The official magazine of Oklahoma State University
MARCHING ONWARD HOW OSU PERSEVERED THROUGH A PANDEMIC
ONCE A COWBOY, ALWAYS A COWBOY
Continue your Cowboy legacy with an online graduate degree at OSU. An OSU graduate degree is now even more affordable, even if you’re out of state. We’re now offering a special tuition rate for out-of-state online graduate students.
Learn more at osuonline.okstate.edu
In T his Issue PHOTO GARY LAWSON
Adapting in a Pandemic As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, Oklahoma State University continues to adapt and uphold its land-grant mission. Pages 22-43
At a Distance OSU is already ahead of the game when it comes to preparing teachers to teach online.
ON THE COVER
2 WINTER 2020
Alumni work to refine virtual teaching techniques with support from OSU.
A freshman tells what it's like to quarantine at OSU.
Campus Transformation How OSU transformed its approach to meet the challenges of a pandemic.
OSU marching band member Jayden Jackson practices his drumming. PHOTO PHIL SHOCKLEY
Hargis Sets His Retirement Date Burns Hargis has announced he will retire as OSU's president on July 1, 2021.
Wellness with Ann Hargis
Alumni Chapter Leader
Celebrating a Gift From Baker Hughes
The company donated its research and innovation center in Oklahoma City to OSU. The center is now known as OSU DISCOVERY.
A Final Flight With OSU Friends A retiring Southwest Airlines pilot enjoyed a small OSU Flight School reunion on his final flight.
Distinguished Alumni Named The OSU Alumni Association announces its 2020 class of honorees.
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BR A N D M A NAGEMENT
Kyle Wray | Vice President of Enrollment and Brand Management Erin Petrotta | Director of Marketing and Student Communication Megan Horton | Director of Branding and Digital Strategy Monica Roberts | Director of Media Relations Shannon Rigsby | Public Information Officer Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator Dave Malec | Design Coordinator Dorothy L. Pugh | Managing Editor
Lacy Branson, Codee Classen, Paul V. Fleming, Valerie Kisling, Chris Lewis, Michael Molholt & Benton Rudd | Design Phil Shockley, Gary Lawson & Brandee Cazzelle | Photography Kurtis Mason | Trademarks & Licensing Pam Longan & Leslie McClurg | Administrative Support Office of Brand Management | 305 Whitehurst, Stillwater, OK 74078-1024 405-744-6262 | okstate.edu | statemagazine.okstate.edu | firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Contributors | David Bitton, Mack Burke, Will Carr, Alexis Embry, Sarah Harris, Kevin Klintworth, Amanda O’Toole Mason, Karolyn Moberly, David C. Peters, Shannon G. Rigsby, Kyle Stringer, Kylee Sutherland and Sarah Bildstein Wanzer
O S U A L U M N I A S S O C I AT I O N Tony LoPresto I Chair Tina Parkhill | Vice Chair Kent Gardner | Immediate Past Chair Robert McInturf | President Jessica Medina-Benningfield | Executive Director of Engagement David Parrack | Vice President of Finance and Operations James Boggs, Larry Briggs, Ann Caine, Michael Carolina, Kurt Carter, Scott Eisenhauer, Becky Endicott, Kent Gardner, Angela Kouplen, Tony LoPresto, Mel Martin, Aaron Owen, Tina Parkhill, Joe Ray, Darin Schmidt & Tina Walker | Board of Directors Lacy Branson, Will Carr, Chase Carter, Sarah Harris, Lerin Lynch, Mark Scalmanini & Sarah Bildstein Wanzer | Marketing and Communications OSU Alumni Association | 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater, OK 740787043 | 405-744-5368 | orangeconnection.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
O S U F O U N D AT I O N Jerry Winchester | Chair Blaire Atkinson | President Donna Koeppe | Vice President of Administration & Treasurer Chris Campbell | Senior Associate Vice President of Information Strategy Shane Crawford | Senior Associate Vice President of Philanthropy, Leadership Gifts David Mays | Senior Associate Vice President of Philanthropy Robyn Baker | Vice President and General Counsel Pam Guthrie | Senior Associate Vice President of Human Resources Blaire Atkinson, Bryan Begley, Bryan Close, Jan Cloyde, Patrick Cobb, Ann Dyer, Joe Eastin, Jennifer Grigsby, Helen Hodges, David Houston, Gary Huneryager, A.J. Jacques, Brett Jameson, Griff Jones, Robert Keating, Diana Laing, John Linehan, Joe Martin, Greg Massey, Robert McInturf, Ross McKnight, Bill Patterson, Jenelle Schatz, Becky Steen, Terry Stewart, Lyndon Taylor, Vaughn Vennerberg & Jerry Winchester | Trustees Jennifer Kinnard, Chris Lewis, Amanda O’Toole Mason, Heather Millermon, Karolyn Moberly, Michael Molholt, Lauren Knori, Benton Rudd & Kyle Stringer | Marketing and Communications OSU Foundation | 400 South Monroe, P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749 800-622-4678 | OSUgiving.com | info@OSUgiving.com STATE magazine is published three times a year (Fall, Winter, Spring) by Oklahoma State University, 305 Whitehurst, Stillwater, OK 74078. The magazine is produced by the Office of Brand Management, the OSU Alumni Association and the OSU Foundation, and is mailed to current members of the OSU Alumni Association. Postage is paid at Stillwater, OK, and additional mailing offices. Magazine subscriptions are available only by membership in the OSU Alumni Association. Membership cost is $45. Call 405-744-5368 or mail a check to 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater OK 74078-7043. To change a mailing address, visit orangeconnection.org/update or call 405-744-5368. Oklahoma State University, 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 has been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies. Contact the Director of Equal Opportunity at 408 Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078-1035; telephone 405-744-5371; or email email@example.com. Any person (student, faculty, or staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss his or her concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with OSU’s Title IX Coordinator at 405-744-9154. 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 $0.97 per issue: 37,622 | November 2020 | #8429 | Copyright © 2020, STATE magazine. All rights reserved.
From the Editor's Desk As I write this, another fall semester is coming to a close. While every semester is packed with milestones, the circumstances surrounding this one have added special significance to nearly every undertaking. I find myself humbled by the spirit of dedication that has permeated this campus as we recognize every faculty member, staff member and student who made this semester not only possible but a success. As we give thanks for the Cowboy family, this issue takes a look at how OSU was transformed to meet the challenge of COVID-19. We also acknowledge the tremendous legacy of President Burns Hargis, whose retirement announcement was met with an outpouring of gratitude for both him and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis (see Page 10). Our spring 2021 issue will celebrate President Hargis’ leadership and how it will benefit OSU for years to come. The centennial celebration of America’s Greatest Homecoming was postponed, but there was still plenty to celebrate at Pokes Palooza (Page 17) and beyond. The New Frontiers campaign intends to revive the beloved Dairy Bar, and work on the new Agriculture building is slated to begin in the spring (Page 12). Michael and Anne Greenwood took a tour of construction at the new Greenwood School of Music building (Page 18), and OSU announced an exciting partnership with Baker Hughes (Page 70). The university dedicated the childhood home of Boone Pickens, which resides next to the final resting place of the late Cowboy legend at Karsten Creek (Page 62). And the inaugural class of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation celebrated a landmark white coat ceremony (Page 98). In this issue, we spotlight the forward-thinking curriculum of the College of Education and Human Sciences (Page 22) and its sustained support for teachers (Page 26), as well as the Educating Forward initiative, which aims to raise $3 million to support scholarships (Page 48). Finally, we look back at the Women for OSU symposium, which saw the return of distinguished alumna (and Oprah Winfrey’s “all-time favorite guest”) Dr. Tererai Trent (Page 74), and the latest efforts to bolster inclusion on campus (Page 94). As we look back at all we’ve overcome together, it’s not hard to envision a bright future ahead. Ride on, Cowboys, ride on. Mack Burke Editor
STATE Magazine 305 WHITEHURST OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY STILLWATER, OK 74078
4 WINTER 2020
EDITOR@OKSTATE.EDU STATEMAGAZINE.OKSTATE.E D U
Join the conversation on social media with the Cowboy family.
Congrats to the Hargises
New Scholarships @okstate
Transformative. Record-setting. Historic. Over the last 13 years of President Burns Hargis’ dynamic leadership, OSU has had significant growth and reached extraordinary heights. His vision and commitment to the #CowboyFamily will impact our university for many years to come. We’re grateful for his outstanding service as president of Oklahoma State University. Congratulations to President Hargis and OSU First Cowgirl Ann Hargis on the milestones they’ve achieved and their upcoming retirement.
OSU is excited to be the first four-year public research institution in Oklahoma to announce and detail scholarship options based on a student’s high school GPA.
Loyal and True Decals
Loyal and True. #okstate | #CowgirlFamily
Pokes Palooza! @OKStateAlumni
The Loyal and True decals are here — and they have a new design! The Loyal and True giving society recognizes donors who give cumulative annual gifts of $100 or more. Recent #okstate graduates can receive a decal for a gift of $50. Give today and get your 2021 decal!
While we are unable to host this year’s edition of America’s Greatest Homecoming, we are excited to bring America’s Brightest Orange to campus this week!
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State University
Visit social.okstate.edu for more social media connections.
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FROM THE PRESIDENT
A Difficult Decision As we approach the holidays and the end of the year, First Cowgirl Ann and I want to express our most sincere thanks to the entire Oklahoma State University family for its support and friendship during our nearly 13 years at OSU. I announced to the OSU/A&M Board of Regents in October my plans to retire effective July 1, 2021. The decision was a difficult one. The opportunity to be president of my alma mater has been an incredible honor. OSU is a special place, and we have been overwhelmed by the loyal support of the Cowboy family. You can read more about our decision and OSU’s plans to name a new president in this issue of STATE (Page 10). This issue also offers an overview of how OSU faculty and staff went the extra mile to prepare the campus for a successful fall semester in the midst of a global pandemic. Despite COVID-19, OSU continued to carry out its landgrant mission of extension in many ways. One example is the work of faculty in OSU’s College of Education and Human Sciences to help prepare K-12 teachers for online classes. This summer, we announced an exciting collaboration and the donation of the Baker Hughes Energy Innovation Center located in Oklahoma City’s Innovation District. OSU students will work with Baker Hughes experts to advance key technologies across multiple fields of engineering. We’ve named the world-class building OSU DISCOVERY. On the one-year anniversary of the passing of Boone Pickens in September, we celebrated his transformative legacy with the dedication of the “Holdenville House,” his beloved boyhood home now located at Karsten Creek Golf Club west of Stillwater.
Our annual Women for OSU symposium was presented virtually, and more than 2,000 people from across the country tuned in to hear inspiring stories of philanthropy. The event honored alumna Helen Hodges as Philanthropist of the Year, as well as 12 outstanding OSU students. OSU alumna Dr. Tererai Trent, an internationally acclaimed voice for women’s empowerment and quality education, was the keynote speaker. We also offer a recap of the first-ever White Coat ceremony at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah. This is the only medical school on tribal lands. Finally, we want to acknowledge the five-year anniversary of the Homecoming parade tragedy that touched the lives of so many. OSU remembers those lost and injured. We remain Stillwater Strong. Ann and I wish you a safe and healthy holiday season.
Go Pokes! Burns Hargis OSU President
6 WINTER 2020
YOUR SUPPORT MAKES A DIFFERENCE This beautiful artwork was created by Mattie, a 3rd grader who lives in Stillwater. Mattie and her younger brother, Tate, spent an afternoon painting with materials and instruction provided by the OSU Museum of Art in the 2nd Saturday Pick Up Bags. Thanks to the Art Advocates, families across Stillwater and Perkins had access to art during a time of great upheaval and uncertainty. To learn more about the OSU Museum of Art, visit museum.okstate.edu. To make a gift over the phone or online, please call 800.622.4678 or visit OSUgiving.com.
Focus on the Blessings While this year has been filled with challenges, it has also been a year filled with unexpected blessings and selfdiscovery. Focusing on the obstacles or choosing to make the most of what we have can make all the difference. Life changed drastically in March 2020. As an institution, OSU quickly developed creative academic solutions to comply with new guidelines. We delivered courses, training, advising and even pet therapy in a virtual format. Understanding that relationships are at the core of everything we do, we found a way to stay connected to each other. The Department of Wellness created new and innovative ways to keep our population healthy and to continue being America’s Healthiest Campus®. We experienced yoga in The Botanic Garden and on The McKnight Center Lawn, developed an art walk on campus, and even delivered cooking demonstrations virtually. Our OSU Sustainability Club actively educated us on ways we can be better stewards of our environment while spending more time at home. I have been incredibly proud as I have watched the Cowboy family be mindful of one another and help each other along the way. It is possible to learn a more intentional and thoughtful approach to each day, and it’s OK to give yourself permission to be still. Discovering how to live with purpose is a wonderful gift. Activities such as gardening, preparing fresh meals and spending more time outdoors can become a bigger part of each day. It can be a creative and fulfilling time, filled with finding new hobbies, learning new languages, working on new projects, and developing new talents, all with an appreciation for every moment. My wish for each of you is that you find the blessings along the way. May you discover the important things and may you focus more intentionally on the joy. The Cowboy family has added immeasurable joy and blessings to my life, and for that I am grateful.
Ann Hargis OSU First Cowgirl
8 WINTER 2020
PHOTO OSU FOUNDATION
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Hargis announces retirement plans
klahoma State University President Burns Hargis will retire on July 1 after leading the university for 13 years, he announced Oct. 23 during an OSU/A&M Board of Regents meeting in Stillwater. Hargis became OSU’s 18th president on March 10, 2008. He is the second OSU graduate to serve as president of the university. His tenure has been marked by record-setting fundraising, enrollment growth, new and enhanced facilities, and a growing national reputation for academic and research advances. “This has just been the time of our lives. Ann and I have absolutely loved it. It exceeded all of our expectations,” Hargis said. “We just want to thank the entire Cowboy nation for the love and support that you have provided us. I know the best is yet to come for Oklahoma State.” Under Hargis’ leadership, OSU has flourished, including the university’s first-ever billion-dollar fundraising campaign, Branding Success, which raised over $1.3 billion. As of fall 2020, OSU had raised $1.2 billion during the Hargis years. OSU has developed more than 2.5 million square feet of new or enhanced facilities on its Stillwater
and Tulsa campuses. Enrollment growth includes five of the largest freshman classes in OSU’s history. Of all the graduates over OSU’s 130-year history, OSU has increased Alumni Association membership by nearly 30 percent and added nearly 82,000 new donors. The OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa has garnered national attention and seen significant growth in enrollment, research, fundraising for capital projects, student scholarships and medical research. “Oklahoma State University is stronger today than at any time in its 130-year history due to the historic leadership of Burns Hargis,” said Rick Davis, chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. “We are grateful beyond words for the dynamic leadership and dedicated service of both Burns and Ann. It isn’t easy to quantify their influence and impact. They have been immense and at the top in instilling genuine pride in our Cowboy heritage, values, culture and land-grant mission.” Ann Hargis has thoroughly enjoyed her time at OSU as well. “It has been my privilege and pleasure to be the OSU First Cowgirl,” she said. “The ride has been terrific,
and the education has been beyond my wildest dreams.” President Hargis said he feels blessed and honored to have been given the opportunity to serve his alma mater. “OSU is a special place. It is where I found friends who became family for a young man who lived in many different places growing up. I received an excellent education, preparing me for my careers in law and banking, and culminating at OSU as president. Ann and I are grateful for the faith and trust extended to us by the Regents and the support from faculty, staff, students, and alumni. There remains much work to be done, and in that regard, I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead, and welcoming a new president next summer.” Hargis modernized the Stillwater campus with premier academic and athletic facilities, including the Henry Bellmon Research Building, the ENDEAVOR Engineering Lab, a new home for the Spears School of Business, The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, a North Wing expansion for the Human Sciences Building, the OSU Museum of Art and residential halls. A new facility to house the Michael and Anne Greenwood
“As an ancient graduate of OSU, ’53 & ’55, I’ve watched from afar and you’ve together moved the university into national prominence. I am most proud to say that I am a graduate of Oklahoma State University.”
“Thank you, Burns and Ann, for dedicating your life to OSU. I worked at OSU for 20 years under four presidents, and you by far were the most passionate/ charismatic.”
IN ADMIRERS’ WORDS “Congratulations, Burns and Ann! You have earned many times over a happy and enjoyable retirement. You have done wonders during your presidency. You have demonstrated that a President (and First Cowgirl) must love the university to be truly effective. A job well done!!”
— BRENDA GILBERT SOLOMON
— JERRY SMITH
— ANDREA ARQUITT
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STORY DAVID BITTON | PHOTO GARY LAWSON
School of Music is under construction and expected to open in the fall semester of 2021. A new teaching and research facility for OSU Agriculture and the Ferguson College of Agriculture is also preparing for a groundbreaking this spring. These developments reflect Hargis’ vision to improve the student experience with an enhanced campus infrastructure for the modern landgrant university. “First Cowgirl Ann Hargis is a beloved presence on the OSU campus,” noted Regent Davis. “Burns and Ann
are a remarkable team. Ann’s focus on creating America’s Healthiest Campus® and her nationally recognized pet dog therapy program have enhanced the student experience and broadened her impact beyond the campus. “Burns has worked from the beginning to make sure an OSU education was accessible and affordable regardless of a student’s financial circumstances. Burns has worked tirelessly to raise money for scholarships and financial aid for students.”
“Burns, I will miss your ever-smiling face. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication. Your fellow Sigma Nu brother,”
“Dear President and Mrs. Hargis, I wish both of you the best of health and enjoyable life upon your planned retirement. I have witnessed your extraordinary and many contributions to OSU and very helpful personal nature to us all, which will be remembered far into the future.”
“Congratulations, Burns and Ann, for 13 years of monumental success as President and First Cowgirl of OSU! Your leadership has been a remarkable example of determination, grace and good old Cowboy spirit to more folks than you can imagine. Your presence in Stillwater will be soooo missed!”
— RAJ N. SINGH
— CATHEY HUMPHREYS
— RICHARD STREETER
WATCH Visit okla.st/retire to watch President Burns Hargis’ announcement to the Cowboy family.
S TAT E M AG A Z I N E .O K S TAT E . E D U 11
Reviving a Campus Classic
Dairy Bar will make a return in the New Frontiers campaign
he New Frontiers campaign at OSU is reviving a campus classic. The campaign is raising $50 million in private funds for a new teaching, Extension and research facility to be the new home of the Ferguson College of Agriculture. It also will launch a re-imagined Dairy Bar on the building’s ground floor. The Dairy Bar was a staple on Oklahoma State University’s Stillwater campus beginning in 1928. Students would frequent the campus eatery for a variety of foods and dairy products, including ice cream and ice-cold milk. “The Dairy Bar is steeped in tradition and has been missing from campus life for some time,” said Jim Hasenbeck, a 1982 alumnus and managing principal of Studio Architecture PC. “It is more than a place to meet and eat. It is a display of what role agriculture plays in our everyday life. Plus, the cinnamon rolls and a cold glass of milk were the best of the best.” The eatery was housed in the old Dairy Building and offered a place for students to enjoy good food, socialize and unwind between classes. “I lived off campus during the many years I was a student. So, when I traveled down Monroe Street every day, the Dairy Bar was an essential stop,” said Steve Thompson, 2000 alumnus and senior director of public policy at Oklahoma Farm Bureau. “It was truly the hub of our campus universe. Almost like clocking into campus. And some days it was also the place I would stop when I was finished with class to clock out.”
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The Dairy Building was demolished in 2006 to create space for the Henry Bellmon Research Center, which honors the legacy of Gov. Henry Bellmon and facilitates interdisciplinary research. However, it was a sad turn of events for many students and alumni whose memories of campus were anchored to the Dairy Bar. Many are now celebrating that the new home for OSU Agriculture will feature a re-envisioned Dairy Bar for future generations of Cowboys to enjoy. “Introducing the Dairy Bar into New Frontiers brings back a tradition that has been long missed for everyone on campus,” Hasenbeck said. “Its reintroduction will create opportunities for students, faculty and staff to meet and get to know each other a little bit more.”
The Dairy Bar was a popular place for students to socialize until it was razed in 2006. Alumni fondly remember favorite menu items including ice cream and cold milk.
S TO RY KYLE STRINGER | P H OTO S TODD JOHNSON
"Introducing the Dairy Bar into New Frontiers brings back a tradition that has been long missed for everyone on campus." â€” Jim Hasenbeck, '82, managing principal, Studio Architecture PC
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Set to open in 2023, the new OSU Agriculture facility will be located on the east side of Monroe Street to the north of the Henry Bellmon Research Center.
PROJECT UPDATE Construction on the facility is scheduled to begin in the spring with the hope of welcoming students, faculty and staff into the building in 2023. Over the past several months, architects met numerous times with faculty, staff and students to finalize details for the building’s interior. Faculty members have been extensively involved in the planning process to ensure the features they believe most vital for teaching, research and student activities are included. The OSU Agriculture family, including students, employees, alumni and friends were asked to complete a survey earlier this fall about what they hope to see in the new facility. “Perfecting the design is an important part of the campaign’s goal, but that is only achievable with the support of donors,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coon, OSU’s vice president for agricultural programs and dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture. “Currently the gifts and commitments to the campaign are nearing 70 percent of the $50 million goal.” Coon said the progress during the past few months has shown the incredible dedication donors have to support the vision of a world-class agricultural facility for our outstanding students and faculty. “This is a new chapter in the deep-rooted Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University,” Hasenbeck said. “OSU Agriculture is one of the founding fathers of the university, and it is great to see that they are looking forward to how agriculture will affect future generations.”
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Among many components, the building will include innovative and flexible teaching and research laboratories, dynamic classrooms and space for students and faculty to interact.
LEARN MORE At OSUgiving.com/ New-Frontiers or contact Heidi Williams at hwilliams@OSUgiving.com or 405-385-5656.
The 2020 Homecoming executive team helped dye the Edmon Low Library fountain America’s Brightest Orange.
Adapting a Tradition
With Homecoming on hold, OSU Alumni Association embraces a student-focused celebration
D ALUMNI A S S O C I AT I O N
16 W I N T E R 2 0 2 0
ue to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the OSU Alumni Association made the difficult decision not to host the 2020 edition of Homecoming. This decision had an impact on alumni across the country who make the trip to Stillwater every year to celebrate their alma mater, but alumni were not the only group affected. OSU students are a vital part of each Homecoming, and the 2020 Homecoming Executive team worked hard to ensure current students were still able to celebrate their love for OSU and the Homecoming tradition. “During this time when opportunities for community are slim, the executive team was thrilled to fulfill that need through Pokes Palooza,” said Clarissa Ratzlaff, 2020 Homecoming executive director. “These events not only provided moments of safe fellowship between students, but also represented who we are as Cowboys — when disappointments arise, we make the most of the situation and work to create something great.” The week kicked off on Oct. 25, with the tradition of dyeing the Edmon Low Library fountain America’s Brightest Orange. The Homecoming executive team assisted with the dyeing process.
Students in attendance at the fountain dyeing also used chalk to fill the sidewalk around Edmon Low Library with support for the Cowboy football team, OSU pride and more. Students and organizations across campus were also encouraged to decorate their residence halls and other spaces to get into the Pokes Palooza spirit. To continue the longstanding tradition of philanthropy around Homecoming, the Harvesting Hope canned food drive served as a way for OSU academic colleges and Greek chapters to select a local nonprofit and gather canned goods throughout the week. The weeklong celebration closed with a special virtual performance by Thompson Square, a musical duo of international acclaim. With honors such as Vocal Duo of the Year for both the CMAs and ACM awards, their No. 1 hits include “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” and “If I Didn’t Have You.” “While this year was different than any other, I was encouraged to see students take this opportunity to celebrate our university and give back to the place that has given us so much,” Ratzlaff said.
STORY WILL CARR | PHOTOS GARY LAWSON
â€œWhile this year was different than any other, I was encouraged to see students take this opportunity to celebrate our university and give back to the place that has given us so much.â€? CLARISSA RATZLAFF
Students add some school spirit to the sidewalk in front of Edmon Low Library during Pokes Palooza.
