’85 clothing textiles and merchandising, is launching her own experiential training business after her career evolved into learning and development during her seven years in Alaska. Reimagining Adult Education (RAE) Training Solutions is based in Ranger, Texas. The business will also encompass Maxwell Leadership curriculum, writing business and recreational books, public speaking and conference facilitation. Michael Gresham, ’87 speech communication, was recently named the chief wellness officer for the Virginia Beach Police Department where his focus is on mental wellness and resiliency. Diane Dross, ’88 doctorate in educational studies, is a retired principal and the president of Tulsa Metro. She is a part of the Volunteers Assistance League and is currently traveling in a Prevost motorhome.


Betty Nantz, ’90 elementary education, has enjoyed sharing her memories and coming back to campus as her daughter, a freshman, makes her own OSU memories this year. Tracy Simmons, ’93 marketing, was named president of business development by Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care. Simmons will help lead a team to strategize and build action plans for one of the country’s largest hospice and palliative care companies. Before coming to Crossroads in February, he served in several hospice care leadership roles including regional market executive for Compassus Hospice/Ascension at Home Hospice, hospice program manager for Encompass Home

Health & Hospice and general manager for Vitas Innovative Hospice. Prior to committing his career to health care, he was a high school teacher and coach. L. Michelle Sutton, ’94 political science, was recently elected president of the OSU Political Science Advisory Board. This board was created in 2022 to support the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts & Sciences. BJ Haines, ’95 finance, has returned to the United States after 20 years living in Europe (Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin) and India, making his home in Stillwater. Haines has had a 24-year-long career in international finance with Capgemini. Amy Beams (Chastain), ’97 communication sciences and disorders, ’99 master’s degree, serves as the executive director of special services for Yukon Public Schools. She was recently honored by the Oklahoma Directors of Special Services as Oklahoma’s 2022 Director of the Year. Jennifer Sternberg, ’97 Spanish, ’04 master’s in business administration, was recently promoted to senior learning manager for the Global Advanced Industries Practice (encompassing automotive and assembly, aerospace and defense, and advanced electronics/semiconductors) at McKinsey & Company.


Benjamin Simmons, ’00, architecture, was promoted to associate principal at Pickard

Chilton architecture studio in New Haven, Connecticut. Duc Le, ’04 architecture, joins AECOM with over 15 years of experience leading project creation and development and serving as a primary client liaison. In addition to serving government and privatesector clients, he has led the design work of major projects for professional and high-level intercollegiate sports clients. His portfolio includes the 6,500-seat United Soccer League Pro Iowa Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa; the Auburn University Athletics men’s basketball operations renovation in Auburn, Alabama; and the 60,000-square foot University of Maryland men’s basketball performance center in College Park, Maryland. David Brown, ’05 architecture, was promoted to associate principal at Pickard Chilton architecture studio in New Haven, Connecticut.


Mary DeGuzman, ’15 fine arts, is now a high school special education teacher in the Putnam City Public Schools district. She is also one of the varsity soccer coaches.


Karstyn Cantrell, current student, was recently awarded a $30,000 scholarship to Oklahoma State University by The Sumners Foundation of Irving, Texas. Scholarships are awarded by the foundation based on academic excellence, civic engagement and a capacity for leadership. Cantrell is one of 43 students nationally to receive a Sumners scholarship in 2022.

Submit your update at ORANGECONNECTION.ORG/ share.

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In Memory Suma Mahler (Bowles), ’49 nutritional sciences, passed away on March 24 at the age of 93. Rex A. Cochran, ’59 agronomy, graduated from OSU in 1959 and married his wife, Claudia Hardin, on Jan. 24 of that same year. He worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a soil scientist until 1994, then traveled with odd jobs until 2017 when his wife was committed to Cave Center with Alzheimer’s. His wife passed away on Jan. 25, 2022. Roy Peterson, ’60 secondary education, died on Jan. 28, 2022. He was a pitcher for the 1959 OSU baseball team and went on to play for the New York Yankees. Gerald Lowrance Hodge, ’65 master’s in industrial engineering and management, died on March 12, 2022. He was born in Waldo, Arkansas. He was married to the former Marilyn Aylor for 65 years. Hodge was a registered engineer in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. He served on advisory boards to engineering colleges at the University of Arkansas, OSU and Texas Tech. Hodge retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1987 with the rank of captain. Hodge worked within multiple companies until his retirement in 1997. After retirement, he was affiliated with Universal Display and Fixtures in Lewisville, Texas, as a vice president. Hodge participated in volunteer activities, including teaching a talented and gifted class at Burnett Elementary School and was an adjunct professor to the College of Engineering at SMU. Additionally, he volunteered for the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE), Meals on Wheels and Citizen’s Development Center. He considered his family and church to be the most important parts of his life and over the years was

