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We’ve come a long way. Help the high school student you know see campus through the eyes of a current OSU student. Register a future Cowboy at admissions.okstate.edu/visit for an official student-led campus tour.

The official magazine of Oklahoma State University Winter 2012, Vol. 8, No. 2 statemagazine.okstate.edu Fall 2010 Welcome to the winter 2012 issue of STATE magazine, your source of information

from the OSU Alumni Association, the OSU Foundation and University Marketing. OSU President Burns Hargis and First Cowgirl Ann Hargis, standing outside the Willham House, are just two of the 2012 newsmakers interviewed for this issue. On Page 41, read the Hargises’ interviews and those of other outstanding OSU Cowboys. Cover photography by Phil Shockley

Records & Awards An enrollment record, a race car record and plenty of honors, including an OSU Phi Beta Kappa chapter, are detailed in Campus News.

OStateTV Launches OSU embarks on a digital video venture.

Distinguished Alumni The OSU Alumni Association awards five people for their outstanding personal and professional excellence.

Donor Support is Branding Success Campaign for OSU creates brighter orange present and future.

By Employees, for Employees Emeritus librarian’s fund grows as recipients give back.

Cowboy Callers Surpass $1 Million OSU Foundation program achieves record milestone through staff and donor dedication.

Doctors for the Future OSU medicine recruits, fundraises and restores, all in a plan to ensure there are enough doctors in the right places.




Leader in Food Safety


OSU’s New Heart

23 25 26 28

Oklahoma companies support FAPC in developing a food-safety program to provide industry assistance.

Crews have completed the Student Union overhaul.

The special interview section spotlights several 2012 newsmakers with OSU ties. A president, a beauty queen, a couple of teachers, some scientists and others have plenty to say. President Burns Hargis


First Cowgirl Ann Hargis


Physics student Babak Abi


2012 Teacher of the Year Kristin Shelby


Coach L.C. Gordon


CEO Piyush Patel


Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover


Liaison Jacque Secondine Hensley


Professor Jamey Jacob


Miss America Runner-up Betty Thompson 60 MBA graduate Rupesh Agrawal


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November event entertains, enlightens and informs while igniting a discussion about Ideas Worth Spreading.


34 36 41


Homecoming 2012 More than 82,000 alumni and friends experience the ‘The Life, The Legend, The Legacy’ of Homecoming 2012.


True Cowboy Leader Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard was a leader at Oklahoma A&M, in the Army, in business and most recently during OSU Homecoming 2012.


Left Hot and Dry Remember when it was hot? OSU experts weigh in on the drought and its lasting effects.

In this “FM with IQ,” a story reported by StateImpact Oklahoma and heard on KOSU about a crop duster dealing with the dryness.

OSU professors present technology to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Saying ‘I Do’ with OSU


OSU alumna combines the two loves of her life at a unique ceremony.

Generosity Leads to Generosity Scholarship’s first recipient helps establish new fund.

Chemistry professor’s inventions have led to the founding of four companies.


Leaving a Legacy After 45 years, CEAT professor is still giving back to OSU.


Serving Service Members OSUIT is a “military-committed” university helping veterans jump-start new careers.

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OSU athletic field superintendent manages 18 acres of grass and tons of clay.


Gift Keeps Giving Sisters leave OSU $3.2 million after cat receives care.


A Serial Inventor


Retired but Still Inspired Former zoology professor and his wife, a former University Health Services employee, continue to support OSU.


Two Bright Shades of Orange OSU and OG&E combine to create scholarship and cultivate a diverse workforce.

The New Education


History: OSU president navigates politics, presidents and publishing at Oklahoma A&M after statehood.


It’s all Material The Williams Companies Distinguished Chair will lead new OSU School of Materials Science and Engineering.

Past residents share memories of living in the one-time dormitory.

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Rethinking the Flush

Murray Hall Reunion

The Biennial Wine Forum of Oklahoma provides delicious wines and culinary treats.

The Field Marshal

Drought Grounds Pilot


Of Wine, Women and the West



President’s Letter


FM with IQ


STATEment 7

Chapters 118

Campus News


Classnotes 121

Legacy Link


History 125

OSU Medicine


Crossword 128

O-STATE Stories



President’s let ter

It has been another remarkable year at Oklahoma State University, and this issue of STATE magazine profiles a few OSU newsmakers from 2012.

Babak Abi is a physics doctoral student who worked on the discovery of the Higgs boson. Jacque Secondine Hensley has been appointed Oklahoma’s first Native American liaison to the tribes. Rupesh Agrawal is a 2012 MBA graduate who is developing a solar power plant in India’s Uttar Pradesh province. Senior Betty Thompson is an Irish dance champion and first runner-up at the 2012 Miss America Pageant. Kristin Shelby is an elementary education graduate who is Oklahoma’s 2012 Teacher of the Year. Jamey Jacob is an aerospace engineering professor working on a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Homeland Security contract to design and test unmanned aerial vehicles. We also feature L.C. Gordon, OSU’s first black basketball player; California Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover; and Piyush Patel, founder and CEO of PL Studios. I want to offer special congratulations to this year’s OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award recipients: Connie and Joe Mitchell, Neal L. Patterson, Clayton Taylor and Jerry Winchester, all of whom are featured in the following pages. We had a fantastic Homecoming this fall, and this issue offers you a glimpse of the pageantry. We were honored to have had 1954 graduate Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard serve as Homecoming grand marshal. He is a member of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and was one of the highest-ranking U.S. military service members from OSU. Ann and I want to wish you and your loved ones all the best for the holiday season. We appreciate your support and all you do to make Oklahoma State University a truly special place. Go Pokes!


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OSU President Burns Hargis

It is because of people like

– those who love OSU – that Branding Success: The Campaign for OSU is transforming this institution.

BUT, DID YOU KNOW that you may be able to double or even triple your impact through corporate matching gifts? Many companies encourage philanthropy by offering additional funding for programs supported by their employees and retirees.

THIS ALLOWS DONORS TO DO MORE WITH EACH GIFT, whether the total impact is $50 for the General Scholarship Fund or $50,000 to endow a new scholarship. Some organizations even consider their employees’ philanthropic passions before making major gifts in the name of the entire company.

To see if you are affiliated with a company that will increase the impact of your OSU gift, check the searchable list available at OSUgiving.com/matching or visit with your organization’s human resources department or matching gift administrator.

For more information, please contact Mary Morrison of the OSU Foundation at (405) 385-5130 or MMorrison@OSUgiving.com. To learn more visit:


America’s Brightest Orange From Coast To Coast


OSU Alumni Association ®

Chapter Membership Challenge

Renew your membership and support your local chapter! OSU alumni and friends who purchase annual or life memberships before December 31 can designate $5 of their membership to support their local chapter, watch club or affinity chapter. Why Should I Renew? OSU alumni chapters and watch clubs serve an important purpose by providing a visible OSU presence in cities and towns from coast to coast. They host a variety of events from family friendly tailgates to wine tastings and networking luncheons. Affinity chapters unite individuals whose common campus involvement or ethnicity enhances their affinity for OSU. It’s Never Too Early. Even if your membership isn’t expiring soon, renew now to support your chapter or club and we’ll extend your membership expiriation date. Already a Life Member? Give a gift of membership to a friend or family member and support your local chapter, watch club or affinity chapter.

Learn more at orangeconnection.org/chapterchallenge. 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org orangeconnection.mobi Online





Dear OSU Alumni and Friends,

In the past few months, there have been some big numbers at OSU. More freshmen chose OSU this fall than any other Oklahoma university ever. And while the members of this record class, now about to complete their first semester, had some outstanding test scores and academic rankings, their attendance at OSU is about much more than numbers and grades. These 4,200plus freshmen attend OSU because they believe in the land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach. OSU’s commitment is to develop these students into leaders and make a positive, meaningful and enduring difference to the state, nation and world. If you know high school seniors who are looking to make such a difference, direct them to admissions.okstate.edu. We know our alumni and friends can make a difference — just look at how many dropped by campus in October when America’s Brightest Orange was on full display. More than 82,000 members of the OSU family commemorated ‘The Life, The Legend, The Legacy’ of Homecoming at Walkaround alone, with thousands more attending other events and OSU’s victory over Iowa State. The Alumni Association recognized Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard as Homecoming grand marshal, and the Black Alumni Society honored Col. A.D. Davis Jr. and Lt. Col. Alonzo Poindexter with Trailblazer awards.

Kirk A. Jewell President OSU Foundation

All three men began their military careers in OSU ROTC. Read more about Bunyard on Page 74, and about Davis and Poindexter in Classnotes. Also, don’t miss the photographs of the Homecoming events and the list of winners on Pages 64-73. Thank you to the thousands of students, faculty and staff whose efforts produce “America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration.” Please support OSU’s greatest tradition by giving to the Homecoming and Student Programs Endowment at orangeconnection.org/give. Such financial support from alumni and friends is already obvious in many ways. As the calendar turns to another year, Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University continues to transform our institution. Thanks to our generous alumni and friends, we expect to surpass the $1 billion milestone in 2013. This historic initiative will continue to raise muchneeded resources for students, faculty and staff, facilities and programs through December 2014. You can read more about the difference nearly 80,000 members of the OSU family have made to date through their gifts and contributions on Page 23. As always, we thank you for your support. Happy Holidays,

Larry Shell President OSU Alumni Association

Kyle Wray Vice President for Enrollment Management & Marketing 7












1 website | 2 great deals | 4 weeks only

November 26 - December 21 OSU Alumni Association members can purchase brick pavers in the Alumni Walk for only $150 a savings of $50 off the already reduced Alumni Association member price. This special offer may only be available for a short time, but your paver will be a permanent fixture at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center.

To purchase your discounted paver visit orangeconnection.org/paverdiscount or call 405.744.5368.

Get or give the gift of membership in the OSU Alumni Association this holiday season. Purchase a three-year membership for the discounted rate of $120 for a single membership or $150 for a joint membership. To take advantage of this special holiday membership rate, visit orangeconnection.org/join and use the promotion code HOLIDAY or call 405.744.5368. Already a member? Even if your membership isn’t expiring soon, renew now to take advantage of our special holiday rate and we will extend your current membership expiration date.

Need more great gift ideas? Visit orangeconnection.org/giftideas to find additional gift options for all of your OSU family and friends!

201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org orangeconnection.mobi Online




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OSU Formula Race Team Sets Record

OKstate Racing team sets new world-mileage and endurance records after 24 hours at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. The OKstate Racing team set 24-hour mileage and endurance records at the Hallett Motor Racing Circuit track northeast of Stillwater in September, completing 428 laps, or 100 more laps (180 miles more), than the record it set last year. “Our improved tuning put more power to our suspension. We fought suspension failures all 24 hours, but we persevered. What a team,” says Jim Beckstrom, OKstate Racing team adviser. The car, running on compressed natural gas, went a total of 770 miles in the 24-hour period. The team aims to prove that CNG is both a practical and high-performance fuel and hopes that CNG will eventually become a fuel in international Formula SAE competi- OKstate Racing team prepares its car tions. Just last year, the team’s car became before it sets new world records. the first of its type ever converted to run on natural gas to go 24 hours.

OSU Leads State in Licensing Technologies Revenue OSU generated almost $1.7 million in revenue from licensed technologies in fiscal year 2011, according to the Association of Technology Managers. The amount is up from $1.4 million the year before and represents the highest licensed technologies revenue of any Oklahoma university. “The revenue generated from licenses indicates the value and necessity the commercial sector places on OSU-developed technologies,” says Stephen McKeever, OSU’s vice president for research and technology transfer. “Since the creation and dissemination of worthwhile technologies are key to our land-grant mission, we see these numbers as indicators of our success in fulfilling that mission for the benefit of those in our state, nation and world.” OSU ranks ninth nationally in royalties among the 74 universities with research funding of $200 million or less. Most of OSU’s revenue comes from licensed animal feeds, radiation badges, animal diagnostics and wheat varieties.  There were 11 license agreements and seven patents issued in fiscal 2011.


Education Alumna Named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year For the second straight year, an OSU College of Education graduate has been named the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. Mathematics teacher Elaine Hutchison earned her bachelor’s in secondary mathematics education at OSU in 1992. A National Board Certified Teacher, Hutchison teaches at Fairview High School and Chamberlain Middle School, as well as at the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Regional Center. A state committee comprised of education business and civic leaders chose the winner, and Oklahoma Superintendent Janet Barresi announced the result in a ceremony at the Oklahoma State Fair in September. OSU alumna Elaine Hutchison reacts to the announcement she is Oklahoma’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.


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OSU Establishes Phi Beta Kappa Chapter The nation’s oldest and most prestigious honors society for the liberal arts voted to establish an Oklahoma State University chapter in August. Phi Beta Kappa, established in 1776, admitted OSU with Creighton and George Mason universities. Perry Gethner, a Regents professor of French who helped lead OSU’s effort to win the chapter, says the announcement was the result of tireless work by dedicated scholars. “This is going to allow us to provide a very special recognition to some of our top students,” Gethner says. “It’s a way of honoring our best and brightest. It’s also good for the school because the chapters are expected to do something to honor the liberal arts in addition to holding the annual induction ceremony, such as scheduling a public guest lecture by a noted speaker.” Membership, owned by luminaries such as former President Bill Clinton, is an honor for more than the few students who gain entry. Only about 10 percent of American colleges and universities have chapters. OSU tried several times to establish a chapter before finding success with its latest application, submitted in 2009. Gethner worked with co-chair Bob Miller, a Regents professor of microbiology; math professor and Associate Dean Bruce Crauder; psychology Regents Professor Charles Abramson; Robert Graalman, OSU’s director of scholar development; Robert Spurrier, director of the Honors College; and Provost Robert Sternberg.

Phi Beta Kappa Secretary John Churchill says winning the chapter lauds OSU and the other universities for excellence in their liberal arts programs — subjects such as the arts, philosophy, social sciences, natural sciences and languages. “With the establishment of these chapters, we acknowledge the accomplishments of these institutions in the field of liberal education, and we look forward to a lively partnership in advancing that cause,” Churchill says. At press time, OSU was electing officers from faculty members with society membership to establish the chapter. Also, an anonymous donor from the faculty contributed money to endow it permanently, Gethner says. Winning the chapter is a huge accomplishment, Gethner says. “They’re very demanding, and they keep changing the format every time, so you can’t simply recycle what you did the last time,” he says. Gethner says OSU’s case was helped by the planned construction of a performing arts center, President Burns Hargis’ commitment to the arts, the support of College of Arts and Sciences former Dean Peter Sherwood and the fact that Provost Sternberg is a society member.

U n i v e r s i t y Ma r k e t i n g Kyle Wray / Vice President of Enrollment Management & Marketing Michael Baker / Editor Mark Pennie, Ross Maute, Paul V. Fleming & Valerie Kisling / Design Phil Shockley, Gary Lawson & Bruce Waterfield / Photography Dorothy Pugh / Assistant Editor Matt Elliott / Staff Writer Joya Rutland / Intern University Marketing Office / 121 Cordell, Stillwater, OK 74078-8031 / 405.744.6262 / statemagazine.okstate.edu / editor@okstate.edu, osu.advertising@okstate.edu

O S U A l u m n i A s s oc i at i o n Ron Ward / Chairman Jennifer Grigsby / Vice Chair Dan Gilliam / Immediate Past Chairman Ronald Bussert / Treasurer Burns Hargis / OSU President, Non-voting Member Larry Shell / President, OSU Alumni Association, Non-voting Member Kirk Jewell / President, OSU Foundation, Non-voting Member Cindy Batt, Larry Briggs, Bill Dragoo, Russell Florence, Kent Gardner, Phil Kennedy, David Kollmann, Jami Longacre, Pam Martin, David Rose, Nichole Trantham & Robert Walker / Board of Directors Chris Batchelder / Executive Vice President and CPO Pattie Haga / Vice President and COO Chase Carter / Director of Communications Phillip Gahagans, Melissa Mourer & Melisa Parkerson / Communications Committee OSU Alumni Association / 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center, Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 / 405.744.5368 / orangeconnection.org / info@orangeconnection.org

O S U F ou n d at i o n David Kyle / Chairman of the Board Kirk A. Jewell / President & Chief Executive Officer Donna Koeppe / Vice President of Administration & Treasurer Brandon Meyer / Vice President & General Counsel Kenneth Sigmon / Vice President of Development Jim Berscheidt / Senior Associate Vice President of Marketing & Communications Blaire Atkinson / Director of Human Resources Deborah Adams, Mark Allen, Jerry Clack, Bryan Close, Kent Dunbar, Ellen Fleming, Michael Greenwood, Jennifer Grigsby, John Groendyke, David Holsted, Cathy Jameson, Kirk Jewell, Steven Jorns, David Kyle, John C. Linehan, Ross McKnight, Bill Patterson, Barry Pollard, Scott Sewell, Larry Shell, Lyndon Taylor, Phil Terry, Dennis White, Jay Wiese, Jerry Winchester / Trustees Brittanie Douglas, Elizabeth Hahn, Shelly Kelly, Jennifer Kinnard, Chris Lewis, Jacob Longan, Amanda O’Toole Mason, Greg Quinn, Betty Thompson & Chelsea Twietmeyer / 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 (spring, fall, winter) by Oklahoma State University, 121 Cordell N, Stillwater, OK 74078. The magazine is produced by University Marketing, the OSU Alumni Association and the OSU Foundation, and is mailed to current members of the OSU Alumni Association. Magazine subscriptions are available only by membership in the OSU Alumni Association. Membership cost is $45. Postage paid at Stillwater, OK, and additional mailing offices. Oklahoma State University, in compliance with the title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age religion, disability or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services. Title IX of the Education Amendments and Oklahoma State University policy prohibit discrimination in the provision or services or beliefs offered by the University based on gender. Any person (student, faculty of staff) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based on gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of the Title IX with the OSU Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Affirmative Action, 408 Whitehurst, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, (405) 744-5371 or (405) 744-5576 (fax). This publication, issued by Oklahoma State University as authorized by the vice president of enrollment management and marketing was printed by Royle Printing Co. at a cost of $1.05 per issue. 32,306/ Nov. ’12/#4446. Copyright © 2012, STATE magazine. All rights reserved.


C a m pu s n e w s

OSU NASA Project Wins Emmy Award NASA Now, an online video series for students, won Emmy Award for production excellence of an informational or instructional series, program or special in 2012. NASA Now — written, created and produced by OSU education and production specialists located at several NASA centers — received the Emmy from the Lower Great Lakes Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. Led by NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland the OSU team produces 7-minute educational videos on NASA missions, research and discoveries and world-class research facilities. In each episode, students see people putting science, technology, engineering and mathematics to work in the unique context of NASA careers, missions, research and facilities. NASA Now, is part of the NASA Explorer Schools Project. OSU has held a cooperative agreement with NASA to implement the NASA Explorer Schools since its inception in 2003.

OSU Record Enrollment OSU President Burns Hargis welcomed the largest freshman class in the history of universities

Cathy Graves and Steve Marks of OSU’s NASA Education Projects and College of Education Dean Pamela Sissi Carroll display the Emmy Award. In addition to NASA Now, the project provides middle school, high school and pre-service teachers access to 40 lessons featuring NASA content, professional development web seminars, video chats with NASA experts and summer research

OSU Makes H — And Leadistory ers

in Oklahoma during Oklahoma State’s new student convocation in August. The 2012 OSU freshman class totaled nearly 4,300 students, up about 10 percent from the 2011 freshman class. The 2012 class tops the previous OSU high of 3,927 in 1980.

More fre sh any othe men chose OS r Oklah oma un U this fall than iversity ever.

To OSU , this stat e record and high clas academ ic rankings s has more than just goo . These 4,30 d test-tak ers 0-plus freshme land-gra n attend nt mission OSU bec of teac ause they hing, rese OSU’s com believe arch and in the outreac mitment h. making a positive is to developing , students nation meaning and wor into lead ful and ld. endurin g differen ers and ce to the OSU is focused state, on brig brightes ht minds, t world building for all. brighter futures and the

Sixty-three percent of the freshman class is from Oklahoma. About a fourth of the class is from Texas. Twenty-five percent of the new freshmen are minorities, and 17.6 percent are first-generation college students. 


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and workshop experiences for teachers. More than 3,000 educators from 2,250 schools located in the 50 states and international schools in 12 countries participate in the NASA Explorer Schools Project.

OSU Entrepreneurship Receives Top Ranks For the second year in a row, OSU’s School of Entrepreneurship is ranked among the best in the U.S. The school ranked No. 14 in the graduate program rankings released by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. The undergraduate program is ranked No. 22. More than 2,000 programs were reviewed in the annual survey. The entrepreneurship school debuted in the top 25 a year ago when the graduate program ranked No. 23 and the undergraduate program No. 24. The entrepreneurship outreach program also was lauded with the NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurship Excellence Award. NASDAQ has presented the award annually since 2000 in association with the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. The award recognizes the unique achievements and outstanding efforts of top entrepreneurship centers across the world. The OSU entrepreneurship program is one of the youngest to ever receive the NASDAQ award. The Spears School of Business has offered entrepreneurship since the 1990s, but the Riata Center and the School of Entrepreneurship were launched in 2009.

Legacy Link We Mustache You a Question...

Who is America’s Greatest Mascot?

Pistol Pete, that’s who! Cut out Pete’s mustache, snap a picture with it and email the photo to info@orangeconnection.org. We’ll post the pics on our legacy page, orangeconnection.org/legacy.

Register your legacy at orangeconnection.org/legacy! 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org

s e l i m S y a d i l Ho 2012

Stillwater-World Headquarters Okc-Penn Square

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Okc-Quail Springs Mall Enid-Oakwood Mall Norman-Sooner Fashion Mall Shawnee-Shawnee Mall Ardmore-Mountain View Mall Muskogee-Arrowhead Mall Tulsa-Promenade Mall


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innovators. We produce energy solutions through safe and responsible resource development. We are career-makers. We’re leaders, mentors and partners. Like you, we are on a mission to leave the world a better place than we found it. We are the people of QEP. We’re

QEP Resources, Inc., explores for, produces, gathers, processes and markets natural gas and crude oil in the United States. For more information on career opportunities with QEP, please visit our website at www.qepres.com/careers.

OSU Embarks on Digital Video Venture OSU launched OStateTV, an online digital video network, in late September to showcase the university and its students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and family. “Video is a very effective way of us telling our story, and it’s a special story,” President Burns Hargis says in an introductory video on the website. “It’s a special story of transforming lives all over this planet.” OStateTV is a resource for the community and helps OSU with its land-grant mission. The website is an innovative way to sustain the university’s mission of outreach, by extending knowledge and making it readily available. “Our job is to train great talent, to do great research and to share both with our state, with the nation and with the world,” Hargis says.


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The website hosts several videos from OSU’s colleges and campuses and on an array of popular themes and topics, from art to alumni to athletics. The site offers more than 30 channels to search and browse. The site will also broadcast live athletic events, concerts, speakers and more. OStateTV is an interactive website that encourages the submission of user-generated content as well. “Video also enables us to connect with the OSU family. Whether they’re students or alumni, or donors or just friends of the university,” Hargis says. Student involvement, through submissions and contests and classes, will be a major component of the network. A regular sports show led by sports media students is anticipated for the website. “OStateTV provides our students a broad, leading-edge outlet for their work, but just as importantly, it offers hands-on, day-to-day experience in the latest form of video production and distribution,” says Derina Holtzhausen, head of OSU’s School of Media and Strategic Communication.

OStateTV is designed to be easily accessible on mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets or any other device that will play digital video. An app for these devices is being developed. OSU worked with thePlatform, an independent subsidiary of Comcast, and Hemisphere Interactive, a leader in online video, to build OStateTV. “Oklahoma State is at the forefront of innovation with the launch of OStateTV,” says Marty Roberts, thePlatform’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Through thePlatform, OSU is leveraging the same high-quality video publishing system used by many of the most prominent media and entertainment companies in the world, in order to create a compelling custom video experience for its students, alumni and fans.” OSU encourages faculty, students, alumni and others to use OStateTV as a tool for networking and engagement. “These videos do a great job of showcasing our people, our campuses and our land-grant mission of instruction, research and outreach,” Hargis says. J oya R ut l a n d


Tomorrow begins today.

We’re defined by what we pass on to the next generation. That’s why ConocoPhillips is working with National Energy Education Development to provide America’s teachers with the training and resources they need to bring energy to life for students. Through this program, we’re getting our kids interested in math and science and teaching them about the importance of conservation. So we can pass on what matters … to the ones who matter most.

© ConocoPhillips Company. 2009. All rights reserved.


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Distinguished Alumni A w a r d s

The OSU Alumni Association honors individuals with its annual Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have excelled through personal and professional achievement and community service. The five 2012 recipients were honored Sept. 15 at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center and during the Louisiana vs. OSU football game.