S TAT E M AG A Z I N E .O K S TAT E . E D U 17
Michael and Anne Greenwood stand in the soon-to-be-complete student lounge during their Dusty Boots tour of the new Greenwood School of Music building.
A Continuing Commitment to the Arts Construction of new Greenwood School of Music facility nearing completion
he new Greenwood School of Music building is quickly taking shape. Many of the project’s top donors, including lead benefactors Michael and Anne Greenwood, had a unique opportunity to observe the building’s design during a Dusty Boots tour in September. Dr. Jeffry Loeffert, director of the Greenwood School, and members of Manhattan Construction led groups throughout the facility, describing the process and techniques that made each space perfectly suited for music education. Practice rooms and classrooms are intentionally isolated from other spaces where music will be played. None of these rooms feature parallel walls, which will allow sound
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waves to travel throughout each room uninterrupted. Faculty offices are also acoustically designed with one-on-one instruction in mind. The four-story building will feature multiple rehearsal and practice rooms to accommodate small and large groups, instrument-specific learning suites, a variety of studios, faculty offices, a music library, instrument lockers and more. Every detail of the common spaces, offices, rehearsal spaces and classrooms will create an environment that fosters creativity among both faculty and students, allowing each to hone and share their craft. The Greenwoods said the progress was wonderful to see, especially the student lounge that connects the
building with The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. OSU students will utilize this space to gather, collaborate, and host private receptions following performances in the world-class facility. Students will have access to muchneeded spaces to learn, rehearse and thrive throughout the Greenwood School, Loeffert said. “The Greenwood building significantly elevates the stature of our program. It will positively impact every facet of teaching, learning and performing,” he said. “Our students and faculty are exceptional, and with the addition of a world-class instructional facility, we are now poised to achieve at the highest level. We are genuinely grateful for all the donors who have made the Greenwood School of Music building a reality.”
STORY KYLE STRINGER | PHOTOS LAUREN KNORI
“The Greenwood building significantly elevates the stature of our program. It will positively impact every facet of teaching, learning and performing.” JEFF LOEFFERT, DIRECTOR OF THE GREENWOOD SCHOOL OF MUSIC
YOUR GENEROSITY can help put the finishing touches on the Greenwood School of Music and support OSU’s incredible students and faculty. For more information visit OSUgiving.com/Greenwood or contact Laura Ketchum at 405-385-0701 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we are composing a legacy of music at Oklahoma State University.
Right photo: Jeff Loeffert (center) guides donors and guests through the construction progress during the Dusty Boots tour in September.
With only $1.5 million remaining in the fundraising effort, the project is scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2021. At the time of this printing, crews are focusing on interior framing, insulation and installing drywall on each floor. Interior spaces will soon be painted, and the east and north faces of the building have been completely bricked. Progress has also started on the barrier ceilings in the large rehearsal halls.
WATCH a special performance of the OSU Alma Mater at OSUgiving.com/Greenwood.
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The Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music is quickly taking shape! Our music students will soon have world-class rehearsal spaces to match the magnificence of the performance halls and educational experiences offered in the adjoining McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. We are proud to offer 21 new practice rooms, many still available for donor naming, in a redesigned floorplan. Learn more about how you can support this incredible project by visiting:
Good things happen when we work together.
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PREPARING for the DIGITAL CLASSROOM OSU is ahead of the curve in training teachers to use technology effectively
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Once a novelty, online instruction has become ubiquitous in the age of COVID-19. While some universities are playing catch-up with curriculum for aspiring K-12 teachers, Oklahoma State University remains ahead of the curve. When Kalianne Neumann, an assistant professor of educational technology now in her third year of teaching at OSU, first came to campus, she set her sights on overhauling the Applications of Educational Technologies course. Her goal: Empower student teachers to leverage technology in a way that is effective and helps students learn with technology rather than from it. During the fall 2020 semester, the projectbased class was taught entirely online, serving as a platform for instructors to model effective technology integration. “As someone who lives in this field and has been teaching online since 2011, I want to make sure students have a good impression of [online teaching] so they understand what it could be,” Neumann said. “In that class, instructors can all see changes in the students. You can see them being really hesitant about teaching with technology until the end, and then they get pretty excited about it, and you can see their thinking change.” Kaitlyn Robison, a recent secondary education graduate and middle school teacher in Choctaw, Oklahoma, said OSU prepared her well for online teaching, long before COVID-19 was a concern. “It’s one thing to use technology as a student, but learning how to effectively implement it in your own classroom is a challenge,” she said. “In my social studies education courses, Dr. Shanedra Nowell, the professor of social studies education, did an excellent job demonstrating various technological tools available to use in the classroom — many of which I am planning to use this school year.” Robison was one of nearly 170 OSU student teachers in the middle of her spring studentteaching internship when schools across the state began shutting their doors. With OSU, she knew she had a lifeline.
STORY MACK BURKE | ILLUSTRATIONS BENTON RUDD
“Professors in the College of Education and Human Sciences provided many resources and ideas to keep students engaged in learning as well as ways to check in and see how students were doing,” she said. “One of the biggest challenges of online teaching, in my opinion, is building relationships with students. I know from the many online classes I took during my college career just how difficult that is. However, I feel prepared, because of my time at OSU, to successfully build meaningful relationships with my students, even if it has to be done from afar. While it will look quite different than if we were in the classroom full-time, I have been given a number of resources and ideas to get to know my students.” Like Robison, first-year teacher Ryann Gerdes said she feels well-prepared to lead a digital classroom. The biggest challenges, she said, aren’t the tools and tech, but keeping students engaged from a distance, especially when anxiety and uncertainty seem to permeate everything. A secondary social studies education graduate, Gerdes said her OSU experience equipped her to do just that. Now teaching freshman Oklahoma history at Edmond North High School, Gerdes said she’s leaning on the digital strategies she learned at OSU to help bring history to life. “When you are teaching history, you want in-person discussion of events and different viewpoints on situations in order for the students to understand how a particular event happened and, most importantly, why the event happened,” she said. “Through online learning, I am able to find different sources of information to give students so they can have an exciting outlook on history.” Still, Gerdes said there’s something exciting about teaching history while a significant chapter of history is unfolding.
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“Never would I have thought this was something that I would face in my career, which also makes it exciting because in the future students will be learning about this in their history classes,” she said. “Not only am I trying to learn the best way for me to teach information as a firstyear teacher, now I have to have the flexibility of learning how to teach online during COVID. But it’s not only affecting me; it also affects every single teacher, whether they have perfected their teaching style for 30- to 40-plus years or they are beginners like me.” Despite the challenges of juggling online and in-person teaching, Robison said there’s a silver lining to starting her career now. “Entering the teaching field at this time comes with many emotions and fears,” she said before the start of the fall semester. “There is so much stress that already comes with being a first-year teacher, so when you add in the pandemic situation, it becomes far more stressful. Instead of just the normal stresses of being a traditional first-year classroom teacher, I am now juggling teaching three completely different groups of students. I am responsible for creating meaningful lessons for in-person classes, virtual days, and the 100 percent
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virtual learners, all while knowing that everything could change tomorrow. “While it definitely seems overwhelming to be a first-year teacher during the 2020-2021 school year, I am almost thankful that this is occurring at the beginning of my career, rather than later down the line. While I do have expectations of what I thought my first year would look like and what teaching would be like, I am starting from scratch.” OSU’s curriculum for aspiring teachers cuts across all manner of disciplines and subject matter and addresses specific challenges. Recent graduate and OSUTeach program participant Madelin Kant is now a teaching assistant in a junior-level forest ecology course at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, where she’s pursuing a master’s degree. She said online teaching is particularly challenging. For her, preparing for the digital classroom means finding creative solutions for engaging students with science from a distance. “My experience with OSUTeach equipped me with many creative and innovative methods of incorporating technology meaningfully into the science classroom,” she said. “My field experience instructors, from the very first OSUTeach course, modeled how to successfully utilize online platforms to engage students and create positive
PHOTOS COLLEGE OF EDUCATION AND HUMAN SCIENCES
learning environments by teaching us — the future teachers — with these online practices. My instructors at OSU modeled a diverse array of technology-based practices to allow us to experience numerous options — such as virtual bulletin boards for class discussions, science experiment computer simulations, video responses for student assessment and even creating computer-generated comic strips used as reading reflections.” In the spring, Kant got her first earnest taste of teaching from a distance when she helmed a ninth-grade biology class. “I reflected back to my previous OSUTeach courses to implement different online-based activities to continue to keep students interested and interacting,” she said. “As a science educator who has been trained to teach biology through student inquiry and hands-on practices, there is a major obstacle to overcome when transitioning to an online-based classroom. This is what I found most difficult, as I think there is power in students doing science and not just talking about it. I think online student-manipulated science simulations will be most helpful in supplementing this vital component of science education in our current pandemic situation.” Professional Education Unit Director Robin Fuxa said it’s no surprise these teachers are finding success in their digital and hybrid classrooms. She feels OSU is particularly strong in preparing students to teach digitally. But teaching is about more than just lesson plans, facts and figures, especially during a pandemic. “We also have a very strong researchbased pedagogical focus across programs,” she said. “Our candidates are exceptionally prepared to consider learners’ strengths and needs (social, emotional, academic) and build on those. We are offering a traumainformed pedagogy session to our interns starting this fall and did faculty-wide professional development on traumainformed teaching last year as well. Last but certainly not least, we work very hard to prepare teacher candidates to advocate for equity in their professional lives, in their own teaching and beyond.”
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ADJUSTING to a COVID-19 SCHOOL YEAR Teachers and parents across the country adapt to new methods of teaching and learning
Emily Mainord in her socially distanced classroom at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas.
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Kids never forget the excitement of the first day of school, planning their outfits and packing their lunches. This year, however, many children across the country rolled out of bed and started their day in their pajamas at desks in their homes. Teachers have had to adjust lesson plans, learn new methods and embrace technologies they may not have previously used to help ensure their students are receiving the best education possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools across the country have handled the pandemic in different ways, with most opting for one of three options — completely virtual instruction, in-person but socially distanced classes or a hybrid model that uses both methods. These changes have made an impact on the day-today lives of students, parents and teachers.
TEACHING METHODS Kathryn Burnett, a 2017 OSU elementary education graduate, is a seventh-grade English teacher at Mesa Middle School in Castle Rock, Colorado. Her classes went virtual at the end of the 2019-20 school year, and her district adopted a hybrid approach for 2020-21. “I only see my kids in person twice a week,” Burnett said. “The other three days are online. The kids are only all together on Fridays when we meet virtually. I am still required to be at the school four to five times a week.” Another teacher adapting to the changes is Emily Mainord, who graduated from OSU in a degree in secondary social studies education in 2015 and a master’s degree in educational technology in 2017. Mainord is currently an AP human geography teacher at Wakeland High School in Frisco, Texas. Her school district started the 2020-21 school year virtually but has since allowed parents to decide if their children will attend in-person classes or participate in a virtual environment. “I currently only have face-to-face sessions, which is really nice,” Mainord said. “There are a ton of rules and protocols in place to ensure that our students are safe.”
STORY WILL CARR | PHOTOS OSU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Some of these rules include new classroom setups, additional lunch periods to minimize the number of students eating at one time and staggered dismissal times to ensure fewer students in hallways and common areas. Other districts are adjusting to completely virtual instruction. Westwood Elementary in Stillwater adopted this method after the city’s COVID-19 case count began to rise in September. Taylor Whitney, a 2013 elementary education graduate, is a fourth-grade teacher at Westwood. The adjustment to virtual classes was difficult when the school district chose to finish the 201920 school year online. Since then, great strides have been taken by teachers and administrators to ensure the students are receiving the best instruction possible. “We came in over the summer and were provided a lot of technologies and resources on how to make things more engaging for our kids online,” Whitney said. “After we made the transition back to virtual a few weeks into the school year, we worked together as teachers to create assignments for our kids.”
Siblings Katherine (from left), Isaac and Sam Waits, on their first day of school in 2020.
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IMPACT ON STUDENTS These teachers understand the extra focus and effort it takes to engage with their classes. Student engagement is vital for all grade levels from kindergarten to high school. But the virtual world has made this much more difficult. Burnett said she and her fellow teachers at Mesa Middle School in Colorado have started using a popular social media technology to better engage with their students. “A lot of our teachers, including myself, have started to do short TikTok videos,” Burnett said. “If we can get them to show their thinking or what they know through a fun TikTok or a little dance, then we are all for it.” Another great way to ensure students are engaged in class is by facilitating a strong working relationship with fellow students. Mainord noticed she needed to adjust her approach after she had to change the physical setup of her classroom. In the past, she would have students sit at tables of four or five. Each student now has their own individual desk spaced six feet apart for social distancing. “I feel like I have had to build more of a full classroom culture,” Mainord said. “All of my kids have to be comfortable with each other instead of just within their table group. Not that it wasn’t a holistic approach before, but we now have discussions the whole class hears, and they have to be comfortable with that.” Westwood Elementary and Whitney have also focused on forming bonds between students and an extra emphasis on interaction between students and teachers. “We meet virtually in small groups every Monday and Friday,” Whitney said. “This allows us to have more interaction with our students. We are really focusing on one subject each day.” The choice to focus on one subject at a time has allowed Westwood teachers to create videos that increase instruction with their students. These prerecorded lessons are similar to one-on-one instruction and have played an important role in the development of Whitney’s fourth-grade students.
From the top: Kathryn Burnett is currently a seventh-grade English teacher at Mesa Middle School in Castle Rock, Colorado. The Walker family is a proud Cowboy family in their OSU gear. Taylor Whitney teaches fourth grade at Westwood Elementary in Stillwater.
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In addition to the impact the pandemic has had on students and teachers, the lives of parents have also changed because of the new teaching methods. In many areas, parents have added “homeschool teacher” to their daily duties. Teachers can truly appreciate the important role parents are playing this year. The support they receive from the parents makes a huge impact on how successful the lessons are. “The parents in my homeroom class have been amazing,” Whitney said. “Everyone at Westwood has been really great at working with us to help teach their students. We showed them how to use Google Classroom, and they have really run with it.” Kristine Waits, a 2000 OSU business administration graduate, currently has a student in Whitney’s fourth-grade class. She is guiding her three children through the virtual school year.
Mesa Middle School student Reese Hoover virtually works on a class project with Olivia Stevens.
“The first two weeks were incredibly difficult,” Waits said. “I’m fairly certain I walked a marathon within my home sprinting between kids to answer their questions or address computer issues.” After the first few weeks, Waits and her kids settled more into a routine and have had an overall positive experience with the virtual lessons. She said she understands the teachers are still learning the process themselves. “I can’t imagine how tough the initial dive into virtual teaching was for the teachers,” Waits said. “Asking them to educate in both traditional and virtual styles is like asking someone to juggle and walk a tightrope at the same time — it can be done but not without a lot of practice. Mrs. Whitney is incredibly organized, and her teaching style has made it so much easier on us.” While the initial experience may have been difficult, Waits said she has been able to look at the bright side and has made many positive memories during this unique time. “This time with my kids, while sometimes frustrating, is precious,” Waits said. “I have also learned a lot about them and the way they operate.” Stacy Walker, a 2002 OSU marketing and human resource management graduate, has had a similar experience with her student in Whitney’s class. Much like Waits, Walker is also balancing the stress of having three children at home in virtual classes.
“It has been a struggle to manage three kids at three different schools, each with different expectations,” Walker said. “It can be hard to balance everything, and it is so tiring — emotionally, mentally and physically for all of us.” Although getting settled into a routine has been difficult for Walker and her kids, she has also learned a lot about her kids she might not have if they were in a traditional classroom this year. “Our family has experienced more time together and shared moments that would never have happened otherwise,” Walker said. “I am more aware of their educational needs and abilities than during a typical year.”
OSU RESOURCES Throughout the pandemic, the OSU College of Education and Human Sciences has created resources to help teachers and parents adapt to virtual learning, including tips from OSU professors, guides for educational technology, fun arts and crafts ideas and more. Check okla. st/eduresources for more information and to take advantage of everything the OSU education community has to offer. *Interviews for this story were conducted in September and reflect the schools’ plans at that time.
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Life in Isolation
Freshman appreciates OSU’s support during bout with COVID-19
t first, Oklahoma State University freshman Aubrie Penfield attributed her body aches, sore throat, runny nose and “stuffy feeling” to allergies and carrying her belongings up three flights of stairs on move-in day. But when her COVID-19 test — administered as part of the move-in process for on-campus residents — came back positive the following day, she quickly realized the seriousness of her situation. “I think it is so important for students to know that if they are feeling sick, go get tested,” she said. “Students should be taking this so seriously because this is a crazy time, and it could be potentially dangerous for a lot of people. So I think that if we love being here, we need to do whatever we can to stay here. “I’m so excited for this school year, especially among all the craziness. I’m so grateful that OSU is providing us the opportunity to be in person as long as we can.” Penfield hesitated to tell others that she is one of the millions of Americans who have contracted the virus. “I was a little nervous how people were going to react,” she said. “Would they be nice? I had been in my apartment for two days. I was scared people would be mad at me for potentially exposing them.” That wasn’t the case at all. Under contact tracing, she had to let others know she tested positive and that they should be tested. “Everyone was so caring and understanding with what I was going through,” she said. Penfield later learned that she probably contracted coronavirus when visiting and saying
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goodbye to a friend in her hometown of Lansing, Kansas, days before moving to Stillwater. The communications sciences and disorders major isolated in a designated room on campus. The university brought meals to her door and emailed her professors to make sure she had everything she needed. She participated in sorority recruitment online and was able to livestream her classes. “I knew the university wasn’t isolating me to punish me but rather to protect me and protect other people,” Penfield said. “I really did feel taken care of. If I had any questions, I could call the COVID hotline and knew I’d get an answer.” Tanya Massey, assistant director for residential living within the Department of Housing and Residential Life, was taking those calls. She understood the importance of making students as comfortable as possible. “Something I tell my staff is people trust us with their kids, and we need to be worthy of that trust,” Massey said. “It is really hard on these students. They feel isolated. They want to make connections. We really try to make sure we are providing as much care and attention as possible.” Someone who appreciated that level of attention for students was Kelly Penfield, a 1993 OSU graduate and Aubrie’s mother. In fact, the Penfield family thanked Massey with a bouquet of flowers. “We feel like people are quick to complain when things don’t go smoothly, but we wanted Tanya to know we were grateful for her professionalism, compassion and personal attention,” Kelly Penfield said. “We called Tanya a lot in the early days. She proactively kept us informed and coordinated actions across university support systems to minimize the impact of Aubrie’s time in isolation. While Aubrie’s first college experience is nothing like we (Aubrie’s father, Greg, is also a 1993 OSU graduate) have ever seen, this did reinforce to her how much OSU values its students and that its actions reflect a sense of family.”
STORY DAVID BITTON | PHOTOS PHIL SHOCKLEY AND AUBRIE PENFIELD
SHARING IS CARING The OSU Museum of Art — which transitioned from in-person art activities to handing out pick-up kits — initially donated 20 watercolor kits to university students in quarantine. In addition, a small group of OSU faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members from a local church came together to collect and donate dozens of care packages. The first delivery of non-perishable items included soup, crackers, candy bars and words of encouragement. “Our faith prompts us to have compassion and to care about other people,” said OSU alumna Emily Emerson. “I thought about how it would be to be a person on campus and have to be quarantined a couple weeks without anybody else, so I thought we could do something to make that time that they have to spend in quarantine a little bit nicer.”
Non-perishable donations for OSU students in isolation or quarantine are being accepted and can be dropped off at 100 Iba Hall. For more information, contact Residential Life at 405-744-9158 or email@example.com.
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TRANSFORMING When Oklahoma State University announced its decision to halt in-person classes in the spring,
plans to bring them back safely in the fall were already taking shape. Creativity and communication were crucial to the Campus Pandemic Response Team’s vision, as were countless hours of hard work and planning. From the classroom to the president’s office, faculty, staff and students all played a role in making the semester possible, emphasizing a theme from the Cowboy Code: There will be pain, but pain will not win. “The Cowboy family has always pulled together during difficult times, and we saw it once again as we completed a unique but successful fall semester,” OSU President Burns Hargis said. “OSU faculty and staff worked extra hard this summer preparing our Cowboys Coming Back plan to effectively deliver on our academic, research and extension missions, while taking extraordinary steps to guard the health and safety of the campus. I cannot thank students, faculty and staff enough for their support and commitment to our success.”
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STORY MACK BURKE | PHOTOS PHIL SHOCKLEY AND GARY LAWSON
How the Stillwater campus met the challenge of a global pandemic
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PLANNING AND COMMUNICATION Preparing the campus for the fall semester meant new cleaning measures, reducing classroom occupancy levels and even creating new classrooms. But before any of these measures were put in play, there was planning. Lots of planning. Health came first. OSU’s Pandemic Response Team was created in the spring to oversee the university’s response, and a Public Health Advisory Task Force was created to monitor and guide the health of the broader OSU community. Together, they developed guidance for the implementation of a comprehensive effort to prepare the campus for students’ return: The Cowboys Coming Back plan. President Hargis released the six-phase plan detailing steps from May to December. “Our plans will only be effective if everyone in the Cowboy family works together and acts responsibly,” he said following the release of the plan. “I ask everyone to follow the Cowboy Code, which includes the principle that ‘we have a passion to do what’s right, even when it’s hard.’”
OSU’s steps to battle COVID-19 gained national recognition, including an interview on NBC’s Today show.
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The plan established rigorous on-campus COVID-19 testing, required all campus residents to test before moving into campus housing and set aside 300 quarantine units to accommodate and care for those who did test positive. Extra hotel space was secured in case more units were needed, a 24-hour COVID-19 hotline was established and a dedicated email address was created to field questions. “We started meeting four days a week, because it felt as if we were receiving new information about the fall every day,” said Director of Housing and Residential Life Dr. Leon McClinton. “Fortunately, we have a very experienced departmental leadership team that embraced the new challenge.” By April, the Oklahoma State University’s Diagnostic Laboratory had completed the verification procedures to become a fully authorized COVID-19 diagnostic lab, dramatically increasing Oklahoma’s testing capabilities. In August, the lab eclipsed the 100,000-test mark. OSU’s COVID testing lab has since relocated to Venture 1, an OSU research facility southwest of the main campus, and continues to be a focal point in the state’s COVID-19 response. Contact tracing efforts during the fall semester were bolstered through digital contact tracing using campus Wi-Fi and student ID card swipes. Led by Associate Vice President Christie Hawkins and supported by a special relationship involving University Health Services’ Pamela Stokes, the Payne County Health Department’s Kelli Rader and Stillwater Medical Center’s Necia Kimber, OSU’s contact tracing efforts have been remarkably effective. In August, OSU created an interactive online dashboard (okla.st/dash) to track COVID cases and testing data and keep the OSU community informed. The dashboard continues to provide updates twice a week based on the latest testing data. Those are just some of the steps the university took to combat the spread of COVID-19. Like the teams that created them, these measures worked in concert to protect the university community.