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TAN SRI DR. ALI BIN HAMSA Tan Sri Dr. Ali bin Hamsa, ’86 master’s in economics, ’97 doctorate in environmental sciences and economics, died on April 21, 2022, in Dublin, Ireland. Hamsa was born in Kluang, Johor, Malaysia, on Aug. 29, 1955. Hamsa’s career started on Jan. 5, 1981, when he served as the assistant director at the Ministry of Trade and Industry at the Administrative and Diplomatic Service. Hamsa then attended Oklahoma State University and received his master’s degree in economics in 1986. Upon graduation, Hamsa returned to Malaysia to continue his career in public service. During this time, he served as senior project manager at the National Institute of Public Administration. This is where Hamsa co-authored his two books, “Dasar-Dasar Utama Kerajaan” and “Malaysia Kita.” In 1992, he moved to the Transport Ministry before deciding to continue his education at OSU. Hamsa received his doctorate degree in environmental sciences and economics in 1997. Following graduation, Hamsa returned to Malaysia to work within the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department. His final position held before chief secretary was directorgeneral of the Public-Private Partnership

actively involved with his church as a teacher and served on numerous committees. Dr. Donald Monroe Marshall, ’81 master’s in animal science, ’84 doctorate in animal breeding and genetics, died on Oct. 3, 2021. Marshall was born Jan. 18, 1957, in Jefferson City, Missouri. Following graduation from OSU, Marshall moved to South Dakota in 1984 to work at South Dakota State University. His career at SDSU included roles as an extension beef cattle specialist; teaching and research role with the Department of Animal Science; the associate dean and director of academic programs for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences; interim dean for the college; the interim department head for the Department of Animal Science; and the new vice provost for undergraduate

Unit. Hamsa was the 13th chief secretary to the Malaysian government from June 23, 2012, until Aug. 28, 2019. “The 13th chief secretary to the government was an icon in the country’s public service,” Mohd Zuki, Hamsa’s successor, said in a statement about Hamsa’s death. Hamsa was in the 2015 and 2018 visits from the OSU delegation, which included former OSU President Burns Hargis. Hamsa visited with President Hargis regarding OSU students traveling to Malaysia, since Malaysian students had one of the largest student populations at OSU in the past. As an OSU alumnus, Hamsa was dedicated to keeping a strong relationship with OSU. Following his role as chief secretary, Hamsa became the first Malaysian to receive an honorary science doctorate from B.S. Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science and Technology in Chennai, India. He was appointed as independent nonexecutive director of the G Capital Bhd before being re-designated as an executive director days later. Hamsa was a dedicated civil servant to the country of Malaysia as well as a dedicated alumnus who was passionate about the well-kept relationship between OSU and Malaysia.

education. Marshall authored several research publications on a variety of topics and was elected to the executive board of the Agricultural Interactive Distance Education Alliance in 2011. Marshall earned numerous awards including the Larson Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching; the F.O. Butler Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching; the Gamma Sigma Delta Award for Excellence in Teaching; and the Students’ Association Teacher of the Year for the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. Marshall married his wife, Nancy, in 1997. The couple then had three children: Becky, Charlie and Katie. Don’s patience, thoughtfulness, generosity and endless supply of “Dad jokes” made him a favorite of his children’s friends, while his legacy of service, his dedication to his students and colleagues, and his devotion to his family and friends will leave treasured memories for all who knew him.

Weddings Steckley


Sisson Kinsey Garcia (Gutierrez), an administrative support specialist for OSU’s Department of Brand Management, married Angel Garcia on March 5, 2022, in Wichita, Kansas. Angel is the controller for Platinum Arch Manufacturing and Construction in Stillwater. The couple met in 2015 in culinary essentials in high school and moved to Stillwater in March 2021. They have since fallen in love with the OSU culture. Andrea Sisson (Vandever-Moore), ‘21 animal science and agricultural communications, married Dalton Sisson, ‘22 animal sciences, on June 2, 2022, in Red River, New Mexico. Andrea is a social media communications specialist in the OSU Department of Brand Management. Alexis Steckley (Sirois), ’15 animal science, ’19 doctorate in veterinary medicine, married Kieran Steckley, ’15 sports media, on March 26, 2022, in McKinney, Texas.

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Births Roush

Steve Roush, ’71 education, and his wife, Cindy, are proud to announce the birth of their great-grandson. Kadden Hayes Morgan was born on May 10, 2022. Kyle Grant, ’15 electrical engineering, and his wife, Melanie, welcomed their son Cooper Wade Grant on “two’s day” Feb. 2, 2022, at 9 pounds, 12 ounces.


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