Connie Mitchell

Joe Mitchell

of Glen Rose, Texas, graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in business education and finance in 1972. She owns and operates Ten Triple X Ranch in the Texas Hill Country with her husband, Joe, who is also being honored as a Distinguished Alumni this year. For more than 20 years, she held various teaching positions in accounting, finance and taxes, and served as chief administrative officer for a telecom company. Mitchell and her husband have been part of the OSU distinguished lecture series. Together the couple has started several successful businesses in industries including telecommunications, oil and gas services, oilfield water disposal and recycling, funeral services, land development and cattle. The Mitchells have helped more than 100 students obtain higher education degrees with their philanthropic support. Their generosity to OSU resulted in the university naming the Joe and Connie Mitchell Academic Enhancement Center for student athletes after them. Connie Mitchell is a member of the OSU Spears School of Business Hall of Fame and serves on the board of Women of OSU. She is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

of Glen Rose, Texas, graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1974. He owns and operates Ten Triple X Ranch in the Texas Hill Country with his wife, Connie, another alumni honoree this year. The couple has started several successful businesses in industries including telecommunications, oil and gas services, oilfield water disposal and recycling, funeral services, land development and cattle. The Mitchells have helped more than 100 students obtain higher education degrees with their philanthropic support. Their generosity to OSU resulted in the university renaming the Joe and Connie Mitchell Academic Enhancement Center for student athletes after them. In 1998, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and Ernst & Young named Joe Mitchell entrepreneur of the year. The Mitchells have been part of the OSU distinguished lecture series. Joe Mitchell was awarded an honorary business degree from the OSU Spears School of Business and is a member of the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Hall of Fame. He is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

Thank you to the OSU Alumni Association’s corporate partners, ConocoPhillips and the OSU Foundation, for supporting the Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony.

photo / phil shockley


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Neal L. Patterson

Clayton Taylor

Jerry Winchester

of Kansas City, Mo., graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1971 and a master’s in business administration in 1972. Patterson is the chairman, CEO, president and co-founder of Cerner Corp., one of the largest independent health care information technology companies in the world. Modern Healthcare has named Patterson one of the 100 most powerful people in health care five times, and he made Forbes’ list of America’s Best CEOs in 2010 and 2012. He is a 2003 co-recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award and a co-recipient of the 1991 Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Ernst & Young. Patterson is a lifetime director and former chairman of the American Royal Board of Directors and a former member of the RAND Health Advisory Board. He currently serves as a trustee of the Midwest Research Institute, a trustee of the Village of Loch Lloyd and as a co-founding member of Entrepreneurs’ Exchange. Patterson co-founded and serves on the executive board of Cerner’s nonprofit arm, the First Hand Foundation, which provides financial assistance to children with critical health care needs. He is a passionate co-owner of the Sporting Kansas City Major League Soccer team and a lifetime director of the American Royal livestock show and rodeo. Patterson is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and was inducted into the Greater Kansas City Business Hall of Fame and the Spears School of Business Hall of Fame. He is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

of Oklahoma City graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1974. He serves as the principal of the Taylor Group, a full-service lobbying and consulting firm specializing in Oklahoma business issues he established in 1994. While at OSU, Taylor was the Outstanding Senior Man in the College of Business Administration and an OSU Top Ten Senior. He was named an Outstanding Greek Man and the Outstanding Undergraduate Man in the U.S. and Canada by his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. Taylor served as president of the Business Student Council, Phi Delta Theta, President’s Leadership class and Gamma Gamma Honorary. Taylor began his career in Washington, an administrative assistant on Capitol Hill at age 25. Taylor was a founder of Leadership Oklahoma and served as board president. He served as alumni president of Leadership Oklahoma City and founding chairman of Oklahoma Leadership Congress. He served as a member of the OSU Foundation’s Board of Governors. He is past chairman of the board for Rural Enterprises Institute of Oklahoma and past president for Oklahoma City Rotary Club 29. In 2012, the Rotary International Foundation recognized Taylor with its Meritorious Service Award. Taylor is a former chairman of the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and chaired the site selection and building design committee for the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. Taylor and his wife, Marnie, have two sons, Clay and Clark. Clay graduated from OSU in 2012, and Clark is a senior at OSU. Taylor is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

of Nichols Hills, Okla., graduated from OSU with a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology and mechanical power in 1983. With more than 30 years of experience in the energy industry, Winchester is the CEO of Chesapeake Energy’s Oilfield Services. While at OSU, Winchester lettered three times as a defensive lineman on the Cowboy football team, received Academic All Big 8 honors and was a member of the Society of Mechanical Technology. His career began with Halliburton in 1981. In 1998, Winchester became the president and CEO of Boots & Coots Inc., a global pressure control company. DeMarche Associates named Winchester one of America’s 100 Best CEOs. Formerly the Gulf Coast district director for the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association, Winchester is an active member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers as well as the International Association of Drilling Contractors, where he serves on the well-control committee. The Dickson (Okla.) High School fitness and weight room was recently renamed the Jerry Winchester Center in honor of his generous donation and support of his hometown football team, for which he played. Winchester serves as associate director of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and is a former member and board secretary for Duncan Regional Hospital. Winchester was chairman of the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and president of the Houston OSU Alumni Chapter. He serves on the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors for the OSU Foundation. Winchester and his wife, Rae, are avid OSU fans, OSU POSSE members and O-Club life members. Winchester enjoys spending time with his two daughters, Leigh and Abbie, and is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.

Go to statemagazine.okstate.edu to watch an OStateTV video of the award presentation. If you would like to nominate a deserving graduate for an Alumni Association award, please visit orangeconnection.org/alumniawards.


every one. When every one of us makes an annual gift to OSU, it adds up to achieve an outstanding impact. As individuals, we excel—but as a community, we thrive.

every year. The kind of loyalty you express by making a gift every year inspires our students, motivates others to support OSU, and speaks volumes about the place OSU has in your heart.

every day. You don’t need a million dollars to make a difference because you’re not alone. Together as a community, we make a difference on the OSU campus every single day.

Ready to join in and make a difference together? Scan this code with your smartphone or visit OSUgiving.com/everyone and make your gift to OSU today!

Donor Support Enhancing OSU Branding Success creates brighter orange present and future. Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University is realizing the significance of its achievements. As of Sept. 30, the campaign had raised $927 million, adding 872 scholarships and 135 professorships in its mission to elevate OSU’s reputation as a premier land-grant university. More than 79,500 donors have participated in the campaign since its launch in 2007. Branding Success has given longtime advocates and new supporters the chance to participate in a movement that is transforming Oklahoma State for future generations. Effects of the campaign are being felt throughout the university system. The most immediate are the increases in scholarships, fellowships, chairs and professorships. OSU Foundation Vice President of Development Ken Sigmon says the campaign is about the thousands of people who benefit from the generosity of so many.

formula designed to provide for sustainable and predictable levels of funding while also working to achieve long-term growth. Funds transferred to the university have more than doubled since 2010 and keep the university competitive, Sigmon says. OSU will draw $16.5 million from the endowment in fiscal year 2013. “The university’s endowment is an important asset of the institution that preserves the value of an Oklahoma State education for past, current and future generations of graduates,” Sigmon says. “Not only does it provide valuable resources to support the transformational work of the university, but it also provides equal protection against many of the market factors that continue to put pressure on the affordability of a college education. As a land-grant institution, Oklahoma State University is driven to provide that accessibility and value going forward through the growth of its endowment.” State funding is on a consistently downward trend, providing 21.7 percent of the

OSU system’s total funding for fiscal year 2013, making the campaign necessary for Oklahoma State to continue its quality of education at an affordable cost. As the fundraising organization for the university, the OSU Foundation’s mission is to unite donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence. The organization strives to help all OSU alumni and friends find a way to participate in this monumental campaign. C helsea T wietme y er

For more information about the Branding Success campaign, which will continue until December 2014, visit OSUgiving.com.

“In the end, it’s about what goes on in the buildings, what the students are learning, what research the faculty are performing and how the programs are being extended,” Sigmon says. Each gift matters. Funds create scholarships that attract the brightest students and allow the university to offer competitive faculty salaries. The facilities pillar of the campaign has already supplied equipment to foster ideas and innovative teaching techniques and accounts for improved spaces and future buildings. As a result of the campaign’s boost in fundraising, the university’s endowment has reached an all-time high of more than $466 million, providing funds that keep the cost of college affordable while maintaining the quality of education that represents “America’s Brightest Orange.” The money available from the endowment to Oklahoma State is determined by a

Totals as of Sept. 30


education is an important part of college. better health is too. That’s why OSU encourages healthy living by offering a tobacco-free campus, easy-to-find healthy foods

and exciting ways for students to be physically active. These programs are just a few ways OSU is committed to making healthier students and a healthier Oklahoma.

OSU iS TObaccO Free

Funded by the Merrick Foundation inc.

If you use tobacco and want to quit, there is help. Go to Tobacco Stops Here at tobaccostopshere. okstate.edu.

Edmon Low Library

Photo / Gary Lawson

By the Employees, for the Employees Emeritus librarian’s fund grows as recipients give back. Many people believe establishing a scholarship is a gift beyond their means. What they don’t realize is creating a scholarship fund can be a group effort. The Mary Greenberg/Marguerite Howland Personnel Development Award is one example. It is a scholarship created and built by employees of the OSU library. Jill Holmes, librarian emeritus, established the award to honor former library employees Mary Greenberg and Marguerite Howland. The award is given to full-time library employees for workrelated education and development. Since its inception in 1991, the fund has steadily grown, thanks to the support from the same employees it benefits. The Greenberg/Howland Award has been presented annually since 1997. To date, 34 personnel development scholarships have been awarded. In 2012, four individuals received a total of $3,000. The fund continues to grow each year. David Peters, interim head of OSU Special

Collections/University Archives, is a previous Greenberg/Howland winner who also supports the award’s endowment. “Receiving the Greenberg/Howland was a significant help to me, so giving back to the endowment ensures someone else will have the same opportunity I did,” Peters says. The financial award is not the only support provided by the fund, Peters says. “I really appreciate the mentorship Jill has provided. She takes a genuine interest in the award winners. I’ve talked to her about my program of study, and she asks about my progress every time I see her.” Like Peters, many of the winners used the award to pursue a master’s of library science degree. However, any professional education that enhances an employee’s work is eligible for funding. The award

has supported a variety of graduate degrees, certificates and professional training programs. Jackie German, library administrative officer, also contributes to the Greenberg/ Howland because she sees firsthand how the award supports the library’s mission. “Our employees are one of our most important resources,” she says. “We keep great employees by encouraging them to grow as professionals and giving them the support to do so.” B onnie A nn Cain -W ood

To learn more about how you can make a difference at OSU with a gift of any size, visit OSUgiving.com or contact the OSU Foundation at 800-622-4678.

“Our employees are one of our most important resources. We keep great employees by encouraging them to grow as professionals and giving them the support to do so.” — Jackie German


Cowboy Callers Surpass $1 Million Goal OSU Foundation program achieves record milestone through dedication from staff and donors.


photo / greg quinn

Cowboy Callers chat with potential donors. 26

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ichard Hatfield has supported his alma mater since 1990, making financial contributions in many ways. His favorite method is through a conversation with one of the OSU Foundation’s Cowboy Callers. These 60 students collectively work five days a week year-round to connect donors’ passions with university priorities. They call OSU alumni, friends and students’ parents, often representing the only voice from OSU a supporter hears. These students play a vital role in establishing and maintaining a strong relationship with members of the orange-and-black family. “I enjoy hearing about their experience and vision as a student at OSU and see where they’re headed after graduation,” Hatfield says. “I know there are other channels I could use to make my donation to OSU, but being able to build that connection with a student makes giving back to OSU even more meaningful to me.” The Cowboy Calling Program celebrated a significant milestone in 2012, surpassing $1 million in gifts and commitments for the first time. Between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2012, donors made 8,836 pledges for $1,002,778.69 during calls. That topped the previous year’s total by $187,484. These 35,094 conversations during the year show the widespread reach of the Cowboy Calling Program, the only arm of the Foundation or OSU that has a dialogue with such a large group of supporters.

photo / greg quinn

A few of the record-setting Cowboy Callers are, from left, Grant Bisel, Jason McClain, Dustin Pollard, A.J. Mahalle, Mary Zook, Heather Lockhart, Brett Reavis, Michael Grayson, Blake Ahrens and Brent Alexander. Melissa Duncan, who was recently honored as Cowboy Caller of the Week, says the program has an enjoyable atmosphere where she gains a lot through speaking with alumni and donors. “I enjoy being able to talk to people from different backgrounds and communities,” says Duncan, a mechanical engineering and pre-med senior. “In addition to securing gifts for vital needs on campus, the opportunity to speak with alumni in my field gives me valuable experience that I wouldn’t get through just taking classes.” Since July 1, donors have made 1,903 pledges for $296,420 as part of the Cowboy Calling Program for 2013. Hannah Michelson, program center manager, is thrilled to pursue the new goal of $1.1 million.

“With the combination of our awesome set of callers, our fearless student supervisors and our generous and enthusiastic alumni, we are set to have another recordbreaking year here in the Cowboy Calling Program, raising money for the vital needs of Oklahoma State University,” she says. In addition to Michelson, the calling center consists of four part-time student supervisors. In a single night, the callers can make up to 5,000 calls. The OSU Foundation’s Office of Annual Giving, which manages the call center, strives to show its commitment to alumni and friends for their time and thoughtful consideration, regardless of whether a pledge was made.

“Their donations and support are helping improve our university and building a community of spirited donors,” says Cowboy Caller Brent Alexander, a business management and human resources senior. “Their gifts are creating a betterfunded, well-rounded institution.” Duncan adds: “Donors are leaving a lasting impact, whether their gifts go to scholarships, facility renovations, equipment updates or professors. Their donations can make the difference between a student staying or dropping out of college. Alumni can come back to campus and see the exciting transformation their dollars are making.” B r i t ta n i e D o u g l a s


OSU Medicine

Future Doctors of Oklahoma OSU-CHS’s partnership with FFA could be key to addressing the state’s rural physician shortage. Skylar Vogle wants to practice medicine in rural Oklahoma. A high school senior from Glencoe, Okla., Vogle is one of the first students to get involved in a new mentoring and recruiting effort from the OSU Center for Health Sciences aimed at students in the National FFA Organization. “Rural Oklahoma is my home, and I don’t think I could ever move to a big urban area like Oklahoma City,” Vogle says. “If I could stay involved with FFA and remain in a rural area near my family, then that’s what I want to do.” After she graduates from high school, Vogle plans to attend OSU, major in

Photos / OSU Center for Health Sciences


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biology and get accepted into the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Rural and Underserved Primary Care Early Admissions Program. Her goal is to set up a practice in her hometown. “Who knows better how to care for kids from rural Oklahoma than kids from rural Oklahoma?” says Kayse Shrum, D.O., OSU-CHS provost and the dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. For the past year, Shrum and OSU-CHS faculty members and staff have met with students in FFA programs across the state. Shrum and several OSU medical students also made a presentation at the state FFA convention in Oklahoma

City in May to meet with students. The goal is to get FFA members interested in medical careers. “FFA is about more than just agriculture,” Shrum says. “It’s about leadership, commitment, integrity and hard work. FFA works to preserve and promote the rural lifestyle, something that is also attractive to physicians working in rural Oklahoma.” With Oklahoma facing a severe physician shortage, especially in rural areas, the need to get students who want to practice in rural Oklahoma interested in medical school has become dire. “In Oklahoma, many of our physicians are concentrated around the metropolitan areas of Tulsa and Oklahoma City,” says Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and OSU-CHS. “Our goal in recruiting from rural Oklahoma is to attract physicians who want to practice there and enjoy the small-town way of life, instead of trying to convince urban doctors to convert to rural life.” Oklahoma is consistently ranked at or near the bottom in health care measures.

The New England Journal of Medicine ranked the state as the most health care access challenged in the nation in 2011. “When you look at where we rank as a state compared to other states, our health care outcomes are very low,” Shrum says. “Part of that is because we have such a large shortage of primary care physicians in rural Oklahoma.” Part of Shrum’s solution to the shortage is the FFA. Oklahoma FFA chapters represent 24,000 young minds. Shrum believes mentoring these students and showing them the career options available is a first step in addressing the state’s health care woes. “A professor in one of my science classes in college first suggested I consider medical school,” Shrum says. “Before that, I had never considered being a physician. Many of these high school students, for

numerous reasons, have never considered a medical career. I want them to know that it is an available option.” Shrum points to the “physician pipeline” that generally determines where doctors will set up their medical practices. The pipeline has four factors: where they grew up, where they went to college, whether their medical school curriculum had an emphasis on rural and underserved populations and where they completed their residency program. The new recruiting effort with FFA is a key component of funneling students into that pipeline earlier. “We have to look at doing things differently than what we’ve done in the past,” Shrum says. “Traditionally, medical schools have reached out to college students and encouraged them to apply. We honestly haven’t had to do much. Now,

“Now, with the physician shortage, we’re reaching out to high school students to get them thinking about medical school at a much earlier age.” — Dr. Kayse Shrum

Dr. Kayse Shrum, center in left photo, speaks to FFA members during their conference in Oklahoma City. Shrum has met with FFA members across Oklahoma in an effort to get them interested in careers in medicine.

with the physician shortage, we’re reaching out to high school students to get them thinking about medical school at a much earlier age.” OSU is also working to address other areas of the physician pipeline. Beginning this fall, the college implemented a Rural Health Track into the curriculum with funding from a federal grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. Students in the new track have courses focused on rural medicine and will do clinical rotations at rural hospitals across the state. “The Rural Medical Track is focused on training a cohort of students interested in establishing a rural practice,” says William Pettit, D.O., associate dean of rural medicine. “The first group of students grew up in both rural and urban areas, but all of the students are committed to practicing in rural areas.” In partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the College of Osteopathic Medicine has established the Rural and Underserved Primary Care Early Admissions Program to get undergraduate students into the pipeline soon. The program allows qualified students to count the first year of medical school as the final year of their bachelor’s degree. As a result, OSU is helping to solve the physician shortage with highly skilled graduates a little more quickly. OSU-CHS has worked to establish more residency training programs at Oklahoma rural hospitals. With $3.08 million in funding provided by the Oklahoma Legislature this year to establish these programs, more physicians will have the opportunity to practice in rural areas of the state. Though the recruiting process is only in the early stages, Shrum is optimistic these efforts will help Oklahoma’s health care needs, she says. “I really believe that FFA students will be the solution for our physician problem in the future.” S ean K ennedy


OSU Medicine

Hospital Resuscitation Nearly $25 million in renovations to the OSU Medical Center have been completed since 2009 with more coming soon.


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PHOTO / Ryan Jensen

When flooding damaged OSU Medical Center in August 2011, the emergency room was added to a growing list of hospital facilities in dire need of renovation. “OSU Medical Center is considered a safety-net hospital in Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma,” says Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and the OSU Center for Health Sciences. “It provides services for many people who cannot afford health insurance, and a trip to the emergency room is often the only medical care they receive.” Upgrading the Tulsa hospital is a top priority for the OSU Medical Center Trust, a public trust created by the city of Tulsa, since it gained ownership of the facility in 2009. Since then, the medical center has completed nearly $25 million in renovations with more improvements coming. “The hospital had been through some transitions and saving it, not upgrading it, was the priority when the city acquired the downtown facility,” says Barnett, who was among those who worked to keep the medical center open. “With the future of the medical center secured, the trust began to upgrade these facilities, including significant remodeling and modernization, extensive new state-of-the-art equipment and the addition of a number of new physicians in a variety of specialties.” The emergency department received $1.3 million in renovations, including updates to patient rooms, doctor and nurse stations, security and the lobby and waiting areas, which were completed in early 2012. The upgrades also allowed for a fasttrack system to separate patients needing emergency and nonemergency care. “The OSU Medical Center is the teaching hospital for our medical students,” says Dr. Kayse Shrum, OSU-CHS provost and dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Having a facility with the best resources we can offer is essential to providing an educational experience that will produce the top-quality doctors we want here in Oklahoma.” Renovations to the 600,000-square-foot facility include new vital equipment and upgrades to infrastructure. “OSU Medical Center remains focused on the future and is concentrating on areas of the hospital to improve patient care and organizational efficiencies,” says Diane Rafferty, OSUMC interim chief executive officer. “We also want to provide the best learning facility for OSU medical students and residents.” In addition to emergency department upgrades, OSUMC has invested in resources for interventional radiology and the cardiology departments. The Tulsa Wound and Hyperbaric Center also was expanded from five to nine rooms. The center received new flooring, walls and a waiting-room expansion. “Residents and medical students spend long hours at the hospital,” Rafferty says. “Providing them with a facility where

While registered nurse Amalia Gilley reviews medical records on a computer, checking a patient’s chart at the renovated OSU Medical Center are, from left, OSU-CHS student Michelle Bundren, OSUMC resident Shane Marshall and Dr. Michael Schiezel. they relax and study or catch a few hours of sleep was a driving force behind renovations to the graduate medical education area. This space encourages social interaction, friendships, relaxation, healthy lifestyles and personal growth by creating a space dedicated solely to meeting the needs of medical residents and graduate students.” The graduate medical education area consists of a student lounge with televisions, a table-tennis table, an Xbox gaming system and an entertainment center, two state-of-the-art conference rooms for large and small gatherings, an atrium reading room and sleep rooms. To increase energy efficiency, the medical center replaced antiquated boilers and chillers. The human resources department also was upgraded. Further renovation plans call for demolishing a medical center parking garage built in 1976 and replacing it with a $9.7 million structure. The medical center also is developing plans to enlarge and enhance the maternity care labor and delivery rooms. The rooms will have new décor and bathrooms, making them more appealing to women and families. Barnett says the new facilities would also include state-of-the-art equipment for preterm deliveries, and that plans call for upgraded equipment for the neonatal intensive care unit. Transforming part of the sixth floor into an upscale medical and surgical unit is also part of the medical center’s strategic plan. Private rooms would include hardwood floors and all new equipment. “The many capital improvements have boosted our ability to recruit physicians from new specialties and increased morale among OSUMC employees,” Barnett says. “It also gives our medical students and residents a place they can be proud to work.” S ean K ennedy

Medical Cowboys Program Continues to Expand Scholarship funds support future health care professionals.

Dr. Barry and Roxanne Pollard

Courtney Sauls

Barry Pollard, M.D., admits he is never satisfied. Fortunately for OSU, this neurosurgeon, John Deere dealer, rancher and farmer devotes a lot of his seemingly boundless energy to serving his alma mater. One of the best examples is his founding of OSU Medical Cowboys, which supports scholarships for future health care professionals such as medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, nurses and pharmacists. He came up with the idea in 2007 and started working with other alumni to help current and future pre-med students. “We are changing the perception that you have to go to OU for your undergraduate program if you want to go on to medical school,” Dr. Pollard says. “I had a great education at OSU, and about 25 percent of my classmates in med school were also Cowboys. We want to make sure people all over the state know OSU is a great option for pre-medical degrees.” The program has grown to 14 endowed funds that have already produced 36 scholarships totaling $89,000. These endowments have nearly $3 million in gifts and commitments, including matches from T. Boone Pickens’ estate as part of the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match. When fully funded, those commitments will produce about $150,000 in annual scholarships. In typical fashion, Pollard is not content to declare his big idea a finished reality. He and the rest of the OSU Medical Cowboys board members are always looking to expand and improve the program. “We want to establish contacts with people all over the state,” Pollard says. “We

need advocates to help us meet people and get events together. We would love to have someone in every area of Oklahoma spreading the word to students, parents, alumni and schools. And of course, we would also love to speak with anyone who might be interested in helping us raise more money to support the young men and women who will be improving our state’s health and wellness for generations.” Pollard’s wife, Roxanne, is a surgical nurse who has her own appreciation for the importance of supporting students interested in medical careers. One of her favorite aspects of the Medical Cowboys program is meeting the scholarship recipients. “We have spoken to so many that wouldn’t have been able to do all the things they wanted to do without those awards,” she says. “Each year we have an event, and some of the scholars come back to give their story about where they are now. They tell these amazing stories that they wouldn’t have otherwise.” Among those who have thanked the donors at such an event is Courtney Sauls, a four-year recipient who completed a physiology degree last May. She is now a first-year medical student at the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa. Sauls says the program provided her the encouragement and confidence to follow her dreams. “The Medical Cowboys program opened so many doors to the medical world for me during my undergraduate experience,” Sauls says. “I got to meet with current physicians and make connections that I otherwise wouldn’t have without this scholarship. It also eased my financial burden as an undergraduate student and allowed me to focus on my goal ahead — becoming a physician.” Jacob L ongan

For more information or to contribute to the program, visit OSUgiving.com/MedicalCowboys, or contact True Wallace, OSU Foundation associate director of regional giving, at TWallace@OSUgiving.com or 405-945-6714.