“A fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan.” — BOONE PICKENS
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PHYSICAL DISTANCING University Planner Casey Shell said the first step to making the campus safe for students’ return was addressing physical distancing. The COVID19 Facilities Accommodation Committee was established with a representative from each college, the registrar, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management, Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITLE), and two representatives from University Planning. “Before students were sent home in March, we were already planning for the fall,” said Chief Facilities Officer Ron Tarbutton. “It took a couple of months with the supply chain just to source everything we needed. That’s why it was so crucial that we started planning when we did. And we found that many colleges were struggling to get these critically needed supplies and equipment. By consolidating purchasing, it put us in a better position to get everything.” Tarbutton is quick to give credit to the Office of Central Procurement for rounding up a laundry list of equipment and supplies at a time when supply chains were in disarray, as well as getting good value through bulk purchasing. “University Planning surveyed all of the existing classrooms and took the lead on identifying alternative classrooms,” he said. “They also helped us in other ways, like suggesting locations for new sanitizer dispensers. We ordered them and installed them, but it was through our partnership with University Planning that we were able to pull this off.” Tarbutton said the cooperation touched every aspect of the plan. ITLE, for example, was instrumental in setting up new classrooms with the technology they needed to be effective — white boards, speakers, projectors, etc. “It took a lot of people doing a lot of things together to make this successful,” Tarbutton said. Shell said there’s no denying that the preCOVID college experience was idyllic by comparison, but the university was able to find success through creativity and cooperation. “We would get on the phone, we had weekly meetings, we talked about our concepts and ideas and worked together at every turn,” Shell said. “If it wasn’t for everybody working on this, there’s no way we could’ve gotten it done before students came back for the fall semester.” Working with a formula to determine seating arrangements and scheduling, University Planning
provided Facilities Management with a blueprint. Facilities Management then went about creating 15 new classrooms, removing desks and plotting out seating arrangements in newly improvised spaces. Quickly it became clear that finding lecture halls was going to be a challenge, with some classrooms only able to accommodate 16 percent of their original capacity. The largest classroom — Seretean Theater Room 125 — originally seated 801 and was reduced to 131. So Shell and his team started to put together a list, scouring campus (and even briefly considering off-campus sites) for spaces that could be transformed into socially distanced classrooms. Once they had their list, the hard work began. “We now had to move surplus furniture out of the existing rooms into the new spaces that had no furnishings and move the remaining furniture to storage, identify and create specifications for the necessary audio-video equipment that would be needed, procure and install the necessary Wi-Fi equipment to make sure students had reliable Wi-Fi coverage, and purchase and install recording and streaming equipment in all classrooms to be able to simulcast classes for in-person or virtual attendance,” Shell said. The end result was new classrooms in such places as the Colvin Center, the suites at Boone Pickens Stadium, the OSU Alumni Center, the Wes Watkins Center, the Student Union Theater and even the Student Union Ballroom and Starlight Terrace. The most striking may be the repurposed basketball courts at the Colvin, where three classrooms were created. Two courts were revamped to make two 200-student-capacity classrooms. Four courts in the annex became the largest classroom on campus in the fall, seating 350. In addition to the creation of new classrooms, the Facilities Management team had its hands full with a wide array of projects. For the HVAC systems, workers installed high-efficiency filters — going from the widely commercially used MERV 8-rated filters to hospital-grade MERV 13-rated filters — and added specialized equipment inside several HVAC systems to kill airborne viruses and bacteria in the airstream. Facilities Management implemented nightly electrostatic disinfectant spraying in all classrooms, computer labs and the library, hiring an additional 14 employees to get the job done.
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BREADTH OF CHANGES The summer is already a busy time for Facilities Management crews, and preparing the campus for a semester unlike any other added to the workload. Tarbutton said the emergence of H1N1 in 2009 was a bit of preparatory experience, but nothing like the breadth of changes that came with COVID. “It’s been a strange semester unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It took a tremendous amount of effort and quick planning, quick thinking and coordination with a lot of people. “Part of it is the communication messages that go out. Any time there’s a great idea, those take time to procure what’s needed and implement it. So we are constantly having to prioritize what we do and we did that. We did core things first and then we went to the second round and third round. Fortunately, we were able to get virtually everything out before the start of the semester. It came down to the wire with some things to just a week before, but those are the kinds of supply-chain challenges we were facing.” Tarbutton said his team embraced its role and was proud to do its part. “I’m very proud of the efforts of Facilities Management, as well as all of our university partners to get campus ready for the return of faculty, students and staff,” he said. “We worked tirelessly throughout the summer. Even when others were working remotely, we were coming in because we physically had to get things ready for people to return safely.” Looking back, Shell said preparing the campus was a remarkable feat. “By the first couple of weeks in July, we could see progress, but we had a long ways to go,” he said. On Aug. 16, just one day before the start of the fall semester, Shell said everything was finally in place. “It took a huge effort from all or our teams, lots of hours, weekends and evenings, but we [made it], and we were ready for in-person classes on Aug. 17.”
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While university leaders and planners were juggling broad measures to bring students back to campus safely, professors and instructors faced their own challenges. After deftly pivoting to distance learning in the spring, they were ready for the fall. Dr. Bryan G. Brockbank, an assistant accounting professor and Wilton T. Anderson fellow, had recorded a handful of videos prior to the spring semester. He’s since recorded over 200 and learned a lot along the way. “Think about it from the student’s perspective,” he said. “Nobody wants to watch a 75-minute lecture video — including you after you’ve finished recording it. It’s much easier to break class sessions up into individual topics and record short videos related to each topic.” His videos include an element you’re not likely to find on any balance sheet: fun. “I would record a short video each week with my boys where we would tell jokes or do magic tricks for my students,” he said. “Part of the value we provide to our students is the personal connection they make with us as their professors, which is much more difficult to do in an online environment. Anything we can do to help make that connection is helpful.” Brockbank said one of the biggest challenges of teaching online or in a hybrid environment is the relentless competition from other content sources. But even in that he sees opportunities to improve the college learning experience. “What I’ve seen is a general trend towards an ‘on-demand’ society with Netflix, YouTube, or any other social media and entertainment that is available at any time,” he said. “The challenge there is that it may be difficult for higher education to compete with entertainment options, especially if the education is offered on demand. Are my students more likely to watch TikTok videos or my accounting videos? The unfortunate reality is that I’m not as creative or entertaining as the students’ favorite social media influencer or TikTok channel. At the same time, my job isn’t to entertain; it is to educate. “The current challenges do provide an opportunity to evaluate how we spend time in class as well as what should be required outside of class. It offers a great opportunity to continually improve the product we deliver to our students.” COVID adaptations were especially challenging for lab classes where hands-on experience is crucial. Dr. Jill Akkerman teaches first-year anatomy in the College of Veterinary Medicine. She calls it a “full-contact class.” “In order to learn anatomy, students should optimally have direct hands-on experience with
SIGNS OF THE TIMES The Facilities Management Sign Shop made and installed roughly 17,000 mask reminder signs for exterior doors and social distancing markers for floors, stairways, entrances and elevators.
RESEARCH cadavers,” she said. “Hands-on lab dissection teaches relationships among organs and structures, variability between and among species (cats are not small dogs) in addition to collaborative teamwork and psychomotor skills. Pre-COVID, our students spent significant time dissecting cadavers.” With a normal approach off the operating table, Akkerman found herself exploring new ideas. Some of the adaptations have proven to be so effective that she may retain them in a post-pandemic world. “I think it is easy for instructors to get into a ‘groove’ with a specific course and not explore new teaching methods and ideas. COVID has certainly changed that for many instructors,” she said. “I told the students from day one our course motto this semester was ‘optimistic, creative and flexible.’ Despite all of my planning, [instructors and students] have had to ‘pivot’ a few times already to adapt, but as long as we all stay optimistic, creative and flexible, students will come out of the course having met the desired outcomes and prepared for future courses.” Like Akkerman, fellow veterinary professors Katrina Meinkoth and Stefano Di Concetto sought ways to maximize clinical opportunities. Meinkoth teaches surgical fundamentals. She said the pandemic has accelerated instructors’ comfort level with different modes of teaching. That’s a good thing, she said, but there is no replacement for hands-on experience. Di Concetto found success by leveraging technology and finding new space. With reduced lab occupancy due to COVID, Meinkoth and her colleagues developed a “Clinical Skills Lab.” Utilizing an unused room at the animal teaching hospital and an alternating weekly schedule, they were able to enhance hands-on learning. “This allowed them to refine and practice in slow motion on manikins what they learned on live animals during the first week,” she said. “At the same time, the group of students who practiced in the Clinical Skills Lab during the first week had the opportunity to apply during the second week what they learned in SimLab to the client-owned animals treated in the clinic during their second week of rotation.”
Innovation allowed major research efforts to continue across campus and across disciplines. OSU Vice President for Research Dr. Kenneth Sewell said researchers had to make adjustments but continued to be productive in impressive ways. “Working in shifts in their labs, installing plexiglass dividers between workspaces, research teams traveling to field sites in separate vehicles, human subject researchers moving in-person interviews to virtual spaces, and even adapting research efforts to pandemic-related topics are some of the many ways that OSU researchers have coped with the challenges,” he said. “Most indicators of research continuity will take many more months to assess, but one indicator we can immediately examine relates to new research grant proposals submitted to funding agencies in the past six months.” From April through September of 2020, OSU researchers submitted proposals for grants totaling $123.4 million. During the same six-month period over the past three years, researchers have averaged $124.7 million in grant proposals. “So although the pandemic may be slowing our research down a bit, our wonderful faculty, staff and student researchers are showing their resilience and persistence to keep the OSU research enterprise strong,” Sewell said.
DISTRIBUTING PRECAUTIONS The university has distributed more than: 66,000 bottles of hand sanitizer. 100,000 disposable masks. 50,400 cloth masks. Hundreds of N95 masks.
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THE SHOW MUST GO ON From the stage to rehearsal rooms, OSU’s performing arts programs faced unique obstacles. But, as the saying goes, the show must go on. In the Greenwood School of Music, the creativity and tenacity of planners and faculty members made the seemingly impossible possible. All instructional rooms were arranged for physical distancing, acrylic barriers were installed to mitigate the spread of aerosols, air purifiers with HEPA filters were installed in all instructional rooms and practice rooms, “airing out” procedures were adopted to give those air purifiers time to work, private lessons were limited to larger rooms, and large ensemble formats were reduced. Bell covers were distributed for brass and wind instruments and singers were provided with specialized masks. Vocal ensemble rehearsals were relocated to larger spaces, such as Bennett Chapel and First Christian Church, where distancing was possible. Dr. Jeff Loeffert said it’s unfortunate that the anticipated opening of the new Greenwood Music Building will coincide with the pandemic, but he has seen faculty members find ways to provide meaningful experiences for students. “We can be certain that our students will have vivid memories of this school year throughout their lives,” he said. “When our students look back at this year, they will remember instructors who were committed to helping them achieve at their maximum potential despite the difficult circumstances. Really, what better lesson could there be? We do not find a path to success — we create a path to success. Our aim is to serve our students, and even a pandemic will not stop us from meeting our instructional mission.” Broadway is still dark, but the OSU Department of Theatre and Dance found innovative ways to carry on, including a radio-style recreation of the famous Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast. Department head David Kersnar said students and faculty met the challenges of the pandemic without a blink. “Artists are problem-solvers by trade, so we divided up our year-long program into fall and spring seasons to address the up-to-the-minute needs of our times and focused this autumn on a series of fun, engaging and even socially relevant offerings,” Kersnar said.
The Distances series focused on bringing new voices to the table while creatively staging great entertainment. The department also launched a new channel on the O’Colly OMG app to allow more people to tune in. With limited seating to allow for distancing, OSU Opera presented The Wonderful World of Sondheim, which was also livestreamed via OStateTV. Meanwhile, The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts celebrated its one-year anniversary with creative adaptations and new offerings, such as the McKnight at the Movies series. Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director Mark Blakeman said the pandemic could not stop The McKnight Center from pursuing its mission to inspire and transform lives through artistic excellence, shared creative experiences and impactful learning opportunities. The McKnight Center was able to reopen in the fall with socially distanced performances. Utilizing enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, the iconic venue hosted more than 60 concerts and private events. “We know how important the arts are during times of uncertainty, and we’re constantly innovating to continue to inspire our audiences,” Blakeman said.
A student uses one of 10 temperature-checking stations that were installed on campus.
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BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Beyond the classroom, the lab and the stage, other beloved aspects of the OSU experience were reimagined. While the 100th anniversary celebration of America’s Greatest Homecoming had to be postponed, many other aspects of campus life continued to bring the Cowboy family together. Student Union Activities Board President Adriann Crawford said it wasn’t easy, but the Student Union Activities Board continued to play an uplifting role in students’ lives. “In the past, most of our events were these big night events that attracted large groups, but now our events are what we call walk-by events,” she said. “We’ve had some of the biggest attendance numbers that we’ve ever had. A part of this is because of the fact that with walk-by/daytime events we get a crowd of students we normally wouldn’t reach.” Looking forward, she said SUAB has learned some lessons it can carry into the future, even when COVID subsides.
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“I feel like SUAB and myself have actually learned a lot about what students at OSU enjoy and how to plan an event for that,” she said. “Like I mentioned earlier, right now we are getting better attendance numbers and better feedback than we have ever gotten, and that’s fantastic. It’s making us think that even after COVID-19 is over that we should change how we approach events in general.” Other beloved programs, like Pete’s Pet Posse, also adapted. The nation’s premier university pet therapy program went digital in the spring as its four-legged stars took to making Zoom appearances in various meetings and conducting virtual sessions. That continued in the fall, and new wrinkles, like Book at Bedtime, a virtual story hour with Keith and Kendria Cost’s dogs, Huxley and Darwin, were added. OSU Career Services continued to support students with digital resources to enhance their job prospects, from online job fairs to résumé workshops and other skill-building programs. When internship opportunities started to dry up in the spring and summer, some professors found or created new opportunities for students. Tilanka Chandrasekera, an associate professor in the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising, helped to craft a new digital internship for aspiring interior designers. Greg Clare, an associate professor of design, housing and merchandising, was part of an effort to design three internship sections and an additional internship opportunity with Toronto-based Riipen. Working with an 18-member departmental advisory board, he and Chandrasekera were able to help keep many students on track to graduate.
LOOKING AHEAD Despite all of the challenges of COVID-19, the future at Oklahoma State remains bright. Fall enrollment was up 360 students compared with the same time the previous year, and student retention is at an all-time high. Still, the university continues to strive for better, from its labs and classrooms to the countless meetings that made reopening them possible. Facilities Management, for example, is looking at new measures for the spring, like new technologies to treat the air, more long-lasting aerosols and refining efficiencies. “Not knowing what next summer will hold requires ongoing strategic planning,” Chandrasekera said. “I look forward to an effective and welltested vaccine, but in the meantime, a leading academic institution in the Great Plains, we must continue planning for risk mitigation so that we don’t impact our most critical resource — our students.” In the end, the measure of the university’s success for the fall 2020 semester came from the students. Sophomores Brittany Hicks and Brooke Puckett didn’t expect their business calculus class to be in a gym. But they were pleasantly surprised with how the university has responded to the pandemic. “I think OSU did a good job of balancing everything,” Hicks said. “They didn’t have a lot of options, and they made it work. I wouldn’t have known what to do, but the university did a good job of using its resources to allow students to come back to campus.” Puckett said she has friends at other schools who haven’t been able to attend in-person classes. She’s thankful that wasn’t the case for OSU. “It would be hard, not only for kids returning to school but especially freshmen, not getting to build relationships with their teachers or even other students,” she said. “I think [OSU’s response] has been great. “I trust OSU to make the right decision. Other universities have closed down completely or canceled all sports. I’m proud of OSU for sticking with it and finding ways to give us a somewhat normal experience.”
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Flying Aggies join longtime pal for his final flight with Southwest
Retiring pilot Mark Schulz’s final time in command of a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 was an Oklahoma State University Flying Aggies mini-reunion. Joining him in the cockpit on Aug. 30 were Southwest pilot Kevin Fergerson and retiring Delta Air Lines pilot Philip Martin — all three former OSU Flying Aggies. Their families and their advisor from the 1980s, Bruce Hoover, were along for the ride in the main cabin. It was the perfect celebration of Schulz’s last 737 flight and the embodiment of what a quality education, camaraderie and shared interests can mean to a life.
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ANY 10:30 CLASS WOULD DO Schulz stumbled into aviation. He enrolled in college with no particular goal in mind. It was simply what a person was supposed to do. “I made pretty good grades. Everyone said, ‘You should be a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian or an engineer,’” he remembered. “Well none of that was really ringing my bell.” He took classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 so he had the free time later to lift weights with a buddy down the hall. When it was time to enroll in a 10:30 a.m. trigonometry class for the spring semester, he couldn’t; he had an unpaid parking ticket. “I had improperly parked in the freshman overflow lot, this big, ugly gravel lot on the north side of Hall of Fame,” Schulz said. “So I go pay my stupid $5 ticket, and they told me I had to wait until everyone else enrolled.” He remembers the day he walked through a cold rain in the early morning darkness to the Student Union to round off his schedule with the 10:30 trig class. Drop-add in the early ’80s consisted of a large room, light from an overhead projector and course catalogs. The trig class was full.
STORY SHANNON G. RIGSBY | PHOTOS COURTESY MARK SCHULZ
“I would have picked anything at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday,” he said. Schulz grabbed a catalog and started with the A’s. AVED 1113, private pilot ground school, was the first 10:30 class he found. He verified that he could indeed get three hours of college credit for the course, signed up and went to the basement bookstore for the book and supplies. “There was a shrink-wrapped collection of stuff. And I thought, ‘What is going on here?’ There was a map and a plastic thing in there and some kind of thing you wheel around. I thought, ‘I don’t know what this is, but I dig it.’” Class started, and Schulz fell in love. “This was the coolest thing I had ever done in my life,” he said. He went home to Altus, Oklahoma, that summer, worked at John Deere during the day and learned to fly in the
evenings. He baked under the summer sun in the small single-engine Cherokee 140. “It was so hot and I was sweaty, but I didn’t care. It was so cool I couldn’t stand it,” he said. “That was what I wanted to do, and here I am.” At Hoover’s behest, he joined the Flying Aggies, a student organization founded in 1948 when the university was still Oklahoma A&M. As a member of the group’s competition flight team, Schulz traveled to Battle Creek, Michigan, for the 1983 national competition. There, he met Phil Martin and Kevin Fergerson. All three would serve as president of the Flying Aggies in the coming years. The three believed interest in the aviation program was waning on campus. Hoover said they made it their goal to generate excitement around flying at OSU.
Clockwise from top: Philip Martin, Kevin Fergerson and Mark Schulz pose by an OSU airplane in the early 1980s. Marking the end of a Southwest Airlines career for Mark Schulz were former Flying Aggies instructor Bruce Hoover (from left), Southwest pilot Kevin Fergerson, Schulz and Delta pilot Philip Martin. Retiring Southwest Airlines pilot Mark Schulz (right) was joined by fellow Flying Aggies Delta pilot Philip Martin (center) and Southwest pilot Kevin Fergerson on the last flight of his career.
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“What was cool about it was that Kevin, Phil and I became friends at Battle Creek in the spring of ’83 and we went out basically together in the same airplane, one day, one leg. Thirty-seven years later, they’re still my best friends. It really couldn’t have gone any better.” Mark Schulz
Mark Schulz, a former Flying Aggies president, hangs an OSU banner out the window of a Southwest Airlines 737 commemorating his final flight before retirement.
“These guys had the natural ability to engage their peers,” Hoover said. “‘We’re going to take care of this, Mr. Hoover,’ they would say, and off they would go.” “The Flying Aggies were our life,” Schulz said. “We poured a lot of effort, dedication, devotion, time and energy into it.” THE EARLY YEARS Schulz quickly earned his private pilot’s license, instrument rating, multiengine rating and instructor certificate. His grandmother left him exactly the amount of money needed to finish up his commercial instrument rating, certified flight instructor and certified instrument flight instructor ratings. He taught ground school and new private pilot students at OSU for 18 months before landing a job at a commuter airline. Schulz accrued more flight time working for another Flying Aggie who opened a flight school in Stillwater,
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AESI, and a charter airline, Exec Express, ferrying passengers in a twinengine Piper Chieftain. “We would literally take the tickets, check the people in, load the baggage, do the weight and balance and then fly from the right seat,” he said. “We made $10 a flight hour. We would start at six in the morning, land in Enid at six at night for $40, and we loved every minute of it.” For a long-term career, Schulz knew he wanted to fly for Southwest Airlines. It didn’t pay the most or have the most benefits, but it had never had a furlough. He had to have a type rating for a Boeing 737 to even apply. He made $20,000 a year flying for a commuter airline and managed to save the $9,650 to cover the costs of getting the type rating. He quit work to have the time to earn the rating. He was 26, married and living with his in-laws, washing cars to make money, waiting for a call. Schulz reached back to the Flying Aggies for
help and picked up a job at another commuter airline. Six months later, Southwest called. FINAL FLIGHT Schulz has no nail-biting, landingon-the-Hudson moments to share. He does have 31 years to the day of successfully ferrying Southwest Airlines passengers and their bags to their next destination as on time as he could
Fergerson is still flying for Southwest Airlines, but the day was emotional for him as well. “It really didn’t hit me until that day that this is it for Mark. I didn’t realize it was the last day Phil gets to suit up. It was cool to see all three of us in uniform, but I remember back when we were just excited to fly a Piper Chieftain. It was neat how we gelled
AVIATION PROGRAM SOARING TO NEW HEIGHTS The Oklahoma State University Aviation Program in the College of Education and Human Sciences has taken on new life in the last decade. An aging fleet of planes has been refreshed and expanded to 38, with several newer models including six new Cirrus SR20s. Four twin-engine planes are available for multi-engine and commercial ratings. Lance Fortney, program manager for the OSU Flight Center, said there were around 130 students in the flight program when he started in 2012. That number has almost doubled. Demand became so great that the program now accepts only 75 new students every fall to ensure enough flight time for everyone. The program has outgrown its current flight center north of the Stillwater Regional Airport.
manage. Before COVID-19, when an airline pilot retired, airport fire trucks typically shot a water cannon salute over the plane as it taxied to the gate followed by snacks and celebration in the pilot’s lounge. So many pilots had chosen to retire around Sept. 1 that the company couldn’t plan a special sendoff for everyone. So Schulz planned his own: three Flying Aggies and their beloved advisor, together again for one final leg. Martin was scheduled to retire from Delta’s international flights on Aug. 31. Schulz called a week before his own final flight and asked Martin to come along. Martin hesitated. “My first thought was, ‘No,’ because of COVID. But at the same time my heart said, ‘Man, you gotta do this.’ It felt like an honor to be invited on the final flight of Mark’s. It felt like my final flight, too, in a way. It will be the last time I’ll be in an airliner cockpit for the rest of my life.”
into the same people we were when we were 18, 19, 20 years old. It was just the joy of being around each other.” Hoover was honored to be invited. “It almost brought me to tears,” he said. “Their personalities really had not changed a bit. They were still the rowdy bunch they always were. These boys took chances, but they were calculated. They knew what they wanted to pursue and made sacrifices to get there. To see them all in uniform together and at the ranks they have achieved, along with their families, was a treat.” For Schulz, it was the perfect ending. “What was cool about it was that Kevin, Phil and I became friends at Battle Creek in the spring of ’83 and we went out basically together in the same airplane, one day, one leg. Thirtyseven years later, they’re still my best friends. It really couldn’t have gone any better.”
“We have so many students and we do so much flying right now, there’s not enough room. People are sitting in the lobby trying to brief. There’s not enough privacy for instructor/ student conversations.” Construction has started on the new Ray and Linda Booker OSU Flight Center, with completion expected in the fall of 2021. “The new building will give us the space and the privacy to hold those educational briefings and debriefings,” Fortney said. “It will allow us to get our simulator in the same building, with hopefully room for two simulators.”
For more information or to donate, visit OSUgiving.com/AviationComplex.
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Randall and Carol White were inducted by President Burns Hargis into the Proud and Immortal Society in 2019 in recognition of their lifetime giving to Oklahoma State University.
Educating Forward New initiative under the Brighter Orange, Brighter Future campaign will help future teachers
he critical role of educators in our communities has been amplified by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic as new regulations and mandates have changed the way students learn and teachers teach. The importance of scholarships at Oklahoma State has also been highlighted as students continue to struggle with the financial ramifications caused by disruptions to everyday life. As part of the Brighter Orange, Brighter Future campaign, the Educating Forward initiative was developed to help those students who are pursuing a degree in education. While there has long been a need for financial assistance for these students,
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the need has become even more evident because of COVID-19. “The idea for Educating Forward was born out of a need on several fronts including the teacher shortage in Oklahoma, retention of teachers and the debt many students have upon graduation,” said Dr. Shelbie Witte, head of the School of Teaching, Learning and Educational Sciences within the College of Education and Human Sciences. The average starting salary for a teacher in Oklahoma is $36,601, while the average student loan debt for an OSU graduate is $23,790. Like many students, education majors rely on scholarships to help ease the discrepancy between the amount they earn as a teacher and the amount they owe as a college graduate.
“We are at a very critical point for the future of education in Oklahoma. We essentially want to make it easier for those students who have a passion to teach to achieve that goal and not have to worry about debt,” Witte said. The Educating Forward initiative aims to raise a total of $3 million, which would provide $130,000 to $150,000 a year in scholarships. “These scholarships would be a gamechanger for our school and our college,” Witte said. “With these scholarships, we would be showing our students that we value them and their education.” The idea of being able to provide significant financial support for future teachers was especially inspiring for Randall and Carol White, lead donors
STORY KAROLYN MOBERLY | PHOTO LAUREN KNORI
"They are perfect examples of how personal passions can fuel philanthropy at OSU. These gifts will change the lives of teachers and generations of students." BURNS HARGIS of the Educating Forward initiative with a gift of $1 million that will begin awarding scholarships this spring. While Randall, president and CEO of Educational Development Corp. in Tulsa, is a graduate of the Spears School of Business, he has a deep passion for education and reading. “I grew up in Keystone, Oklahoma, and my father was the superintendent,” Randall said. “If the bus driver didn’t show up that day, he was the bus driver. If the janitor didn’t show up that day, he was the janitor. Growing up, I saw the impact educators have in their communities.” The Whites are also taking a different approach to their gift by creating a scholarship program that will be recurring every year for recipients — ensuring that these students have the funds available to continue their education at Oklahoma State. They are both eager to engage with and mentor their student recipients. “We knew we wanted to get more involved with this gift,” Carol explained. “We want to connect with students, be a mentor for them and be able to see the impact our gift is having now.” Randall and Carol hope their investment in the Educating Forward initiative will inspire others to give back to the university that means so much to them. “We have been very fortunate, and we believe that the more you make, the more you can give back to others,” Randall said. “We don’t need anything more. You have got to go and do good with it.” Witte and her husband, Mike Mondoux, U.S. Army retiree and current Arvest Bank manager, were also inspired to give to Educating Forward — They made an estate gift in honor of their families, which have 20 teachers between the two sides. “Even though I’m not a graduate (of Oklahoma State University), I know
the quality of educators coming from OSU. Mike and I wanted to give to the place that would do the most good and make the most impact,” she explained. “Teaching is who I am, and this is where it made sense for us to give.” OSU alumnus Bryan Close, has also stepped up to help launch the Educating Forward initiative and invest in the next generation of Oklahoma educators by endowing a $500,000 gift. “I felt I could help jump-start the new program by committing to a relatively meaningful gift,” Close said. “I sincerely believe the late Boone Pickens realized his significant financial gifts could and would inspire others to become involved. Albeit not on the scale of Boone’s generosity, perhaps my gift can induce others to explore possibilities of their own involvement.” Close, president of CloseBend Inc. in Tulsa, has been a supporter of OSU education students for many years now, establishing the Bryan Close Teaching Fund, which he said has been one of his favorite contributions to the university. “Hopefully, it eliminates at least one major worry as the newly graduated student embarks on his or her teaching career,” he said. Close said he hopes that the scholarship support will help remove the stigma that teaching isn’t a valuable career path. Ultimately, he doesn’t want student loans to keep students from pursuing their passion for teaching as a career. "Oklahoma State appreciates the remarkable generosity of the Whites, Bryan Close and Dr. Witte and her husband, which is propelling our Educating Forward initiative," said OSU President Burns Hargis. "They are perfect examples of how personal passions can fuel philanthropy at OSU. These gifts will change the lives of teachers and generations of students."
WHY YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS The Brighter Orange, Brighter Future scholarship campaign gives hope to students and families who believe they can’t afford higher education or the lifechanging opportunities at OSU. Here are two reasons this campaign is vital to our students:
More than 82 percent of OSU’s student body rely on financial assistance. The cost of attending OSU is pricing some students out, with one year here now estimated at more than $22,000 for an in-state student (excluding additional personal expenses).
To learn how you can make a difference for students at OSU, visit brighter-orange.com.
You can invest in the next generation of America’s Brightest Educators. For more information on Educating Forward, please contact Denise Melot at 405-385-5663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Endowed Chairs & Professorships: Propelling OSU Forward Endowed chairs and professorships are vitally important to OSU’s land-grant mission of research, instruction and extension. These positions are seen as a distinguished honor and allow the university to attract the most sought-after instructors and researchers. As a result, OSU can provide students the best instructional and academic experiences possible, elevate research and more easily share that research with the public. Visit OSUgiving.com/your-passion/ faculty-endowments for more information on how to support our incredible faculty.
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Occupation: Associate Dean of Special Collections — Recipient of the Puterbaugh Professorship for Library Services
How has your endowed position helped you make an even greater impact with your work? I try to ensure that the library has a potential impact on all Oklahomans and that our collections represent the diversity of Oklahoma’s population. There are three ways the Puterbaugh funds helped accomplish that mission in FY20. First, we hosted our inaugural induction into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. While the Hall has been in existence since 1991, this year marked the first ceremony since the Hall moved to the auspices of the OSU Library and Center for Oklahoma Studies. We took the occasion to honor the statewide literary outreach of Teresa Miller. We also diversified our collections in two ways. First, we hired Dr. Helen Clements to identify works on and by members of Oklahoma’s 38 sovereign Native American nations to add to the archives. We also purchased a copy of the ‘1941 Negro City Directory' for Tulsa in hopes researchers can use it to see how the community changed in the decades following the 1921 Race Massacre. What is something that the average person would not think about when it comes to your field? Very few people understand how much behind-thescenes effort it takes to preserve archival materials. Our staff needs to monitor storage environments, convert specialized formats and prepare grant proposals for funds to undertake larger preservation projects. In the past year, we have used the Puterbaugh funds to support these efforts. Our Special Collections units and three branch libraries all have suffered leaks, high temperatures or humidity that threaten the collections. To better preserve our materials, we purchased new digital temperature and humidity loggers, as well as dehumidifiers.
Occupation: Senior Inclusion Officer and Associate Professor of Managment — Recipient of the William S. Spears Chair in Business Administration
How has this endowed position enabled you to make an impact through your work? As a diversity, equity and inclusion researcher, I investigate practices, policies and procedures that enable fair and inclusive workplace development. My research depends heavily upon the generosity of individuals who take time out of their day to participate in lengthy surveys and in-depth follow-up interviews about such critical issues as racial justice at work, sexual harassment in their organizations, and positive work-family practice. The William S. Spears Chair funds allow me to do each part of the work from recruiting and compensating participants to purchasing the analytical software. What is an important aspect of your field that the average person may not realize? The work of diversity, equity and inclusion researchers is often considered a subunit of human resources or a compliance office to ensure equal employment opportunities. While our work contributes to these important areas of antidiscrimination, my field actually goes far beyond compliance to examine the psychology and management practices that enable leaders to build inclusive cultures and all employees to bring their fullest, most authentic selves to work. What are your goals for the 2020-2021 academic year? I aim to continue my research agenda; however, given the constraints of COVID-19, I intend to turn my attention more fully to enhancing our understanding of work-life balance in a work-from-home world. In this project and others, I share my work with doctoral students who work side-by-side with me on our research agenda.
Occupation: Assistant Dean for Rural Health — Recipient of the AT&T Professorship in Telemedicine
What role has this endowed position had in your ablitity to make an impact through your work? As a land-grant institution, Oklahoma State University remains heavily engaged in action-oriented, communitybased participative research. Through OSU’s Rural Renewal Initiative, the AT&T Professorship has allowed me and the OSU Center for Rural Health to pilot the efficacy of delivering real-time emergency medicine consults via telemedicine with OSU Medicine to rural EMS crews out in the field in Tillman County, Oklahoma, one of our state’s most persistently impoverished counties. What is an aspect of your field that those on the outside may not realize? There are regions of our state that have significant barriers to broadband access, creating a digital disparity. That’s in addition to other disparities involving care and access for rural Oklahoma communities that already experience shortages of health care providers and essential health services. We work toward solutions to help address these disparities in our state. What has your involvement been in OSU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic? COVID-19 has certainly presented a challenging time for our country, our industries, patients and our communities. The pandemic also has accelerated plans that were already in place to partner and collaborate with health care organizations and other care providers through telemedicine. For example, our OSU Center for Rural Health partnered with OSU Medicine and the State COVID-19 Task Force to equip 16 rural hospitals with necessary telemedicine devices to deliver virtual care during this health crisis.
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Prior to the start of the OSU-Texas Tech football game on Nov. 28, a nine-foot, 1,200 pound statue of T. Boone Pickens was unveiled outside the west end of the stadium that bears his name.
Boone Pickens statue unveiled at OSU stadium A catalyst for the rise of Oklahoma State football and a presence at every Cowboy home game for years, the legendary Boone Pickens has been permanently honored with a statue at the stadium that bears his name. Sculpted out of bronze by Enidbased artist Harold Holden, the ninefoot-tall statue is located immediately west of Boone Pickens Stadium. It was unveiled before OSU’s Nov. 28 game against Texas Tech. Pickens is the third person memorialized with a statue on the Oklahoma State campus, joining former president Henry Bennett and OSU’s first African-American student, Nancy Randolph Davis. During his long career, Pickens created thousands of jobs and made billions of dollars — for others as well
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as himself — and he wasn’t timid about spreading it around. “I like making money. I like giving it away … not as much as I like making it, but it’s a close second,” he often said. Pickens was a record-setting philanthropist. His $165 million gift to OSU in 2005 was the single largest gift for athletics in NCAA history, and the $7 million donation to the American Red Cross in 2005 was the largest individual contribution in the 150-year history of that organization. His unprecedented giving to OSU athletics triggered a renaissance in the Cowboy football program and was a key factor in its first Big 12 championship in 2011 and its first BCS Bowl win in the Fiesta Bowl matchup with Stanford in 2012.
On May 21, 2008, Pickens gave $100 million for the endowment of major faculty chairs and professorships at Oklahoma State. The OSU School of Geology already bears his name from previous gifts to OSU. Over the years, Pickens donated close to $600 million to Oklahoma State, split virtually equally between athletics and academics. Backed by the record donation in 2005, Pickens and OSU athletic director Mike Holder set into motion the acquisition of land that has produced OSU’s sparkling Athletic Village, which now includes the Sherman Smith Training Center, the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center, O’Brate Stadium and OSU’s track and field facility.
OSU director of bands leaving a decades-long legacy of learning After 40 years of collegiate teaching and conducting, OSU professor and Director of Bands Dr. Joseph Missal will wrap up that career in May with his retirement from OSU. And to cap it off, he’s being inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be rescheduled from its original November date due to COVID19 restrictions. “I was thrilled to be recognized and honored by such an elite body of educators,” said Missal, who was nominated for the award by the director of the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music, Dr. Jeff Loeffert. “Along with being selected as a Regents Professor, these honors have made my last year very special indeed!” Missal’s wife, Denise, will also retire at the end of the school year after a career in elementary education. The couple met as undergrads in symphony band — Denise played the flute, Joseph the trumpet.
Two OSU buildings renamed to honor civil rights pioneer Two buildings on the Oklahoma State University-Stillwater campus have been renamed to honor civil rights pioneer Nancy Randolph Davis, the first African-American student to attend then-Oklahoma A&M College in 1949. The OSU/A&M Board of Regents approved the renaming of the Human Sciences and Human Sciences West buildings to Nancy Randolph Davis and Nancy Randolph Davis West. “This historically profound action by OSU and the A&M Board of Regents reflects and represents far more than the name of Mrs. Davis being physically attached and permanently assigned to one of the primary buildings for this academic college,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president for institutional diversity and OSU’s chief diversity officer. “It memorializes the willingness and desire of OSU to provide a sense of hope, as well as a level of expectation, on every member of the OSU community and family, that we can, must and will continue engaging in meaningful efforts to transform ourselves and this university into a place that provides the fulfillment of educational goals and ideals in alignment with our land-grant mission.”
Davis earned a bachelor’s degree from Langston University in 1948 and a master’s degree in what was then called home economics, from thenOklahoma A&M College in 1952 before teaching home economics in Oklahoma high schools for more than 40 years. She died in 2015 at 88 years old but stories of her passion, dedication and commitment to public education live on. Davis influenced thousands of students and their families and inspired others to fight through adversity to pursue their dreams.
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Air Force partners with OSU to advance engineering research The United States Air Force and Oklahoma State University have agreed to a five-year partnership that will develop cutting-edge research projects and create new educational opportunities for students and service members. The Air Force, by way of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex (OC-ALC) located at Tinker Air Force Base, and OSU, including the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, will pursue joint research in areas such as radar and related sensing and communications systems, computer engineering, flight dynamics,
Tinker Air Force Base Commander Lt. Gen. Donald E. Kirkland (from left), OSU President Burns Hargis and Brig. Gen. Jeffrey King participate in the signing ceremony on the OSU campus.
aero propulsion and power and many more. The partnership will provide OSU faculty and students opportunities to work in conjunction with USAF
members to conduct research and develop solutions to real-world problems.
Hardesty Family Foundation donates $2 million for research With a $2 million gift, the Hardesty Family Foundation has made a commitment to fuel transformative research at the National Center for Wellness & Recovery. In recognition of the contribution, OSU is naming a recently acquired 49,000-square-foot medical complex in south Tulsa the Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience. “As the national leader in addiction research, our goal at OSU Medicine is to unlock the mystery of addiction through groundbreaking biomedical and clinical research.” said Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU Center for Health Sciences president. “We are deeply indebted to Roger and the Hardesty family for
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this magnanimous gift, which will allow us to develop personalized, evidencebased therapies for patients suffering from addiction.” The foundation’s ongoing commitment to NCWR’s research and treatment in the field of addictive behavior disorder will foster impactful solutions for research to aid generations of Tulsans. The center will house initiatives such as the prestigious NIH-funded HEALthy Brain and Child Development study, which explores the effects of early opioid exposure on infant and child development. This study and others will be enhanced by the OSU Medicine Biomedical Imaging Center on site,
where advanced biomedical imaging research will examine neural correlates of addiction and how that can lead to new recovery strategies. The center’s creation is made possible through a gift of land in Stillwater that will be sold with proceeds used to underwrite the purchase and renovation of the Tulsa property at 1013 East 66th Place. The property is currently being renovated to include the NCWR clinical trials unit, research initiatives and the OSU Medicine Biomedical Imaging Center. The Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience is scheduled to open spring 2021.
OSU College of Veterinary Medicine partners with Einstein College of Medicine A new partnership between Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine may herald new treatments for cancer patients, both humans and animals. At the core of the one-health research partnership between Einstein and the CVM are Dr. Ashish Ranjan and Dr. Chandan Guha. Ranjan, a professor and Kerr Foundation Endowed Chair in the Department of Physiological Sciences, leads the Nanomedicine and Targeted Therapy Laboratory at the CVM. His lab conducts cancer-related research, and he treats dogs and cats who have cancer. Located in the Bronx, New York, Albert Einstein College of Medicine is a research-intensive medical school where Guha is vice chair of radiation oncology and a professor of radiation oncology, pathology and urology. He has been doing cancer biology research for 25 years at Einstein and treats cancer patients with a variety of radiotherapy approaches. Ranjan and Guha spearheaded the agreement, said Dr. Carlos Risco, OSU CVM dean. “This is the quintessential team science approach to advance research. This cross disciplinary science approach combines team members’ strengths, experience and institutional resources for a common research endeavor. This method will accelerate scientific innovation and help translate research findings into therapeutic approaches that will ultimately help both animal and human patients.”
Clockwise from top: Dr. Chandan Guha, of the Albert Enstein College of Medicine, and OSU’s Dr. Ashish Ranjan are uniting their facilities, including Einstein’s Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine and Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion and OSU’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.
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Family Traditions Continue
Stewart family finds a creative way to continue Grandparent University experience in 2020
Karen and Terry Stewart designed their own version of Grandparent University after the summer 2020 sessions were canceled due to COVID-19.
very summer, hundreds of grandparents and their legacies head to Stillwater to attend Grandparent University (GPU). While the OSU Alumni Association took the 2020 edition of GPU online, one family went above and beyond to continue their GPU tradition. OSU alumni Terry and Karen Stewart have been attending GPU with a combination of their six grandkids, Margaret, 13, Nolan, 11, and Katherine, 5, Meehlhause and Emma, 20, Abby, 18, and Jenna, 12, Stewart since 2009, bringing at least two each year.
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“We have taken five of the six so far,” said Karen Stewart, a 1972 education graduate. “We always take all who are eligible at the time, which included one year when we had four of them here at one time. Sometimes we end up going to both sessions, depending upon which majors they each choose.” GPU is a unique three-day intergenerational learning event sponsored by the OSU Alumni Association where OSU Legacies ages 7-13 and their grandparents visit campus for a taste of college life for two sessions each summer.
Participants choose their “major,” stay in the residence halls, learn in OSU classrooms from OSU professors and graduate with a certificate of achievement at the end of their session. “GPU allows us to spend quality time with our grandkids,” Karen said. “They are really close cousins, too, so it is always great when we can all get together and do fun things.” This year, three kids would have been eligible to attend — Margaret, Jenna and Nolan.
STORY SARAH BILDSTEIN WANZER | PHOTOS COURTESY THE STEWARTS
Both grandparents and all three grandkids created their own majors that highlighted things they are each passionate about.
“We were all so disappointed when the traditional in-person GPU was canceled, especially Margaret,” Karen said. “She is 13, so she thought this would’ve been her last year to participate. Luckily, her birthday is in late June, so she will still be 13 on the cutoff date of June 1.” The idea for doing their own GPU came to the Stewarts in part because they had already set aside the time on their calendars to attend traditional GPU. The couple decided to have the kids come up for the week anyway with the promise of doing something.
“I decorate cakes, so I thought I could teach them how to decorate cookies, and I thought Terry could create his own major,” Karen said. “When I told Jenna about our plans, she said, ‘I could teach art!’ and the idea came to me — why don’t they each also teach us something as well?” Both grandparents and all three grandkids created their own majors that included things they are each passionate about. The five majors included: Cookie decorating, golf, art, frappuccino class and Minecraft.
“Each major had its own stuff,” Karen explained. “They each made supply lists for me to prep, and I also ordered a couple of special items, including GPU 2020 mugs and golf balls with GPU 2020 on them.” The Stewarts tried to make it as much like the traditional GPU as much as possible. Each child received a printed agenda of what activities would be done when. Following a similar three-day schedule, the family found alternatives for meals, specific events and other activities.
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Margaret Meehlhause, 13, created her own recipe for a frozen frappé. She demonstrated how to properly blend it one night and had each family member create their own later in the week.
Jenna Stewart, 12, taught her family to paint during her art major tutorial. Each painted a landscape and an abstract piece.
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Nolan Meehlhause, 11, teaching his Poppa T, Terry Stewart, to play Minecraft for his major.
“Because they have come so many years, they knew what to expect, so we couldn’t miss one thing,” Karen said. “We always go out to eat on the first night, so we had them decide on a place they wanted to order takeout from. The GPU tailgate always has pizza, so we ordered pizza in that night, and we went over to our son’s house to swim in their pool instead of going to the Colvin Center.” At the end of the week, the Stewarts went all out for a GPU-style graduation, including the playing of “Pomp and Circumstance,” the handing out of certificates of achievement and even giving each child prized chocolate bars with special GPU 2020 wrappers to celebrate the end of their homemade GPU. “Just watching them get so excited to teach us something they are good at was our favorite part,” Karen said. “Having the opportunity to show us a skill they have made them all very proud.” To make this year even more special, their oldest granddaughter, Emma, a junior at OSU majoring in psychology and the first grandkid to attend GPU, designed a special orange T-shirt with symbols for each major to commemorate the week. The Stewarts are confident that while their grandkids had a blast this year, they are all looking forward to returning to the real GPU in 2021. “At GPU, they meet new friends, and they love to stay in the dorms,” Karen said. “But this year was a really fun and different experience.” Luckily for the Stewarts, they have one more grandchild who is not yet of age to attend the traditional GPU. “We have a granddaughter, Katherine, who is just 5 years old right now, so we are looking forward to being able to participate for several more years,” Karen said. The OSU Alumni Association plans to host 2021 Grandparent University in person, but that could change with the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 sessions are planned for June 16-18 and June 23-25. Applications will open in February, and all fully registered OSU Legacies who will be 7-14 years old on June 1 are invited to participate. To learn more about GPU, visit ORANGECONNECTION.org/gpu.
A Cowboy Family Tradition
OSU senior will keep 100-plus-year streak going with his May graduation
he Cowboy family creates a special bond between all graduates of OSU. But one family in particular has deep familial ties to OSU that began more than 100 years ago. When Nathan May graduates from OSU in May 2021, he will be the fifth consecutive generation of OSU graduates from his family. The family’s first graduate was May’s great-great grandmother Esther Miller, who graduated from Oklahoma A&M in 1914.
THE FAMILY STORY In 1911, three sisters moved from Helena, Oklahoma, to Stillwater with their widowed mother to make a better life for themselves. The family rented a two-story house on Duck Street, and
The family’s OSU journey started when three sisters and their mother moved to Stillwater from Helena, Oklahoma, in 1911.
they cooked meals and provided laundry service to the male students living upstairs. Ella, Hilma and Esther Miller used their earnings to attend Oklahoma A&M. All three sisters graduated together in 1914. Ella earned her degree in home economics while Hilma and Esther graduated with degrees in education. Esther Miller later married Herb Surface and had a daughter, Phyllis Jo Surface. Surface married Doyce Smith, and the couple attended OSU. Phyllis Jo graduated in 1949 with a degree in education, and Doyce was a member of the first graduating class for veterinary medicine in 1951.
After graduation, the Smiths moved to Cherokee, Oklahoma, and had two children — Jo Shelley Taylor and Rod Smith. Taylor, Nathan’s grandmother, graduated from OSU in 1971 with a degree in speech-language pathology, and Smith earned his OSU degree in wildlife biology in 1974 to complete the third generation of Cowboys. Jo Shelley married Dr. Tom Friedemann, who is also an OSU graduate. Together, they had James and Kari. James graduated from OSU in 1991 with a degree in speech communication. Kari, Nathan’s mother, earned her OSU degree in exercise science in 1993. Kari married Jason May, and they had three sons together — Nathan, Noah and Nicholas.
Esther Miller started the five-generation OSU tradition when she graduated from Oklahoma A&M in 1914.
Dr. Doyce D. Smith and Phyllis Jo Smith on their wedding day.
STORY WILL CARR | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JO SHELLEY TAYLOR AND KARI MAY
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THE UNIQUE BEGINNING This five-generation Cowboy family started with the ambition of four women from Helena. This drive to create an opportunity for themselves and all of their future families is not lost on the generations of Cowboys who followed in their footsteps. “It is pretty amazing to me that my great-grandmother was willing to move her family and make it worth the while for the three girls to attend school in the 1900s,” Jo Shelley Taylor said. “She had to leave her hometown.” Nathan May shared his grandmother’s sentiment when he learned about the origins of his family’s OSU story. His ancestors’ journey has had a major impact on his life. “I thought it was so unique and rare,” May said. The drive to be a strong and successful woman is something that
Jim Friedemann has seen passed down through his family, including first-hand through his mother — Jo Shelley Taylor. “My mom is very, very strong and driven,” Friedemann said. “She has always worked hard. It makes sense to me that quality would’ve been carried down.” BRIDGING GENERATIONS OSU’s legacy is full of incredible traditions and history. Alumni of any university feel a strong connection to their alma mater, but OSU’s alumni have a tendency to have that connection hold strong throughout many years. “We always had a strong loyalty to Oklahoma State University,” Friedemann said. “It is like nothing else.” That allegiance has helped build a bond among the family members and created a connection between those who never had the opportunity to meet each
other. Rod Smith felt the impact of that family history when he was a student in Stillwater. “It gave me a sense of home,” Smith said. “I knew my family was in the same Student Union and walked the same halls. Walking through the same doors at the library and seeing the fountain dyed orange at Homecoming. We know that we all got to experience those same things.” Nathan will graduate more than 100 years after his great-great grandmother, Esther Miller, but the fact they attended the same university helps him to feel a part of something special. Nathan’s mother, Kari, also feels closer to her son because they both attended OSU. “It is a strong connection that we share,” Kari said. “I also share it with my parents and my grandma. It is a bond that not many people get to experience.”