The first TEDxOStateU, an independently organized TED event, sparked inspiration in the minds of thousands and had people exercising in the aisles in OSU’s Seretean Center Concert Hall on Nov. 1. TED, which stands for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 26 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. TEDsters — loyal followers of the TEDTalks series available at TED.com — OSU alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends filled the concert hall for a conversation aimed at finding innovative solutions to state, national and global challenges. Tens of thousands more tuned into a live stream on OStateTV and TEDxOStateU.com, reaching people in 31 countries. After a video welcome from TED curator Chris Anderson, the house lights went up to reveal 24 drummers and drums. Initiated with a collaborative yell from the group, the OSU student ensemble M24D set ablaze a flame of energy that filled the afternoon. Immediately following, avid TEDster and OSU President Burns Hargis took center stage on a round rug unique to TED, which was approved to be orange for this particular TEDx event. Hargis, who listens to TEDTalks while he shaves in the morning, shared his passion for TED and what this event meant to Oklahoma State. “It fascinates me the wide panorama of ideas that our speakers cover. The idea that we could be a part of this was so exciting,” Hargis says. Speaker Michael Davis, an OSU professor and the director of the comparative 32

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exercise physiology lab, says the TED style helps get individual parts of the university out of their silos. The approach increases awareness of what other departments are doing and shares that information with the audience in a general easily understood way. The diverse audience was introduced to topics including innovation and sustainability in architecture by Rand Elliott, principal of Elliott + Associates Architects; oral history by Mary Larson, head of the Oklahoma Oral History Research program; philanthropy by Alyssa Peterson, co-founder of Ubuntu Youth; wheat genetics by Brett Carver, OSU Regents professor of wheat breeding; and the Wake Up and Dream project by Melanie Page, director of the OSU Institute for Creativity and Innovation. One of the first speakers to take the stage was OSU’s biggest fan, energy entrepreneur and national statesman on energy policy Boone Pickens. Presenting a different topic from his TEDTalk at the national conference earlier this year, Pickens gave the audience advice on how to be a leader. Relating it to personal experience, Pickens conveyed his message with gusto and inspiration. “The feeding trough in America is unlimited. You just have to get up there and get after it. Work eight hours and

sleep eight hours, but make sure they aren’t the same eight hours,” Pickens says. Some speeches engaged the crowd with graphics and videos, while others used only the power of words. In many cases, the speakers connected with their comedic side. OSU chemical engineering professor AJ Johannes got a few laughs when he explained waterless sanitation research and pointed out the similarities between mashed potatoes and human waste. OSU engineering technology director and professor Jim Bose also took a more humorous approach when describing geothermal heat pumps, even pointing out a spelling error in his presentation slide. While the audience was able to laugh at moments, other topics focused on more serious issues like saving lives. OSU psychology doctoral student Victoria O’Keefe took the opportunity to express her passion concerning suicide rates in Native Americans and Alaska Natives. “Suicide is a difficult topic that’s still a little taboo,” O’Keefe says. “I hope this speech will help other people see the problem and want to do more to make a difference.” Michael Larrañaga, who is dedicated to preventing high-impact events that threaten countless people, and Davis, who performs exercise research on dogs, talked about their work. Davis gave the

PHOTO / Gary Lawson


Brett Carver

Emcees J. Bryson Baker and Erin Jacobs

speakers Brian Brurud, Boone Pickens, Kathleen Robinette, Rand Elliott, AJ Johannes, Mary Larson, Jim Bose, Melanie Page, Bob Sternberg, Piyush Patel, Alyssa Peterson, Michael Larrañaga, Michael Davis, Victoria O’Keefe, Andrew Gray, Ann Hargis, Jayson Lusk, Brett Carver, Jamey Jacob

Performances by M24D, AC/VP and Frontiers New Music Ensemble

Alyssa Peterson


PHOTO / Gary Lawson

Boone Pickens and Erin Jacobs

Kathleen Robinette crowd a first-hand look at the specially trained dogs he works with by introducing Samson, a bomb-detecting dog that found a planted demonstration device in the audience. Continuing in the unique TED spirit, audience members had a break from their seats as OSU First Cowgirl Ann Hargis spoke about her goal of making OSU “America’s Healthiest Campus.” With the help of OSU spirit squad members, Hargis led an interactive yoga demonstration. Following the event’s version of the seventh inning stretch, more ideas were sparked by Jayson Lusk focusing on food production and Jamey Jacob

sharing the success of OSU’s unmanned aerial vehicle research. The afternoon closed with a performance of “Clapping Music” by the Frontiers New Music Ensemble, which is an Oklahoma State student group. The inaugural TEDxOStateU set ablaze flames of inspiration and imagination, leaving audience members empowered to change the world. The 19 talks and three musical performances will be permanently available on OState.TV and TEDxOStateU.com. chelsea twietme y er

Be the first to watch the videos by following us on Twitter, @TEDxOStateU, and becoming our fan on Facebook, Facebook.com/TEDxOStateU.


A Leader in Food Safety Oklahoma companies support FAPC in developing a food-safety program to provide industry assistance.


ith a growing demand for safe, quality food products, it is more important than ever that foodindustry companies engage in food-safety programs. OSU’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center recognized this need and embraced this opportunity. With the support of Oklahoma’s foodindustry leaders and FAPC’s Industry Advisory Committee, the center took the next step and implemented a Global Food Safety Initiative fundraising campaign to hire a food-safety specialist. Since the campaign’s launch, nine Oklahoma companies have contributed $52,500 to support this initiative, says Chuck Willoughby, FAPC business and marketing relations manager. “We are grateful to the companies that have provided funding for the first year of this campaign and equally appreciative that they have committed support for a second year,” Willoughby says. The foundation behind the Global Food Safety Initiative strives for continuous improvement of food-safety management systems to ensure safe food and consumer confidence.


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Understanding GFSI The program focuses on food-industry assistance in training, auditing, pre-audit preparations, education and in-plant technical assistance for food safety and quality programs. “Globalization of the food industry has significantly affected most every Oklahoma food processor directly and indirectly with mandated food-safety and security regulations and policies that cut across all food-processing sectors,” Willoughby says.

Investing in the Program The FAPC initiated the fundraising campaign with a $100,000 goal to temporarily hire a food-safety specialist for two years. “We created a donation structure offering various sponsorship levels of bronze, silver, gold and platinum and approached sponsors for funds,” Willoughby says. “Those companies that wished to sponsor were agreeing to a two-year commitment to the program.” One of the key supporters and contributors to the campaign to help make this idea a reality is Dave McLaughlin, AdvancePierre Foods board member and longtime member of FAPC’s Industry Advisory Committee.

McLaughlin understands the need for the center’s program. “The Global Food Safety Initiative program is a key area the FAPC could really impact and be a leader in Oklahoma and in the U.S.,” McLaughlin says. “This is why I support the GFSI campaign and very much want to see this program develop and be delivered to our state’s value-added industry, especially the smaller companies and those in rural areas.” While the FAPC has yet to reach its monetary goal, the center’s quality management specialist, Jason Young, has filled the role of the initiative’s specialist. “This is not a far cry from what Jason was previously doing,” Willoughby says. “He already worked with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points in organizing foodsafety trainings and providing food-safety assistance. However, the funds raised have allowed him to receive additional training.”

Jason Young serves as the quality managment and Global Food Safety Initiative specialist. Young assists food companies by conducting internal safety audits.

“The Global Food Safety Initiative program is a key area the FAPC could really impact and be a leader in Oklahoma and in the U.S.” — Dave McLaughlin Assisting Oklahoma’s Food Industry As the Global Food Safety Initiative specialist, a major way Young assists food companies is by conducting internal audits. “There are several audit schemes such as Safe Quality Food and British Retail Consortium, which are designed to meet the GFSI,” Young says. “I am able to meet with the company and conduct an internal audit. We work to identify any gaps within the company’s food safety and quality system. These gaps are further discussed to identify ways to meet the criteria.” Many times Young has additional model programs to use. Other times, he

helps by looking through his resources, emailing contacts or even reviewing food-safety blogs to find ideas to create programs for the criteria. To help companies review their current programs, Young presents the businesses with an audit checklist. “This document allows companies to visualize, line item by line item, the criteria and see if their current programs meet this criteria,” Young says. This assistance gives food processors a chance to take a closer look at their systems and keep them up to date on programs. “Food companies are working hard to complete these programs, and it can be

challenging,” Young says. “I go in with the goal of equipping them with the tools and knowledge needed to pass the audits and help them to learn the system faster.” In the future, Young says he hopes to create a variety of resources for food companies. “Right now, the resources are foodsafety programs I have collected for the last 20 years,” Young says. “I plan to create useful resources companies can easily access from our website, whether it be model programs or internal-audit forms.” The goal is that this program will grow, leading to fewer food-safety incidents with the implementation of these schemes. “This program is one that will gain much attention and strengthen FAPC’s reputation as a leader in providing the food industry with technical and professional services,” Willoughby says. “We will continue to seek support from other food-industry partners to grow this program to help Oklahoma’s food industry meet requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act, as well as requirements that are customer-driven.” R e b e c ca B a i l e y


Photo / gary lawson

OSU Gets a New

By M at t E l l i o t t

Crews have completed space and efficiency renovations for the Student Union.


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the Student Union is the heart of OSU’s campus, then OSU just got a transplant that was a resounding success. Crews finished most of the renovations in September, closing the book on $63 million of work that began in fall 2009 to update the building to meet students’ needs. Mitch Kilcrease, the union’s director who oversaw the operations, says it’s a bit like restoring an old car and keeping just the radiator cap. “We pulled the old car out,” Kilcrease says. “We kept the radiator cap. We put a new car in. And we never shut down one day of service.” The new union houses 10 dining options with greater variety than previous choices, expanded seating to 850 and about a dozen OSU departments. New dining options include Red Earth Kitchen, which uses locally sourced foods, as well as national chains Caribou Coffee, Jamba Juice and Johnny Rockets. Crews also opened up the food court area, added lounge space and restored a terrace and façade on the north side to its original style.

Many of the improvements — about $25 million worth — are unseen, Kilcrease says. The 640,000-square-foot building has new wiring, fire sprinklers and plumbing, as well as a heating and air conditioning system that will save about $200,000 a year in energy costs. All the elevators were replaced, too. All of that makes the sprawling building the most efficient on campus. It is OSU-Stillwater’s first LEED-certified structure, renovated and operated under practices deemed the best possible for human and environmental health. Everything about the new union makes it more efficient and sustainable to operate for years to come. It’s a modern take on the union first dreamt of in 1938 by then-OSU President Henry Bennett, who envisioned a building to enhance students’ social, intellectual and cultural well-being. Not begun until 1948, it was built for $4.5 million — $43.4 million in 2012 dollars — and funded by student fees.

The union supported itself through its services such as the bookstore and dining operations, as it does today. In addition to lounges with themes of different cultures, it was a mall of sorts for Stillwater with fine clothing stores, a candy shop, a jeweler, a bowling alley, a cafeteria and a restaurant. “They had big Sunday buffets,” Kilcrease says. “After people got out of church, this is where they would come.” It also hosted concerts; Fats Domino played there in the 1950s. Its ballroom and Starlight Terrace held dances and other functions. Student government and student groups moved there. The campus hotel, today called the Atherton, was an early example of OSU giving its hotel and restaurant administration students handson experience. An expansion in the 1990s added more academic services for students. As the building aged, its purpose never changed, but its systems began to fail. Over time, its halls started looking dark and dingy due to decades of use. And, in 2010, Kilcrease says he was spending (continues)

Photo / Phil Shockley

Photo / Phil Shockley

Left: The north side of the renovated Student Union. Top left: The University Store has moved into a bigger space. Above: OSU President Burns Hargis, along with members of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents, officially opens the renovated Student Union. 37

Photo / Phil shockley

$900,000 per year in utility costs. It wasn’t up to modern building codes, contained asbestos and had no fire sprinklers. Also, the things that were part of its core mission — groups such as Campus Life and the International Student Organization — were crammed in the basement, which once housed the longclosed bowling alley. “I think the university began to realize that it just wasn’t what students were looking for,” says OSU’s architect Nigel Jones, who works on the university’s construction projects. Kilcrease, hired in 2005, presided over several renovations in his previous posts including with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. But he had never tackled one this massive, and he jumped at the challenge. “We wanted to make sure we gave back to our passion, which is campus life,” Kilcrease says. “For students. By students. About students.” Everything was accomplished without shutting the building down. OSU moved food services to prefab structures north of the Classroom Building. Other university departments were moved to vacant spaces around campus. The project’s success shows in the popularity of the renovated union. Every

An outside area at the renovated Student Union allows for additional open-air seating.

day, the union is packed; lines jam the food court during lunch. Other changes help with recruitment and retention, such as improving student recruitment office areas and putting Campus Life on the second floor. Students’ college experiences begin at the union when they’re deciding to come to OSU. Undergraduate Admissions, OSU’s student recruitment office, is on the second floor. When they decide to attend, students return to the union and enroll at the registrar’s office. After that, they’ll visit the union an average of three to five times per week, Kilcrease says, for meals and activities. They’ll buy their caps and gowns at the union, too, and return as alumni. “So, the students come back here, and then they start all over with their family,” he says. “Some of them get married in the building. There’s really no other building on campus like it.”

Other Campus projects ƒƒ Monroe Street through campus crews are narrowing the street to slow automobile traffic and are upgrading decayed utilities underneath the street. There will be wider sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists. The project’s second phase includes a huge pedestrian plaza stretching from Whitehurst to Farm Road. Such plazas are becoming more common on university campuses, and this one will add greater open space and trees. The work should be completed by summer 2013.

ƒƒ Sidewalks will be widened to accommodate more bicycles. ƒƒ The International Plaza north of the Edmon Low Library will be renovated.

ƒƒ The new business building is still in the fundraising phase. With low ceilings, old wiring and little classroom space, the current building dates from the 1960s, and the Spears School of Business has outgrown the space. Plans are to demolish Hanner Hall, which isn’t up to code, and erect the new business building on the site in two phases. After phase one is built, occupants of the existing Business Building will move there; the larger building will then be demolished and phase two built.

ƒƒ A plaza inspired by student designs was recently completed on the west side of the Classroom Building; future plans are to improve the building’s north side, where a massive bike rack sits. The plan is to integrate smaller bike racks with the landscape.

ƒƒ The aging Kerr-Drummond dorm will be demolished on Photo / Gary Lawson

Student Union renovations offer more seating to students to enjoy a cup of coffee or a quick meal.


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Go to statemagazine.okstate.edu to watch an OStateTV video on the renovations at the Student Union.

down the line. It could be replaced by a parking garage. Designs are in progress for a residential hall at a different location, to be called University Commons, to eventually replace the old dorm.

ƒƒ Construction is continuing on OSU’s indoor practice facility, the $16 million Sherman E. Smith Training Center, which is to be completed in 2013. Its outdoor practice fields were completed in 2012. At press time, construction had begun on the tennis facility and was about to begin at the new track facility. Source: Nigel Jones, OSU architect





A ribbon-cutting ceremony this fall formally celebrated the renovation of OSU’s iconic Student Union, which still stands as a key gathering place 62 years after it first opened its doors to the campus. While it is a familiar presence, not everyone knows how student unions got their start or what principles guide their operation today. The Oklahoma Oral History Research Program interviewed several people who have been directly involved with the running of OSU’s Student Union, and they provided some thoughts on the mission of the institution as a whole and at OSU more specifically. Current Student Union Director Mitch Kilcrease said the concept did not originate in the U.S.: “I hate to tell anybody this, but we stole the union idea from across the pond in England, where unions were developed over there at Cambridge and Oxford around the whole idea of debating societies. And when they brought that stateside, then they really started morphing into these kinds of businesses and these really kind of collaborative ventures on a whole bunch of different fronts. The traditional student union model had a very strong business component, but it also had a very strong student-life and campus-life component.” The centrality of the union to campus life was a recurring theme in the interviews, and Winston Shindell, Student Union director from 1971 to 1981, said the union’s role might be even more key in an era of new digital technologies than it was 30 or 40 years ago: “One of the reasons this building was built in the first place was for it to support the extension functions of the university. … I think that probably is more important today, even, than it was in the days when I was here, simply because there are so many ways that people can communicate without ever coming together and actually seeing each other and building those relationships and connecting. … To me, if we’re doing our job and doing it right, we help the university in making those connections and giving students a sense of ownership.” Allen Reding, who retired as the union’s associate director in 1995, agreed with those comments, calling the Student Union “the living room of the campus.”

Photos / OSU Special Collections and university archives

The Union’s Mission

Students relax and study in the French Lounge during the 1950s. The importance of this tie to the Student Union and the university, was stated by Tom Keys, who retired as director in 2005: “My main mission, my main concern, is all the freshmen in the world need first of all to imprint on a campus, to feel like they belong, to feel comfortable. I think that’s an important mission of a college union. ... Its bricks and mortar need to make them feel comfortable, make them feel welcome, make them feel a part, but that’s not only as far as the bricks and mortar can go. It’s the program inside that gets them meaningfully engaged in out-ofclass activities, an activity, an organization they can feel involved with, an opportunity to learn about themselves in mixing and interacting with students who are from different backgrounds, different cultures, different nature, different parts of the state or different parts of the world. It’s that kind of interaction and involvement in campus activities in a meaningful way that’s important as a part of the union’s mission.” To read more of the interviews from the Student Union series, go to goo.gl/21mHD or use the QR code.

O-STATE Stories, a project of the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the Edmon Low Library, chronicles the rich history, heritage and traditions of Oklahoma State University. Interviews are available online at www.library.okstate.edu/oralhistory/ostate. For more information about O-STATE Stories, or for assistance with searching, contact the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at 405-744-7685.





It was a spectacular year to be a Cowboy, and STATE caught up with several 2012 newsmakers with OSU ties. A president, a beauty queen, a couple of teachers, some scientists and others have plenty to say about discoveries, tradition, doing good, fighting fires, success, breaking barriers — and taxi rides to football games. (We’re looking at you, Ann Hargis.)


voices of osu


photography by PHIL SHOCKLEY


Winter 20 12



Five years ago, Burns Hargis returned home to OSU. Ever since, he has been setting — and meeting — high expectations. Regents named Burns Hargis OSU’s president in December 2007. He took office in March 2008. Hargis began by setting high expectations for such things as the enrollment of quality students and their completion of degrees, the beautification and modernization of campus and engaging OSU’s alumni and friends through fundraising. Hargis, a 1967 accounting graduate, then began ensuring that the university would excel beyond those expectations. OSU has experienced record enrollments,


nearly reached the $1 billion mark in its Branding

Success campaign and completed several new renovations and facilities. But he won’t stop at five years. In fact, Hargis says,

there’s no real end in sight. He will continue to guide

OSU toward fulfilling its land-grant mission well into the future. STATE editor Michael Baker spoke with Hargis about the accomplishments of last five years and the prospects for the future.

What is behind OSU’s record student growth? OSU has a lot of momentum. The momentum has been created by two significant events. One is Boone Pickens’ historic support of the academic side of the university through the Branding Success campaign. And, of course, Boone’s support of athletics has been transforming. Another part of the battle is that we have greatly increased and strengthened our recruiting efforts under the leadership

of Kyle Wray (vice president for enrollment management and marketing). We’ve increased recruiters. We’ve reversed the trends we were seeing in Oklahoma in terms of declining enrollment. We’ve made tremendous inroads into the state of Texas, and that has been a deliberate effort. We have a beautiful campus. People come here and two things happen: They see how beautiful it is, and they also see how beautiful, friendly, welcoming and supportive our people are. The

combination creates a very strong magnet for attracting very strong students. So there are a lot of students, but what about the quality of those students? We have an emphasis on the quality of our students, but it’s based on much more than just standardized tests like the ACT and SAT. We are looking at the full range of qualities that create success, such as work ethic, creativity, common sense, analytical skills and other factors. Provost Bob Sternberg implemented the Panorama Project where, through a student’s answers to a series of questions, we attempt to identify those students we believe will be successful and those who are going to have trouble succeeding. How is OSU making sure students stay and get their degrees? Retention has been an issue. It has hovered around 80 percent retention for the freshman-to-sophomore year. We’re doing a little better now, but we expect to be doing a lot better going forward because of LASSO (Learning Academic Student Success Opportunity), which provides all students the

same kind of support and advising that our athletes and our at-risk students currently receive. Those two groups actually have better retention than the general student body, and we think the academic support those two cohorts receive is a good part of it. Another problem is the cost of attending a university. That has been mitigated somewhat by the enormous amount of scholarship money that we’ve raised. Scholarships will take some of the financial burden off of students and enable them to stay in school. OSU students receive many accolades — a new Phi Beta Kappa chapter, Fulbright awards and Allen scholarships, to name a few. How does that student success reflect on OSU? It confirms that you get a great education at OSU. Most people define a great education by the prestigious reputation of the university they are considering and the assumption that its academic programs are strong. But in our view, a great education is more than just what goes on inside the classroom. It’s what goes on outside the classroom, too. We want to develop ethical leaders, and we do that by involving students in opportunities to lead. We put a great deal of emphasis on our many campus organizations and on promoting student involvement in those organizations. We want students’ activities to have a real impact on the university so that they can (continues)


voices of osu actually change policy on campus. For example, OSU’s tobacco-free policy originated from students. Our recycling program also is an initiative that was promoted by students. When students see there are real results from their efforts, it makes them want to be more involved. And, we want them more involved because that’s what helps develop leaders and makes OSU better. Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University has recently passed the $925 million mark. Why is private support so important to a public university? The state’s support of OSU and of higher education has gone down as a percentage of the budgets and in some cases has gone down in real terms. In OSU’s case, state support is about 20 percent of our budget. When I was in school, it was probably more like 70 percent. You can’t make up all that difference with tuition and fees. Students get too indebted. It’s too difficult. This is a land-grant university. We are the people’s university. We are here to educate any and all students who are capable of doing the work and have the work ethic to be successful. If they can’t afford to do so, we are not fulfilling that promise. It’s imperative for us to provide the resources that help us fulfill that promise. That is what the private donations have done with student scholarships. Donations also provide resources to properly


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compensate, attract and retain faculty, which is essential to our success. In terms of supporting programs financially and building facilities, donations provide funds so we do not have to operate this university totally on the backs of students and their families.

It is state of the art in every respect. It is just beautiful, especially with the new plaza that’s been added to the north side. This has become the gathering place on campus.

At the same time of increasing donations, the Alumni Association life membership has grown substantially. What are your thoughts on the support offered by OSU alumni? The Branding Success analogy is appropriate for OSU students. Their hearts get branded with OSU. If we do our job well, OSU will always be their home.

How does being an OSU alumnus affect your decisions when it comes to the quality of the OSU experience? As I said, I think OSU becomes home to our students. It’s called homecoming for a reason. This is home to me. I’m not going anywhere else. I’m not looking for another job. I love this place as much as everybody else. I aspire to leave the kinds of legacies that (former OSU President) Henry Bennett did.

There have been a lot of changes on campus in the past five years. What are some of your favorites? The Bellmon Interdisciplinary Research Center is a fabulous facility and really enables faculty and students from different disciplines to engage in research that serves our state and the nation. Very little happens in the world within the box of one discipline. There are usually many disciplines that are necessary to solve a problem, and the Bellmon Interdisciplinary Research Center provides that space and equipment for scientists and scholars from all over the university to come together and tackle critical problems. The Student Union has truly been restored to be the town center of Oklahoma State University.

2012 Big 12 football champions. How does that sound? It sounds great. It is just part of this tremendous momentum that’s going on here at the university. It has totally changed expectations. I think that the OSU family now expects great things. They expect great things in terms of academics, in terms of fundraising and certainly in terms of athletics. We’ve always been one of the greatest schools in athletics in the country. We’re fourth in the number of national championships, but like it or not, football is king and that really defines you athletically. It certainly rows the boat financially for the whole athletic department. So it’s critical we be competitive in football. With Boone’s leadership in support of facilities, Mike Holder’s leadership of the athletic department

and the job Mike Gundy and his staff have done in football, we now have very high expectations. And we are excelling in other sports as well. Can you expand on the role athletics should play at a land-grant university? Athletics, of course, has helped a lot of fine students go to school who couldn’t otherwise go. It also is a centerpiece of excitement and spirit for the university. As important as our academic disciplines are, it’s hard to get 60,000 people to come back and watch an academic contest. But they’ll come back for football games. Once they get here, they see the university, and they see the quality of our students, faculty and staff, and they want to be a part of it. Five years ago when you were interviewed by STATE, you said you wanted to be OSU’s president because “the chance to make a real difference in our students’ lives is a rare and wonderful opportunity.” Why do you want to continue being president of OSU? Oh, this is the best job in the world. As I somewhat flippantly say, there’s nothing like being around 20,000 20-year-olds. I really believe in the land-grant mission. I love this whole idea that a university is here to serve its state by developing great talent, by doing great research and by sharing both with the state, nation and world. I want

everything we do here, to be in pursuit of fulfilling that mission. That is the true north of our compass. To have the chance to serve in this position and to continue to enhance that legacy is an extraordinary privilege. I so appreciate the confidence and trust of

the Regents for giving me this chance. How important is First Cowgirl Ann Hargis in helping you to ensure OSU reaches its goals? This is the first time in our vocational lives we’ve been able to serve as a

team. Ann was a math and Latin major at the University of Texas. She was a computer engineer. So she had her world, and I was a lawyer and a banker. We really didn’t get the chance ever — and most people don’t — to work as a real team. We have that

chance here. Ann has been a big part of any success I have achieved. If we both didn’t really enjoy these kids and this mission, this would be a really tough job. Fortunately, we love it all!

Ann Hargis connects with students and builds a healthier campus. When Burns Hargis became Oklahoma State University president in 2008, the campus had no idea the immediate impact the dynamic Hargis duo was about to have on the OSU community. While the president began making an impression through fundraising, academics and leading the charge toward a more progressive campus, First Cowgirl Ann Hargis began making her own mark. From the beginning, it was important to Ann Hargis to connect with the OSU community on a personal level. And connect she has. Faculty, staff, students and visitors have all been affected by her love of people, the university and all things orange. “When Burns and I first came to OSU, I wanted to embrace all that made OSU so special,” she says. “And by that, I mean the people — faculty, staff, students, alumni and others that make being a Cowboy so extraordinary.” With her love of health and wellness, the most natural place to begin making that connection was the Seretean Wellness Center. A certified yoga instructor, she began teaching a series of yoga classes and quickly became a favorite at the center. A self-described tomboy, she is game for almost any activity. She has rappelled Thatcher Hall with the ROTC, participated in a world-record-breaking

Twister game on the library lawn, done push-ups at Bedlam in celebration of a Cowboys on the Move competition and enjoyed a host of other activities too numerous to mention. Hargis is a favorite with students and has embraced social media as a tool to connect and communicate. She uses social media to encourage healthy behaviors and promote events, opportunities and conversations. She speaks about becoming America’s Healthiest Campus, and she lives it. She has been instrumental in bringing healthier dining options to campus, regularly visits the local and on-campus farmers’ market, walks the cross-country track, works out at a variety of campus locations and recently went through the new ReBoot Center at University Counseling Services. “I love connecting with the students at OSU,” she says. “That is the reason we are here. I want to experience what they experience and see campus through their eyes.” She can often be seen driving through campus in Clementine, her little orange taxi, offering rides to anyone she comes across. It has become an annual tradition for her to spend the first day of the fall semester taking students to classes and extending a big Cowgirl welcome to each of them. Concentrating on

those who appear to be new students, she learns as much as she can about each one of them on their short ride together. In fact, not only has Hargis been known to deliver students to classes in Clementine, but she also meets and mingles with fans and visitors on game days. When time allows, she can be seen dropping off loads of orange-clad fans at tailgates or Boone Pickens Stadium. She fondly recalls one such dropoff. She was taking a family to the stadium, and it was obvious they did not recognize her. As she pulled up to the stadium and the family exited, they asked what number to call for a ride back to their car. She pulled out a business card and said, “Just call me, and I’ll see what I can do.” There are certainly many things to love about Oklahoma State University, and among its greatest treasures is First Cowgirl Ann Hargis. Kendria Cost

Connect with the First Cowgirl You can find Ann Hargis on Facebook as OSU First Cowgirl or @osufirstcowgirl on Twitter.


photo / gary lawson


voices of osu



photography by GARY LAWSON

THINKING BIG Physics student chases answers.