“It is a bond that not many people get to experience.” KARI MAY
Jo Shelley Taylor was an OSU fan from childhood.
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Jo Shelley Taylor, Nathan’s grandmother, graduated from OSU in 1971 with a degree in speech-language pathology.
Rod Smith graduated from OSU in 1974 with a degree in wildlife biology.
James Friedemann has remained a loyal OSU fan since he graduated in 1991 as part of the fourth generation of OSU graduates.
Kari May posed for her OSU senior photo before she earned her exercise science degree in 1993.
CONTINUING THE TRADITION The fifth generation of OSU graduates does not have to end when Nathan receives his degree in May 2021. Jo Shelley Taylor hopes to see their legacy of Cowboy graduates continue to grow as Nathan’s younger brothers get closer to the college age. This is a sentiment shared by Kari May as she prepares to see Nathan graduate. “You want your kids to make their own decisions,” Kari said. “I am going through that now as my next son is a senior in high school. I want him to go where he wants to go, but secretly I am pulling for OSU to be that choice.” Nathan hopes he and his brothers are not the last consecutive generation to earn degrees from OSU. He would like to see that love for OSU continue to grow in the future as he gets older and starts a family of his own. He is confident the traditions that OSU has will help keep his family’s streak of graduates alive. “Coming from someone who has that family experience, it gives me confidence that OSU will be the same when my kids go here,” Nathan said.
Nathan May (center) celebrates a Cowboy football game day with his brothers outside Old Central.
Nathan and Kari May participate in OSU FarmHouse Fraternity’s Mom’s Day.
The May family enjoys some time together on the OSU campus in Stillwater.
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Boone Pickens’ childhood home rests with him at OSU’s Karsten Creek
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STORY KEVIN KLINTWORTH | PHOTOS OSU ATHLETICS
IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN A HOUSE.
IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN A FAMOUS ALUMNUS WHO BECAME A HOUSEHOLD NAME. IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN CONCRETE AND STEEL AND HEDGE FUNDS AND TELEVISION SHOWS AND NEWS CONFERENCES AND NAMES ON BUILDINGS. THOSE THINGS ARE BRIGHT AND SHINY AND SPECTACULAR AND AWESOME AND EVERY OTHER ADJECTIVE IN THE BOOK. THEY MAKE HEADLINES, AS THEY SHOULD. BUT IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN THAT. It’s about attitude. In fact, it’s about two attitudes. And Boone Pickens is responsible for both — his and ours. On Sept. 11, 2020, the first anniversary of his death, the childhood home of Mr. Pickens was dedicated, virtually, during the annual Cowboy Golf Pro-Am event. The house, originally located at 217 N. Kelker St. in Holdenville, Oklahoma, was the Pickens home from his birth until the family relocated to Amarillo, Texas, when he was a teenager. His grandmother and aunt lived next door. For Mr. Pickens’ 80th birthday, a family member had the home moved to his ranch, Mesa Vista, north of Pampa, Texas. The home is now in its third location, entrenched at Karsten Creek. Mr. Pickens is buried there, just outside the window of the bedroom where he grew up. The house represents an intersection. It is a symbolic melding of the past, the present and the future. Boone Pickens lived the past, changed the present and carved out the future for OSU Athletics and Oklahoma State University. His record-setting giving, both to the university and the athletic department, no doubt changed the skyline of the OSU campus. But it did so much more. It also changed the foundation. “The main thing he did was change our image of ourselves,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “He really did inspire a whole Cowboy Nation that they could be more than they ever dreamed. That’s the most valuable gift he gave us.” Attitude is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Boone Pickens never forgot where he came from and wanted to make sure no one else ever did, either. His roots were constantly on display, from the orange ties he always donned on national television to showing up on campus with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones or Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach. “He proved you could be a graduate of OSU, go out and change the world, make a lot of money in the process,” said OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder. “And he proved it pays dividends to be generous and give back.” There is an old and familiar story that still floats around Oklahoma State — the fear that Boone Pickens’ large swath of giving would discourage others from doing the same. If someone was going to donate $165 million in one fell swoop, and over $650 million over the course of their lives, why would anyone else need to bother? “The complete opposite happened,” said Larry Reece, who oversees fundraising for OSU Athletics. “Boone’s giving has inspired countless others to step up, including Mike and Anne Greenwood, Neal Patterson and Cecil O’Brate. Those difference-making donors have three things in common: a love for OSU, their names are on major facilities in the athletic village, and they were all inspired by Boone Pickens.” S TAT E M AG A Z I N E .O K S TAT E . E D U 63
MESA VISTA RANCH, TX THE HOUSE WAS MOVED TO BOONE’S RANCH BY A FAMILY MEMBER FOR HIS 80TH BIRTHDAY IN 2008.
Former OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden knew Boone Pickens during his OSU playing days and stayed in touch with him after graduation. “When Boone was around, you knew it,” the all-Big 12 quarterback said. “Everyone would mind their p’s and q’s, and you wanted to make him happy. He did a lot for us, and it was important for us as players for him to reap the rewards for what he had done for the university, and in particular the football program.” And it wasn’t just Oklahoma State players who were aware of Boone Pickens. His legend far exceeded OSU, Payne County and the state of Oklahoma. “I don’t think there was anything he was more passionate about than Oklahoma State,” Weeden said. “When I was in the NFL, the first thing players from other teams would talk about in regards to Oklahoma State was Boone Pickens. Everyone knew him. He was on a different level. There aren’t many guys like him, people who are able to put a stamp on a university like Mr. Pickens.” Because Mr. Pickens gave Oklahoma State an attitude adjustment that stamp is here to stay. He had lofty dreams that became reality. And he wanted the
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same for his alma mater. More than just wanting things to happen at OSU, he insisted they happen. Consider that mission fulfilled. Boone Pickens, as a donor, began OSU’s campuswide fundraising ascent with a $20 million gift in 2004. Prior to that donation, Oklahoma State University had received a total of 75 donations of $1 million or more in its entire history. Since that donation, there have been 390 gifts of at least seven figures to the university. It’s easy to see that Pickens’ donations were transformational, not just financially. But his generosity spoke to the very soul of the school and the relocation of his childhood home reflects his deep connection to his alma mater. The house was constructed by his grandfather in 1923, and the current interior of the home has been restored to its original look. Boone Pickens was born in 1928 and resided in the “Holdenville House” until he was 16. “It’s really a snapshot of what life was like in Holdenville, Oklahoma, in the 1930s,” Holder said. “You can see what his room looked like and where he hid his paper money.”
Spoiler alert: The money accumulated from his paper route was hidden in the floor of his bedroom. Holder couldn’t be happier that the house now sits at Karsten Creek. “You could never put a more fitting memorial out there for Boone Pickens,” he said. “What it represents for me is friendship, loyalty … and just how much the OSU golf program meant to him. We will never forget him. We will always be thankful to him.” It was 2008 when Mr. Pickens’ wife, Madeleine, moved the Holdenville House to his ranch north of Pampa, Texas. It is a 302-mile trek. “When the house was moved from Holdenville to Mesa Vista, it was in three pieces,” said John Houck, who was OSU’s liaison for the relocation. “We were able to make the move in two pieces for the relocation to Karsten Creek. The trip from Pampa to Stillwater was more accommodating in regards to overpasses and bridges.
STILLWATER, OK THIS YEAR THE HOUSE WAS RELOCATED TO KARSTEN CREEK.
HOLDENVILLE, OK THE “HOLDENVILLE HOUSE” WAS CONSTRUCTED BY BOONE’S GRANDFATHER IN 1923.
“It was watched carefully every step of the way,” he added. “We kept an eye out for high winds, cross winds. There was a lot of angst.” Once that home arrived in Stillwater in 2019, there was a waiting period. “We ran into a very wet spring,” Houck said. “It really hindered the move. The home had to be stored for a period of time before we could start on it at Karsten Creek. Even moving to the current site was problematic due to wet soil.” Now at its permanent home, the Holdenville House will serve as a reminder of Boone’s living legacy. “Karsten Creek is a very special place, and it’s fitting he is there where it’s very open and everyone can see.” Weeden said. “It’s funny. He had been all over. But that place, like it does for all of us, resonated with him and he wanted people to know it.
“He was a special guy, and we are lucky to call him one of our own.” “Boone never forgot where he came from,” OSU President Burns Hargis said. “His eternal resting place is just outside of his childhood bedroom window, where he imagined a world not yet built, dreamed big ideas and learned how the simple things become the most important things: In a statement to the media on the day of the dedication, the president had an eloquent summation. “On this first anniversary of the death of this legend, business titan, fan and friend, we dedicate this simple and humble home, and we will always remember T. Boone Pickens, the giant who walked among us.”
See the virtual dedication of Boone Pickens’ childhood home at okla.st/house.
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Broadening a Field
OSU alumna honored for her inclusivity work in the world of science
DISCOVER MORE Learn more about the American Indian Science and Engineering Society at aises.org.
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klahoma State University alumna Dr. Cara Cowan Watts would like to see more American Indians in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The American Indian Science and Engineering Society agrees and recently recognized Cowan Watts with its highest honor — the Ely S. Parker Award — for her contributions and achievements in the STEM field. “I believe our tribal nations and Oklahoma both win when STEM careers and degrees are valued and embraced by more people rather than fewer,” she said. She has followed her own advice. The threetime OSU graduate earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1997, a master’s degree
in telecommunications management in 2002, and a doctorate in biosystems engineering in 2015. In 2001, she and her brother, Brett — both citizens of the Cherokee Nation — established a scholarship fund for Native American engineering students in their parents’ honor. The Beverly and Clarence “Curly” Cowan Endowed Scholarship Fund is available to any Native American student from Seminole High School, Rogers County or Sequoyah County who majors in engineering at OSU. “Our parents were and always will be teachers,” Brett Cowan said. “They encouraged us to go to college, pushed us to succeed, and most importantly, provided us opportunities to succeed. There is no doubt that they are the foundation for
STORY DAVID BITTON | PHOTOS PHIL SHOCKLEY AND CARA COWAN WATTS
our success; they put us in position to get to where we are today.” Cara and Brett are both graduates of the Bridge to Doctorate program, which is designed to enhance the number of underrepresented groups earning advanced degrees. The program is an initiative of the Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP), a national program created to encourage undergraduates to pursue degrees in the STEM disciplines. Brenda Morales, director of the OK-LSAMP program at OSU congratulated Cowan Watts for winning the Ely S. Parker Award. “Thank you for being an amazing STEM advocate and representative to your community,” Morales said. “You are very deserving of this award for all you have done and continue to do.” As a student, Cowan Watts was involved with the university chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Native American Student Association, which gave her real-world experience in leadership and managing people. “My OSU engineering degrees assure that I have the ability to bring critical thinking, process improvement, project management, technical writing, in addition to a strong science and math foundation for any job I tackle,” she said. As a professional, Cowan Watts — CEO and principal owner of Tulsa Pier Drilling — continues to give back to the next generation of STEM professionals. She worked with Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president for Institutional Diversity and chief diversity officer at OSU, and Dr. Jovette Dew, recently named director of OSU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, to negotiate with the
American Indian Science and Engineering Society to change the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair (NAISEF) from a virtual event based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to a physical event in Stillwater. “Dr. Cara Cowan Watts was instrumental in OSU hosting the National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair, which brought about 50 elementary and secondary school students from as far away as California to OSU for the two-day event in 2019,” Kirksey said. The coronavirus forced the 2020 event to take place virtually but Cowan Watts is hopeful the 2021 fair will take place in-person. “The NAISEF is an opportunity for our Native students from all over Indian Country including urban centers to learn not just the scientific method, but how to research, document, develop an idea to completion, present their work to professionals as well as their peers, and learn how to interact with others when their ideas are challenged,” Cowan Watts said. “The world needs more vigor and NAISEF provides a safe environment for our Native youth in 5th grade through 12th grade to learn and compete for cash prizes, trips to the International Science Fair and more. “NAISEF is an incredible event that attracts world-class professionals who are invested in our youth and know it is best to start recruiting early. This includes government agencies such as the USDA and CIA as well as small business owners such as myself or folks from oil and gas, technology and more. At one point, NAISEF had over 400 students participating. We hope to return it to that number or greater.”
FAIR INFORMATION For more information on the 2021 National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair for 5th through 12th graders, visit fairs. aises.org.
WATCH HERE Take a look at what the 2019 National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair looked like at okla. st/naisef.
The National American Indian Science and Engineering Fair drew students from across the country to OSU in 2019.
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OSU-OKC launches Center for Social Innovation to help those in recovery
riel Beasley was a natural choice to lead the new Center for Social Innovation at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. The center — launched in August 2020 with the help of a three-year, $1 million gift from the E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Foundation — consists of a variety of programs designed to help those recovering from addiction, incarceration, homelessness and other struggles. As a 25-year-old, Beasley was addicted to drugs. She lived in an abandoned house with no electricity or running water. Then she lost custody of her 6-month-old son and was sent to jail. When Beasley mentors participants in the Center for Social Innovation’s Growing Hope program, she can speak from personal experience. “I am able to not only relate to the struggles and barriers our participants are facing, but I also know how to navigate them successfully,” Beasley said. “I know the path and can show them the way.”
Participants in Growing Hope are immersed in an intensive, 16-week schedule that provides enrollment in college courses, life skills training and resume-building opportunities. Beasley meets with Growing Hope participants — many of whom are overcoming some combination of addiction, incarceration or homelessness — each day on the OSU-OKC campus. Students are referred to the program from local nonprofit partners like ReMerge, Pivot and the Oklahoma County DUI/Drug Court. Through partnerships with these agencies and several others, the Center for Social Innovation came into existence over the past two years. It features not only the Growing Hope program, but a floral design training program for clients of the Curbside Chronicle, free driver’s education courses for low-income teens and those in the foster care system, and other outreach efforts.
Participants in Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s Growing Hope program attend a welcome event Aug. 28.
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STORY AND PHOTOS NICK TROUGAKOS
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Center for Social Innovation Senior Director Ariel Beasley addresses participants in the Center’s Growing Hope program.
“OSU-OKC is committed to helping each member of our community reach their potential,” said Brad Williams, president of OSU-OKC. “This work represents the soul of the A&M system as it transforms our state one person at a time.” Beasley’s transformation from addict to senior director of the Center for Social Innovation began when she entered Oklahoma City’s ReMerge program, a diversion program for pregnant women and mothers facing incarceration. She started at ReMerge in May 2016, after losing custody of her son, saying she was intent on doing “everything that was asked of me.” By November of that year, Beasley was reunited with her son. She landed an internship that turned into a full-time position at an Oklahoma City oil and gas company. “Being in that environment pushed me to become the best version of myself,” she said. “I was given opportunities that, along with hard work and determination, got me to where I am today.” It’s that path of redemption that serves as inspiration to students taking part in the Growing Hope program. Participant Michelle Tubby was referred into Growing Hope through the Oklahoma County Drug Court. Her battle with addiction started when she was a young child, she said, as she fell victim to her mother’s frequent drug use.
“My mother started getting me high as a toddler, and it only progressed from there,” Tubby said. “I have suffered multiple forms of abuse and trauma.” Through Growing Hope, Tubby is enrolled in a pair of classes at OSU-OKC this fall — English composition and student success strategies. She said she views the opportunity to get started on a college education as “a shot to do something so much better.” “My journey is one crazy story,” Tubby said. “I have been blessed with this opportunity. Without this, I would never have been able to have a shot at life.” Beasley said she believes therein lies the beauty of the Growing Hope program and the Center for Social Innovation. “This program answers the ‘What now?’ question that people have after they turn their lives around,” she said. “This is going to give us an even better opportunity to break generational cycles of addiction, poverty, and domestic violence. “I want the child of one of our participants to say, ‘Not only did my mom get sober, but she got sober, went to college and chased after her dreams. Now I believe I can do that, too.’”
“OSU-OKC is committed to helping each member of our community reach their potential. This work represents the soul of the A&M system as it transforms our state one person at a time.” BRAD WILLIAMS, PRESIDENT, OSU-OKC
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The recently donated and renamed OSU DISCOVERY building is in the OKC Innovation District east of downtown Oklahoma City.
The Future of Innovation
Baker Hughes partnership creates new opportunities for OSU engineering programs
he future of engineering innovation now has a name: OSU DISCOVERY. In late July, OSU announced a new public-private partnership between the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and Baker Hughes. The company donated its research and innovation center in the Oklahoma City Innovation District to the university to develop a learning environment to benefit both students and industry professionals. An ardent proponent of partnerships and collaboration, President Burns Hargis celebrated the partnership and the newly branded facility as major advancements in OSU’s engineering programs and prestige.
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“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Oklahoma State University to secure a world-class research and innovation center and establish a collaborative relationship with a leading technology company like Baker Hughes,” he said. “Baker Hughes is a global company that has set the bar high in technology and innovation, and OSU is excited and honored to increase its collaboration with their industry experts to grow our already strong mechanical, industrial, and aerospace engineering programs. This collaboration, combined with the opportunity to add the worldclass Energy Innovation Center and its facilities to OSU’s engineering and research offerings, will enable OSU to
graduate engineers with meaningful experience on significant real-world projects.” The center will house new hands-on learning opportunities in mechanical, aerospace, electrical, chemical and petroleum engineering that will allow students to tackle real-world problems in a state-of-the-art facility. The center aims to house classes for CEAT’s master’s degree in petroleum engineering as well. CEAT will take operational control of the building and occupy the building’s fourth-floor office and meeting room spaces. Baker Hughes will retain management of the building’s two lab spaces on the first floor as well as the auxiliary lab. The company will also
STORY JEFF HOPPER | PHOTOS GARY LAWSON AND BAKER HUGHES
lease the fifth-floor offices and retain space for about 50 employees who are currently working on energy- and industry-related projects. OSU and Baker Hughes will share the thirdfloor conference rooms, as well as the auditorium and showroom spaces on the first floor. The collaborative effort will also provide both entities additional resources for recruitment efforts. “This is an unprecedented opportunity for OSU, CEAT and our faculty and students to directly affect the technologies of tomorrow through coursework and hands-on experiences conducted in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Paul Tikalsky, dean of CEAT and professor in structural engineering. “The center will provide the brightest minds of tomorrow limitless possibilities to prosper and thrive, while providing current industry leaders the ability to pursue the greatest challenges facing their respective disciplines.” OSU and Baker Hughes will also work to develop diversity and inclusion
programs aimed at bolstering the pipeline of STEM talent by creating more learning opportunities for students and community members. Baker Hughes, for example, will continue to engage high schools and student groups from Oklahoma City Public Schools to connect them with technologists and demonstrate new technology they can pursue in higher education and their careers. CEAT and Dr. Tikalsky aim to recruit, develop and retain welleducated, well-trained individuals with backgrounds in these emerging technologies in order to help bolster the Oklahoma economy. With this mission, the college hopes to produce more engineers to meet the rising demand in the job market. “The center’s location in Oklahoma City’s Innovation District gives this relationship a strategic advantage, as we unite higher education, research, energy, aerospace and advanced manufacturing into one ecosystem,” said Taylor Shinn, vice president for Baker Hughes Digital
OSU and Baker Hughes will share spaces like this in OSU DISCOVERY.
Solutions. “Baker Hughes will also continue to invest in Oklahoma City’s diverse talent, supporting technology and inclusion programs in local schools and connecting academia with industry.” The donation gives OSU and CEAT the ability to adapt curriculum that will cater to a co-op education, split between university coursework and hands-on training with leading industrial technologists. Also, it will increase the exposure CEAT and OSU have to the people of central Oklahoma. “Access to the center’s research facilities and ability to collaborate with global entities will allow our students the ability to gain real world experience,” said OSU/A&M Board of Regents past Chairman Tucker Link. “On behalf of OSU and the Board of Regents, I want to thank Baker Hughes for their vision to make this once-in-alifetime opportunity for Oklahoma State a reality.”
From left: OSU President Burns Hargis, Baker Hughes Vice President Taylor Shinn and Oklahoma City Innovation District CEO Katy Boren.
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Dr. Tererai Trent, Robin Byford, Dr. Kayse Shrum and Blaire Atkinson.
Women for OSU Symposium Goes Virtual International humanitarian Dr. Tererai Trent speaks about the life-changing scholarship she received at Oklahoma State
or Dr. Tererai Trent, speaking at the 2020 Women for OSU Virtual Symposium was a special homecoming. The international speaker, humanitarian and best-selling author holds the title of Oprah Winfrey’s “alltime favorite guest” and is recognized as one of the world’s most acclaimed voices for women’s empowerment and education. She’s also a highly decorated two-time graduate of OSU’s newly renamed Ferguson College of Agriculture and a 2014 recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Trent’s story is one of tenacious resolve and unwavering conviction. She battled poverty, illiteracy and gender inequality growing up in war-torn Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), when girls were not allowed to attend school and forced into marriages at young ages.
Trent married an older, abusive man when she was 11 and had four surviving children by age 18. In 1991, a chance meeting with Jo Luck from Heifer International changed Trent’s life when she was asked about her aspirations. With dreams of achieving her undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees, Trent spent the next eight years earning her GED before being admitted to Oklahoma State University. Her family, which by then included five kids, moved to Stillwater in 1998. “Oklahoma State University became a family. I had champions who stood for me,” she said during the Sept. 2 virtual event. She recalled how OSU and the Stillwater community gave her money to buy a gown for graduation ceremonies, helped provide food and shelter for her family and even a bike for one of her five children.
“There was this group of women — The Women’s Giving Circle — I was in my undergraduate program, and I couldn’t graduate because I owed so much money,” Trent said. “These women came together to pay my tuition so I could graduate.” That group would go on to become Women for OSU. “I stand on the shoulders of giants. I stand on the shoulders of OSU,” Trent said. “It takes great leadership like we see now with Women for OSU that we build platforms for students to thrive. That’s the essence of our humanity.” Trent’s full-circle moment was a poignant reminder of the significance and power of philanthropy, said Michal Shaw, director of Women for OSU and assistant vice president of donor relations at the OSU Foundation.
“Nearly 20 years ago Dr. Trent was awarded a scholarship, and it helped shape her story. I can’t help but wonder about the exponential impact our annual awards will have in another 20 years.” MICHAL SHAW, Director, Women for OSU
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STORIES AMANDA O'TOOLE MASON | PHOTOS CHRIS LEWIS
Dr. Tererai Trent speaks in The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts during the Virtual Women for OSU Symposium.
“Nearly 20 years ago Dr. Trent was awarded a scholarship, and it helped shape her story. I can’t help but wonder about the exponential impact our annual awards will have in another 20 years,” she said. Since 2009, Women for OSU has awarded more than $345,000 to OSU students who demonstrated their dedication to service and philanthropy. Last year, the group’s Women for OSU endowed scholarship fund grew to over $1.2 million. “Dr. Trent’s story reiterates what is possible when we give back and help others around us. It’s incredibly rewarding,” Shaw said. After Trent’s keynote address, she sat down with several Women for OSU leaders, including Robin Byford, chair of the Women for OSU council, Dr. Kayse Shrum, Women for OSU honorary council member and president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences, and Blaire Atkinson, president of the OSU Foundation. The panelists shared challenges they’ve faced as women and the impact women can have through philanthropy in their communities. The event also honored 12 Women for OSU scholars, recognized Helen Hodges as the 2020 Philanthropist of the year
and introduced a new program called Partnering to Impact. Additional details about this year’s scholars can be found at OSUgiving.com/Women. “I hated we couldn’t be together in person, but it is exciting that over 2,000 members of the Cowboy family were able to participate virtually in this year’s symposium,” Shaw said. “We had people watching from all over the country.” Dana Bessinger, who earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State, was determined to make watching the virtual symposium fun. “While we were sad we couldn’t be together in person, a few of us got together in Stillwater to watch with our orange gear on,” she explained. “After the event, we enjoyed lunch at the Ranchers Club to add a little more OSU celebration to the day.” Several viewers connected with each other on social media, sharing photos and encouraging moments from the featured speakers and honorees — Bessinger included. “I like when events use social media, like the Women for OSU hashtag, to help us connect,” she said. “There were such amazing and emotional stories to share from Dr. Trent, Helen Hodges and the students.”
Emily Alexander, Women for OSU Scholar, speaks during the Women for OSU event.
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Philanthropist of the Year HELEN HODGES
“There are few people who love Oklahoma State like Helen does. She proves it not just with her financial support but also with her presence.” OSU PRESIDENT BURNS HARGIS
Helen Hodges is a 1979 accounting graduate who has been involved in several transformational projects at OSU, including The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, the new building for Spears Business and New Frontiers, which will replace the aging Agricultural Hall for the Ferguson College of Agriculture. She’s also an avid supporter of OSU athletics and has contributed to several scholarships. “There are few people who love Oklahoma State like Helen does,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. "She proves it not just with her financial support but also with her presence. She may have physically moved to California, but she’s never left Oklahoma State.” Both her parents were Oklahoma A&M graduates, and when Hodges headed off to Oklahoma State, it was her pragmatic father who encouraged her to major in accounting rather than political science. As a student, she learned to fly. She was a member of the 1980 Flying Aggies team that took top honors at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON. She was also active in Mortar Board, Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi. Hodges said her OSU accounting degree made her career. After graduating from OSU, she earned a law degree in
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PHOTO BRUCE WATERFIELD
1983 at the University of Oklahoma and was the managing editor of the Oklahoma Law Review. A shortage of jobs in the legal sector led her to take a position as a staff accountant with Arthur Andersen after law school. Hodges went on to serve as the law clerk for the Penn Square Bank cases. Beginning in 2001, she helped prosecute the securities fraud case on behalf of Enron investors, which received a record recovery of $7.2 billion. Decades after graduating, she honored her parents by establishing the Dillon and Lois Hodges Professorship in Plant and Soil Sciences in 2008 at OSU. This position strengthens the Oklahoma Wheat Improvement Team through cutting-edge technologies and next generation sequencing and follows the university’s land-grant mission. “Even though Helen isn’t a graduate of the Ferguson College of Agriculture, she was born of and raised on a farm, and she wanted to find a way to honor her parents,” said Thomas Coon, dean of the Ferguson College of Agriculture. “She ended up making an investment that is having a fundamental impact on the wheat industry in Oklahoma. I think of her having a broad impact not just at OSU but also on society with her generous philanthropy.” That impact was on full display during the October 2019 opening of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts where Hodges and other Patron donors celebrated the audacious vision to bring world-class artistic performances to Stillwater with a concert by the New York Philharmonic. The McKnights’ idea to host the famous philharmonic in Stillwater, and thus the inspiration to create the programming endowment that made it possible, was born from an invitation from Hodges to attend a concert at BravoVail! in 2015. “I’m just happy to be able to come here and see how much joy it brings to others,” she said, adding that it’s hard to quantify the impact of The McKnight Center’s inclusion on OSU’s campus. Some students have told her it’s been life-changing. “Helen Hodges’ impact, in particular on The McKnight Center, goes well beyond her financial support and generosity,” said Mark Blakeman, Marilynn and
Carl Thoma Executive Director of The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University. “She operated, very quietly, in the background as an important connector for us with BravoVail! and Anne-Marie McDermott, who is now the artistic director for our Chamber Music Festival. “So not only has she supported us with a generous contribution, but she has also really invested herself in helping us be successful.” Hodges said there have been three main role models who have inspired her to give: her mother Lois Hodges, Ann Phillips — who established scholarships and donated her entire estate to OSU — and Ross and Billie McKnight. Hodges made it a habit to send roses to her mother monthly when she lived in a retirement community in Yukon, Oklahoma. She said her mother would keep some for herself and share the rest with residents who couldn’t leave home due to their health. “That was a powerful example,” Hodges said. Ann Phillips was her mother’s neighbor, and Hodges didn’t realize she was a fellow OSU alumna until she read about Phillips’ gift to establish an endowed scholarship fund. Everyone wants to have a legacy and make a difference, Phillips told her. “She left her entire estate to OSU and set up scholarships for education,” Hodges said. Hodges said she hopes people remember her as someone who loved OSU. Her actions are ensuring that will be so.
Billie McKnight and Helen Hodges
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Partnering to Impact During the symposium, Women for OSU announced a new grant initiative called Partnering to Impact. The donorfunded grant program will award funding to faculty and staff for projects that fall under one of four categories: • Health & Wellness • Education • Campus Beautification • Arts and Culture Grants will be limited to a maximum of $10,000 and must fully fund or complete funding necessary for the project. Women for OSU Partners, who contribute a minimum of $1,000 or $500 for those 35 and younger, will choose the grant winners based upon applications that include three-minute videos summarizing the projects. “We wanted to reach out and have more connection to campus and create more ways for our Partners group to be more engaged,” said Becky Steen, whose donation provided the seed money for the new initiative. “I think it will be a different world to get campus involved and to have something fresh and new to invest in.” Applications were due in October, and the first award winners will be announced at the 2021 Women for OSU Symposium in April. To learn more about Women for OSU, visit OSUgiving.com/Women
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THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS
FOR MAKING THE 2020 SYMPOSIUM SUCH A HUGE SUCCESS! DIAMOND SPONSOR Virginia Fite Hellwege PLATINUM SPONSOR OSU Foundation GOLD SPONSORS Sheryl Benbrook/Stock Exchange Bank Robin Byford/Becky Steen Amy Cline Linda Cline Jan Cloyde Suzie Crowder Susan E. Glasgow & Christina Glasgow McCoy Leah Gungoll Claudia Humphreys Jami Longacre
Amy Mitchell/Vicki Howard OSU Athletics OSU Center for Health Sciences OSU College of Arts and Sciences OSU College of Education and Human Sciences OSU College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources OSU President’s Office OSU Spears School of Business Jan Polk SILVER SPONSORS Bank of Oklahoma Anne Greenwood Susan Jacques
OSU Office of Academic Affairs Grace Provence Jenelle Schatz Terry Slagle Karen Stewart Stillwater Medical Center Julie Valentine BRONZE SPONSORS Donna Clack Jennifer Grigsby Traci Jensen Jeanette Kern Dr. Patricia Knaub Retta Miller OSU Alumni Association OSU Division of Institutional Diversity Stinnett & Associates/Melinda Stinnett
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR THE 2021 SYMPOSIUM
TH U R S DAY, APR I L 22 , 2021 featuring keynote speaker
Leigh Anne Tuohy Motivational Speaker, Businesswoman and Philanthropist Leigh Anne Tuohy, inspirational subject of the best-selling book and film The Blind Side, shares her personal “Blind Side” observations, from seeing Michael Oher for the first time to how the experience changed her as a person — and the Tuohys as a family.
THANK YOU Hardesty Family Foundation
Through the leadership of Roger and Connor Hardesty, the Hardesty Family Foundation made a transformative gift to the National Center for Wellness & Recovery, naming the state-of-the-art research facility the Hardesty Center for Clinical Research and Neuroscience. The Hardesty Family Foundation passionately made a commitment to life-changing answers for our city, state and nation.
ANSWERS + ACCESS = HOPE
HARDESTY CENTER FOR CLINICAL RESEARCH AND NEUROSCIENCE 1013 East 66th Place, Tulsa, OK
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Together, we are embarking on New Frontiers. To learn more about how you can be involved in this transformational project, visit OSUgiving.com/New-Frontiers.
Thank you to the top investors of the New Frontiers campaign MAJOR GIFT DONORS Jay & Kathy Albright Jarold & Jennifer Callahan Linda Cline Tom & Rhonda Coon Dorma Hobbs Helen Hodges Dave & Jean McLaughlin Meibergen Family Scott Sewell
Ken & Kathy Starks Doug & Ranet Tippens Terry & Donna Tippens Susanne Wasson Dr. Dennis & Marta White Yancy & Christina Wright AgPreference American AgCredit American Farmers & Ranchers
CORNERSTONE DONORS BancFirst Dillingham Family Foundation Farm Credit of Enid FCLA Farm Credit of Western Oklahoma McCasland Foundation Oklahoma AgCredit Oklahoma Farm Bureau Ross Seed Company
Ferguson Family Foundation Anonymous Dr. Barry Pollard/P&K Equipment Frank & Ludmila Robson John & Virginia Groendyke The Sunderland Foundation Susan & A.J. Jacques Win & Kay Ingersoll As of November 2020
Heritage Society Spring Celebration The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts
We are excited to host a socially distanced, in-person gathering at The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University. Join us to celebrate the legacy of our Heritage Society members with OSU community speakers and student musical performances! Virtual attendance is available.
Interested in becoming a Heritage Society member? Contact the OSU Foundation: Office of Gift Planning 800.622.4678 | email@example.com
ALUMNI A S S O C I AT I O N
ALUMNI AWARDS NEW CLASS OF HONOREES RECOGNIZED
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes Oklahoma State University graduates who attain distinctive success in his or her chosen field or profession and/or perform outstanding service to the community. Since its inception in 1977, 276 alumni have received this prestigious award. Read more about this yearâ€™s class of honorees on the following pages.
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STORY SARAH BILDSTEIN WANZER | PHOTOS OSU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
BRADSHAW Ann Bradshaw grew up in Stillwater and is one of the five generations of Bradshaws who have attended OSU. She graduated with a degree in accounting in 1983 and went on to earn her master’s degree in accounting from OSU in 1984.
During her time on campus, Bradshaw served as president of the Chi Omega Fraternity and as Mortar Board treasurer. She was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, Panhellenic President’s Council, President’s Leadership Council, Graduate Student Council and the American Legion Girls State Committee. She was named Chi Omega Outstanding Senior as well as the OSU Outstanding Greek Woman in 1983. Bradshaw recently retired from Ernst & Young LLP, where she served as a tax partner for more than 35 years in federal, state and indirect taxation in the public and private sectors. As a member of the Americas Indirect Tax Leadership team, her contributions played a significant role for multiple years of double-digit growth, and she is equally instrumental in providing strategic oversight for funding and expansion projects throughout her community. She was recently inducted into the OSU Spears School of Business Hall of Fame and has been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus for OSU
School of Accounting. She was also named one of the Spears School Tributes: 100 for 100. In addition to her professional success, Bradshaw volunteers for many different organizations, including having served on the boards of directors for the Baptist Medical Center in Kansas City and the Kansas City Club. She currently serves as a trustee and national campaign chair for the Chi Omega Foundation, as a member of the OSU School of Accounting Advisory Board and on the Audit Committee and in teaching roles for Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston. She is a graduate of Leadership Kansas City and has been involved with the United Way for over 30 years. She has recently become a mentor to OSU business students through the Spears Business Mentoring Program. Bradshaw currently resides in Houston. She is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
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BRIDWELL Gary Bridwell graduated from OSU in 1974 with a degree in physiology. He went on to receive his MBA in marketing and finance from OSU in 1976.
During his time at OSU, Bridwell served as Pistol Pete No. 19 from 1972-73. He was also a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and the Blue Key Society, and he served on the Interfraternity Council. Bridwellâ€™s career spans more than 40 years in construction dealership sales, management and ownership for Ditch Witch, the leading brand worldwide in the underground construction industry, in nine states throughout the Midwest and Rockies, and he is consistently recognized as a Top Ten Dealer worldwide. In addition to equipment dealership operations, he leads Silver Edge Dealer 20, a think-tank organization composed of a select group of Ditch Witch dealership owners across the western U.S. Bridwell also is active in a widely diverse group of small businesses that provide consulting and ownership in home construction, auto services and banking. He has more than 20 years of ownership in the Northeast Oklahomaâ€™s Keller Williams Real Estate.
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Along with his professional success, Bridwell has been heavily involved with several nonprofits throughout Oklahoma and North Carolina, serving as a former foundation board member for Associated Equipment Dealers and past chairman of the Edmond Economic Development Authority. He was a 15-year board member of the Oklahoma City All-Sports Association and served as a board member of the OSU Alumni Association Leadership Council and the OSU Athletic Council. He is currently on the Mercy Hospital Community Board in Oklahoma City. Bridwell and his wife, Mary Ellen, currently reside in Edmond, Oklahoma. They enjoy spending time with their two sons and their families, Dru and Daryn of Denver, and Cody and Piper of Oklahoma City. Bridwell is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
C . L . AN D H ELEN
The Craigs are both graduates of OSU. C.L. earned his bachelor’s degree in business in 1966, and Helen received her bachelor’s in human development and family sciences in 1967.
Immediately upon graduation, C.L. attended Officer Training School, and the Craigs moved to Biloxi, Mississippi, where C.L. served at Keesler Air Force Base for four years. The couple then moved to Shawnee, Oklahoma, where C.L.’s family owned and operated the Pepsi-Cola Bottling and Distribution company. He later sold the business to enter the banking world before becoming selfemployed in investment and personal financial management, and he went on to receive the Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award. Helen taught school briefly before becoming a fulltime mother and active member of the community. The Craigs both serve in leadership roles for the Cleo L. Craig Foundation, and C.L. also serves as the director of BancFirst Corp. In addition, the Craigs make an impact in their community with their time and resources. C.L. served as the past president of the Rotary as well as in leadership positions for the Shawnee YMCA and the Boy Scouts. He also serves on the board of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. Helen has been on the advisory board of the Shawnee Salvation
Army for more than 10 years and has spent more than three years as the president of the Friends of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. She also serves as the past president of the Shawnee PEO, and she works with the Junior Service League and Shakespeare Club. She has been recognized by the Kiwanis Club as its Annual Citizen of the Year. Both C.L. and Helen have been honored with an Annual Friend of Youth Award by the Salvation Army as well as named Distinguished Alumni by the OSU College of Education and Human Sciences. The Craigs are strong advocates of the College of Education and Human Sciences and its early childhood education program. Through their foundation, the couple provided the lead gift for the 2006 renovation of the Child Development Laboratory, which was renamed the Cleo L. Craig Child Development Laboratory. They were also instrumental in the creation of the Return to Nature Outdoor Learning Environment, an outdoor classroom space within the child development laboratory. The Craigs served as members of the Human Sciences Campaign Committee during the Branding Success campaign. Helen is a former member of the OSU Alumni Association’s board of directors. The Craigs still reside in Shawnee. They have two children, April and Bryant, who both graduated from OSU, and five grandchildren. Both C.L. and Helen are life members of the OSU Alumni Association.
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MUNCRIEF Richard (Rick) E. Muncrief graduated from OSU in 1980 with a degree in petroleum engineering technology. During his time at OSU, Muncrief was a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.
Muncrief is the chairman and CEO of WPX Energy. He has guided nearly $11 billion in mergers and acquisition activity to significantly strengthen WPX’s oil profile. The company closed 2019 up 21 percent and increased its net value by 70 percent with increased cash flow from operations. Prior to WPX, Muncrief served in leadership and technical roles at Continental Resources, ConocoPhillips, Burlington Resources and their predecessors. He has been honored many times, including being inducted into the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Hall of Fame in 2019 and named the 2017 Permian Basin Leader of the Year by the Houston Association of Petroleum Landmen. He also was Hart Publishing’s 2017 Executive of the Year.
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Muncrief also volunteers his time through several different organizations. He served as past chairman of the American Exploration & Production Council, and he is currently on the board for the American Petroleum Institute, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce and the Gilcrease Museum. He is a supporter of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. In 2015, Muncrief was vocal in the fight to lift the crude oil export ban, testifying before the Senate Banking Committee. Muncrief currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma, with his wife, Gail. He enjoys hunting, fishing and golfing. He is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
DR . BILL A .
SUTTON A native of Pittsburgh, Dr. William (Bill) A. Sutton arrived on OSU’s campus for the first time for orientation in 1968. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972. With a great support system in Stillwater, he and his family returned in 1978 for him to attend graduate school. He graduated with his master’s in 1980 and earned his doctorate in 1983.
During his time at OSU, Sutton was a member of the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity, and he met his wife, Sharon, when his fraternity was paired with Alpha Xi Delta for Homecoming in 1971. He was also a member of the Xi Mu Pre-Law Fraternity and active in Oklahoma Intercollegiate Government. Sutton holds an appointment as director emeritus and professor emeritus of marketing at the Vinik Sport and Entertainment Business Management Graduate Program in the Marketing Department at the University of South Florida. Prior to his retirement, Sutton taught courses in sport marketing and sales and promotional management in sport and served as the placement coordinator for the program. His consulting clients included several professional sports leagues and teams, and he previously served as vice president of team marketing and business operations for the NBA for several years. He is also the founder and principal of Bill Sutton & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing, revenue enhancement and organizational chemistry. He also held previous academic appointments at several universities
across the U.S., and he is a co-author of two texts: Sport Marketing (4th ed. 2014) and Sport Promotion and Sales Management (2nd ed. 2008). Additionally, Sutton is a founder and former president of the Sports Marketing Association and former president of the North American Society for Sports Management. He also founded and was as an editor for Sports Marketing Quarterly and a columnist for Street & Smith’s Sport Business Journal. Sutton also served on the board for both the YMCA of Tampa and the Folds of Honor Foundation. In 2003, he was inducted into OSU’s College of Education and Human Sciences Hall of Fame. He is also a member of several other halls of fame, including the Robert Morris University Sport Management Hall of Fame and the Centenary University Sport Management Hall of Fame. The Sport Marketing Association created the Sutton Award to honor his accomplishments linking academia with the sport industry. The Suttons currently reside in Tampa, Florida, and they have two sons, Jason and Daniel. Sutton is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
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TERPENING Sonya Terpening graduated from OSU in 1976 with a degree in art education. Though known as a realist painter, her education focused primarily on abstract expressionism. While this was outside her area of interest, it taught her good composition, balance and design for her realistic paintings. She was also recognized on the Dean’s Honor Roll.
Terpening is a fine artist with artwork in several permanent collections across the U.S., including in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, the State of Oklahoma Capitol Building, the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, the Edmon Low Library on OSU’s campus, the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas, the Forbes Collection in New York City and in NBC Oklahoma in Altus, Oklahoma. Throughout her career, Terpening has received several honors, including being an invited artist for the Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for 26 years and participating in the Masters of the American West at the Autry Museum for 12 years, considered the top two invitational contemporary Western art shows in the country. In 2008, she
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received the Autry Museum’s Gold Medal for Watercolor, the first woman to receive this award. She was also the inaugural recipient of the SmelserVallion Visiting Artist award in 2010 from the OSU Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, New Mexico, and she is the only two-time recipient, receiving the honor again in 2013. Terpening was also selected as NBC Oklahoma’s “Oklahoma Artist” in 2017. Terpening has served on the Art Advisory Council for the OSU Museum of Art since its inception. She also volunteers for the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau in Grapevine, Texas, where she promotes the arts and tourism in the area. Terpening and her husband, Mark, currently reside in Grapevine. She is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
The State We’re In Water: constructing a sense of place in the hydrosphere
Aug. 24, 2020 through
May 29, 2021
Voices from the Hydrosphere OSUMA is hosting a lecture series this spring featuring speakers in different water-related specialties.
Second Saturday Pick Up Bags On the second Saturday of each month, pick up a kit containing instructions and materials needed for an art activity.
Experience the Exhibition Virtually — 34,300+ virtual visits! Visitors can access the museum using a 360 virtual tour, watch exhibition films and participate in virtual programming on the website at museum.okstate.edu. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and by the OSU Museum of Art Advocates. The National Endowment for the Arts also granted funding to the OSU Museum of Art through the CARES Act, supporting the expansion of programming for The State We’re in Water.
720 S Husband St • 405.744.2780
THE FUTURE OF OSU AVIATION
You can help make OSU one of the premier aviation programs in the country. The Ray and Linda Booker OSU Flight Center will be a state-of-the-art facility and new home for OSU Aviation. The new center will physically reflect the excellence, pride and tradition of OSU Aviation.
The first installment of the Community Advancing Conversation Series, held in June.
A Commitment to Diversity
OSU adds conversation series to advance the work to battle racism
ven as Oklahoma State University garners awards for sustaining and enriching the values of diversity and inclusion, it continues to step up its commitment to welcome everyone. In June, the university launched a monthly Community Advancing Conversation Series, with campus leaders meeting virtually to discuss race and inclusion while inviting members of the OSU community to join the conversation. These topics are more relevant than ever as the nation struggles through a historic civil rights movement. “This is an important first step,” said Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, OSU vice president and chief diversity officer. “The intent was to start laying a foundation for conversations amongst ourselves and within
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the OSU community to identify ways we can grow and build and deepen and broaden the strong commitment that’s been here at Oklahoma State. “We’re fortunate that we have a president who has been here for 13 years who gets it, who understands it. Now we have an opportunity to build and grow and simply become better.” While all of the panelists expressed love for the Stillwater community, they were most focused on looking forward and finding ways to advance the conversation and OSU’s culture of inclusivity. Mike Boynton, OSU men’s basketball coach, said now is the time to make a plan — not the time to run away from the problem. “We have to be OK with people not liking to hear this,” he said. “This isn’t about personal attacks, but
STORY DAVID BITTON | PHOTOS GARY LAWSON
they need to hear that this is a real pandemic that’s been going on for a long time. And we need your help. We need you to challenge your friends when you hear them saying something inappropriate. … If you are complicit and you allow racist activities in your area, how different are you?” Kirksey noted that diversity and inclusion workshops are required for all faculty, staff and students. The university also is creating more formal structures to advance these initiatives, such as the OSU Athletics and Diversity Inclusion Council. OSU libraries are engaged in projects aimed at sharing diverse stories and historical perspectives, as well as educating students on how to think critically about bias, how they consume information and how they can help fight disinformation. Other panel discussions focused on building on that progress. While highlighting OSU-Tulsa’s responsibility to educate the public on the Tulsa Race Massacre, OSU-Tulsa President Dr. Pamela Fry captured the essence of the panel’s aspirations. “Our plan doesn’t wait until students show up at our door,” she said, noting that OSU-Tulsa is making thoughtful efforts to support student access and success through targeted scholarships and community partnerships.
is one of just seven schools in the nation and the only institution in Oklahoma to receive this honor for nine straight years. “I think it is fair to say that Oklahoma State has found its place as a national leader in the conversations and more importantly in the demonstrated commitment to advancing social justice and equality and really creating environments that are truly open and welcoming in respecting and valuing and accommodating all members of the community,” Kirksey said. Having achieved an 88 percent increase in faculty members of color in OSU classrooms since 2010, the university remains committed to hiring more people of color for faculty, staff and board positions. OSU also has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing the conversation with alumni to improve diversity and inclusion and strengthening its partnership with the OSU Black Alumni Association.
LEARN MORE For more information about OSU’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, visit diversity. okstate.edu.
UN-NAMING MURRAY HALL The OSU Student Government Association — which has long sought the change — submitted a resolution last spring supporting the removal of former Oklahoma Gov. William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray’s name from two buildings on campus.
“I think it is fair to say that Oklahoma State has found its place as a national leader in the conversations and more importantly in the demonstrated commitment to advancing social justice and equality and really creating environments that are truly open and welcoming in respecting and valuing and accommodating all members of the community.” DR. JASON F. KIRKSEY OSU Medicine has had major success recruiting Native American students and bolstering care for Native and rural communities. The new OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation, the first tribally affiliated medical school in the nation, celebrated a historic white coat ceremony in July. DIVERSITY EXCELLENCE The university has taken significant steps to foster a culture of inclusiveness and continues to be nationally recognized for its efforts. As a 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity recipient from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine — the oldest and largest diversity publication and website in higher education — OSU
The resolution was unanimously approved by a committee comprised of representatives from the SGA, Faculty Council, Staff Council, Alumni Association and the OSU Foundation. The OSU Facilities Planning and Space Utilization Committee then approved it before President Burns Hargis sent a letter supporting the name removal to the OSU A&M Board of Regents, who approved removing “Murray” from Murray Hall and North Murray Hall. The university hasn’t announced if and when the buildings will be renamed after an individual or individuals. Currently, the former Murray Hall is being called the Social Sciences and Humanities Building while North Murray is now the Psychology Building.
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A worker removes the Murray name from what is now known as the Social Sciences and Humanities Building.
“Just because something is history doesn’t mean we should celebrate it. We should learn from it, learn how to do better and move forward.” DR. LAURA ARATA
SEE MORE Watch the Community Advancing Conversations series at okla.st/ convos.