European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, said the nearly 17-mile long particle accelerator that lies about 328 feet underground beneath at the FrancoSwiss border uncovered a new object with characteristics similar to the famed particle. Abi led a team of researchers from OSU and the University of Oklahoma assigned to CERN’s ATLAS

Little kids can think big thoughts. Babak Abi remembers when he was a boy growing up in Iran. “I was really curious about the world around me,” Abi says. “I wanted to know what was going on — why I am here, how the universe and the world work.” The OSU doctoral student in physics can potentially knock one big mystery off his list. He had a hand in the possible discovery of the Higgs boson, a long-sought-after

group. ATLAS is one of two LHC detectors researchers use to look into a host of phenomena beyond the Higgs boson, everything from extra dimensions to supersymmetry, the next great unanswered question in physics. Abi, whose team also helped develop the ATLAS detector, was one of 2,900 scientists from 172 institutes working on the Higgs boson experiment. His group moved to a project sorting out background signals from other particles. The work helped others zero

particle believed to give mass to all things. Simply put, it’s

in on the Higgs boson and led to his doctoral thesis he

the answer to one of the biggest mysteries of the universe.

defended last fall.

The discovery, the biggest yet by the Large Hadron Collider, was announced in July. Researchers at the


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Abi spoke with STATE writer Matt Elliott about his work with CERN.

Q&A What was it like to live and work at CERN? It’s a community of nerds, basically (laughs). You don’t feel like you are in a lab in the U.S. I remember there were around 70 to 80 different nationalities at CERN. It’s fun. You see Nobel Prize winners walking around. You can sit with them, talk with them or have coffee with them. … What they enjoy in their life is working on strange theories in physics. They’re up from the morning until late at night. It’s amazing, basically. Or at least for people like me, it’s amazing. Tell me what the work was like. What are you looking at when you’re trying to figure out if a particle exists or not? It’s quite complicated. We study the explosion patterns.

The energy that gets released when you bounce particles off of each other? Yes. Imagine you have two particles. One is a metal. And the other is chalk. If you collide them at some speed, you see there is a pattern to the explosion. If there is a metal-on-metal collision, the explosion pattern is basically a function of the physics and contents of the particles you’re colliding. We’ll collide these protons and observe the explosion patterns in the very complex detector. We’ll compare those patterns to what we know

from a statistical simulation of other known physics’ patterns. If there’s something that doesn’t match, we’ll take the potential new particle’s pattern and analyze it further.

What illustrates that for you? We have this huge detector called ATLAS. This is basically the biggest particle detector in the world. It’s like a cylinder, but it has many layers like an onion. It has many layers of detectors. Each one picks up the decaying of heavy particles that have short lifetimes. They decay to several hundred other particles and leave a jet-like pattern in detector. And we call it a jet because it’s a shower of energetic particles, exactly like a jet. … When there is an explosion, a particle goes through the different layers of the detector, and then you can, like a camera, freeze the image as if you were making a photo. Then, we summarize the images and sort them out from the other events going on that we don’t need or aren’t looking at. We save the most important ones on huge grid computers, and then we try to reconstruct the particle based on the explosion. … There are many complicated steps to the analysis. When the super collider first fired up in 2008, there was some speculation it could create a black hole that would destroy the planet. The odds were very remote. Were you worried? It was a funny joke. We were laughing at it a

lot … but it could be true. Nobody can really say the probability of creating a stable black hole is absolutely zero. There are many things we don’t know about in physics, and scientists have to admit it. Everything is possible — if you calculate it correctly. Wow. Good to know. What it was like to work with such an incredible collection of technology and on such a historic project? I don’t know if it’s like winning medals at the Olympics. You could say this is one of the biggest discoveries in something like 50 years. But it’s beyond that if it’s true that we have Higgs in our hands. Ever since physics was introduced to the scientific community, there has been a big question about a very fundamental definition. Why does matter have mass? Yes. And where does it come from? Why is there mass? This question never has been solved or answered properly. In the 1960s, a few researchers started the idea, asking what would be mass and how a particle might have mass. The first one was Peter Higgs. Then, the people who came after him added to the theory. Right now, we have a description. Theoreticians, they want to say we have a big description. But I think we have a clue — because we are just at the beginning of understanding mass. The future will be very different 50 years from now. I can tell you this is a very important event.

So, if this turns out to be the Higgs boson, what happens after that? This is a question we always ask ourselves. The Higgs is not just a particle. It’s an answer to one of physics’ fundamental questions. It’s a very elementary question, one of the most elementary questions, like why do we have time. Why do we have time and space, and why are they bonded together like what we see around ourselves? The answers to these very fundamental questions will change the face of physics. Researchers first made quantum mechanics theory around 1900. After that, you could see the difference in technology. … Then, we had solid-state electronics and that led to computer chips, and so on. In 1960, no one could have imagined there would be a computer this powerful in a phone, but all these technologies are only possible thanks to quantum mechanics and semiconductor physics. Not even the best science fiction writer from 1900 could predict how the quantum mechanics would change life as we know it. I can’t tell you anything about how finding the Higgs would change physics technology, or even the face of humanity. We could end up with something like Star Trek physics or parallel universes. Nobody knows.


voices of osu

Storyteller Oklahoma’s 2012

Teacher of the Year

OSU alumna Kristin Shelby likes to tell stories of her past. She shares personal memories that have meaning — significant moments in time that shaped her. It’s these experiences and Shelby’s love of learning that, in part, resulted in her being honored as the 2012 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year. When Shelby won the honor, she taught fourth grade at Sallie Gillentine Elementary in the onestoplight city of Hollis, tucked in the southwest corner of Oklahoma. The 18-year teaching veteran has since moved to the city’s middle school, where she teaches seventh- and eighth-grade English. Shelby, a 1994 elementary education graduate, and her husband, Trent, who teaches and coaches football at the high school, have 13-year-old twin daughters, an 11-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. They own a farm with 1,000 head of cattle. “We just lead a very active life,” she says. “It’s a good little life.” In September, shortly before the 2013 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year — OSU alumna Elaine Hutchison — was announced, STATE editor Michael Baker spoke with Shelby about her mentors, time at OSU and the state of education in Oklahoma. Shelby had plenty of stories to tell.

Was there anything about your childhood that led you into teaching? My first true teachers were my parents. They instilled in me the importance of an education. They always told me, “No one can ever take your education away.” Then I had a third-grade teacher by the name of Linda Green, and she was amazing. She laughed with us. She talked with us. She let us think outside the box. She was the first person who introduced me to cauliflower dipped in a little

bit of ranch dressing. Still today, when I eat cauliflower dipped in a little ranch dressing, I think of Linda Green. She told me I was a bright, shining star. She told me I could do anything I wanted to do. She believed in me, and I knew it. When you got older, were there things that kept leading you into teaching? I wanted to be a sports broadcaster. … At high school career advisement, I had a teacher whom looked at me and pretty much laughed at me, and

KRISTIN SHELBY photo / mitch harrison


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he asked me, “Do you see women sports broadcasters?” It was before ESPN really took off. I guess after that, and because of all the great mentors I had along the way, I went into education. I remember when that gentleman kind of laughed at me and told me there weren’t women broadcasters. I’d make sure I’d never do that to my students. I know that’s not a very positive story, but it’s the truth. I guess we’re shaped by our positive and negative experiences. That’s right. I just have a true passion for the learning process. I just love the learning process. I loved learning when I was in college. I just love learning. It might have been a godsend that that man steered me away from broadcasting. I don’t know. Tell me about your time after high school. What type of experience did you have at OSU? I have a story. My advisor, Dr. Marilyn Middlebrook, called me in and told me to bring my schedule. I had scheduled a 7 a.m. speech class. She looked at me, and she placed her glasses down on her nose, and she said, “Kristin, you must set yourself up for success, and if you’re not a morning person, you don’t enroll in a 7 a.m. class. … When you’re a teacher, you must set your students up for success every day.” This is something that has stuck with me for my entire career.

What else makes an effective teacher? I think effective teachers teach with passion. They believe that educating our children is the single most important job. Teachers with passion know there are many ways to be smart — there’s not just one test that can say a child is smart; they make sure students succeed more than they fail; teachers with passion teach students, not subjects; and my last thing is I think effective teachers believe that we must give our students the gifts of play and laughter every single day, and I don’t care what age that is. How do you reach the struggling student? You make it real and relevant for those students. I have a student for whom English is a second language, and he was struggling with a unit on fairy tales. I invited his mother in to read a Spanish version of Little Red Riding Hood, and my students got to translate the story into English. There was the look of excitement in his eyes, and you could see the light bulb turn on. He was proud of his language, he was proud of his mother, and he was more engaged.

and I again got to sit in a conversation with him, just he and I, in April for the National Teacher of the Year ceremony. Each day I wake with a specific purpose that one small teacher in a small town — we have one stoplight, we’re the only school in the county — can make a big difference in this big world. I know it’s true because I’m traveling around and I’m speaking with students and I’m watching teachers make a difference. You’ve toured Oklahoma. I’ve put 20,000 miles on my car. So then, what’s the state of public education in Oklahoma? I think it’s exciting. For the first time that I can remember, we’re really seeing it change. You’re seeing all the stakeholders step up to the plate. Education is at a crossroads. There’s a lot of change going on, but that’s exciting. It’s not just Oklahoma changing. I think sometimes that gets misconstrued, but when I travel and speak with all these other teachers across the nation you realize we’re all changing.

it’s all worth it. Love what you do. Enjoy the students, laugh with them and don’t take yourself too seriously. Just enjoy what a student can bring to your classroom each and every day. It’s a great profession. Anything else you want to add? I have another story, if you don’t mind. Not at all. Please, go ahead. At OSU, I had a geometry teacher. I can’t remember his name. I am not that great at math. I’m better in my older age, but when I was in college, I was not that great. I’ll never forget how he bent over backwards to help me learn geometry. He made sure I felt welcome to come to his office. He moved me to the front of the room because he thought I’d understand more if I sat up front. He did everything he could to make sure I succeeded. I did get a C, but he did everything he could to make sure I understood as much as I could about geometry. And that’s another lesson I have taken from Oklahoma State University: A teacher must make sure a student has every opportunity to succeed. I really appreciate that lesson … but you don’t have to say I made a C (laughs).


What has the year been like as Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year? It’s been amazing. I have had the opportunity to meet the president of the United States twice. I met him in February in D.C. when he was giving a message on education,

What would you tell people considering entering the teaching profession? You better strap on your big-boy pants and be prepared. It’s a great ride but you have to juggle many types of learning. You have to juggle many situations, but I would say


voices of osu


In 1958, L.C. Gordon became the first black basketball player at OSU. It was a long way — more than 400

miles — from the courts of Memphis, Tenn., where he grew up, to Stillwater. It was even further mentally, but as the civil rights movement progressed, Gordon adjusted to the new atmosphere and learned what it was like to be a leader. Although he faced many hardships on and off the court, Gordon focused on one thing: his love for the game. For two years, he was the only black man hustling up and down the court in Gallagher Hall. But the knowledge he and teammate Eddie Sutton learned under legendary OSU coach Henry Iba ensured his future success. Gordon earned a bachelor’s in secondary education from OSU in 1961. He would go on to receive two master’s degrees from other schools and become a successful high school and college coach. He was head coach at Texas Southern University from 1969 to 1973. He has returned to his roots in Memphis, but he has never lost sight of his days at OSU. The Alumni Association’s Kristen McConnaughey recently caught up with Gordon, who had a significant role in the recent formation of the Memphis Chapter of the OSU Alumni Association.


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photo provided


What is your first memory of playing basketball? My first memory of playing basketball was for a school named Porter Grammar School in Memphis, Tenn. We had no gym to practice or play games. We had to walk about five miles to the famous Beale Street Auditorium to practice and play games. I wonder if players would love the game that much today.

What was it like relocating from Memphis to Stillwater? Relocating to Stillwater from Memphis was different in that Stillwater was a small town with friendly people, and Memphis was a big city with world-famous barbecue.

How did you come to attend OSU? I was a high scoring and great defensive basketball player at Booker T. Washington High School. Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) had a coach named Bob Vanitta, who recruited me for Oklahoma State. He told me coach Henry Iba at OSU was looking to integrate the basketball program, but the player must be able to play defense and be a good person. That got my attention because I was both and would get a chance to play for the legendary coach Iba. Memphis had not integrated its basketball program at the time.

What struggles did you face being the first black basketball player at OSU? There were a few struggles being the first AfricanAmerican basketball player at OSU, but not any different from any other college, university or the workplace in my opinion. For two years, I was the only African-American basketball player on the team, and after many games I went back to the dorm (Bennett Hall) to study since I was not invited to the social activities. This was OK because I remembered coach Iba saying, “Get your books and stay in school, and you will be somebody someday.” On the road games, I would hear namecalling, but I ignored it and kept my eyes on the prize, an OSU degree for life. I retired from coaching and teaching with a B.S. and two master’s degrees.


If you could describe your experience at OSU in one word, what would it be? Great.

Were you treated differently on and off the basketball court? My treatment at OSU, on and off the court, was and remains without regrets. My only hope is that the African-American players and all alumni will know L.C. Gordon was the trailblazer who stayed out of trouble, represented the university well and made it easier for African-Americans to be recruited today. Lastly, I would like to be considered for the OSU Hall of Fame. How did coach Iba view the impact of black players in basketball? How did he affect you as a player? Coach Iba realized the time had come to recruit African-American players in order to compete in the conference. He taught all players to be men, take care of your family and play basketball hard. He also recognized he had to get use to the AfricanAmerican players’ style of play, and the players had to get used to his demands.

In your opinion, what was the most important characteristic your team had? I would characterize our team as one whose members respected each other and the coaches who coached us, coach Iba and Sam Aubrey. Did you adopt any of coach Iba’s techniques when you began coaching basketball? When I began coaching, I employed the Hank Iba defensive techniques and was very successful winning championships in high school and college. Racial barriers are (fewer) today, and the understanding is better as more players are participating in all sports. You played a significant role in starting the Memphis OSU Alumni Chapter. Why and how do you enjoy staying connected to OSU? As far as the Memphis OSU Alumni Chapter is concerned, I will help in any way needed or asked because my love for OSU is for life.

What was it like playing with Eddie Sutton when you were a freshman and he was a senior? To play with Eddie Sutton was fun because he loved to shoot, and I loved to play defense. I also got a chance to play against players like Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. Defense is hard work — and fun.


voices of osu

PIYUSH PATEL Going Full Circle Piyush Patel is founder and CEO of PL Studios,

photo provided

He taught middle school math and science, then founded

developers of Digital-Tutors. Since 2000, PL Studios has

the Computer Animation and Multimedia program at

provided video-based training to digital artists worldwide.

Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. He was a profes-

The company takes pride in teaching the people who make movies and games. It has worked with an impressive collection of organizations, including Nike, Sony,

sor there for 5½ years while he established his company as a side project. Today, PL Studios has 23 full-time employees and

ESPN, Comedy Central, Blizzard, Pixar, DreamWorks, EA

plans to double in size by the end of 2013. In just the past

Sports, Harvard University and New York University.

three years, the company has delivered 21 million videos

Patel was born in London and moved with his family to Oklahoma when he was 4. He grew up in El Reno and

to customers. Patel was a featured speaker at TEDxOStateU on Nov. 1.

earned an elementary education degree at OSU in 1998.

He spoke with Jacob Longan, OSU Foundation assistant

He added a 2004 master’s in adult education with an

director of communications.

emphasis on e-learning from the University of Phoenix.


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Do you have an accomplishment of which you are most proud? I’ve had a chance to do a lot of really cool things. I’m one of those guys that just doesn’t have a rearview mirror, so it’s hard for me to reflect and go, “Wow, I was really, really proud of that.” It’s like I haven’t reached what I’m really going to be proud of yet, but I can think of a few things. I was chosen as a Maya Master. At the time, there were only 23 of those in the world. … I was at an awards ceremony with my wife (1998 family resource and child development alumna Lisa Carlow Patel), and they were doing this award for the first time. I looked at her and said, “One day, I’m going to get that award.” Six years later, I got the award. That was a pretty cool feeling. What does Maya Master mean? In our industry, Maya is the primary tool that is pretty much used in pretty much all the video games, all the movies. All the really big movies use Maya. Each year, they give out an award to one or two people who have really stepped up. … It’s voted on by your peers. We had a huge turnout for the voting. … In my industry, that is one of the biggest awards you can get. When you started out, did you have reason to believe you’d be this successful? I’ll be dead honest with you: It has been completely accidental. We have a mantra at this office and with everything that we


touch: We want to change the world. … We did not know how we would really monetize it. We did not know how we would get it to our customers. We just knew we had to get started, and we were going to change the way people learn. Within our industry, we want to change our world. You couldn’t go to school to learn how to become a visual effects artist. You had to learn it on the job, much like being a journeyman or any type of apprentice-based skill or trade. For us, we really democratized this process. So what led you to focus on digital media? At night, I used to work at the television station in Stillwater. I loved it. I really haven’t had any classes, so to speak, because I had to learn it on the job. It was like, “If I ever learn how to do this stuff, I’m going to teach people how to do it because it should not be this painful.”

How did you go from teaching at a middle school, then to a college and finally to focusing solely on this company? I loved teaching the kids. I loved the students. I loved everything about it. But what I found was I had a really tough time changing their world because the roadblocks I ran into were parents didn’t want their kids’ worlds to get changed. They wanted the status quo. From there, I moved to higher ed. I was able to really change these young peoples’ lives. I was able to get them in and out of a two-year

school in one semester. My team and myself, we taught 42 credit hours in one semester. … We recreated an apprentice-style learning experience where these students really mastered the skillset. That was really revolutionary. ... We were getting international applications to a two-year school out in Tonkawa. It was really cool and said something about the program.

When did you decide it was time to make the change to just the business? It got to where I just wasn’t sleeping anymore. I would teach from 8:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night, eat dinner and then I’d be up from 7:30 until 2:30 or 3 in the morning. I was doing that six, seven days a week. It was just getting to the point where I couldn’t sleep. I had to do something to change. I just felt that in the classroom I could only have 30 students. Online, I could have thousands of students. Today, we have 134,000 students in our system. I felt that there was something bigger calling me, and there were more people I wanted to help than just the 30 I could get into my classroom.

You and your wife have endowed an elementary education scholarship at OSU. You are involved in a lot of organizations that help others. Your business donates to charity, and the employees volunteer. Why is giving back so important to you?

I try to drill this into all of my staff: We are so lucky and blessed to work in an air-conditioned building and create art and be able to teach that craft. There are people who don’t have anything to eat. In the grand scheme of things, we are pretty lucky, we are pretty blessed, and we need to help others reach their goals. Education is big for us. We have an endowed scholarship at OSU. We have some at other colleges. It’s important to us and important to our business. You never know when that actually comes back. Let me share a great story with you: I had a kid who won the UCO scholarship in the design department. He came to visit us. He said: “Let me tell you my story. I was in Mongolia 3½ years ago. I wanted to learn 3-D. I didn’t know where to start. I found your website. I learned 3-D well enough to apply to UCO with a portfolio. I got accepted. I’m now a senior. I got a scholarship from you, and my greatest dream would be to have an internship here next semester.” Now talk about full circle right there. I said, “We’d be more than happy to have you as an intern.” That is how small our world is. We were able to change him, his wife and their little baby. They have a whole different trajectory in life because of a website we started. That humbles me tremendously. This is our calling, and this is just the start.



voices of osu

orange trailblazer Tonya Hoover didn’t know what she was getting

herself into when she enrolled in OSU’s fire protection program. Like many such students, Hoover had never been to Oklahoma. She heard of the Fire Protection and Safety Technology program while working as a volunteer firefighter in Pennsylvania. She quickly learned students, faculty and alumni of the program are like a family. She would earn an associate degree in fire protection and safety in 1984, followed by a bachelor’s in technical education in 1986. From there, she worked at several fire departments and became the deputy campus fire marshal at the University of California, Berkeley. In November 2011, Hoover was appointed the California fire marshal. After a full year in her current position, California Fire Marshal Hoover spoke with the Alumni Association’s Kristen McConnaughey. Hoover says she doesn’t dwell on the fact that firefighting is a male-dominated field, but instead she continues to lead the way for other women.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer firefighter and pursue a degree in the fire protection industry? As early as I can remember, I have been around the fire service. My father was the civil defense director for the county we lived in. The position basically was the emergency coordinator for the county, and he was able to be involved with his passion, which was the fire service. My hometown had a strong volunteer fire


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service, and as a family we spent time at local fire department events and doing community service. When my father passed away, I was entering my teens. I felt a strong desire to follow in his footsteps. … When I was a senior in high school, a gentleman who was in the same volunteer fire department told me about a degree in fire protection. He was a graduate from OSU with a two-year degree. I looked at other schools and when

tonya hoover photo provided

it was time to decide on a fire protection program, I picked OSU. To me, it was the best place for turning my passion into a career. What was your first impression of Stillwater after relocating from Pennsylvania? My family drove me to Stillwater, stayed for a couple days and then left to drive back to Pennsylvania. So here I was in a different state, different town, I didn’t know anyone and I had really never

been away from home for any long period of time. … It didn’t take me long to find my way to the campus fire station and meet some of the other students. I started to get a feel for Stillwater and the campus. So many of the fire protection students were from out of state and most had never been to Stillwater, let alone Oklahoma. I do remember thinking that it was flat, windy and the dirt was red. And when tornado season came, I have to say that was an experience.

Q&A While a student at OSU, did you ever see yourself becoming a state fire marshal? Heck, no. I never imagined being the state fire marshal until five years ago. One thing I have learned over the years is to never say never. How has OSU impacted you and your career? Moving away from home to an area that I have never been before provided me the opportunity to find out about myself and my abilities. … I can say that OSU definitely had a part in getting me to where I am today. It provided me with a wellrounded education that not only included fire protection engineering technology but also provided an understanding of the safety profession. If you could describe your experience at OSU in one word, what would it be? There are many words that come to mind, and it really depends which part of the experience I am thinking about. I can say that it was never easy, I learned a lot — and not just from a book — and I have connections and friendships that will be with me throughout my career and life.

What would you say to a student who is thinking about pursuing a Fire Protection & Safety Technology degree from OSU? It’s not an easy program, but there is a big group of folks there to help get you through the challenges. It is a place where academics collide with hands-on (training), and its long history of leaders speaks volumes about the credibility of the program. How often do you apply the skills you learned at OSU to your field? I can honestly say that throughout my career — that ranged from being a fire inspector, a deputy campus fire marshal for a large university, a local government fire marshal to being the assistant state fire marshal and now the state fire marshal — I have used every piece of knowledge and applied every skill.

What do you enjoy the most about being California’s fire marshal? I enjoy meeting people and having the opportunities to be involved in so many aspects of fire protection. I enjoy talking to the fire service and finding out what is going on out in the communities and how we can come together to better our communities and our state. I enjoy the support I get from my boss, Chief (Ken) Pimlott, the director of CAL FIRE. I really enjoy being part of something that I think makes a positive impact to every person that visits and lives in California.

What is it like being in such a maledominated field? For me, I really don’t dwell on the fact that this profession is maledominated. I was fortunate to have females before me blaze the way. I had some trying times but nothing like the sisters before me that blazed the trail and continue to work hard within the suppression forces. What’s the scariest moment you’ve faced in your career? There are a few moments that come to mind. The most recent would be the change in the state’s administration and wondering if I was going to have a job. It’s pretty scary knowing that doing your best and loving what you do doesn’t guarantee that you will move from “acting” to “the.” The second moment that comes to mind would be as a local government fire marshal. Every year when the weather would change to our wildland fire weather, my biggest fear would be a devastating fire within my jurisdiction. I found it hard to relax because I took it personally and wanted to do whatever it took to protect the community and our workforce.

In your opinion, what drives firefighters to put their lives on the line for others? I would never want to speak for someone else or even try to speak for our nation’s firefighters, but I think it is somewhat complicated. In my mind being a firefighter has many components: It is the idea of being your community’s hero that brings pride in the job, there is the adrenaline rush that comes from the pace of working an emergency incident, there are the challenges that come with an incident and the need to adapt and overcome, there is the sense of family within the fire service, and there is the protective instinct that I think most firefighters have. … They protect the community, and they protect each other. What’s one thing you hope to see change in the field during your career? That we as a society take the words of the first father of the fire service (Benjamin Franklin) to heart: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Prevention is about protecting today for tomorrow, and what we spend in doing that will provide us more opportunities in the future. We can’t afford business interruptions and negative economic impacts of fire losses that affect our air, water and soil. We can’t afford the fire-related medical cost, and we can’t afford to keep rebuilding and losing our resources and historical properties.