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“OSU is committed to diversity and inclusion, and to respecting all peoples and backgrounds,” Hargis said. “We understand the pain that the namesake of Murray Hall creates for many members of our campus community and respect the efforts of the petition to remove Governor Murray’s name from the building.” In his letter to the board, Hargis wrote, “My request is based on the history cited by many on our campus that the building’s namesake, Oklahoma’s ninth governor, William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, had a record of advocacy for racist policies including segregation and the promotion of Jim Crow laws, which in effect stripped many Black Oklahomans of their constitutional right to vote. “For many on our campus, the building’s name has invoked reminders of this painful history. Oklahoma State is committed to eliminating systemic racism and embracing our responsibility as a university to support solutions to the inequality and injustice our country and community faces.
“I appreciate the leadership demonstrated by the many on our campus who have come forward in support of the name removal, including students, faculty, staff and alumni groups and the more than 5,000 individuals who have signed a Change.org petition regarding the building’s name.” More than 100 people from throughout the community protested in front of Murray Hall ahead of the OSU A&M Board of Regents vote to make their voices heard that the name needed to go. Dr. Laura Arata, assistant professor and public historian in the Department of History, was one of several people to address the crowd. “Just because something is history doesn’t mean we should celebrate it,” she said. “We should learn from it, learn how to do better and move forward. It is time to put to rest that renaming the building would rewrite history or that removing Murray’s name would remove a chance to learn from the past. It will not unmake Murray’s successes, it will not undo his governorship, and it will not undo the traumas of the past. But it will make a difference for the future. Let’s write a new chapter that we are proud to stand for.”
A PICTURE PERFECT LEARNING OPPORTUNITY The OSU Doel Reed Center in Taos extends Oklahoma State Universityâ€™s reach to culturally rich northern New Mexico and offers students a study-abroad experience without having to leave the country. From art and graphic design to English, art history, architecture and more, students will find the Doel Reed Center is an Enchanted Place to Learn no matter which class they choose. Your support of scholarships to the Doel Reed Center provides our students with the chance to take advantage of this incredible learning opportunity. TO LEARN MORE, VISIT:
Opening a Door to New Dreams
Inaugural class of OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation celebrates new beginning with White Coat ceremony
he future looks brighter for rural, underserved and Native communities across Oklahoma with the opening of the nation’s first tribally affiliated medical school — the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation — in Tahlequah. The inaugural class of 54 first-year medical students marked the official opening of the medical school with a White Coat ceremony, which symbolizes their entry into the medical profession. “This ceremony is the historic beginning of a new era in training physicians for our rural communities,” said Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU Center for Health Sciences president and OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine dean. “These 54 medical students represent the fulfillment of many dreams over many years — to create a medical school in partnership with the largest tribal nation in the heart of Indian Country. 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. I can’t think of a better way to attract and train primary care physicians for rural and underserved Oklahoma.” Physicians reported as American Indian or Alaska Native alone and in combination represented 0.56 percent (4,099) of the estimated 727,300 active physicians in 2016, according to a report from the Association of American Indian Physicians and the Association of American Medical Colleges. In 2017, 0.48 percent (836) of the 174,570 total full-time faculty members at MD-granting institutions were reported as Native alone or in combination with another race or ethnicity. Ashton Glover-Gatewood of Mustang, Oklahoma, said mentors within the Native American Research Centers for Health, Indian Health Services and Oklahoma City Indian Clinic have opened many doors for her. “My own journey would not have been possible without support from my tribes,” said GloverGatewood, an enrolled member of the Choctaw
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First-year medical student Ashton Glover-Gatewood receives her white coat from Dr. Natasha Bray, associate dean of Academic Affairs and Accreditation at OSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation.
STORY DAVID BITTON | PHOTOS OSU-CHS
First-year OSU medical students are all smiles after participating in a White Coat ceremony that marked the official opening of the nation’s first tribally affiliated medical school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Nation and descendent of the Chickasaw and Cherokee Nations of Oklahoma. Glover-Gatewood was thrilled with her white coat. “The white coat holds the weight of all the dreams, hard work and expectations of the communities, leaders, and health care professionals that went into launching this inaugural class,” she said. “Being part of this first class is not only the next step in my career, which I’ve dedicated to improving the health and wellness our of Native communities, but it is also the most fitting way to honor those who have invested in me. The tenacity, resilience and leadership that it takes to be members of an inaugural class will serve us all well in rural, Native and underserved communities as future physicians.” Glover-Gatewood says her classes have been going well, both for her and for her fellow students. “Entering the first year of medical school is one of the most difficult academic and personal transitions of a career, yet it has been enjoyable, thanks to the support that we’ve all received,” she said. “Every single day, the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine staff, faculty, physicians and other medical students impress me with their loyalty to their mission, authentic devotion to student success and their innovative
approaches to not only launching an inaugural class but doing so during an unprecedented global pandemic.” She can’t wait to be a physician and loves the idea of returning to the Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, where she worked six years prior to medical school. “Being able to practice within Indian Health Service allows me to serve a great need in my own Native community,” she said. “Not only is a trusting relationship facilitated by patients having access to medical doctors who look like them, but also higher quality of health care delivery can be enjoyed by both patients and physicians.” “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 Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation. “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.” Students had a mix of online and in-person classes with appropriate physical distancing during the fall semester as construction — which
Dr. Kayse Shrum, dean of OSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and president of OSU’s Center for Health Sciences, welcomes incoming medical students during the White Coat ceremony.
was delayed due to the pandemic — of the 84,000-square-foot state-of-theart medical facility continued. It is scheduled to open to students in early 2021. The new facility includes an anatomy laboratory, clinical skills lab, osteopathic manipulative medicine lab, standardized patient labs and a simulation center that will feature stateof-the-art computer programmable manikins. There are also lecture halls, classrooms, faculty offices, study carrels and a gym/workout area. “The students who make up the Class of 2024 have fulfilled our greatest hopes,” said Dr. William J. Pettit, dean of the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Cherokee Nation. “They come with impeccable academic credentials and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. Our faculty here in Tahlequah and in Tulsa are committed to their academic and professional success. Our singular mission is to prepare them for a fulfilling and successful career in medicine.”
SEE MORE: Watch the White Coat ceremony at okla.st/whitecoat.
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“One of my biggest fears is proudly earning a college degree only to have a mountain of debt after graduation. I just broke down and cried when I got the Mary Jo Webb scholarship in the middle of this semester. It made such a difference for me.” As a recipient of endowed scholarships created through charitable bequests, Meredith Pierson was able to achieve her dream of earning a bachelor’s degree from OSU-Tulsa. Charitable bequests are one of the most common and easiest ways for you to leave a lasting legacy at Oklahoma State University. If you decide to include the OSU Foundation in your will or living trust, we can help manage those assets in-house and help you achieve your charitable goals. Meredith and hundreds more are supported by generous estate gifts from alumni and friends of OSU. Photo courtesy of Candi-Ane's Photography
TO FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN LEAVE A LEGACY AT OSU, CONTACT THE OSU FOUNDATION: OSUgiving.com/EstatePlanning | giftplanning@OSUgiving.com | 800.622.4678
Join your fellow Cowboys for 1,890 minutes of giving! You can support the Brighter Orange, Brighter Future scholarship campaign and help students achieve their goals of obtaining an education at OSU. Support the Brighter Orange, Brighter Future scholarship campaign and Give Orange on April 6-7, 2021!
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Knapp Time Rules
Student life at OSU in the Roaring ’20s had a very different look
ife at what’s now Oklahoma State University was considerably different 100 years ago. Oklahoma A&M College’s fourth president in four months, Bradford Knapp, arrived in Stillwater on Sept. 17, 1923, taking control of an anxious and nervous institution yearning for stability. Leaders in the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture assured Knapp that he had their complete support and cooperation. Many of the faculty had resigned or been fired during the summer of 1923, but Knapp was able to persuade some to return and recruited others as replacements. With strong student enrollments and a stable budget, Knapp initiated a new era of enthusiasm at the land-grant college. The students affectionately called him “Prexy,” and he actively participated in many of their academic and social activities. However, the Roaring ’20s brought societal changes to colleges and communities across the country. Exposed to the worst horrors of human conflict, large numbers of young Oklahoma soldiers had traveled extensively during World War I, experiencing exotic cultures and glamorous locations, altering expectations of college life when they returned home. Women could vote, movies added sound, jazz became popular and college dances became more popular. Automobiles became more affordable, making students more mobile. Ford Motor Co. produced half a million cars in 1919 that sold for about $500 each; five years later, it produced 2 million that sold on average for $265. Since the inception of the college, various edicts had been issued in attempts to modify student conduct. One of Knapp’s first objectives was
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STORY DAVID C. PETERS | PHOTOS OSU ARCHIVES
The trials and tribulations of student automobile use included poor roads into Stillwater and restricted use on campus. Flats were common for many students. OAMC President Bradford Knapp (inset) began a codification of campus regulations and distributed 104 rules in the Student Handbook in 1924.
to organize all student rules and regulations. Within three months of his arrival, he published a comprehensive list of 104 rules to guide and direct student behavior. The regulations applied to all current and prospective students. These expectations also came with varying degrees of consequences if violated, from demerits to expulsion. Knapp required all faculty to assist him in these efforts “to correct any misconduct of students, or report violations” to him or the Committee on College Government. He created this committee “to investigate infractions of college regulations by students, to ascertain the facts concerning violations of the rules, and to recommend to the president proper and suitable discipline in each case.” The College Government Committee “shall have the power to require any student or employee of the college to appear before them on due notice, and to answer truthfully such questions of fact material to the case as the witness may be able to answer out of his own knowledge.”
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President Knapp (seated center) was an active participant in many campus activities.
Some of the 104 rules and regulations were to be expected. For example, the use of tobacco in all forms, gambling and liquor were all banned (the last two items outlawed under state and federal laws). Restrictions limited when certain activities could take place and where students must be at specific times. Students were required to be at their residences for a 7:30 p.m. curfew Monday through Thursday. These evenings were considered “closed.” Friday through Sunday evenings were defined as “open,” and students could stay out until 10:30 p.m. If they did not live in campus residence halls, they could only reside in approved boarding houses, Greek housing or the family home, and the individuals responsible for those housing options had to see that all rules were followed. The Committee on Boarding and Rooming Houses reviewed all applications to provide boarding options in Stillwater. There were exceptions to the evening curfews, but only for students attending pre-approved events and parties. Chaperones were required at all events women attended. At least two of the mandated chaperones were to be married faculty members if the activity was a party. The organization sponsoring the event was required to submit a written application to the Committee on Plays and Social Entertainment at least one week prior to
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an activity, requesting approval. These applications included the place, date and time of the function, names of the chaperones, and the number of guests attending. The Committee on Social Entertainment and Student Plays also served as censors for all entertainment, exhibitions and plays on campus or in the community. The student organization sponsoring the activity was required to submit details of the entire program to ensure that these events were “in good taste, clean, moral and commendable.” Other rules seem a bit obscure, such as students could not leave Stillwater without permission from their academic dean, women needed consent from the dean of women before changing boarding houses, and graduating students were required to attend commencement to pick up their diplomas. Knapp was the only person who could provide exemptions to this last rule. While there were many minor challenges to some of the 104 rules and regulations, the one that caused the most headaches for the president was Rule No. 11: Students must not use motor vehicles for social purposes. Students who use automobiles for legitimate business purposes, for transportation to and from their homes and for other purposes not classed
as “social” shall file the state license number of their cars in the president’s office. Immediately preceding Knapp’s arrival, the Board of Agriculture, serving as regents for the college, outlawed the use of student-owned or operated automobiles on the A&M campus. The prevailing opinion of the time was that cars were a potential deterrent to good scholarship and increased immorality on campuses. This was not a problem just in Stillwater. Knapp corresponded with administrators at other campuses, and OAMC was not the only college with rigid automobile use restrictions. When writing to an administrator at another college Knapp stated: “… prevention of immorality so prevalent over the entire country, due largely to the indiscriminate use of automobiles by the young” was the primary reason for the car ban. He then added, “… it is a noteworthy and important fact that students in institutions everywhere in the country who have their own automobiles are generally failures in their college work. The use of automobiles at the college invite failure and is a waste of the student’s time as well as a financial obligation to the parents.” The OAMC president’s argument yielded mixed results. For the one-year period beginning in April 1924 three
male students were expelled and five students suspended for “joy-riding” or the social use of an automobile. Two of the expelled students had liquor in the car with them, doubling the likelihood for expulsion. An additional 25 students were placed on social probation for joyriding. Stillwater entrepreneurs that offered car leases by the hour or day made enforcement more difficult. Knapp had found this student regulation virtually impossible to enforce with only faculty observers and Stillwater police to assist him. During the fall of 1925, Knapp appealed to such Stillwater civic groups as Rotary and Lions clubs. He requested their assistance in the enforcement of the joy-riding prohibition around the community, wanting local residents to contact him and other campus authorities regarding observed infractions. Knapp and his agents also visited with Stillwater families, campus groups and those living in Greek housing. By the spring of 1926, there were 99 student-registered automobile permits
with a campus enrollment of 2,900. Less than 3.5 percent of the student body had registered vehicles. Violations were few. The only continuing area of concern involved using taxis during inclement weather. Knapp felt that some students were defining “inclement” much more broadly and taking advantage of this exception in use. He later tightened this loophole. All parents received letters regarding the policy. Students whose parents did not reside in Stillwater received one letter that included the total ban on their children having cars. A different letter went to Stillwater parents since their children could have very limited use of automobiles with a registered permit. To receive a permit, a Stillwater student needed approvals from the dean of their academic unit, the chairman of the Committee on College Government and the college president. Permits were granted only if all three were “convinced that it is necessary for the student to have use of an automobile.” If approved, four copies were made, one for each permit grantor
and one for the student to carry in the vehicle. At this time, there were no parking lots on campus, and parking permits were not required. Very few faculty and staff drove to campus because most lived in neighborhoods east and south of the college. The main avenue at the college was a one-way street with parking permitted on one side. Knapp may have been the only employee with a reserved parking spot for his car, which was stored at his home on campus. With limited student demand, parking on campus was not a problem, one of the few benefits associated with this rule for the entire college community. Eventually the automobile restrictions changed and a growing number of students owned cars. Modifications of other rules occurred over the decades, but university leaders continued to recommend appropriate guidelines within the campus community to support academic achievement and ensure the health and wellbeing of those who worked and studied at the college.
OAMC President Knapp (center) and members of the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture, including Ferne E. King, the only woman ever named to the board.
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CHAPTER LEADER PROFILE
Jay Putnam, Austin Chapter As a Stillwater native, Jay Putnam always knew he wanted to attend OSU. From the time he moved to Stillwater at a young age, he regarded himself as an OSU Cowboy. Both of his parents attended OSU, and his grandparents were professors on campus as well. Putnam graduated in 2016 with a degree in architecture. He placed a primary focus in architectural design and was involved in the Architecture Students Teaching Elementary School (ASTEC) program, where he taught local youth how to construct their own towns. “I spent five years there. My degree path was all design- or structuralrelated,” Putnam said. “While at OSU, my favorite group was ASTEC. It was very gratifying; we would teach youth and help them create structural models.” Putnam worked in Tulsa before moving to Austin, Texas. “The culture of Austin intrigued me,” he said. “When I was interviewing, I felt secure. Even though I hadn’t been there before, it felt like the right fit.”
Putnam is a junior architect at Fuse Architecture Studio, which focuses on industrial and semiconductor cleanroom work. When he moved to Austin, his closest friend lived 40 minutes away. By reaching out to local OSU alumni, he connected with people who shared the experience of OSU. A couple of years ago, he began working to revitalize the Austin Chapter.
“Austin has roughly 2,000 registered alumni,” he said. “We started out with watch parties and continued to expand on our ideas each year.” Putnam urges folks to reach out to OSU chapters. “It’s a great way to meet people and network — you never know how your experiences will help you in the future.”
Jay Putnam (right) and his mom, Lyn Putnam, cheered on the Cowboys as they played the Texas Longhorns in Austin in 2019.
AUSTIN CHAPTER BY THE NUMBERS 2,297 alumni and friends 251 members 3,758 current OSU students from Texas 448 miles from Stillwater
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STORY SARAH HARRIS | PHOTO JAY PUTNAM
Alumni Chapters Making a Difference Caden Schaufele is one of many students who is able to pursue his dreams of attending OSU because of scholarships offered through the OSU Alumni Association and his local OSU Alumni chapter. “I’ve always loved Oklahoma State University,” Schaufele said. “I’ve always known that I wanted to come here.” In the past five years, $1,673,600 in scholarships have been given to 838 students. Schaufele is one of 163 of this year’s recipients of OSU Alumni Chapter scholarships from three different states. A total of $278,000 in scholarships was awarded to incoming OSU freshmen this year. Schaufele is originally from Edmond, Oklahoma. When he was in sixth grade, his family moved to Hobart, Oklahoma, to take over his grandfather’s farm. Now, Schaufele returns to the farm often to help his father with the family’s diversified production of cattle, wheat, sesame, cotton and mung beans. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, football and spending time with his friends and family. He is a freshman at OSU studying agribusiness with a pre-law option. He hopes to lobby for an agriculture-based company on either the state or national level and then return to the family farm. He is a member of FarmHouse fraternity. Schaufele is the southwest area vice president for the Oklahoma FFA Association, an accomplishment that began with an affinity for prepared and extemporaneous speaking contests and helping with his high school’s FFA livestock show team. “My family, my parents and my supporters are the main reason I do this,” he said. “They’re my inspiration. They taught me how to work for things. They instilled in me the work ethic to go and pursue the things I want.” To find a local chapter and opportunities to help support students from your area, visit ORANGECONNECTION.org/chapters.
STORY SARAH HARRIS | PHOTO CADEN SCHAUFELE
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PISTOL PETE’S BIRTHDAY The OSU Alumni Association threw Pistol Pete a Drive-By Birthday Celebration in honor of the mascot’s 97th birthday.
Members of the Cowboy family were all smiles, celebrating everyone’s favorite mascot.
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OSU Alumni Association legacies and Pistol Pete’s Partners were encouraged to color Pistol Pete a birthday card and drop it off at the event.
ALUMNI A S S O C I AT I O N STUDENT NETWORK MOVIE NIGHT Members of the OSU Alumni Association’s Student Network enjoyed a movie night with Remember the Titans on The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts’ lawn.
NTX WOMEN’S DINNER These masked Cowgirls from the North Texas OSU Alumni Chapter gathered for a night of dinner and conversation at Blue Mesa Grill in Addison, Texas.
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’50s Dale F. Janes, ’50 industrial engineering and management, has had a major impact on OSU’s School of Fire Protection and Safety Technology. Janes began his studies at OSU after serving as an aviation electronics technician’s mate in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1944-1946. He married Betty Jo Penney, and they were blessed with a son, Nolen Janes. Janes accepted a faculty member position under the OSU College of Engineering and Technology. The Dale F. Janes Professorship in Fire Safety Technology was created in his honor with more than $370,000 from 528 donors provided to create this professorship, making it the largest number of donors at OSU ever to fund a professorship. Arthur Bieri, ’58 secondary education, ’65 MS secondary education, is still living in Stillwater. He enjoyed a long career in education and fitness, including serving as executive director of physical fitness for the state of Oklahoma. He also has served as an aquatics safety instructor and has authored several books. His hobbies include cooking and cartooning. Charles Pickens, ’59 math, ’67 doctorate in math, is currently living in Kearney, Nebraska, and would love to reconnect with classmates ’58-60 and ’65-67.
Joy (Chase) Haight, ’61 FRCD child-care program management, and her husband, Allen, escaped the heat and hurricanes of Texas summers by living in Colorado for several months. This year, they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary. Martha F. (Norman) Sowell, ’61 HEECS, has enjoyed her OSU Alumni Association Life Membership that was a birthday gift from her husband years ago. Her family includes three sons, 10 grandchildren and two greatgrandchildren. She enjoyed a short work career, being a fulltime mom and being involved in
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Little Rock, Arkansas, volunteer organizations. The next step in her life journey is to move to a retirement community in Louisville, Kentucky, to be closer to two of her sons. Carolyn M. Friedemann Garber, ’61 nutritional science, and her spouse moved to River Forest, Illinois, to be closer to their daughter. They are very happy with the recent move. The Garbers live in a wonderful village where they can walk to shops, appointments and easily access just about anything else they need to. The Garbers previously lived in South Bend, Indiana, for 53 years. Laree Pacaud Hulshoff, ’61 secondary education, ’65 master’s in marketing analytics, co-founded Aging Mind Foundation in 2013 in Dallas, with her friend Bill Booziotis. AMF is a non-profit organization that raises money for scientific research that seeks the cause of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. AMF has raised over $3.9 million and funded seven different research projects. Dick Bogard, ’62 agronomy, is grateful for his wife, Avon, of 56 years. She celebrated her 80th birthday in September and is a two-year cancer survivor. The Bogards are enjoying life in Durant, Oklahoma. Lewis Armstrong, ’65 geography, recently published his autobiography, Oklahoma Boy on the Bumpy Road of Life. This book chronicles his journey in the U.S. Army followed by his career as a university librarian. He retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel. Dr. Paul Thomas Cox, ‘67 doctorate in agricultural economics, completed his autobiography, Moving On, on his 90th birthday. This story documents 75 physical and career moves in numerous
countries and offers insight upon the various cultures he encountered along the way. Dr. Gilbert (Gill) O. Sanders, ’67 arts, is a recipient of the 2020 Karl F. Heiser APA Presidential Award for Advocacy from the American Psychological Association. This award was created by former APA President Jack Wiggins and has been awarded for 27 years to those who have played a major role in advancing the practice of psychology through legislative and regulatory changes in their states. Dr. Sanders was recognized for his efforts to lead the passage of PSYPACT legislation. Glenn R. Olson, ’69 psychology, is now retired after 30 years of teaching and administrating in rural Alaska. He enjoys spending time with his five grandchildren, traveling out of the country, golfing, fishing and relaxing. He is fortunate to have a lovely wife and a great set of friends.
Larry C. Kindt, ’70 forestry, is proud of his time in the OSU Forestry department. Kindt worked in the forestry field for a little over two years. He then began his Army career and became a Defense Department contractor for the next 40 years. Though his career differed from his diploma, his love for forestry never left him, and he has enjoyed many great reunions with his forestry family. Christine M. (Kunkel) Yasik, ’74 secondary education, attended the Doel Reed Summer Learning Institute in Taos, New Mexico, in July 2019, where she interacted with OSU alumni, teachers and administrators. In June 2020, Yasik participated in a Zoom class about Taos’ famous Mable Dodge Luhan. She looks forward to being able to return to Taos and the Doel Reed Center. Larry J. Phillips, ’75 master’s in agronomy, is enjoying retirement in McKinney, Texas.
Benjamin Hulsey, ’76 accounting, has been named the 2021 Lawyer of the Year in Information Technology Law by the Best Lawyers in America 2021. Each year, only one lawyer per practice area and designated metro area is awarded as Lawyer of the Year. Hulsey works for Thompson Coburn LLP. Tom S. Smith, ’77 technical education, is retired and living with his wife, Cynthia, in Mansfield, Texas. Ron Graves, ‘79 agricultural economics, and his wife, Karen, have retired. He spent 30 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a lieutenant colonel, and the aerospace industry and eight years as hotel owners and managers in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Gary W. Reynold, ’79 journalism, is working for United Stations Radio Network.