The Negotiator OSU alumna works for understanding. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin appointed OSU alumna Jacque Secondine Hensley as Oklahoma’s first Native American liaison in July. Hensley is the governor’s chief adviser on issues relating to the tribes in Oklahoma, such as tobacco compacts, the deals tribes strike regarding state taxes on cigarettes sold in tribal tobacco shops. “I’m a people person,” Hensley says. “I really like talking to tribal leaders and trying to come up with resolutions to problems.” As a staff member in the state’s executive branch, the 1982 elementary education graduate replaced the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission, eliminated by legislation in 2011. The move is the latest in a long career road for Hensley, who has also worked as a third-grade teacher,

Jacque Secondine Hensley

counselor and investigator. She considers herself the state’s go-between with the tribes. Hensley lives in Tulsa with her husband, Mike, who works for the U.S. Postal Service, and her sons, Brad, 11, and Blake, 14. In a recent interview with STATE writer Matt Elliott, Hensley talked about her position, the chance to help Oklahoma’s tribes, the honor of representing the state, her various careers and her connection to Stillwater.

photography by phil shockley 56

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So, tell me about what you do for the state. Since I started Aug. 6, I’ve met 27 of the 38 federally recognized tribes. They’ve been giving me feedback. We meet and talk about their concerns. Then I go back to the governor and talk to her about the tribes’ issues and concerns. Tell me a little about helping hammer out tobacco compacts. Most of the tobacco compacts to the tribes expire in June 2013, and they’re usually set up for five years. Some of the older ones have been set up for some time. It used to be almost like a cookie cutter compact. They’ll say, “Here’s how much you can sell your cigarettes for, and here’s how much tax you’ll collect.” We had six roundtables scheduled in October all over the state, from Afton to Fort Cobb. The tribes came to those, and we talked about these compacts. … I asked what they liked about the compacts, what they want in them, and then I brought that back to the governor. How do tobacco compacts work? It’s primarily about tax and different tax rates. If you get a pack of cigarettes at QuikTrip, there’s a tax on those. If you go to Indian smoke shops, which are usually on Indian trust land, they’re usually not as much. Originally, the smoke shops came about because Native Americans wanted to sell to Native Americans, so they were cheaper.

Then, the tribes realized they could make some revenue through the shops if they sold to non-Native Americans as well. How do these compacts change as we see more of a push at the state level to fight smoking as a public health issue and previous efforts to increase taxes on cigarettes? It’s a revenue source for the tribes. However, they’re very in tune to the health and welfare of the Indian people and their tribal members. There are wellness programs they offer. Smoke shops are out there as businesses, but that doesn’t mean the tribes aren’t concerned about their members’ health and wellness.

masks they have today. When I woke up, he said, “I don’t think this is the right career for you.” I changed my major to elementary education because I always loved children. How did you like OSU? I loved it. Back then, Owasso was the kind of town where they closed school because the band was playing in the parking lot when the McDonald’s opened. Now, it’s bigger, and even though Oklahoma State was a big university, it still had that sense of community like Owasso did. My grandfather was full-blood Kaw, Ralph Pepper, and he came to my graduation when he was 91 years old. He was introduced to the dean of the education college, and the dean, during his welcoming speech later, mentioned how there were people at commencement from far and wide. He talked about my grandfather, saying he was the oldest person there, and my grandfather stood up. That was the highlight of my graduation.

mother developed cancer. There, I ended up as a child abuse investigator with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. That’s where I got all my experience dealing with tribal governments. I developed a handbook for law enforcement personnel on child abuse investigations and taught as an adjunct twice a month at the Indian Police Academy in Artesia, N.M. I also worked with the FBI, counseling agents stationed in Indian country about Indian culture. You can’t just wear a suit and go up to people’s houses and knock on their front doors. I retired July 31 from the Department of Defense where I was a fraud investigator. All told, I spent 22 years in federal law enforcement.


Where are you from originally? I lived on the north side of Tulsa until I was in the seventh grade and we moved to Owasso, where I graduated from high school. I was in everything (laughs). I was the wrestling queen. I was on the student council and in the Spanish club. You name it, I was there. Then I graduated and went to OSU. What did you do at OSU? I started out in predental. Then, I worked for a dentist and passed out one day. Two days of the week, he went to a low-income area and performed services for the poor. This little boy had an abscessed tooth, and it popped in my face. This was during the 1970s and early 1980s, and they didn’t have the

Tell me about your careers after you graduated. I taught third-grade for a year in Broken Arrow, got my master’s in counseling psychology at the University of Tulsa, then was a counselor for abusive families. I had a part-time practice at 23. I moved to Chicago, where I lived for eight years, working as a counselor and later as a probation officer dealing with mentally ill and handicapped people. I had to move back home when my

What do you like about what you do now? One of the big questions everybody asks me is what happens if the government and tribal leaders disagree. What I say to them is there will be disagreements, but my job is to make sure everybody understands, from the tribal leaders to the governor, everyone’s positions. The governor really admires the tribes and wants to do right by them. She realizes they have a big economic footprint, and when the tribes do well, the state does well. She wants that to happen. I think that’s why she hired me.


voices of osu

Taking to the Sky A statewide team of organizations led by Oklahoma State University won a $1.4 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to design and test unmanned aerial vehicles, normally


considered tools of war, to protect civilians at home.


DHS awarded the proj-

ect in July to a consortium of the Oklahoma National Guard, OSU and the OSU University Multispectral Laboratory. The program

will examine the use of small, hand-launched military drones, such as the RQ-11 Raven, to do everything from helping cops catch crooks to aiding rescuers during natural disasters. The UML oversees the

test flights at a facility near Fort Sill east of Lawton,

Okla., says OSU aerospace engineering professor Jamey Jacob. The UML network of labs conducts

photography by GARY LAWSON

research specializing in sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles.


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OSU is one of a few American universities with a degree program in unmanned aerial vehicle technology. Jacob is an expert in UAVs and a veteran researcher with a history of government projects in the field going back to the 1990s. Jacob sat down recently for an interview with STATE writer Matt Elliott to talk about the homeland security project and his work.

How did you get involved with UAVs? I started working on them back in the 1990s as part of a NASA project to design aircraft to fly on Mars. Due to the distance, the craft wouldn’t receive any sent directions for eight to 20 minutes, so we needed a plane that flew on its own. Later in my career, I worked on military applications, and now I’m looking at commercial uses for the civilian market. We’re already using unmanned aircraft for border patrol. We aren’t using them yet for first responders, and that’s what DHS is interested in. You can see how these systems could help during scenarios such as search and rescue operations, scouting an area after a tornado or delivering medical aid and supplies. The issue is how well they work in an urban environment. They have to be small and portable — something you could fit in a trunk of a police car. All of our recent experience has been in the desert such as Iraq and Afghanistan, so there is a lot of work to do to determine how well they will function in urban environments.

And it would have to be simple to use, too, right? Certainly. What you don’t want to do is take a law enforcement officer and say, “OK, we’re going to train you to be a UAV pilot.” You want to be able to give it to the police officer and tell them, “Pull it out of the trunk, push a button and it goes.” Maybe the officer could even direct it using something like an iPhone or an iPad.


But the FAA hasn’t approved UAVs for flight in the United States, right? No, that hasn’t happened yet. Congress mandated that the FAA take certain actions to open up national airspace, but the FAA’s current plan is to set requirements so states and sites can compete to develop test ranges. Right now, there still are no rules or regulations allowing UAV flights in civilian airspace unless you have a special waiver to do that.

What interested you about tooling these for first responders? It’s a challenging problem. That’s what we’re always driven by is the challenge of putting these to public use. Also, helping people is always the ultimate goal of any engineer — to help someone, make someone’s life better or save someone’s life. How did you find out about this program through homeland security? Through the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. I’m the vice president for the chapter in Oklahoma. The president of our association was in Washington, D.C., for a meeting and saw a presentation by DHS’s science and technology director and he got the word out. Dr. Steve McKeever (OSU’s vice president for research and technology transfer) got on the phone and called the DHS director, John Appleby, and invited him to come look at our program. I believe he visited seven states and 13 sites, and we won hands down in terms of our capabilities and what we’re able to do, not just on the testing side. They also wanted a place where they could develop new systems, and we wanted to show that we have that capability. We can change a UAV’s autopilot, change the optics hardware or even build a new aircraft all together.

Where did you take him? All over the great state of Oklahoma. We loaded him up on a National Guard CH-47 Chinook and toured Guard facilities at Oklahoma City, Camp Gruber near Muskogee, the Fort Sill facility near Lawton, UML’s facility at the Chilocco Indian School north of Newkirk and in Stillwater to show off our capabilities at OSU in UAV construction and flight-testing. What makes this unique compared to other states is we’re not just OSU. It’s not just the UML or the National Guard. We have OU and OSU working together, the department of commerce. We said, “If you come to Oklahoma and choose us, you’re not just getting one entity, you’re getting the entire state of Oklahoma.” What’s going on now? This is still very early. They have a test plan set out where they will test and operate their vehicles. They have brought their systems, and we’re testing and evaluating those. Getting to do this each day must be a dream come true for you. Oh, yeah. You get to see a lot of stuff you normally wouldn’t. But the real excitement is being able to bring it these to students. Giving them real-world projects that can change the future — that’s the dream come true.


voices of osu

AMERICA’S CHOICE Betty Thompson dreamed of becoming a worldclass Irish dancer. She worked hard to make that a reality, and at 24 has represented the U.S. four times at the World Irish Dance Championships. She was the first Oklahoman to reach the highest level of Irish dancing, Open Championship, and to medal at the All-Ireland Irish Dance Championships and the North American Irish Dance Championships. But she never expected to become a pageant queen. She was first runner-up at the 2012 Miss America Pageant in January after winning Miss Oklahoma 2011. Thompson won the state crown after reaching the top 10 in 2009 and as first runner-up in 2010. She held the title of Miss OSU in 2009 and 2011. The 2009 Miss OSU competition was her first pageant. Thompson, of Davenport, Okla., was an elementary education senior when she competed in the Miss America Pageant. Her platform, “Milk: It Really Does a Body Good,” caught the attention of the agricultural industry that continues to book her for various appearances and speaking engagements. She subsequently added agricultural communications to her plan of study. She is still at OSU working toward both degrees. She sat down with Jacob Longan, the OSU Foundation’s assistant director of communications, to discuss how this small-town Oklahoma girl who grew up on a dairy farm became America’s Choice at the Miss America Pageant.

BETTY THOMPSON photography by phil shockley


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You were 9 when your family saw Riverdance in Chicago. Is that when you fell in love with Irish dancing? My dad took us on a business trip with him and bought tickets for us. We have Scottish-Irish heritage. According to my parents, I danced the whole way out and all the way back

to Oklahoma. From that point on, I was mimicking the video until two years later, an Irish dance teacher moved to Davenport, of all places. She started an Irish dance school in the basement of the Presbyterian church in Davenport, population of 880 people. We decided it was a godsend, for sure.

It just happens that a teacher moved to your town two years later. Did you sign up right away? We did. My brother Nathan saw an article in our local paper and I signed up. About six months later, that dance teacher actually suggested that I start taking dance classes in Oklahoma City from the teacher in Cork, Ireland. Had she not done that, I never would have gotten into competitive dance and my Irish dance career wouldn’t have been the same. It sounds like teaching Irish dance is a career goal for you. To be an actual, certified Irish dance instructor through the An Coimisiun out of Ireland allows your dancers to compete in state-level competitions and the World Irish Dance Championships. So I will travel to California, Georgia or Ireland for a four-day, brutal exam over everything from the music to the dances and from technique to teaching. I plan to do that in the next few years in addition to another career. What’s more pressure, competing in Miss America or the World Irish Dance Championship? The World Irish Dance Championships is the Olympics for an Irish dancer. There are over 6,000 competitors from all different countries that come together. I would definitely say there is more pressure at the World Irish Dance Championships than I felt at Miss America. Miss America was a great

experience, and I had a chance to express my personality. At the World Irish Dance Championships, it’s strictly Irish dance. You have to be technically perfect to even get a recall. I can’t even explain the caliber of dancers there. Someone would have to see it to believe it because they truly are the best of the best. Less than 1 percent of Irish dancers in the entire world will ever even make it to the world championships. How hard was it to finish as Miss America runner-up? It’s a great place to be. There were several young ladies behind me who would have loved to be where I was. They all wanted to be in (winner) Laura’s (Kaeppeler) and my shoes. That part of me can understand what a blessing it is. But of course, I’m a very big competitor, so I like to win. I had to step back and realize that I did win. I won $25,000 in scholarships just as first runner-up. There are so many doors that opened and the job opportunities that have been brought my way because of Miss America. Those are all things that I can consider a win.

having more people know who you are. That would be intimidating, and quite honestly, I like my privacy. You won the America’s Choice award. How great was that? The first semifinalist to be called is voted in by America. Until the final night, we have no idea who is going to be America’s Choice. You have four minutes of commercial time to get off stage, … run across to the dressing room, … get completely changed, and get back on stage so I was standing, going through my game plan — “I’m going to do this first, I’m going to change my hair this way, I am going to kick off my shoes and put my other shoes on side stage. I’ll throw my earrings into my hand, that way I am not wasting time in my dressing room.” Then all of a sudden they said my name, and everything in rehearsal went completely out the window. I forgot what spot I was supposed to be standing on, how long I was supposed to be there. It was exciting. It was an honor that so many people thought I could be Miss America.

How fun was it to do the Irish dancing in that pageant? I am sure a lot of viewers never see Irish dancing. That was one of my biggest goals, to make it to the top 10 so I could perform my dance on national TV. All my nerves went out the window when they called my name because all I could think about was I was about to dance on national TV. Each dancer has their biggest stage they want to perform on, whether that’s in Julliard and becoming a prima ballerina, or being on Broadway. For me, it was to be the star of my own little Irish dance show for that minute and 30 seconds. Was that the easiest part of the competition for you? Yes, I’ve trained in Irish dance with coaches from Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and the U.S. for 12 years, so it prepared me for that moment.


Now a lot of people on campus know who you are. It’s kind of bizarre because to me, I still feel like the small-town girl I have always been. … Getting stopped randomly on campus by people who recognize me still takes some getting used to. So I can’t really imagine being in an even bigger role and

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently? Surprisingly, no. I had a little of that after the state pageant. But for Miss America, I really think it’s a mindset you have to have going into it — no regrets.

How many of your siblings went to OSU? All five of us went to Oklahoma State.

I knew I liked your family. We are a Cowboy family. My dad actually went to OU, so he doesn’t understand what he did wrong, but we’ll say what he did right was to send us all to Oklahoma State.


voices of osu


SOLAR POWER TO THE PEOPLE Rupesh Agrawal will graduate with his OSU Spears

wheat and lentils processing mill and other businesses.

School of Business MBA in December 2012, about the

Businesses there endure four to 20 hours of power

same time he plans to have a solar power plant up and

outages each day.

running in his native India. The plant will generate 200 kilowatts of electricity

Agrawal received a $350,000 subsidy from the Indian government through a $19 billion initiative to expand

for a resort and a school in India’s Uttar Pradesh prov-

solar power by the equivalent of 20 modern nuclear

ince, where Agrawal grew up and his father ran a rice,

power plants in the nation where some 300 million people have no electricity.


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“In the last 30 years, that problem has not gone away,” he says. “Rather, it has increased.” Agrawal did much of his work on that problem while studying at OSU. He already has undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. His team designed the plant, valued at around $1 million, and he plans on branching out to generate power from biogas energy derived from decaying organic matter. In a conversation with STATE writer Matt Elliott, Agrawal talks about his work and its potential for success. How did you get this idea? Electricity access in Asia is the biggest challenge to growth, and that part of the world is expected to outgrow the developed world over the next few decades. Also, there was a three-day-long power outage in July that exposed weaknesses in India’s grid. Half the population (nearly 700 million people) was in the dark. What are the challenges with green energy in India, and why did you pick solar? The challenge is everyone wants renewable energy, but there is not really a perfect solution. My goal and vision is to use biogas energy that is not yet commercially viable or ready for largescale power plants. [But] I needed energy while we develop our biogas system. So, I chose solar power and synced up with the policy the government came up with in 2009, [the] Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

How did you take care of all this while studying at OSU in Stillwater? It has been a lot of time on the phone and online for web conferencing. It is a large undertaking. You want to make sure the legalities are in place. That has been a challenge, but we have made it this far. I do not think I could have done it any differently if I had been living in India full time again.

who had experience in the industry and brought them in as partners. We found an engineering procurement company to collaborate with us and get the resources we needed. Finally, we found a client, received the subsidy and financed the project. Construction is starting in the beginning of October. Now, it is a million-dollar project, and for the Indian continent, a million dollars is a lot of money. Is it easier to work with the government now through these incentives programs? Yes. The government is much easier to work with now. It used to be if you’d received a subsidy from the government, it took as much as 10 years to get it. That wasn’t much of an incentive. Today, they make sure the money is already in the bank when they give you the subsidy.

What’s it like where this plant is located? It’s in a small city, Bahraich, in the northeastern part of the country. The town is about forty kilometers from where I lived — Gonda, near the Nepalese border. The government has given many incentives if you are starting up in an area bordered by another country. That makes it more attractive to clients, especially when you consider we are trying to make this as environmentally low impact as possible with 25-yearlifespan panels. What do you hope to do in the future? It remains to be seen. I have a couple of opportunities lined up in North America and Canada. I have three other businesses that I am managing, including my company Aquaponics, which is a soil-less farming technology project I just got off the ground in Tulsa. Anyway, each of my businesses takes its own time to mature. The goal is to survive until you really make it.


Did you have any connections that helped you? I asked my father-in-law, who runs an accounting firm there, to help me with the financial side of things, and I restarted one of my father’s old companies that wasn’t in use anymore. I set it up as a business development company, putting other businesses in touch with new opportunities. I contacted the right people with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and attended a conference on the subject in India in 2009. I talked to several people there

There is only one power company in India, and the government owns it. You decided to sell to a private client instead of the government. Why is that? Well, the government can build and supply its own demands. However, there isn’t enough for small businesses and industries. In addition, the time to close the project is longer for the government. We were looking at waiting four to five years before we would get our first check.


A record crowd celebrated ‘The Life, The Legend, The Legacy’ of Homecoming at Oklahoma State this year.

More than 82,000 attended Walkaround alone with thousands more attending events like the Harvest Carnival, the Sea of Orange Parade and the Iowa State vs. OSU football game. Some of our favorite memories from Homecoming 2012 are captured in the images on the following pages, see many more online plus videos of each event at orangeconnection.org/homecoming.



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Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Rho win Alumni Association Chairman’s Cup.


PHOTO / Gary Lawson

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

City of Tulsa Pipes and Drums

PHOTO / gary lawson


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Miss Hispanic OSU Diana Martinez

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

Homecoming Grand Marshal Lt. Gen Max Bunyard and his wife, Celia

OSU Horseman Association

Kappa Sigma Lawn Mower Drill Team


PHOTO / Gary Lawson

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

Harvest Carnival



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Harvest Carnival

Chili Cook-Off

PHOTO / Phil shockley

PHOTO / Gary Lawson

Hester Street Painting

Homecoming and Hoops


PHOTO /phillip gahagans


PHOTO / Bruce waterfield

Homecoming 2012 King Riley Pagett and Queen Kylie Roper, center, flanked by the previous King Randy Gordon and Queen Amy Truitt. 70

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Wobble with Pete at the Res-Life Bash

PHOTO Provided

PHOTO Provided

U.S. Air Force Capt. Adam Walker, 2004 alumnus, celebrates Homecoming 2012 in Shindand, Afghanistan.

50 th Anniversary Class of 1962



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PHOTO / Angela Carter

PHOTO / Angela Carter

PHOTO / alumni association


Football Frenzy Open Bracket winners The Independents

Winning sign by Theta Tau Engineering

Winning sign by Alpha Chi Omega/ Farmhouse

Homecoming Awards Legacy Coloring Contest Ages 3-5: Connor Quintero, Fairmont, Okla. Ages 6-8: Madison Walters, Yukon, Okla. Ages 9-11: Jaylin Anders, Norman, Okla.

Orange Flash Photo Contest Alumni: 1st — Benjamin Needham, ’06 2nd — Mallorie Dye, ’09 Judges Choice — Stacy Mason, ’02 Student: 1st — Hanna Hubbs, ’12 2nd — Tara Rains, ’12 Judges Choice — Anthony Johnson, ’14

Football Frenzy Greek Life: 1st — Kappa Delta/Sigma Nu 2nd — Pi Beta Phi/Sigma Alpha Epsilon Female MVP — Kirsten Krull Male MVP — Jake Miller Open Bracket: 1st — The Independents 2nd — Wentz Hall Female MVP — Cammy Straus Male MVP — Diamond Johnson

Sign Competition Student Organizations: 1st — Theta Tau 2nd — Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations 3rd — Collegiate 4-H Club Residential Life: 1st — Kamm/Peterson/Friend 2nd — Stout Hall 3rd — Parker Hall Greek Life: 1st — Alpha Chi Omega/FarmHouse 2nd — Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Rho 3rd — Pi Beta Phi/Sigma Alpha Epsilon Facebook Fan Favorite: Zeta Tau Alpha/Phi Delta Theta

Harvest Carnival

PHOTO / Angela Carter

Student Organizations: 1st — Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow

2nd — Horseman’s Association 3rd — Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations Residential Life: 1st — Zink/Allen/Booker/Stinchcomb/North Monroe 2nd — Bennett Hall Greek Life: 1st — Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Rho 2nd — Gamma Phi Beta/Sigma Phi Epsilon 3rd — Kappa Delta/Sigma Nu Overall People’s Choice: Zeta Tau Alpha/Phi Delta Theta

Chili Cook-Off Student Organizations: 1st — Horseman’s Association 2nd — Collegiate FFA 3rd — Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations People’s Choice — Restaurant Group Residential Life: 1st (Tie) — Zink/Allen/Booker/Stinchcomb/ North Monroe and Bennett Hall 2nd — Iba Hall 3rd — Kamm/Peterson/Friend People’s Choice — Kamm/Peterson/Friend

Orange Reflection 1st — Zink/Allen/Booker/Stinchcomb/North Monroe 2nd — Parker Hall 3rd — Bennett Hall

Most Spirited College College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Sea of Orange Parade Band Competition: 1st — Henryetta High School 2nd — Garber High School Community Parade Entry: 1st — Canyons AKC Puppies 2nd — Perkins Road Pet Clinic 3rd — Stillwater’s Three Amigos Student Organizations: 1st — Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations 2nd — Collegiate 4-H Club

3rd — Collegiate FFA Residential Life: 1st — Bennett Hall 2nd — Zink/Allen/Booker/Stinchcomb/North Monroe 3rd — Iba Hall Greek Life: Sigma Lambda Gamma/Sigma Pi Grand Marshal’s Cup: Bennett Hall

House Decorations Alumni Association Chairman’s Cup: Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Rho 2nd — Pi Beta Phi/Sigma Alpha Epsilon 3rd — Kappa Delta/Sigma Nu 4th — Gamma Phi Beta/Sigma Phi Epsilon 5th — Phi Mu/Pi Kappa Alpha Engineering Excellence Award: Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Rho Safety Award: Kappa Delta/Sigma Nu Facebook Fan Favorite: Alpha Delta Pi/Lambda Chi

Jerry Gill Spirit Awards Residential Life — Wentz Hall Greek Life — Gamma Phi Beta/Sigma Phi Epsilon

Homecoming King and Queen Riley Pagett and Kylie Roper

Sweepstakes Student Organizations: 1st — Oklahoma Collegiate Cattlemen’s and Cattlewomen’s Associations 2nd — Collegiate FFA 3rd — Horsemen’s Association Residential Life: 1st — Parker Hall 2nd — Zink/Allen/Booker/Stinchcomb/North Monroe 3rd — Bennett Hall Greek Life: 1st — Chi Omega/Alpha Gamma Rho 2nd — Pi Beta Phi/Sigma Alpha Epsilon 3rd — Kappa Delta/Sigma Nu

For photos and videos, visit orangeconnection.org/homecoming Homecoming Steering Committee



Winter 20 12


a true

S t o r y by K r i s t e n M c C o n n au g h e y

P o r t r a i t / GARY L AW S ON

Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard was a leader at Oklahoma A&M, in the Army, in business and most recently during OSU Homecoming 2012.

Humble doesn’t begin to describe the Homecoming 2012 grand marshal, one of the highest-ranking U.S. military service members to be an OSU graduate. It isn’t a distinguished 35-year Army career, success in the corporate world or even victories on the baseball field for which Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard wants to be remembered. It is his love of people. “Showing compassion and love for another person is key to the success of any society,” Bunyard says. “To me, OSU represents what a college should stand for in developing a well-rounded person with high ethical and moral standards. Academics is one thing, but being able to take that education plus the ability to communicate and associate with others while employing these traits with common sense in today’s work force is a positive sign.”



Playing Ball Before Bunyard dedicated his life to serving others, he was an Aggie on the baseball field. “One of the biggest drawing cards to attend OSU was the fact that two of my former teammates from Altus were players at OSU,” Bunyard says. “OSU had a great team with considerable promise of winning not only the conference championship, but also to make a respectable showing in the NCAA playoffs.”

Bunyard was part of Altus (Okla.) High School’s first state championship baseball team and was selected as an all-state baseball player. He attended Oklahoma Baptist University for one year, but Oklahoma A&M coach Toby Greene persuaded Bunyard to move to Stillwater in 1950, even if it meant he had to redshirt the first year. “We beat OU during my junior year,” Bunyard says. “Ronnie Bennett, Phil Finnegan and I each hit two home runs, and Freddy Babb also hit one. We tromped them that day.”

Bunyard was a leader on and off the baseball field. While at Oklahoma A&M, he was involved in the Army ROTC program, the Blue Key National Honor Society and served as president of the Sigma Chi fraternity. “The associations I made with some of my classmates and OSU friends have made a lasting, encouraging and supportive impact on my journey through life,” Bunyard says. “Some of these associations taught me what leadership consisted of and how you have to work very closely with people to gain their respect. In doing this, you begin to really know and understand individuals, and it’s where you find out what makes them function. “This is vitally important in certain activities in life, and it paid major dividends during my military and civilian careers and continues today in retirement.” Winning the Bedlam battle wasn’t Bunyard’s only proud baseball moment. During his senior year in 1954, the Aggies won the Missouri Valley Conference championship and went to the NCAA playoffs in Omaha, Neb. He lettered three years as a varsity player, but his baseball career did not end in college. “It was following these playoffs when I signed a professional baseball contract with the [Chicago] White Sox and spent the rest of the summer playing within their farm system before entering into the Army,” Bunyard says. “I was most fortunate to have played with some very outstanding players, and I watched them progress in their careers. I received a phone call while in the Army from the White Sox asking me to return to baseball and the organization, but I elected to remain on active duty.” Oklahoma A&M catcher Max Bunyard, center, talks to pitcher Marion Moss, right, with coach Toby Greene, left, during a 1953 game.


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Aggie Seeds for Life Although Bunyard amassed numerous accomplishments at Oklahoma A&M, he says finding the love of his life was the most important. Bunyard met Pryor, Okla., native Celia Wilkerson during his senior year, and the couple married three years later. “During our 55 years together, she has been put through some very tough and trying times in the many, many moves we made while in the military, but she always made the best of the situation,” Bunyard says. “She raised two children almost by herself while I was off in wars and other assignments that carried me away from home for considerable durations. She not only took charge of our household during these times, but was also a cooperative and enthusiastic person who was ready to help others who were in need. She is a compassionate and lovely lady who benefited my entire career and continues to do so today.” Bunyard graduated from Oklahoma A&M in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and entered the Army through the ROTC program, where he had been named a distinguished military graduate and commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry.

“The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program trains and develops cadets to commission as officers in the U.S. Army,” says Lt. Col. Kevin Nicholas, OSU’s ROTC department head. “The program provides opportunities for cadets to learn and apply leadership skills that will allow them to excel throughout their military service. “Lt. Gen. Bunyard is a distinguished military graduate from the OSU Army ROTC program and was provided the training and skills while in ROTC that enabled him to maximize his potential as a leader and excel throughout his military career. We are proud and honored to have OSU Army ROTC graduates like Lt. Gen. Bunyard, who achieved the second-highest officer rank within our military.” Bunyard went on to earn a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University and attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. “My degree in international affairs has been extremely useful in my current endeavors, as well as in understanding today’s world problems,” Bunyard says.

“Lt. Gen. Bunyard is a distinguished military graduate from the OSU Army ROTC program and was provided the training and skills while in ROTC that enabled him to maximize his potential as a leader and excel throughout his military career.” — Lt. Col. Kevin Nicholas, OSU ROTC head

Bunyard also was a project manager for the Patriot air defense missile system before assuming command of the U.S. Army Missile Command and Redstone Arsenal, Ala. His responsibilities there included being installation commander of the arsenal and being in charge of Army missile research, development, procureIn the Army ment, fielding and sustainment worldwide. After a military career spanning more Bunyard also served in Korea; than three decades, Bunyard’s love for his Germany; Fort Carson, Colo.; Yuma country and serving others is obvious. Proving Ground in Arizona; Fort Sill, Bunyard served two combat tours in Okla.; Fort Monmouth, N.J.; and several Vietnam. His first tour was with the First tours in the Washington, D.C., metropoliInfantry Division Artillery, serving as an tan region. artillery aviation officer. On the second Bunyard’s Pentagon tours included tour, he commanded an aerial field artilweapon systems analyst in the office of lery battalion in the First Cavalry Division. the assistant vice chief of staff of the Army; deputy director for defense test and evaluation in the office of the deputy under secretary of defense for research and engineering; and the Army’s assistant deputy chief of staff of research, development and acquisition.  His last assignment before retirement was as deputy commanding general for research, development and acquisition at the U.S. Army Materiel Command in Alexandria, Va. (continues)

PHOTO / courtesy


In the military, Bunyard found an outlet for his love for baseball. In 1963, he became the 3rd Infantry Division baseball coach while stationed in Kitzingen, Germany, and looked to a mentor for advice. “I stayed in contact with Coach Greene because I needed some help on how to collect data on the pitchers and players,” Bunyard says. “He was the most helpful.” No matter the distance from Stillwater, Bunyard still encountered fellow Cowboys. He was surprised when he met classmate Don Bliss in Vietnam in 1965. Bliss was the aviation officer of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the two shared an experience they will never forget. “I heard he was there, and I called to see if I could come fly an orientation mission with his unit as I entered Vietnam on my first tour,” Bunyard says. “He said my orientation flight would be with another pilot, and we would deliver supplies to a unit that was currently in contact with the Viet Cong. As we approached the extremely small landing zone in the middle of the jungle, we were taken under intense fire, but we were able to deliver the supplies and get out of there as quick as possible. “When we returned to the helipad, I asked Don if he was trying to get me killed on my first mission, and we had a big laugh concerning the flight. The helicopter had to be evacuated to maintenance because of the numerous bullet holes sustained in flight. Don and I talked by phone recently and rehashed this incident, and we both remembered all the details.” In 1989, Bunyard and his wife were at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport and unexpectedly ran into a Cowboy legend. “As we approached the gate I noticed a gentleman sitting in the waiting room, and I immediately recognized it was Henry ‘Hank’ Iba,” Bunyard says. “I went over and introduced myself. Amazingly, he remembered me as playing baseball at A&M, and we talked until it was time for his plane to depart. That was a surprising event of meeting ‘the man’ we all knew and loved so much.”


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Zach, Max & Rob: Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard, center, with his grandsons, Midshipman Zach Patrick, left, and Lt. j.g. Rob Patrick, right, in November 2010. PHOTO PROVIDED

Bunyard’s military awards include two Distinguished Service Medals, one each from the governors of Alabama and Oklahoma; two Distinguished Flying Cross awards; a Defense Superior Service Medal; a Legion of Merit award; and three Bronze Star Medals. Although his list of prestigious awards is long, Bunyard remains humble and says working with people has been the most rewarding experience of his career, a sentiment he echoed during a ceremony for his induction into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2010. “It has been my hope and desire to pass along my passion for working with people to my children and grandchildren as well,” Bunyard says. “I have two grandsons who are pursuing a military career, and they appear to be following this path.” Bunyard retired from the military in 1989. He is one of seven OSU graduates to rise to the rank of lieutenant general — a title currently held by 43 people in the U.S. military. He became president and CEO of Bunyard Enterprises Inc., which provided independent program and process assessments in the weapon system acquisition field for the U.S. Department of Defense. He sold the company and now conducts research and writing on several subjects. Bunyard and his wife live in Alexandria, Va.

Back on Campus Bunyard returned to his alma mater in October to serve in another important position — grand marshal of Homecoming 2012. “I consider being asked to serve as the grand marshal of the OSU Homecoming among the top of the honors I have received in my life,” Bunyard says. “This came as a complete surprise, and one I will always cherish.” With his many years of service, Bunyard represents ‘The Life, The Legend, The Legacy’ of Homecoming. “Each year, we try to select a Homecoming grand marshal who represents a group of our outstanding alumni,” says OSU Alumni Association President Larry Shell. “As we thought about honoring OSU alumni who have served our country, we couldn’t have found a better representative than Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard. “He has distinguished himself as a military and corporate leader, becoming one of OSU’s most outstanding graduates. We are honored to call him a Cowboy and proud to recognize his service by selecting him to lead Homecoming 2012.” Like many graduates, Bunyard continues to carry on the OSU legacy. “I feel very proud to be a graduate of OSU.”

“Showing compassion and love for another person is key to the success of any society. To me, OSU represents what a college should stand for in developing a wellrounded person with high ethical and moral standards.�


Homecoming Grand Marshal Lt. Gen. Max Bunyard and his wife, Celia, greet Homecoming revellers during festivities at Sea of Orange Parade.


left hot and dry

S t o r y by M at t E l l i o t t


Winter 20 12

OSU experts weigh in on the ‘exceptional’ drought and the lasting effects it will have on Oklahoma.

The call came over the radio in the office of OSU’s Fire Protection Publications, where volunteer firefighter Mike Sturzenbecker works as an editor. It was August and 112 degrees. Oklahoma was in the middle of one of its worst droughts in decades. A wildfire near Glencoe, Okla., northeast of Stillwater, kept growing. Sturzenbecker figured he’d better get to his station in nearby Ingalls and prepare his trucks. “I saw the column of smoke, and it was black,” he says. “That’s not a good sign. That meant they weren’t making headway.” The fire fed upon plant growth built up by 30 years of relatively wet weather, then baked to death by two years of drought. “It was going gangbusters,” recalls Steve Edwards, an associate dean in OSU’s education college. Edwards runs a fire truck with Sturzenbecker’s volunteer department. About a dozen fire departments, mostly volunteer, responded to and saved the town of 600 people, which had been evacuated. Wildfires burned about 680 homes across Oklahoma in July and August, according to reports in The Oklahoman newspaper, spreading largely due to drought, wind and heat. By mid-September, 95 percent of Oklahoma was experiencing at least

“extreme” drought conditions, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor report, with 42 percent even worse off in “exceptional” drought, meaning the soil was almost entirely dried out. The summer, in addition to being the 12th warmest on record, was the 14th driest in Oklahoma since record-keeping began in 1895. It followed an even drier 2011, although that drought was more localized to Oklahoma and Texas. This year’s drought spread from Nebraska to Texas and eastward into Arkansas and Missouri, bringing a host of problems and few benefits. Read on for an analysis from OSU-connected experts and policymakers on how the drought affected the state and what they expect in the future.

Wat e r Periods of drought are part of the boom and bust cycle of the prairie. Consistent with the state’s rainfall patterns, Oklahoma’s climate ranges from sub-humid in the east to semi-arid in the west. The state’s water management policies take that into account. But the strange thing is, if you grew up in Oklahoma during the 1980s and 1990s, you might not know that much of the state is supposed to be dry.



Photo / OSU Agricultural Communications Services

High heat and drought has recently caused the loss of crops in parts of Oklahoma.

Much of the state averages just 34 inches of rain per year and saw less than 26 inches in 2011 — almost as little as some deserts get each year. John Weir, a rangeland fire researcher with OSU’s Natural Resource Ecology and Management Department, says the wet spell lasted until the 2000s and was much longer than usual. Weir, who uses weather data in grassland management research, and others wonder if the state is due for a dry spell that could last several years or more. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center reports 2013 could be warmer than normal for regions already affected by drought. Still, predicting weather is tough business and some aren’t convinced, including Oklahoma’s agriculture secretary, OSU alumnus Jim Reese. “If you look at the numbers, they’re all over the place,” Reese says. “I know climatologists have their science, and I appreciate that. But they predicted last

biosystems and agricultural engineering professor and expert in irrigation water management, which makes the state particularly vulnerable to drought. For farms that do irrigate, more dry weather leads to more watering, stressing an already stressed water supply. Most experts predict that Oklahoma’s climate will become more variable in years to come, with more pronounced wet and dry spells possible. Engle notes it’s nothing the state can’t handle. Oklahoma’s weather has always been variable.

Wildlife Heat and drought stresses wildlife and their habitats, but the effects don’t stop there. Dwayne Elmore, a wildlife biologist with OSU’s natural resource ecology and management department, says drought and heat limits the food available for wild animals. Vegetation dies, limiting the cover for hiding from both predators

“There’s only so much water.” — Dave Engle, director of OSU’s Water Research and Extension winter and spring to be dry. ‘Prolonged drought,’ they said. We had one of the wettest winters ever in the state. I’m just not going to just accept their assertions that we’re due for an extended period of drought.” Regardless, people may not realize they could face more mandatory water rationing, says Dave Engle, the director of OSU’s Water Research and Extension center. “As we hope to grow the state economy and the population, we’re going to see the same kinds of things communities have dealt with in Texas,” Engle says. “There’s only so much water.” In 2011, cities including Moore, Edmond, Yukon, Norman and Oklahoma City began water rationing during the height of that drought. In 2012, Tulsa, Shawnee, Enid, Oklahoma City and Edmond were among the cities doing the same. That could also affect the agriculture industry. Most Oklahoma cropland isn’t irrigated, says Ron Elliott, a retired


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and the environment. The lack of water creates “forest gaps” where trees die and can cause birds to abandon their nests. “They’re keeping eggs at a moderate temperature,” Elmore says. “At some point, the adult gets so hot it has to decide whether it’s going to stay in the nest and potentially die or abandon the nest and eggs.” Also, drought causes more animals to traipse into populated areas to find food and water. Elmore says his department has received more complaints from residents about animals in their garbage and eating their gardens, which they keep greener with watering. Sometimes drought stresses animals already in decline, such as bobwhite quail, one of Elmore’s specialties as a biologist and a hunter. The quail are popular with hunters but their numbers have declined following a population boom during the wet spells of the 1980s and 1990s. Also, greater prairie chickens, already found in just a small corner of northeast

Oklahoma, have suffered, he says. Further declines due to drought could harm communities that benefit from the income the rare birds generate. Drought hurts in less obvious but more costly ways, too, such as an oft overlooked but vital feature of the plains upon which people and animals rely. Playas are prairie wetlands created in depressions that dot the landscape from Wyoming to Texas. They look like big puddles, but Loren Smith, an OSU zoologist and a noted wetlands expert, says they play a huge role in prairie ecosystems. They may help with greenhouse gas storage, provide habitat for game animals, filter toxic chemicals and recharge aquifers. Their effects reach beyond their immediate vicinities, Smith says. And playas have been drying up all over the plains due to drought and soil erosion. “Playas all the way from Nebraska down to Oklahoma and Texas recharge the Ogallala aquifer, which provides water to millions of people in the Midwest,” Smith says. “Water runs off the land, fills up in the playa, and that water goes down into the Ogallala. … That’s worth a lot of money. Billions and billions of dollars.” Smith spent part of summer 2012 in Nebraska doing research. He says the region is as dry as he’s ever seen it in his 30-year career. The impact on bird life is stark, he says. There’s little water in the basins, he says, and birds aren’t breeding there or stopping in the areas they once did on migrations. Waterfowl won’t survive as well in dry winters, he says. And that affects the entire western hemisphere, he says, because some species migrate each spring and fall. “If we have another drought in 2013, there’s going to be long-lasting impacts on certain ecosystem services,” Smith says. That said, drought’s effects aren’t all bad ones. Most wetlands are more productive with that natural boom and bust cycle of drying out and refilling, Elmore says. Drought helps in other ways, too. Elmore says low deer reproduction put

a dent in the already too-large whitetail population in some areas. Still, Elmore warns that’s not a good thing in the big picture: “You certainly don’t want to see that over the long term because you’ll have a lot of old animals and few young, productive animals.” Drought also helps limit the spread and growth of the invasive species such as feral hogs, which are pigs descended from domesticated animals that escaped long ago and breed in the wild, Reese says. They destroy land, harm crops and carry parasites that infect the predators that eat them. “Feral hogs are rapidly out of control in southern Oklahoma,” Reese says. “They’re one of the most rapidly reproducing animals in North America. The drought helped us make some progress against them last year, and this year they aren’t as prevalent.” Still, while weather can be destructive, the biggest threats to state wildlife come from improper land management, Elmore says. Drought makes it harder for experts to fix that. A lack of controlled burning on rangeland has led to an increase in woodland areas. That benefits the species that rely on them, such as forest nesting songbirds, he says, but one of Oklahoma’s traditional habitats

— grasslands — are disappearing, harming the species that call those home. “And that’s not just bobwhite quail and prairie chickens,” Elmore says. “That’s why a lot of us at OSU focus on grassland species because they’re not doing well.” The plains need periodic burning to survive, Weir says. Also, no prescribed burning means fuel piles up, making the state a big tinderbox when it dries out. Plus, the lack of fire helps increase eastern red cedar, a native but invasive species, which chokes out other plant life and harm prairie wildlife by changing the ecosystem. “Lack of fire is the sole reason for eastern red cedar encroachment,” Weir says. “If you top-kill it with fire, it doesn’t grow back. They have volatile oils in them and foliage year-round. Sometimes they’re a firebreak if they have moisture in their leaves, but they were very dry this summer, and that helped fuel wildfires.”

A g r i c u lt u r e Drought caused $1.67 billion in losses for Oklahoma’s agriculture industry in 2011, according to Dave Shideler, an economist in OSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics. As of press time, the losses in 2012 hadn’t been calculated. Crop failures won’t make the Oklahoma economy wither and die like it did during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s,


U.S. Drought Monitor Sept. 18, 2012

DO Abnormally Dry

D1 Drought – Moderate

D3 Drought – Extreme

D2 Drought – Severe

D4 Drought – Exceptional


Photo / Phil Shockley

OSU agricultural economist Derrell Peel stands in the bed of a dried-out farm pond just north of Stillwater. Peel says droughtrelated loses to the cattle industry are unprecedented.

Shideler says. Today’s economy is more diverse, with agriculture representing about 7 percent of it. Still, the losses were significant. The agriculture losses disproportionately affected the state’s $2.5 billion beef cattle industry, experts say, which lost about $702 million in 2011 — nearly a third of its value, notes OSU agricultural economist Derrell Peel. Those losses include a staggering $332 million due to ranchers’ buying more feed and more than $153 million in lost pasture production. “It was truly an unprecedented impact in that sense,” Peel says. The drought caused odd things to happen, too. Some ranchers boarded their pregnant cows at feedlots simply to keep them fed and watered. “To my knowledge, that’s the first time in history that’s happened to any significant extent,” Peel says. That led to a sell-off of about 288,000 cows in 2011 because ranchers couldn’t afford to feed and water their herds. So many cattle were sold that 2012’s losses may be smaller, but that could be misleading, Peel says. Producers forced to sell cows can lose money in the long run because they forfeit future returns on their investment. Also, the drought- and heat-stressed herds will be less productive and bear


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fewer calves, meaning ranchers will have a harder time building back herds. The widespread nature of 2012’s drought had a broader impact on the market than 2011’s did, Peel says. “That’s lost value that the producer incurs. That’s part of the long-tail effects we see that go out for several years afterward.” Another drought in 2013 could accelerate a generational transfer of the business, Peel says. Older ranchers are retiring at higher rates as younger ones take over their land and could bring greater innovation and more sustainability, Shideler says. “Will we have larger ranches with traditional ranching systems, or will there be farmers using less intensive farming practices on smaller ranches?” Shideler asks. “The people getting into these are typically 40-somethings, not 20-somethings. We’re wondering if they are going to be the ones who will rebuild Oklahoma’s cattle herd. If so, that could have some big implications on how ranching looks in Oklahoma.” Regardless, Reese, Oklahoma’s agricultural secretary, says he’s most concerned whether 2013 will bring another drought. Water rationing as it relates to irrigation concerns him, as well, he says.

Commodity prices have been at record levels for some time, he says, and that has helped farmers and ranchers through these tough years. Farmers, he says, would always prefer to battle the elements than tangling with sagging commodity prices that could harm profitability. “If it wasn’t drought, it might be army worms or grasshoppers,” Reese says. “There’s always something. We make our living with the weather conditions and whatever nature provides for us.” Oklahoma has learned from past mistakes and is better prepared to handle such weather events, which was proven in 2012. Reese says the responses to 2011, including the work of extension experts such as Peel and other OSU employees, made 2012 easier. “I think we’ll continue to adapt and continue to learn,” Reese says. “Farmers will plant more droughttolerant seeds. The wildfires helped us prepare. It helped communities be more fire safe. With each weather event like a drought, we learn more about how to manage and plan for the future. These last few years have certainly been beneficial in helping us to be better prepared for any situation.”

Drought Keeps Oklahoma Pilot Grounded J o e W e r t z , S tate I m p a ct O k l a h o m a

Harold Blackledge doesn’t worry about a lot, which is surprising considering his line of work. He’s a crop duster who works out of a crumbling municipal airport in Watonga, Okla. He laughs about things that would terrify most people, such as midair fuel problems and unplanned emergency landings. At 79, Blackledge is a survivor. He started flying in Nebraska and began his agricultural aviation business in Oklahoma in the late 1980s. Blackledge has weathered a lot of Oklahoma droughts over the decades, but the current one is the worst he’s ever experienced. Summer crops, such as soybeans, shriveled. Calls from cattle ranchers needing pastures sprayed with herbicide never came,

because even herbicides won’t work if nothing is growing. And nothing has been growing. “Last year wasn’t any too whippy either, as far as that goes for me,” Blackledge says. “It’s enough just to survive.” Almost the entire state suffered “extreme” or “exceptional” drought conditions during the summer, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Very little Oklahoma farmland is irrigated, which means the fortunes of farmers and others in the agriculture industry are tied to what falls from the sky. Blackledge isn’t worried about himself. But he’s got two other — younger — pilots on his payroll. Those pilots spent much of the (continues)

Photo / Joe Wertz, State I mpact O klahoma

Harold Blackledge, a 79-year-old agricultural pilot, stands in front of his 1975 Piper Pawnee Brave at a hangar at the Watonga Regional Airport. The drought — the worst he’s seen — has dried up aerial spraying work in Oklahoma, he says.


Photo / Joe Wertz, State I mpact O klahoma

Harold Blackledge and a 1974 Aero Commander Thrush, his biggest spray plane. The Thrush, which is also Blackledge’s most fuel-hungry plane, is only used on big jobs and spent much of the summer in the hangar due to Oklahoma’s drought.

summer working the corn crop in Iowa, which has also been hurting from the drought. Andrew Moore, executive director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association, says, “We migrate to where the work is.” But while it’s fairly easy for pilots to chase work — the job comes with a plane, after all — the U.S. drought is spreading. The current drought started in 2011 across the Sun Belt states, including Oklahoma. That’s where the biggest percentage of work for agricultural pilots lies, according to an NAAA industry survey. Another one-third of the crop dusting work is in the Midwest — exactly where the drought is moving. “That’s a considerable amount,” Moore says. “That’s more than two-thirds of our industry.” The drought has raised the price of crops and farmland because there’s less supply to meet demand. A little drought can be good for agricultural pilots, Moore says. Pricier crops mean farmers have more money, and larger farm budgets mean more work for agricultural pilots. But no one benefits from the most debilitating droughts, such as the one lingering in Oklahoma.


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The current drought is also intensifying competition among pilots, and it’s hastening the industry’s longstanding move toward bigger, faster planes. More pilots with better equipment competing for work in a smaller area means crop dusting is “not going to be as lucrative as it has been in the past,” Moore says. “They won’t hire me with these little airplanes up there,” Blackledge says about spraying work in the Midwest. “They want those big, fancy turbines.” Blackledge says he can’t afford to buy one of the new turbine-powered planes, which can cost more than $800,000. When Blackledge’s pilots migrate to spray crops in places like Iowa, they rent those fancy turbine planes to stay competitive. If the drought continues in the Midwest and the South, Blackledge doesn’t know he’ll get by. He’s hopeful, but he just doesn’t know. “I can quit anytime,” he says. “I just kind of keep it going to see if I can get a little work for the pilots.” Over the summer, Blackledge’s planes spent a lot of time tucked away in their hangar, shielded from Oklahoma’s relentless summer sun. Blackledge wasn’t doing much spraying, but he says he’s praying — for rain.

This story was provided by StateImpact Oklahoma, an ongoing collaboration between NPR and several of the state’s public media organizations, including KOSU. Visit StateImpact Oklahoma at www.stateimpact.npr.org/ Oklahoma. Joe Wertz’s story was first broadcast on KOSU on Aug. 17. Listen to KOSU anytime, anywhere, through the live audio streams at www.kosu. org. In central Oklahoma, tune your radio to 91.7 FM or in northeastern Oklahoma to 107.5 FM.

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photo / gary lawson

Chemical engineering professors Gary Foutch, left, and AJ Johannes use mashed potatoes to test their waste treatment machine, which turns the material into a harmless sanitized powder.