Judge Debra S. Sasser, ‘80 sociology, was appointed as chief district judge for the Tenth Judicial District in Wake County, North Carolina. Sasser was appointed to the district court bench in 2005 and has been re-elected in subsequent elections. She worked as a lawyer, litigation associate and attorney advocate for Wake County Guardian ad Litem prior to her judicial election in 2004. Her previous work includes being an arbitrator and mediator and representing abused or neglected children. Jonita Mullins, ’81 English, released her latest novel, The Cross Timbers, a sequel to The Marital Scandal and the second book in her Neosho District series. It continues the story of the first stages of Native American removal and the difficulties government policy created for the tribes. Calvin B. Carpenter, ’83 animal science, ’86 doctorate in veterinary medicine, started a new position during the
pandemic as the executive director of an independent nonprofit foundation, the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) in Raleigh, North Carolina. CHF is the largest nonprofit funder of health research focused on dogs. Teresa Randall, ’83 agriculture education, ’02 master’s in environmental science, ’11 doctorate in environmental science, is proud to be partnering with 23 southern and eastern Oklahoma school districts and their science educators to bring authentic teaching practices to their students. Randall works as the science curriculum specialist at the K20 Center for Educational and Community Renewal. Roger Woolley, ’83 business and public administration, was a football equipment manager during his time at OSU, during the Jimmy Johnson era. During his career, Woolley has held executive level marketing positions for several technology companies and is currently the chief marketing officer for Community WFM. Wooley and his wife have been Cowboys season-ticket holders for years. They are very proud of their daughter who works in labor and delivery in Austin. Vickie Williams Dahnke, ‘84 management of science and computer systems, is proud that she and her two sons are OSU alumni. One of her sons works at Devon Energy in Oklahoma City, and her other son is preparing to graduate in pre-med. Mark Chezem, ’84 organization administration, is very proud of the next generation of Cowboys. His middle son, Troy, became an OSU graduate in the summer of 2018, and his youngest, Ty, will graduate in May 2021. They are the Chezem family’s second generation of OSU alumni.
Greg Land, ’85 computer science, ‘87 master’s in accounting, is one of six distinguished leaders at International Business Machines Corp. Land was a founding member of IBM’s Travel & Transportation Center of Competence in 2010. He also serves as the global industry leader in Aviation, Hospitality & Travel Related Services, and Global Market Americas. Land is on the 2020 board of directors for the Open Travel Alliance and is co-chair for the COVID-19 recovery task force of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Elizabeth (Ripley) Yingling, ’88 marketing, recently started her own law firm, Yingling Law PLLC, where she will represent clients throughout the country in litigations, broker-dealer and securities compliance, and risk mitigation matters. This comes after 29 years practicing commercial and securities ligation for major law firms, including 19 years as a partner at Baker & McKenzie, one of the largest law firms in the world. Grant Chapman, ’89 political science, accepted the position as associate provost for international programs at Kansas State University. As the university’s senior international officer, Chapman will oversee the comprehensive internationalization of Kansas State.
Ann J. (Gay) Griffin, ’90 hotel and restaurant administration, completed service in the Oklahoma Senate representing Senate District 20 and is now director of government and community affairs for Paycom, a public relations company that is a leader in payroll and HR technology.
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Lisa Jacobson, ’92 elementary education, is preparing to take part in her 28th year of teaching. Despite the trials associated with COVID-19, Jacobson continues to teach mathematics at a high school in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Pat Gearhart, ’93 marketing, has been named chair-elect of the board of directors for the American Heart Association’s Midwest Region for a two-year term. Gearhart has been involved with the association since 2004 in a variety of capacities. He received the Heart of Wichita Award at the annual Wichita Heart Ball for his dedication and passion to the association’s work. Gearhart is currently the market president at Simmons Bank, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jacqueline Gray, ’98 doctorate in applied behavioral studies, has been named a fellow of the Society for Women Psychologists and for Psychologists in Public Service of the American Psychological Association. Gray is a research associate professor for the Department of Population Health and the associate director of Center for Rural Health for Indigenous programs at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Gray is of Choctaw and Cherokee descent and has worked with tribes for more than 35 years.
Trevor Riddle, ’01 philosophy, earned his fourth consecutive listing in Lawyer of the Year in the practice area of Criminal Defense: General Practice by the Best Lawyers in America 2021. Riddle has received statewide accolades for handling scientific witnesses such as forensic laboratory technicians, doctors, biomechanical engineers and other experts. Riddle
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is a shareholder in Monnat & Spurrier, a firm with an international reputation for its work in criminal defense, whitecollar criminal defense and appellate practice. Scott Slagle, ’03 architecture, was promoted to an associate position at Parkhill, an architectural and engineering firm. Slagle’s involvement in the industry began early, as he learned HVAC and plumbing in a family business and continued his education at OSU while working in construction. Slagle’s 15 years of service have included numerous large- and smallscale projects, including corporate office campuses, retail and restaurant finish-outs, athletic facilities, civic buildings and more. Having owned his practice for six years, he sees his projects from beginning to end with holistic, efficient design solutions. He and his wife have two boys, Owen and Miles. Christopher Alan Taylor, ’04 doctorate in human environmental sciences, received a promotion at Ohio State University to the director of medical dietetics position. Taylor is also the director of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics, co-director of the Master of Dietetics and Nutrition Future Education Model Graduate Program, and a professor at Ohio State. Ashley M. Steffey Collier, ’06 design, housing and merchandising, was one of several realtors honored at the Texas Realtors Centennial Celebration for acts of kindness in her community. Collier also recently received the Best of Zillow award for her work with her clients.
Joe Donarumo, ’08 construction management, and colleague Keyan Zandy will receive an internationally acclaimed award from the Shingo Institute for their book, The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field. Written in a context relatable to construction professionals, the book focuses on respect, personal relations, increased efficiency, and lowering incurred cost associated with construction. Donarumo is currently a senior superintendent at Linbeck Group, a Texas-based technology-driven lean-building construction firm.
Chris Perry, ’10 journalism and broadcasting, currently serves as the external communications and marketing manager at the Dallas Love Field Airport. In this role, he is the airport’s primary spokesperson to the media and community. Since graduating from OSU, he has always worked in the higher education, nonprofit or government sectors. His time within the OSU Athletics Department and serving as a student ambassador for the School of Journalism helped direct him to the non-profit sector. Ryan Ogle, ’12 business administration, was named the new championship director for the 2021 PGA Championship by the PGA of America. Ogle was an integral force in the strategic planning, development and execution of the 2016, ’18, and ’20 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championships in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Native to Norman, Oklahoma, Ogle’s decade-long sports business career has entailed various involvement in national and global sporting events.
Jason K. Quinn, ’12 nurse science, would love to hear from his fellow Cowboy classmates. Stephanie Taylor, ’12 journalism and broadcasting, is the online managing editor of Darling Magazine, a media site geared towards women’s strength and equality. Taylor moved to Minneapolis following her graduation from OSU and worked for Delta Airlines’ magazine, Delta Sky. Taylor is thankful for her time interning with the OSU Alumni Association, the OSU Communications office and writing for The O’Colly. Taylor attributes her experiences and education at OSU to laying the foundation for her career success. Juliet Abdel, ’13 master’s in international studies, won the title of Miss Colorado for America, the official preliminary competition to the newly formed Miss for America Pageant. Abdel is a Sigma Lambda Gamma alumna at large, member of the Westminster Kiwanis Club, Colorado Women’s Alliance Advisory Council and serves on the Leadership Program of the Rockies Advisory Council. Nicholas P. Prather, ’14 architectural engineering, has recently relocated from Dallas to Rogers, Arkansas, and looks forward to connecting with OSU alumni in Northwest Arkansas. Debbie Olson, ’15 doctorate in English, was promoted to associate professor of English at Missouri Valley College.
Sandeep Raju, ’15 electrical engineering, will receive the 2020 Engineering Leaders under 40 Award on behalf of CFE Media in spring 2021. The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program recognizes manufacturing professionals under the age of 40 who make significant contributions to their plant’s success, control engineering and plant engineering professions. Raju also serves as the director for the automatic controls and robotics division of the International Society of Automation. Rikki D. Williams, ’16 nutritional sciences, continues to bleed orange in her recent promotion to regional administrative assistant for Orangetheory Fitness. During her tenure at OSU and Orangetheory Fitness, Williams has been a major advocate for higher learning and both personal and professional growth. Throughout her 18 months with Orangetheory Fitness, Williams has never been prouder to talk about her education and capacity of learning with her community and the company’s members. Arianna Cole, ’17 management, is an associate in the Tulsa office of GableGotwals, where she worked previously as a summer associate. She focuses on corporate transactions, assisting clients in banking, commercial lending, energy, oil and gas. Her experience also includes labor and employment law, bankruptcy, tax, health care, and family law. Cole was previously a judicial extern for Judge Stephanie K. Seymour, senior U.S. circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Cole was an elite study while at law school,
receiving the highest honors of Order of the Curule Chair and serving on the Board of Directors of Tulsa Lawyers for Children Inc. She also received the highest-grade award in six law school classes and was the business manager of the Tulsa Law Review. Cole graduated from OSU with summa cum laude honors. Christopher Punto, ’19 master’s in health care administration, was one of the four law students awarded a scholarship from Crowe & Dunlevy’s Diversity Scholars Program. Punto is studying at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He is also a recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award and ranks in the top 25 percent of his law school class. Garrett A. Russell, ’19 management, is continuing his academic journey by attending the University of Tulsa School of Law, pursuing a Juris Doctor degree in the class of 2023. Maria Escobar, ’19 political science and economics, was one of the four law students awarded a scholarship from Crowe & Dunlevy’s Diversity Scholars Program. Escobar is currently studying at Oklahoma City University School of Law. While at OSU, she served as president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) from 2018 to 2019 and is now a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association.
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Patrick Ross Smittle, ’20 English, has been able to pursue his dream of teaching kids despite the global pandemic. Smittle was hired in June 2020 by Mustang (Oklahoma) High School to teach junior English. Smittle is overjoyed with his students, team and school. He attests his time and experiences at OSU to his recent career success.
Ed Stinchcomb, ’83 agronomy, married Lillie Cary, ’80 elementary education, in 2019. Ed is retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Cody Wayne Pinkerman, ’08 aerospace and mechanical engineering, ’10 master’s and ’16 doctorate in aerospace and mechanical engineering, married Renee Suzanne Hale, ’10 chemical engineering, on May 3, 2020. The two met in 2008 while both were living on the fourth floor of Stout Hall. Their friendship grew strong through a mutual love of nerdy things, and they stayed in touch on and off after graduating. After reconnecting in 2016, each with a newly minted Ph.D., they started long-distance dating between Florida and Texas. Eventually Pinkerman moved to Texas to work for Lockheed Martin as a senior systems engineer. Hale works as a research and development principal engineer for PepsiCo.
Allison Lang, current student in natural resource ecology and management, wrote a new book titled, Sorry Mort! You’re Just too Short. It was honored as one of Amazon’s Top 10 Children’s Books. Bob Duggins acknowledges all of his Phi Kappa Tau brothers from 1961. He is very thankful for all of the memories made with his brothers and OSU counterparts.
In Memory ’50s John L. Lillibridge Jr., ’50 mechanical engineering, died June 19, 2020. Mr. Lillibridge was born in 1924 in Dover, Oklahoma, and enlisted in the U.S. Army near the end of WWII. After a few years of working intelligence in England, France and Germany, he returned home to Oklahoma and attended OSU. That is where he met Audrey Haurt, who he married in 1948. Mr. Lillibridge went on to work for the Corps of Engineers, where his career took the family to nearly all 50 states and Germany. His passion for genealogy and help from family allowed him to put together a book tracing his family’s history. Kenneth D. Mitchell Jr., ’50 journalism, died July 29, 2020, at the age of 93. Mr. Mitchell was born to Helen Newman Mitchell Jones and Kenneth D. Mitchell, Sr. on July 21, 1927, in Oklahoma City. He served in the
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Tanya C. (Franke) Dvorak, ’09 master’s in agricultural communications, doctorate in philosophy, and husband Joseph Dvorak, ’05 biosystems engineering, ’07 master’s in biosystems engineering, welcomed son William Theodore Dvorak on April 13, 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Macy Hula Worley,’15 human development and family sciences, ’16 master’s in teaching and leadership, and husband Brandon Worley, ’17 university studies, welcomed son Jack Thomas Worley on June 9, 2020. Brice J. Mitchell, ’16 entrepreneurship, and wife Taylor N. Mitchell, ’13 industrial engineering, welcomed daughter Samantha Rose Mitchell on April 15, 2020. Samantha is the granddaughter of Joe, ‘74 architectural studies, and Connie, ’72 business education, Mitchell. Dr. Roy Ward DO, current master’s student in health care administration, and wife Whitney Rae Ward, welcomed son Wheeler Allan Ward on August 25, 2020. Ward is currently a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
Navy before attending OSU, where he was the sports editor for the O’Collegian newspaper. Mr. Mitchell spent 50 years in the land title business serving the Oklahoma State Title Association and the Oklahoma Land Title Association and became co-owner and vice president of Jelsma Abstract in 1954. He was a loyal and true fan of OSU and served on the OSU Alumni Association board of directors, as a past district director of OSU Posse, and as a member of the alumni lobbying group representing OSU for higher education. He never missed a home football game in 71 years until attending his last one in 2015. Roger Francis Blessing Jr., ’51 architecture, died Aug. 6, 2020 in Lenexa, Kansas. Mr. Blessing was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Nov. 13, 1928. He married Jeanne Louise Shafer Nov. 14, 1953, and lived a life of love with her for 63 years. His legacy includes many buildings designed as co-founder of Horner and Blessing Architects and many civic contributions. Mr. Blessing was a volunteer and leader in organizations such as the Lake Quivira Country Club, the Symphony in the Flint Hills, the Lakeview Residents’ Council, Scouting BSA, the Architects Institute of America and local school boards. He was recognized for his contributions by the dedication of Blessing Park at Lake Quivira, as a Significant Sig by the Sigma Chi Fraternity, Volunteer of the Year at the Symphony in the Flint Hills, Rotary Club Man of the Year and numerous other awards. Frederick Ford Drummond, ’53 animal science, died Oct. 18, 2020. He was born July 13, 1931, in Enid, Oklahoma, to Frederick Gentner and Grace Ford Drummond. While at then-Oklahoma A&M, he joined Beta Theta Pi Fraternity and received a second lieutenant commission in the Army ROTC program upon graduation. Mr. Drummond served as chairman of the board of the Cleveland Bank for 50 years. He also served as president of the OSU Alumni Association from 1969-70 and was inducted into both the OSU Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Dr. Jordan J.N. Tang, ’55 master’s in biochemistry, died Sept. 29, 2020. Tang came to OSU from Taiwan, barely able to speak English. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and completed postdoctoral training at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology
in Cambridge, England. He joined the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and became a major proponent in studying proteases, a crucial group of proteins to human health. Tang’s research and focus on these proteases led to a new treatment for HIV/AIDS, hypertension and an Alzheimer’s drug undergoing human clinical trials. He held the J.G. Puterbaugh Chair in Medical Research at OMRF for 31 years, lectured and taught at 50 universities on five continents, and he published more than 200 articles in elite scientific journals across the world. His research has been honored by the Guggenheim Foundation, National Institute of Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences and the United Nations. In 2013, he became the first OMRF scientist inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. Dr. Tang is the only Oklahoman to receive the $1 million Pioneer Award — the Alzheimer’s Association of America’s highest research prize. He is survived by his wife, Kuen, his sons, Aaron and Joseph, and his grandson, Jordan. Thomas H. McCormick, ’58 drafting and design, died June 4, 2020, at the age of 79 with his family by his side. McCormick was born to Robert and Mildred McCormick on Dec. 20, 1940, in Corpus Christi, Texas. The family settled in Oklahoma City in 1947, where Mr. McCormick graduated from Northwest Classen High School in 1959. While at OSU, McCormick was a member of Sigma Tau. He went on to obtain his master’s in chemistry from Kansas State University in 1968. After graduation, Mr. McCormick traveled the world as a chemist in the oil industry and eventually retired from Kimray Inc. in Oklahoma City after 38 years of service as senior vice president and secretary of the board. Among many career achievements is his patent for a specialized method of oil extraction.
Dr. Robert Lee Westerman, ’61 agriculture education and ’63 master’s in agronomy (soils), died Sept. 8, 2020. He was 81. He served three years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot and platoon leader. After his military tour, he enrolled in the University of Illinois and received his Ph.D. in soil science (soil fertility and chemistry) in 1969.
Dr. Westerman accepted an assistant professor position at the University of Arizona in 1969. In 1976, he joined Oklahoma State University as an associate professor and team leader of the soil fertility and plant nutrition research group. He was later named a Regents Professor. He supervised research training for more than 40 graduate students and taught graduatelevel courses in soil-plant relations. He was instrumental in securing sustained funding for the Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition Program by working with state clientele, agricultural leadership groups and the state legislature. Among his many honors were selection as a fellow in the Soil Science Society of America, fellow in the American Society of Agronomy, the Agronomic Achievement Award in Soils sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, Editor of the Soil Science Society of America Monograph — Soil Testing and Plant Analyses and publication of more than 110 articles consisting of scientific journals, chapters in books, bulletins, research reports and popular articles. In 1991, he became department head of agronomy (later plant and soil sciences) where he served for 10 years. From 2001 to 2013, he served in numerous leadership roles within the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources that included assistant and interim associate director of the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station, and assistant vice president for agricultural programs, where he provided counsel to assist in analyzing, formulating, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and revising division activities and functions. He retired in 2013. In 2015, he was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University. His wife, Sharon Yvonne Mires Westerman, survives him. They married May 9, 1959, and had two children, Robert Brent and Nicole Yvonne. He also had four grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to the OSU Foundation and designated to the Dr. Robert L. Westerman Scholarship that will go to support graduate student work in soil science. Checks should be payable to the OSU Foundation and mailed to P.O. Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076. Memorial donations can also be made online at www.OSUgiving.com.
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Lynda J. (Fulton) Thompson, ‘62 physical education, died April 19, 2020. While at OSU, Ms. Thompson was president of Alpha Chi Omega and Mortar Board in 1962. She was an active golfer, skier and world traveler. Dr. J. Brent Loy, ’63 horticulture and landscaping, died July 24, 2020, at the age of 79 at his home in New Hampshire surrounded by family. He was born to John and Lorraine Loy in Borger, Texas, and spent most of his childhood in Bountiful, Utah, where he graduated from Bountiful High School in 1959. He went on to earn his master’s and doctorate in genetics and horticulture from Colorado State University. He accepted a professorship at the University of New Hampshire in 1967, where he taught for over five decades. Dr. Loy created the longest running cucurbit breeding program and released over 100 commercial varieties of squash, pumpkins and melons at UNH. He was also the recipient of several awards during his career and was known to be generous with his knowledge. Dr. Loy and his wife, Sarah, were married for 37 years and raised three children. W. Preston Holsinger, ’64 business education, died June 24, 2020, at the age of 78 in Dallas. Mr. Holsinger was born to Wirt and Juanita (Preston) Holsinger on Feb. 10, 1942, in Abilene, Texas. He graduated from Lawton (Oklahoma) High School in 1960 where he was an honor student, all-state quarterback and the state champion pole-vaulter. He went on to attend OSU on a football and track scholarship. Mr. Holsinger was a Big Eight Champion in pole vault for three years and was one of the 15 vaulters who qualified for the 1964 Olympic trials. After serving in the Army, he obtained his MBA from the University of Oklahoma and embarked on a corporate business career. Mr. Holsinger had successful finance career at Phillips Petroleum Co., Lone Star Technologies and Halliburton Co., where he retired in 2007 as vice president – treasurer. His career allowed him and his family to live multiple places around the world and travel extensively. Since returning to Lawton in 2007, Mr. Holsinger was active in a number of non-profits and church volunteer activities.
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Kermit Holderman, ’69 history, ’72 English, returned to Oklahoma State University in December 2019 for the first time in many years. The campus changes and a whirlwind tour of facilities — the McKnight Center, Boone Pickens Stadium and Gallagher-Iba Arena, plus a rugged workout at the Colvin Center — were impressive. But the hour he spent catching up with Burns Hargis, his “pledge pop” from their Sigma Nu fraternity days, was the highlight. They shared memories and laughs. That evening, Mr. Holderman told friends he would return often. Sadly, that won’t happen. Mr. Holderman succumbed to COVID-19 just three months later. “Kermit was a valued fraternity brother with a zest for life and discovery,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “He used his OSU degree to become a gifted teacher and mentor to countless students. Kermit was a proud OSU alumnus and a dedicated public servant.” At OSU, Mr. Holderman became freshman class vice president, competed in intramurals and thrived in his English and history classes. Passionately committed to human rights, he joined the Peace Corps following graduation and was assigned to Ethiopia as an English teacher. On his return, Mr. Holderman married Sue Hennessey, a Californian who had ventured to Stillwater and shared his commitment to education and social justice. After graduation, they made several brief stops as teachers, leading to a job at Sacred Heart School in Atherton, California. Mr. Holderman thrived there, winning many faculty awards. He introduced his students to literary classics and counseled them on college plans and applications. In retirement, the couple moved to the San Diego area to be near family. Just a few weeks after his trip to Stillwater, Mr. Holderman became ill with COVID-19. He helped in the contact tracing process, and his case apparently resulted from an unwitting exposure to Colorado vacationers. Within a short time, in spite of his optimism and physical stamina, he weakened and was put on a ventilator. His case was so early in the pandemic that family members were not restricted from patient rooms, and on March 31, 2020, Mr. Holderman died with them at his side.
Since his death, praises for Mr. Holderman’s contributions to society and reflections on his OSU years have flowed. His fellow students and family recall a bright mind and charismatic personality who thrived on helping others succeed. Mr. Holderman’s roommate of four years, Ken Cook, recalls a “perfect roommate” whose life and example “touched our hearts.” In a recent note to friends, Mrs. Holderman registered the depth of her family’s loss and how thrilled her husband was to return to Stillwater. Above all else, she wrote, he was proud to see how OSU’s commitments to a more diverse campus and challenging academic programs, “the hallmarks of his own undergraduate education,” have been carried out by none other than his fraternity brother Hargis, now president of OSU. Dr. Daniel G. Shipka, ’01 master’s in international studies, died July 27, 2020, of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a fatal disease that aggressively attacks the nervous system. He was 53. He taught at the University of Florida while attending graduate school and earned his Ph.D. in 2007. Dr. Shipka then joined Louisiana State University. He returned to Oklahoma State in the fall of 2013, where he later earned tenure in the School of Media and Strategic Communications, and only resigned his position as his health declined. His family and friends have created a fund to establish a scholarship at OSU’s School for Media and Strategic Communications. Donations may be made at okla.st/shipka. Please specify that your gift is in memory of Danny Shipka.
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THE COWBOY WAY
With her love for diversity and passion for inclusion, Alexis Washington seamlessly fits into her new role as the senior inclusion officer for Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business. DIVERSE BEGINNINGS Growing up in Queens, New York, she experienced an inexhaustible assortment of cultures. Her Jamaican mother and her Guyanese father also cultivated her respect for uniqueness. Washington’s parents, who valued hard work and viewed America as a land of opportunity, instilled an ambition for education and success in her. Their support, paired with an AP psychology class in high school, led her to Rice University, where she majored in psychology. JOURNEY TO OSU In her last year at Rice, she heard a speaker from Tulane University discussing how the climate of diversity in a community can affect the climate of diversity in an organization. The topic fascinated her, so she headed to New Orleans to study and earn her doctorate in organizational behavior at Tulane. One of her professors, Bryan Edwards, moved to Oklahoma State after Hurricane Katrina and reached out to her once she graduated. “When I came to visit, I was so overwhelmed with how kind everyone is here,” Washington said. “That was exactly what I wanted for crafting a life for myself and my daughter.” AN IDEA FOR INCLUSION In Stillwater, she planted roots as an assistant professor in management in 2012. Seven years later, she earned tenure and a promotion to associate professor. That led her to start brainstorming another career goal. Dean Ken Eastman shared his vision with her to create a space in Spears for diversity and inclusion, and he wanted her to lead it. For months, they co-constructed and planned the role. Spears administration and department leaders backed the project, and she was named the senior inclusion officer in summer 2020. MOVING FORWARD Now she is focused on retaining the diversity OSU and Spears already have while ensuring students and faculty have the resources they need to build a sense of belonging. “Inclusion is a step beyond diversity — it’s actually an action,” Washington said. “It’s making the people around us feel they are welcome and a part of the group and that their uniqueness and experiences are what makes them wanted and welcome as a part of our team.” STORY KYLEE SUTHERLAND | PHOTO PHIL SHOCKLEY
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STATE, The Official Magazine of Oklahoma State University, is published three times per year in Fall (August/September); Winter (November/De...