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OSU professors present technology to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

wo OSU chemical engineering professors presented their waterless sanitation technology to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in August as part of the Reinvent the Toilet Fair. Hosted at the foundation’s offices in Seattle, the fair featured the work of 40 grantees and other partners from the foundation’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene Program. The fair aimed to inspire collaboration around the mission of delivering a reinvented toilet for the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to safe and affordable sanitation. Professors Gary Foutch and AJ Johannes received funding from the foundation for their concept through the Grand Challenges Explorations grant program. The program funds scientists and researchers worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in solving persistent global health and development challenges. “It’s unconscionable that 2.5 billion people suffer today because they don’t have access to a toilet,” foundation President Chris Elias says. “We need innovations to not only help manage the problem of dealing with human waste, but to help advance progress across a broader range of global challenges.” Foutch and Johannes developed a small-scale device that can effectively disinfect and dewater feces and other solid wastes using viscous heating to destroy bacteria and other organisms. The device results in less surface and ground water

photo provided

Gary Foutch at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle.

contamination and reduces the associated spread of diseases. Other benefits include odor reduction and less attraction for insects. “These are the type of creative ideas that Oklahoma State University not only embraces but also encourages,” says OSU President Burns Hargis. “We are very proud of Dr. Foutch and Dr. Johannes and their efforts to truly make the world a better place, which truly embodies the mission of a land-grant institution like OSU.” Foutch, who is a Regents professor and holds the Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Chair in Chemical Engineering, says he and Johannes are honored to participate in such a worthwhile project. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports projects with the highest potential impact on the most people,” Foutch says. “We are excited that such a prestigious entity believes our efforts have such merit.” Foutch and Johannes will now embark on identifying partners for the next round of funding, which could award them up to $1 million. Foutch says of the 19 Global Challenges Explorations competitors, three to four proposals will likely be funded. The OSU professors will work with scientists they have met during the process to write a collaborative proposal aimed at providing a solution to this worldwide issue. “The Gates Foundation plays a very active role in integrating researchers, which was the whole point of the Reinvent the Toilet Fair,” Foutch says. “The organization matches the personality of its founder. They want solutions, and they want them now.” Foutch says he and Johannes met several promising partners at the fair, including a team from South Africa. They have been invited to present their technology at the Faecal Sludge Management Conference, which takes place in South Africa this fall. “During the conference, we’ll be able to take field trips to see the problem firsthand,” Foutch says. “South Africa will be home base for testing many of these technologies.” K e l ly G r e e n


A Serial Inventor

Photo/Gary Lawson


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OSU chemistry professor’s inventions have led to the founding of four companies. When he was a child, Allen Apblett pestered his parents for a chemistry set until they caved and bought him one. It wasn’t long before he had done all the experiments the set would allow. So, like any boy, he soon figured out how to blow things up. Then it was off to the abandoned rock quarry near his home in New Brunswick, Canada, the explosions scaring the heck out of the swallows that made their homes in its walls. “Now, to bring it around for closure, I make products that detect improvised explosive devices,” Apblett says. His love affair with inorganic chemistry — ask him why inorganic, and he’ll tell you how he spent a summer in college milking sea cucumbers for chemicals — has made the noted OSU chemistry professor a prolific inventor and starter of four companies to market his inventions. While his work has potential uses in medicine, such as in artificial bone, it’s his explosives work that makes the news. His company XploSafe, founded with colleague Nick Materer and based in Stillwater, has seven products to detect explosives. Last year, the Oklahoma Venture Forum named XploSafe one of Oklahoma’s most promising new ventures. It came out of ideas Apblett and Materer kick around each day in their OSU labs. “All inventions are made working in the lab and thinking about problems,” Apblett says. “You see a lot of funding of directed research, but I find that a lot

“Inventions are made working in the lab and thinking about problems. … When you make breakthroughs, you’re doing one thing and you discover something else.” — Allen Apblett, OSU chemistry professor

of times, when you make breakthroughs, you’re doing one thing and you discover something else.” Apblett had been interested in the work since his days as a professor at Tulane University. Today’s products can be traced back to about 15 years ago, when the Oklahoma City Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism announced it was looking to fund counter-terrorism research. Apblett knew from previous work that certain materials would change color or flash colors when they came into contact with different chemicals. Materer, an expert in surface chemistry, and Apblett came up with a spray that would disable chemicals in bombs typically made by terrorists, who use sloppier methods and cruder chemicals. That research was funded by the Department of Justice. Apblett and Materer later came up with a spray that would eat through some metal casings surrounding bombs. Other XploSafe products came from work the two did for the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security looking for new explosive sensing technology. “We put in a proposal based on the simple things, not the most complicated detector in the world that can sense all things down to micro-quantities,” Apblett says, “but the simple things that would really make it easier for people working in homeland security and bomb squads to use.” XploSafe sells sprays, strips of paper and droppers that change color when they contact chemicals. The company, founded in 2009, had about $1.4 million in contracts as of mid-2012. Most of its customers are universities, pharmaceutical companies, laboratories and government. “Our products make consistent sales,” he says. “At some point, we’re really going to take off. In the meantime, we’re doing a lot of research and expanding into new product lines.” The company, which employs several OSU faculty members and other researchers, is looking into training aids for explosive sensing dogs. Other ideas include developing products to help lab managers

keep their chemicals fresh in storage. They can also provide labs with chemicals that mimic the real components of explosives such as acetone peroxide, a common high explosive, so they don’t have to work with the real thing. Another of Apblett’s inventions led to the development of Stillwater-based Associated Material Processing. Wanting to improve water purification technology, Apblett invented a polymer that removes arsenic from water 10 times better than current technology. The development, commercialized through OSU’s Cowboy Technologies, could be hugely popular with the semiconductor industry, which generates large amounts of the toxic heavy metal. Apblett and colleagues Materer and Tyler Ley have another invention, a concrete-embedded sensor that detects corrosion and will report wirelessly to a handheld receiver. “Today, you have to cut cores into the concrete to do that,” he says. Another project is a pellet made out of material that can remove radioactive compounds from water and other liquids by replacing it with calcium. Like his other discoveries, this one came about when he was working in the lab, studying how calcium interacted with uranium during water purification. As universities worldwide look for new funding sources, Apblett’s work gives hope to those looking for new ways schools can profit from faculty innovations. M att E lliott

Chemistry professor Allen Apblett has a doctoral degree from the University of Calgary and did his postdoctoral work at Harvard University as a fellow of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He came to OSU in 1997, where he keeps a full teaching load in addition to his research efforts.


Rama Ramakumar


After 45 years, CEAT professor is still giving back to OSU.


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Stillwater airport wind energy system, 1974

Most would consider four and a half decades of teaching and research at one institution a true definition of dedication, but to Rama Ramakumar, it is only the beginning. Ramakumar is one of the world’s leading renewable-energy experts, but his passion truly lies with students. His mentorship is invaluable to students, and he is proud of his students’ accomplishments. But equipping students with knowledge is not enough for this seasoned instructor. With no immediate plans for retirement, Ramakumar has already set up endowed scholarships so future students also can benefit from his dedication to OSU. Perhaps such a commitment to students stems from his personal experiences. In 1952, Ramakumar started his engineering education at the University of Madras in India, where he completed a bachelor’s in 1956. The next year, he received his M. Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. A scholarship from the United States though the Technical Cooperation Mission helped him pursue his doctorate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Ramakumar completed his doctorate at Cornell in 1962, then returned to India and taught engineering until 1967. Bill Hughes was the department head for electrical engineering at OSU then, and he made it a point to recruit Ramakumar for his faculty. Encouragement from a friend who received his master’s degree at OSU helped convince Ramakumar to move to Stillwater and begin a career in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. “I have now spent over 60 percent of my life at OSU,” says Ramakumar, a Regents professor. “Since 1967, energy has been a huge focus. I chose to address my efforts on renewable energy from the time I arrived at OSU.” Ramakumar has become a worldrenowned expert in renewable energy and

can be credited with some of the early models for wind energy systems. One of his more significant contributions, he says, is being a member of the first group to discuss using variable speed in wind energy as the best method to harness power. Ramakumar has received a multitude of awards over the years for both his renewable energy research as well as plaudits in instruction. But aside from all the accolades, he says he believes his greatest legacy will be in the scholarships and support he has given to OSU, and the Ramakumar Family Award for “Excellence in Renewable Energy,” established under the Power and Energy Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. “Again, this is part of a legacy,” says Ramakumar. “Students will benefit each year from this and further advance research and development in the renewable energy industry.”

It has been a longtime goal for Ramakumar to leave his mark – not only at OSU but also in the field of renewable energy internationally. Ramakumar was honored this spring with an invitation, one of 20 worldwide, from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to participate in an expert group meeting in Trieste, Italy. This group addressed potentials of renewable energy options for off-grid areas of Africa. This international recognition adds to the long list of significant accomplishments of this acclaimed OSU professor. His legacy will forever be remembered at OSU. “I will continue to teach and do research until I find something better to do,” Ramakumar jokes. With 45 years here, Ramakumar is making a mark for his devotion to OSU, but his substantial gifts to the college will leave a legacy that far surpasses even his tenure. W r ave n n a B l oo m ber g

I have been treated well by OSU, so what better way to give back and to promote renewable energy than through future students?” — RAMA RAMAKUMAR Because of a 2:1 match available through the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match, Ramakumar decided to give a large amount to OSU, while still being a professor. He wants to enable future generations with additional support to pursue their dreams and positively affect the industry he cares so much about. “I wanted to see the impact of my gifts,” says Ramakumar. “I have been treated well by OSU, so what better way to give back and to promote renewable energy than through future students?” The Ramakumar Family Scholarship is set up for CEAT students interested in renewable energy and studying electrical engineering. “I hope to gain national attention for potential students interested in this area to come to OSU,” he says. “I have also placed a large gift to CEAT for directing the Engineering Energy Lab.”

Rama Ramakumar, left, discusses energy with a graduate student in 1976.


Through the Doel Reed Center for the Arts in Taos, N.M., OSU is offering students and lifelong learners unique academic opportunities. The tentative slate of credit courses to be offered in Taos in summer 2013 includes: beginning jewelry making, print making, digital art, urban design, textile surface design, and “The Nuclear Bomb and the Land of Enchantment.” The Center also will sponsor two one-week, non-credit courses for lifelong learners: “New Mexico Modernism” and “Art & Literature in New Mexico Post 1940.” Enrollment in these courses will begin soon. For more information, visit drca.okstate.edu or contact Director Edward Walkiewicz at e.walkiewicz@okstate.edu.

The Doel Reed Center for the Arts is named for the renowned artist who directed OSU’s Department of Art from 1924 until retiring to the family estate in northern New Mexico in 1959. Thanks to the generosity of his daughter, Martha, the picturesque property and three historic adobe structures now serve as an inspiring setting for teaching, research and outreach related to the Southwest.

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ilitary veterans have recently been returning from service in record numbers, and often their first order of business is to begin their civilian careers while returning to family life. However, many wonder how their military training and skills translate to the current workforce. Navy veteran Dave Barnet, who served for 25 years, found his answer in Okmulgee, Okla., at OSU Institute of Technology. Two years after enrolling at OSUIT, Barnet will launch his career after he graduates in December with a Bachelor of Technology degree in information assurance and forensics. “As a senior chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, I had always advised sailors and other military personnel who were separating from the military to take full advantage of their educational benefits, as I intended to do,” Barnet says. He started looking for universities. He spoke with his brother-in-law, who was attending Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa. “He had heard a lot of great things about OSUIT and told me that I should come down and check it out,” Barnet says. Barnet, who is from South Bend, Ind., traveled to OSUIT and met veterans certifying official Tonya Stretch. She facilitated the review of his military transcripts and work history to determine how much of it could apply towards a degree and helped him determine suitable career fields.

Barnet was interested in information technology, so Stretch helped him contact the division to take a tour. “Tonya was very helpful with providing me all the information I needed, including helping me find out about veterans education benefits,” Barnet says. “She’s a veteran herself so she understands what veterans and their families are going through and what kind of help they need.” When Barnet found out that OSUIT offered a technical degree with hands-on applications in information assurance and forensics, he knew it would be an excellent fit. “I had worked as a naval nuclear submarine independent-duty hospital corpsman ... providing medical care to the sailors, and I decided a lifelong career in medicine wasn’t for me,” Barnet says. “Then, toward the end of my service, I got more interested in information technology. When we were expanding our footprint in Afghanistan, a good friend was the IT officer for the Marine unit we were assigned to. I was able to see a lot of interesting things, and I developed enough interest that I decided IT was my career choice.” Barnet says with a degree in IT, he can find a job in any city and the salary will support his family. He adds, “After being out on a ship or a submarine for months at a time in the Navy, I’m ready to have a job that will allow me to come home to my family in the evenings.”

His decision to attend OSUIT turned out to be an excellent fit, Barnet says. “The instructors in this program are extremely helpful, and they stay up-to-date with the latest knowledge in their technical areas of expertise,” he says. “The teachers who do a lot of our security training — Ted Ward and Dave Crandell — are always reading and learning the current trends, they have completed a cyber corps program and Mr. Ward is working on an advanced degree.” Barnet has a 3.65 GPA, which he says is much better than his high school grades. “Having worked with the Navy and Marine Corps, I learned that completing tasks on time and completing them well is the key to success,” he says. “The same holds true for completing schoolwork. I have an obligation to myself and to my country to be an example to other students of how a strong work ethic pays off in earning a degree.” His recent internship with Motorola Solutions Inc. in the Chicago area also helped, Barnet says. “I benefited from the experience in a real company, and I felt that I was able to apply the skills I had been taught in my classes,” Barnet says. “On my internship, I worked with information security, penetration testing, networks, determining the real threats to large corporations and to

Serving Service Members

OSUIT is a ‘military-committed’ university making sure veterans can jump-start new careers.


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government. I also learned about breaches and hacking — anything from mass malware to specific, persistent threats — as well as regulations and compliance, and about annual vulnerability scans for payment card industrial standards. “I had learned these skills in my classes, but when I did them for a company it really broadened my knowledge. I feel that when I graduate, I’ll be ready to be a valuable employee the day I start my career.” OSUIT President Bill R. Path says his university is not only “militaryfriendly” — as it was named recently by G.I. Jobs magazine — but also “military-committed.” “We at OSUIT are proud to serve those who have so proudly served us. Our university is dedicated to providing military veterans with an education that will gain them meaningful employment in fields that have a tremendous need for highly-skilled, highly-educated employees,” he says. “Our degree programs are designed specifically to meet the needs of the workforce, and we educate our students with the specific skills they need to perform at a very high level the first day they go to work.” Nearly 100 percent of OSUIT graduates with technical degrees have at least one job waiting on them the day they graduate, Path says. “Not many universities can say that. OSUIT is just as focused on career attainment as it is on degree attainment.”

Since retiring from the military in 2010 and enrolling at OSUIT, Barnet has earned associate degrees in science in information technology and in applied science in information technology. His wife, Erica, is also a veteran and is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in Tulsa. She has applied to enter medical school next year. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Abigail. “We also wanted to continue our educations to set a good example for our daughter, and to provide a good future for her,” Dave Barnet says. S haron S mith


U.S. Navy veteran Dave Barnet will graduate from OSUIT in December with a Bachelor of Technology degree. Like many veterans, Barnet was looking for a way to start a career when he found OSUIT.


OSU Launches School of Materials Science & Engineering Williams Companies Distinguished Chair in Energy Technology Raj Singh will lead the new school at OSU-Tulsa.

“The experience that Dr. Singh brings to OSU has the potential to greatly impact our city and state,” says Robyn L. Ewing, senior vice president of strategic services and administration and chief administrative officer of Williams and a member of the OSU-Tulsa board of trustees. “He is a world-class expert in When Raj Singh arrived at OSU-Tulsa, he found the ceramics, composites and nanomaterials. The breadth of his work Helmerich Research Center to be quite impressive. is impressive, and he is the perfect person to be the Williams “The unique facility, the capabilities for expanding research Chair in Energy Technology at OSU-Tulsa.” and the efforts of the faculty and students really attracted me Singh earned his bachelor’s in metallurgical engineering from to OSU,” says Singh, who joined the faculty in January 2012 the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in 1967 and his as the new Williams Companies Distinguished Chair in Energy master’s in physical metallurgy from the University of Manitoba Technology. “I’m quite excited by what we are doing at OSU.” in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1969. He completed his doctorate in The opportunity to start the School of Materials Science ceramics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973. and Engineering in the College of Engineering, Architecture During nearly 40 years of commercial and academic research, and Technology was another deciding factor for Singh has collected 25 U.S. patents, been Singh. published in more than 250 journals and received The school, based at OSU-Tulsa, will provide numerous awards. He has held positions at MIT, educational training opportunities for master’s the Argonne National Laboratory, the General and doctoral degrees in materials science and Electric Research and Development Center and engineering. Materials science focuses on the the University of Cincinnati. structure, properties and performance of such His work helped create a sodium-sulfur materials as metals, ceramics, semiconductors, battery used in the world’s largest battery storage polymers, composites and biomaterials. system at the Hitachi Automotive Systems factory “The new degree “Dr. Singh is an exceptional researcher to in Japan and by American Electric Power. He programs will head our new School of Materials Science and also developed advanced ceramic composites now Engineering and provide leadership and direcencourage being commercialized by GE for aircraft engines. tion for the Helmerich Research Center,” says industry leaders Singh expects to begin enrolling students in Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and the the School of Materials Science and Engineering to pursue OSU Center for Health Sciences. “His years of in 2013. In addition to Singh, the faculty will advanced experience as an industry and higher-education include engineering professors Lobat Tayebi and researcher will be a valuable resource for our degrees in Ranji Vaidyanathan. A national search is under students and provide additional opportunities to materials way for a fourth member. partner with industry leaders in Tulsa and across “The new degree programs will encourage science and Oklahoma.” industry leaders to pursue advanced degrees in engineering. We Williams, a Tulsa-based global energy and materials science and engineering,” Singh says. communications company, donated $1 million will help existing “It will be a great opportunity to work with them, to create the Williams Companies Distinguished industries and our location in Tulsa makes us easily accesChair in Energy Technology. As the chair, Singh sible. We will help existing industries enhance enhance their will research advanced materials that will affect their capabilities or start new ventures.” capabilities the energy, aerospace, outer space, electronics, Part of Singh’s position includes overseeing medicine and natural-gas industries. His focus is or start the Helmerich Research Center, where researchon advanced materials for use in energy systems, new ventures.” ers are working on projects ranging from fuel electronics and biomedical devices.

— Raj Singh


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cells and energy storage devices to nanotechnology and biomaterials. Multidisciplinary research is also a key component of the center, with engineering faculty collaborating with researchers from other colleges, including the OSU-CHS, the College of Human Sciences and the Spears School of Business. “Interdisciplinary research is good for our students because it allows them to gain experience working with professionals in other disciplines and industries,” Singh says. “We are creating a workforce that can go out into commercial industries and serve as part of a team.” Singh is also promoting the center to area industry leaders, he says. “We want to help industry professionals utilize the facilities we have available in Tulsa and offer our support in research efforts.”

An important part of his new position is promoting careers in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics to current and future researchers. Singh has already started working with high school students and teachers in Tulsa to arrange tours of the center and is planning an advanced materials camp for teachers next summer. “Getting students interested in materials science and engineering is the most important part of our work at OSU,” Singh says. “Our primary goal will always be the education of our students.” S ean K ennedy

Raj Singh, the Williams Companies Distinguished Chair in Energy Technology at OSU-Tulsa, and microelectrical mechanical systems doctoral student Jeff Modarres-Zadeh work with a scanning electron microscope at the Helmerich Research Center.

Photo / Ryan Jensen


H Past residents share memories of living in the former dormitory.

omecoming came early this year for 60 former residents of Murray Hall, the stately building at the corner of University Avenue and Monroe Street that served as a dormitory between 1934 and 1984. “Facebook actually sparked it,” says Sue Perry, who lived in Murray from 1979 to 1982 and coordinated the event. “All of a sudden, people started connecting, and it just evolved from there.” Perry says the reunion was set to coincide with the first Cowboy football game of the season, Sept. 1 versus the University of LouisianaLafayette. The reunion took place in the Murray Hall parlor, where residents once gathered around the television to watch M.A.S.H. “It could not have been a better day for us,” says Perry, a 1982 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in science and home economics. “We haven’t seen each other in 30 years and just rediscovered one another last year. You get busy after you graduate, and you go on with your lives.” Only upperclassmen could live in Murray, the only coed dorm on campus in the early 1980s. Perry and the other residents joke about how they got “stuck in Murray” because most were transfer students or turned in their housing contracts late. “I thought, ‘I’ll stay here a semester and move to Drummond the first chance I get,’ ” Perry says. “Once you move in and you meet everyone, the building takes on a persona of its own, and you don’t move out. You become very close.” Former Murray residents, who coined the term “Murray, America,” traveled from across the country for the reunion.



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fantastic. This was such a fun “It was funny because in computer science and business After transferring from place to gather.” my friend had a crush on his management. “It was awesome Seminole (Okla.) Junior After a successful reunion, roommate,” Connie Corral because we were close. My College, Rameen Miarrostami Perry says surveys were sent to says. “I told her, ‘Oh you can friends were their friends, and lived in Murray from 1980 to all who attended. have him, and I’ll take his their friends were my friends.” 1982. The 1982 graduate with “We’re going to see where roommate,’ not even knowing Broken Arrow natives a degree in biological sciences it goes from here, but we’re it was John.” Connie and John Corral found is now a medical doctor living thinking of maybe having one In 2009, Murray reopened in New York City. After recon- more than friendship while every two years,” Perry says. after several years of living at Murray from 1982 to necting with an old friend from Murray, he heard about the reunion and made a lastminute decision to visit the campus for the first time since he graduated. “Just about a week before the reunion, I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to go,’” Miarrostami says. “I got on the phone with Expedia and told them what I was looking for and made the trip.” Murray Hall was one of the few dorms on campus that lacked air conditioning in the 1980s, but many of the former residents say it wasn’t a problem. “It didn’t bother me,” says Polly Goodier, who lived in Murray from 1979 to 1982, when she graduated with a degree in recreation administration and management. “I used to work at camp in the summer, so I would come from sleeping in a tent at camp to coming here. We would actually fit our beds into the dormers, so we would be sleeping right by the window. It was PHOTO PROVIDED pretty awesome.” Goodier says the family A group of former Murray Hall residents reunite at OSU in early September. The building atmosphere was her favorite served as a dormitory between 1934 and 1984, and now houses departments in the College part about living in Murray. of Arts & Sciences. “We always kind of felt like the stepchild as far as student housing goes,” Goodier says. “It seems like yesterday we renovation. It is now home to 1984. They found love before “I think it brought us together. were all living here with communication sciences and they both graduated in 1984 We all got along so well, and each other.” disorders, geography, history, with degrees from the journalwe did everything together.” philosophy, political sciences ism and broadcasting school. K r iste n M c C o n n au g hey For Mike Askew, it literally and sociology offices. The couple met during the was a family atmosphere. “Even though it’s been “Secret Pals” reveal. During “I had two sisters who lived renovated, they’ve really kept the event, residents would get in Murray at the same time as all of the architectural integanonymous notes and goodme,” says Askew, who lived in rity,” Connie Corral says. “It’s ies throughout the week from the dorm from 1979 to 1982, another resident. when he graduated with degrees 101

Biennial Wine Forum of Oklahoma provides delicious wines and culinary treats.

Ree Drummond

Beth Nickel


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Of Wine, Women & The West features the star power of chef Ree Drummond and honorary chair Beth Nickel, a 1972 fashion merchandising graduate, in an event as memorable as the Wild West. Both of these trailblazing entrepreneurs have spent part of their lives in Bartlesville, Okla., and are avid OSU supporters. The evening will introduce your palates to wonderful flavors and reacquaint you with Western culinary staples. Visit wineforumofoklahoma.com for ticket information.

The School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration in OSU’s College of Human Sciences is gearing up for its biennial Wine Forum of Oklahoma, a popular two-day event that includes educational seminars, a grand wine tasting and a gala dinner. The student-managed event is the third since its debut in 2009 and is scheduled for April 12 and 13 on OSU’s Stillwater campus. It will feature celebrity chef Ree Drummond, known as The Pioneer Woman, and honorary chair Beth Nickel, a 1972 fashion merchandising graduate and the proprietress of Nickel & Nickel and Far Niente wineries. Of Wine, Women & the West will pair Western culinary staples with a variety of wines. About 100 students will organize the event. They will create the schedule, plan within the event’s budget, handle ticketing, work with chefs and vintners, and manage service functions.

Food and beverage clinical instructor Philippe Garmy says while there are several similar events hosted by other hospitality programs across the country, OSU distinguishes itself by the learning opportunities the Wine Forum of Oklahoma provides students. “Students are the ones leading this event,” he says, adding that OSU hospitality students are regularly recruited for jobs by top industry leaders because of the training they receive in college. “Because of the great opportunities students are offered in HRAD to plan, work and execute events like the Wine Forum, they are ready for challenges when they enter the professional workforce.”

Garmy teaches the related course for the Wine Forum alongside Steve Ruby, the event’s coordinator and a clinical assistant professor. “We put kids on the front line, and we don’t just say, ‘OK, I’m going to tell you what to do.’ We say, ‘Figure out what to do, rely on the faculty and staff for support and then go do it,’” Ruby says. “Our role as faculty is to advise students as much as necessary and enhance their learning experience.” The growth and continued success of the event contributes to the overall experience, Ruby and Garmy say. “To bring in The Pioneer Woman and to attract the wineries that will be participating, that’s fantastic,” Ruby says. “As Wine Forum has grown in popularity and reputation, the students are excited and eager to participate in an event of this magnitude. While more people are attending, the challenges and learning experiences are increased incrementally, providing experiential learning opportunities.” Along with its mission to educate students, the forum also promotes wine’s role with food,

informs the public about wine’s contribution to a healthy lifestyle when used in moderation, increases the recognition of OSU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration and recognizes Oklahomaconnected wine producers and purveyors. Of Wine, Women & the West is also a special way to celebrate the school’s 75th anniversary. “The wonderful thing about this event is that we haven’t had to reach outside of the OSU family to find people like Beth Nickel and Ree Drummond,” Ruby says. Nickel is an alumna and Drummond has several family ties to the university, including a namesake for Kerr-Drummond Hall. “The fact that we can find such prominent people with ties to OSU family and friends is something that makes us proud,” Ruby says. “It also helps instill pride in our students, too. It provides them a great example of what they can accomplish with their OSU degree.” A m anda O ’ T oo l e Mason

Chefs at the 2011 Wine Forum of Oklahoma prepare meals in front of Old Central for wine tasting participants.


‘I Do’

photo / bruce waterfield




OSU alumna Hollye Goddard and Jim Daher enjoy a laugh during their wedding at a tailgate before the OSU vs. Arizona football game. The ceremony is being presided over by Judge Gerald Williams, an OSU alumnus.

Bride combines the two loves of her life at a unique ceremony. Cowboys associate tailgating with so many things — burgers, hot dogs, beverages and football. But one OSU alumna envisioned something a little different for her tailgate at the Sept. 8 OSU vs. Arizona football game in Tucson — and it involved a judge, witnesses and a wedding cake. Hollye Goddard grew up in Broken Arrow, Okla., and attended OSU after


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receiving several scholarships and encouragement from relatives who bleed orange. “Stillwater is like my home away from home,” Goddard says. “When I moved there, I lived there year-round because of how much I loved it. It has such a great atmosphere.” Goddard graduated from OSU in 1973 with an art degree but decided to stay an extra year to earn a psychology degree.

After living in San Diego and Dallas, she has called Phoenix home since 1980, but she has refused to allow the distance to break her connection to OSU. “When I got here, it was still during the time frame before the Internet,” Goddard says. “We couldn’t get the sporting events from Oklahoma or the Big 8. Occasionally, you could go to a bar and pick up a game.” After meeting other OSU alumni,

Goddard decided that watching the games together would be fun. She contacted the OSU Alumni Association and launched the Cactus Cowboys Alumni Chapter. “Even if I didn’t know them personally, you always had something to talk about,” Goddard says. “It was a way to meet people locally who had some of the same background as you.” Besides watching sporting events together, the group also socialized over happy hour and even went hiking. Goddard was president of the alumni group for about 20 years, but her love for OSU didn’t end with her official duties. While working as a construction project manager, Goddard met Jim Daher, a construction material salesman. Over the years, their business relationship turned into love. “We always enjoyed each other’s company,” Goddard says. “He was a big sports nut, and he actually knew where OSU was. The minute he walked into my office and saw my Pistol Pete, he knew exactly who he was, and that really impressed me.” Once the couple were engaged, they faced a big decision over when and where they should exchange vows. “Somebody said, ‘You should get married at the tailgate for the OSU and Arizona game,’ ” Goddard says. “I thought that could be fun, so I posted it on Facebook and asked what everyone thought. The response was overwhelming — everyone loved the tailgate idea. We

thought, why not do something fun and memorable? It was great because Jim’s kids, who are University of Arizona fans, could come, which made it even better.” Goddard wore a white sundress and Maricopa County (Ariz.) Judge Gerald Williams, an OSU alumnus, led the traditional ceremony, which captured the attention of many Cowboy fans. “He was wearing his judicial robes with an OSU ball cap, OSU T-shirt and tennis shoes,” Goddard says. “It was very fitting for a tailgate wedding. Lots of people stopped by when they saw all the orange and asked what we were doing. We got to meet lots of new Cowboy fans.” Daher’s 8-year-old grandson, Jalen, was the best man and insisted on walking Goddard down the “aisle.” Once she reached her fiancé, some unexpected OSU orange appeared. “When we got to the front, Jalen told the judge to wait a minute,” Goddard says. “He took off his University of Arizona shirt, took out an OSU ‘Orange Power’ shirt and pulled it on. Finally, he told the judge we could start. It was too funny.” Daher says he was unsure at first about the tailgate wedding, but he got caught up in the excitement as the planning went on. “When she said ‘I do,’ she completed my life,” Daher says. “My world centers around my family. Having my children and grandchildren in attendance at my wedding was like living a dream. They adore Hollye, and it enriches us all that she is now part of the family.”

Although Daher may not bleed orange like Goddard does, he’s certainly on the right track. “Hollye has always had a special place in her heart for OSU, and she glows when she talks about her school,” Daher says. “I am and always will be a Notre Dame fan, but now because of Hollye, I have room in my heart for the orange and black.” Goddard continues her support of OSU today as a member of the OSU Foundation’s Heritage Society, where she created an endowment for the Doel Reed Center for the Arts and is involved with the endowment committee. Goddard also served for three years on the OSU Alumni Association Leadership Council. “I have always felt like being an ambassador for OSU,” Goddard says. “Creating a deferred endowment for capital improvements, construction and maintenance for the Doel Reed Center for the Arts was the perfect way for me to have my passions for art and building, as well as for OSU, be carried on. “Out-of-state alumni have a whole different point of view. I always thought it was important to make that connection for others.” K r i s t e n M c C o n n au g h e y

“The response was overwhelming — everyone loved the tailgate idea. We thought, why not do something fun and memorable?” – Hollye Goddard 105


Leads to

Scholarship’s first recipient helps establish new fund.


n 1982, Herb and Shirley Davis swelled with pride as Michael Thornhill was named the first recipient of their President’s Distinguished Scholarship. Nearly 30 years later, they experienced that emotion all over again when Thornhill became a significant scholarship donor himself. “I see Mr. Davis still being so involved and engaged now, and it really inspires me to give back because I know what he did for me,” Thornhill says. “I would not have gone to OSU otherwise, and that turned out to be the best place for me to prepare for what I’m doing now. That’s hard for a Texan to say.” Before he was offered the scholarship, Thornhill had planned to study geology at the University of Texas, as his father and uncle had. But the Davises’ generosity persuaded him to come to Stillwater, where he earned a 1986 bachelor’s and a 1990 master’s, with much of his focus on hydrogeology. Today, he is president of Thornhill Group Inc., a hydrogeology and ground-water consulting firm. He is also a lead donor for the Dr. Wayne Pettyjohn Hydrogeology Endowed Fund, named for the former geology department head who mentored Thornhill.


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Like Pettyjohn, Herb Davis, a 1953 geology graduate, loved to advise young geologists. A favorite lesson to pass on came from one of his early days as an operations geologist at Pan American Petroleum Corp. He was a bit overwhelmed with problems outside his normal duties when several managers were out of the office. “I had to go up to my manager’s office twice in a row early in the morning with a problem,” Davis remembers. “The third time I went up, he said, ‘Herb, you’re in charge today. You go ahead and make all the decisions.’ Then this comment stuck with me my whole career: ‘Just don’t make any stupid mistakes.’ There is a big difference between mistakes and stupid mistakes.” That lesson is one of many keys to his success, which culminated with the Davises owning Herbert G. Davis Inc. The oil and gas exploration company operated from 1973 to 1988 in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky. Their success was OSU’s gain. They started giving to his alma mater in 1964, and their support grew over the years. In the ’70s, they heard the geology department did not have its own vehicle, so they bought and donated a van. The geology department painted “Davis ’53” on the side, and the students nicknamed it “Herbie.”

That was just one of the Davises’ many gifts to OSU. They are so generous because they are “not impressed with money,” as Herb Davis puts it. “I remember one time I got a raise and my boss said, ‘Do you know how much you’re making?’ ” Davis says. “I said, ‘No, go ask my wife. I am just a geologist.’ I was working to become a good geologist. If you’re good, money will come. People will ask for your business.” They also are generous with their time. Davis served on the OSU Foundation’s Board of Governors from 1980-92, including becoming the only two-time chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1984-85 and 1991-92. He was an adjunct OSU geology professor from 1983 to 2008 and was named a Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Arts & Sciences Alumni in 1990. He also is an honorary life member of the Geology Alumni Board. He continues to advise the geology department, which carries on his tradition of arranging networking meetings between students and working geologists. Davis has been a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists since 1956, serving in various

Michael Thornhill, left, and Herb Davis, seen here at T. Boone Pickens’ ranch in 2009, were reunited through their continued support of the OSU geology program.

leadership roles between 1972 and 1999. His continued involvement with OSU and the AAPG played a role in both organizations receiving great support from his old classmate, T. Boone Pickens. Davis has many stories about his interactions with Pickens. One of his favorites was the first time he attended a dinner that Pickens hosted at his ranch for geology students. “There were three dinner tables, and he had a place set for himself at each table,” Davis says. “He moved between the tables during dinner with his foreman carrying his plate behind him. That’s a true leader.” Thornhill has also visited Pickens’ ranch, where he watched another leader in action — Davis.

“He is truly a leader in the enthusiasm, love and passion for OSU geology,” Thornhill says. “He is tireless in his passion for the school and our profession. I always look forward to seeing him.” For his part, Davis always looks forward to seeing Thornhill and any other geologist he might be able to assist in some way. “The most rewarding thing that I’ve had in my career is the number of young

geologists that I’ve had the opportunity to advise or mentor,” Davis says. “Money isn’t everything. Money is great. It does make the world go around. But somewhere in there you have to have somebody that will tell you this is the way to go or this is what to do. And don’t make any stupid mistakes.” Jac o b L o n g a n

Michael Thornhill, the inaugural recipient of the Herbert and Shirley Davis President’s Distinguished Scholarship, poses in 1982 with the award and, from left, OSU President Lawrence Boger, Regent Ed Long and the Davises.




Ever since he was a kid, Todd Tribble has loved mowing the yard. “It sounds ridiculous,” Tribble says, “but I always thought cutting the yard was a really fun thing to do.” That’s a good thing because he is OSU’s field superintendent, and he doesn’t get much time off. A Cowboy since 2008, he took a vacation once for three days last year to head back home to Savannah, Ga., and visit his parents. That’s the only time he’s been gone. Weekends? He’s at work. Nights, too.


Tribble, three employees and eight student workers manage a total of 18 acres of grass for OSU Athletics. That includes the new practice fields for football north of Boone Pickens Stadium, as well as the softball, soccer, track and baseball fields. In addition to the fields’ use, Tribble is at the mercy of weather, bugs, diseases and weeds. He has to match up climatic conditions with the right turfgrass species. At OSU, that’d be perennial rye grass from September to the first of June and Bermuda grass for the dry summer months on the baseball, soccer and softball fields, and bermuda year round on the football practice fields. “We all love coming to work. I really don’t ever feel like we’re at work,” says Tribble, a hat pulled low over his


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sun-reddened face as he sits inside his plywood-walled office underneath the stands at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. Sweatshirts, jackets, hats, tools and hoses hang from the walls. A large tool chest with drawers half-opened sits in one corner. A pressed OSU collared shirt rests on a hanger in one corner for days when the 29-year-old can’t run home to change clothes before a game. “If we didn’t like the hours we work, we could quit, I guess,” Tribble says. He loves being outside. He doesn’t have to dress up most of the time. He can show up in a hat, T-shirt and gym shorts. Tribble grew up in Savannah with the Atlantic coast nearby. He fell in love with the area’s golf courses. He remembers going to games of the Atlanta Braves’ farm

team in Greenville, S.C. Being at the game early to seek autographs also meant being there to see the grounds crew prep the field. “I think being at all those games when I was little got me kind of started paying attention to field prep.” His dad, David Tribble, laughs as he describes his son’s obsession with grass. He remembers when his son was 3 years old and walking a Fisher Price toy lawnmower behind him as he cut the grass. The family still lives where it did then, on a 640-acre farm that is a historic school for at-risk youth, Bethesda Academy, where David Tribble is president. His staff would laugh when they saw little Todd try to fire up the lawnmower, he says. As he became older, Todd Tribble worked in landscaping around the area,

“If you love what you do, you don’t spend a day at work. That’s how the old saying goes. That’s how I feel.” —todd Tribble including at a nearby golf course. When the time came to go to college, he chose Clemson University. “He told me he was going to be in turfgrass management,” his father says. “I thought, ‘Yep, that’s my boy.’” Tribble graduated in 2005 and went on to Georgia Tech as an assistant turf manager, where he worked for three years. He had an internship with the Philadelphia Phillies, in addition to spots with minor league teams. OSU hired him as the athletic field superintendent in 2008. His job is a bit more complex than mowing the yard when he was a child (he says his dad’s lawn hasn’t been the same since he left). Take the field at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium as an example. The grassy portion is rye grass because of the plant’s rich, deep green color. But it’s a thirsty plant that prefers cooler temperatures. And the soil in which it grows is sandy. Keeping it watered, fertilized, edged and sprayed takes a lot of time. When the summer heats up, the rye dies back. Tribble and his crew kill it off completely with a herbicide in June. Then, they encourage the permanent stand of Bermuda grass to fill in, which covers the field until September when they start the process all over again.

That’s just the grass. The “infield clay” area of a baseball diamond requires special attention, too. “I think the thing that we maybe wish people knew is just how time consuming it is to care for our clay areas at baseball and softball.” Fifty tons of a special clay, silt and sand blend are tilled into it each year, and it is also treated with a calcined material — a clay heated past the melting point — to improve moisture retention and playability. If the Cowboys have a three-game series, Tribble’s team will go through about 1,000 pounds of it to maintain the field. Even the grade of the infield clay is specially designed. Tribble uses lasers and a box blade to perfect the surface’s grade. The seams between the infield clay and the grass also have to match up. He can’t have anyone tripping over the edge. Uneven edges can also make a ball pop up at a strange angle and hurt a player. He realizes much of his work goes unnoticed, but even an untrained observer can tell if the game is on a decent field. If the ball speeds up after it strikes the turf, or if it bounces high, the grounds crew had better get to work, he says. If a ball bounces lower or slows after striking the field, the crew has done a great job. Fans can also tell field quality by how much the clay sticks to players’ uniforms. Good moisture management means the surface stays intact and won’t stick as much to players’ jerseys.

When he’s not working, Tribble plays golf and watches baseball, but he finds himself watching the field more often than the players. That’s true for others in his line of work as well. Turf management is a fraternity. Other guys in the business will tune in when their friends’ fields are on TV for games. “I’ve had several buddies call or text me saying, ‘Hey, your field looks good,’ or ‘the synthetic turf around home plate looks bad.’ There’s such a connection between sports turf managers. We’re all very good friends, help each other out and give each other a hard time.” Tribble’s position is becoming less common at universities. Although artificial fields are rare in the pros, many schools are switching to artificial playing surfaces in baseball because they are cheaper to maintain and weather conditions can make managing a baseball field for year-round use a real task. Tribble hopes more schools decide to keep their grass fields. In addition to being bad for turf managers’ professional prospects, the artificial surfaces, which can become slick, can be hazardous to players’ health. Even though his job is nearly seven days per week, Tribble says he wouldn’t do anything else. “If you love what you do, you don’t spend a day at work,” he says. “That’s how the old saying goes. That’s how I feel.” M AT T E L L I O T T

This story first ran in the July issue of POSSE Magazine. To read other great OSU athletics stories consider joining the POSSE. Annual donations to OSU athletics of $150 or more qualify for POSSE membership and include an annual subscription to POSSE Magazine. Go to okstateposse.com for details.


The Gift that Keeps on Giving Sisters leave OSU $3.2 million after cat receives quality care. The many people who will benefit from the record $3.2 million estate gift will never have the opportunity to meet the sisters behind the donation — Luella Curtis of Canton, Okla., and Leora Calkins of Tonkawa, Okla. But someone at OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences did meet Luella Curtis, and the treatment that veterinary clinician provided to her and her pet is the reason behind part of the largest estate gift given to the center. Curtis and her husband, Butch, who passed away before she did, didn’t have any children, but she loved animals. She had a pet parakeet and a cat. When her beloved cat became ill some 20 years ago, she brought it to OSU’s veterinary hospital for treatment. The compassionate care extended to her cat so impressed Curtis that she and her husband decided to leave the majority of their estate to the veterinary center.

Calkins’ friends say she was very humble. Few people knew she was wealthy because money was never a factor for her. The frugal woman would cut to the point and was open about where she stood on things. She never married and had no children. Her cats were her family, and like so many animal lovers, she adored them. It was the wishes of both sisters that the majority of their estates be left to further the education of students at OSU’s Center for Veterinary Health Sciences. Curtis had cattle as well as her pets and knew the importance of Oklahoma veterinarians. Calkins’ love for animals was great, and she knew veterinarians shared that same wonderful love. Thanks to the care provided by an OSU veterinary clinician and the generosity of these sisters, the estate gift endowment will provide scholarships for years to come. “The amount of each award and the number of awards given each year will be determined by the awards selection committee,” says Christopher Ross, DVM, associate dean for academic affairs. “The debt load veterinary students face upon

graduation is staggering, and we are very appreciative of donors who make it possible for us to reduce that burden. We expect the annual income from this gift to expand our scholarship offerings by about 50 percent, which is a huge increase.” “This is a phenomenal gift,” says Amanda Davis, former OSU Foundation senior director of development. “The number of lives that will truly be touched by Luella’s and Leora’s generosity is countless. Not only will the students receiving the scholarships benefit but so will the patients they treat down the road thanks to their education — an education that is made possible in part by this gift.” The first scholarships from the Luella Ruth and Butch Curtis Educational Fund will be awarded in the spring. It will be the first of many scholarships thanks to the sisters’ generosity. D erinda B lakene y


Luella and Butch Curtis


Winter 20 12

Leora Calkins

Congrats, Elaine! OSU alumna Elaine Hutchison is Oklahoma’s 2013 Teacher of the Year. Hutchison, a 1992 OSU grad, is a fourth-generation high school math teacher and the second OSU alumna in a row to win the award. She teaches at Fairview schools and the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Regional Center. Hutchison believes in the power of public education and heroic teachers. She makes the entire OSU family proud. OSU is focused on bright minds, building brighter futures and the brightest world for all.

Retired but Still Inspired Wilhms continue to support OSU. photo / elizabeth hahn


erry Wilhm worked for OSU’s zoology department from 1966 until he retired as its head in 1995. He and his wife, Nona, are still just as passionate about the university as they were when they arrived in Stillwater to pursue his doctorate in the early 1960s. They continue to support OSU in many ways, including financially. “We just decided it was time for us to give back,” says Jerry Wilhm, who served as the zoology department head in the College of Arts and Sciences for 24 years. “We have a comfortable living now, and it’s due to Oklahoma State.” While he was building a quality department at his alma mater, Nona Wilhm worked at University Health Services for 25 years. “I liked the nurses, the doctors, the students — everything about it,” she says. “I really enjoyed it.”


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The couple passed their love of OSU on to their son and daughter, who are two-time alumni. Jackie German earned a Spears School of Business bachelor’s degree and a master’s from the College of Education. She is an administrative assistant at the Edmon Low Library. Jerry Wilhm III earned a bachelor’s from the College of Arts and Sciences and a master’s from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources before completing a doctorate at Michigan State University. He is a research manager for Agro-Culture Fertilizers in Michigan. “After he got his Ph.D., I asked him what the best course he ever took was,” Jerry Wilhm remembers a conversation he had with his son. “He said it was an OSU course: field botany taught by Drs. Jim McPherson and Ron Tyrl. He said, ‘I can still remember the identity and the scientific name of many plants.’ I thought, ‘Boy, it sure gave him a good background.’ He said he was as well prepared as anyone at Michigan State, which is a great school with a land-grant college established in 1863.”

That reinforced the couple’s belief in the quality of an OSU education. They were inspired to establish the Wilhm Zoology Teaching Assistant Award, which annually supports two students: the outstanding master’s graduate teaching assistant and the outstanding doctoral graduate teaching assistant. In 2008, the doctoral award went to Jonathan Fisher, who is now a second-year assistant biology professor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. Fisher is proud to serve at an institution primarily focused on teaching, which has been his passion since high school. “The Wilhm Award is framed on my wall right now,” Fisher says. “It was the only award I ever really cared about getting because it recognized me for teaching, which I enjoyed doing a lot. When you get your Ph.D., you aren’t sure if you’re going to teach or conduct research. Getting that helped me realize that teaching was definitely what I wanted to do.”

“You won’t find many people who have given as much to OSU in every sense as he has.” — Loren Smith The 2008 master’s recipient was Matt Anderson, who is now completing his doctoral dissertation at OSU. He hopes to continue teaching biology and researching the social behavior and ecology of lizards. He says the award showed him how much OSU appreciates those who work hard to improve students’ experiences. “Receiving that award was a real shock,” Anderson says. “I had only been at OSU for a few months, and I was already being recognized for my teaching ability. That was really important to me because I value being an ambassador for science — through teaching and outreach education — above all of my other commitments as a biologist. The Wilhm Award demonstrated to me that people did notice the hard work and commitment I was putting into the teaching component of graduate school.”

Jerry Wilhm says he wanted to recognize teaching assistants because they were so helpful to him when he was a department head. At the annual awards banquet last spring, the couple decided to establish the Wilhm Zoology Graduate Student Travel Award to help future scientists and professors. “We know what it costs to attend a professional conference, and we wanted to make a substantial award that will fund most of the trip each year for one outstanding student,” Nona Wilhm says. Loren Smith has been the zoology department head for five years. He greatly appreciates the Wilhms for their financial support and Jerry Wilhm’s help as an unofficial adviser. “You won’t find many people who have given as much to OSU in every sense as he has,” Smith says. “He and Nona genuinely care about students. That kind of generosity and help do not go unnoticed.”

Along with establishing two funds, the Wilhms also led the effort to endow the Sterling Burks Memorial Fund in Zoology. It honors Jerry Wilhm’s late co-worker and research partner by supporting a water pollution graduate student. “Graduate students don’t get a lot of recognition, but we now reward four each year thanks to Jerry and Nona,” Smith says. “It also allows us to recruit better students. There are a lot of ripple effects because other people see what the Wilhms are doing and the impact it is having. For a former faculty member to be so generous is pretty outstanding.” Future faculty members also appreciate the Wilhms. “The Wilhm Award is one of the highlights of my graduate experience at OSU,” Anderson says. “I am proud to be associated with Dr. Wilhm, a man who spent his entire life promoting and engaging students’ interest in biology.” Jac o b L o n g a n


From left: James Saunders, head of OSU-OKC’s engineering technologies department, and OG&E’s Jesse Langston visit with OSU-OKC students Austin Schudalla and Jonathan Schwartz about engineering programs that rely on technology training.

After working 27 years for OG&E, Jesse Langston, vice president retail energy, knows a thing or two about change. Customers have changed, employees have changed, energy has changed and the way energy is delivered has changed. Langston, 49, attributes his tenure of success with OG&E to his ability to think sideways. “Thinking sideways involves thinking of new solutions and not doing things like we may have done them before,” he says. Several years ago, Langston saw OG&E’s customer demographic shift, with the Latino community growing quickly. As the population shifted, the utility’s products and services needed to change. Acting on this demographic shift, OGE Energy Corp., which includes OG&E and Enogex, sought to infuse its existing workforce with employees who have diversified backgrounds and the technical aptitude the organization needed. Training new technicians often took five to six years. “The cycle of training was too long,” Langston says. “Even if we wanted to hire, where would we find the technical applicants?”


Winter 20 12

Langston’s keen ability to think sideways helped find a solution. With their diverse workforce that understood customer needs, OG&E had a unique perspective, he says. “We weren’t just looking outward; we had an eye on what was changing within.” Langston says the company listened to its employees who were part of that changing community. Ideas came from those on the ground, in the field and in the air. “Our members knew our customers. They understood their changing needs.” To meet those evolving needs, OG&E and Enogex needed a progressive workforce. In order to ensure employees were trained to meet customer needs, the OGE Energy leadership team turned to OSU,

photo / greg quinn


its long-standing partners in the development of technology training programs. Through that existing relationship with OSU, OGE Energy developed an innovative engineering scholarship program for training students in the engineering field at OSU-Oklahoma City and OSU Institute of Technology in Okmulgee. Langston spent several months hammering out the details of the scholarship with OSU-OKC President Natalie Shirley. “I had worked with Natalie when she was secretary of commerce,” Langston says. “I knew her pace, and I shared her vision.” Shirley’s vision included creating a scholarship partnership that would benefit students and OG&E while promoting diversity in education and ultimately in the workforce. OG&E has an accountability philosophy that states: “See it. Own it. Solve it. Do it.” From that philosophy of problem solving, the OG&E Energy Scholarship was conceived. “What we saw was a workforce that looks alike and thinks alike and acts alike,” Langston says. “We owned it, and then we solved it through scholarships.” In May 2012, the scholarship program was unveiled. The OG&E Energy Scholarship annually provides students with tuition, books and fees up to $5,000 each year. Eligible OSU-OKC students study wind-turbine technology, renewable and sustainable energy, power-transmission and distribution technology, electricalpower technology and electronics-engineering technology. OSUIT students can qualify by studying electrical technology, high-voltage technology, instrumentation-engineering technology, natural gas compression and power plant technology. As technology advances and the industry matures with such innovations as “smart technology,” some degree of manual labor diminishes, Langston says. New technology at OG&E such as Smart Meters allows more flexibility in how customers pay for energy. It introduced choices such as pay-as-you-go and fixed-payment options.

Changes in the complexity and diversity of OG&E’s customers further drove the needs for a more diverse and technically trained workforce, thus enhancing the impact of the OG&E Energy Scholarship. OG&E employees, which the company calls members, shifted to a philosophy of choosing to seek education to make them more technically savvy. “Our members are smart, hard-working and they take charge of their careers. They choose to go to school. We help with that. We get graduates who know how to work, and that saves us in training costs,” Langston says. Langston says he has high hopes for the scholarship, as he explains OG&E and OSU-OKC have a stellar history of weaving together academic programs and workforce development needs. “When

“Our mission is to train students for employment and educate them for leadership.”

The economics make sense, according to Langston. Members are trained and educated at OSU-OKC and OSUIT, where the academic programs are built around the needs of the industry and result in highly skilled, trained and educated employees. The scholarships will have a positive ripple effect across the entire state, Langston says. “OG&E Energy Scholarship graduates can work in the wind energy field or for other power companies anywhere in the nation, but we hope they work for OG&E.” Langston says although his OG&E orange comes first, his OSU orange is a close second. Giving back to the community is important to him. He serves on the President’s Advisory Board at OSU-OKC. “It’s where I can make the biggest contribution,” he says.

photo / greg quinn

— Natalie Shirley, OSU-OKC president we needed trained and educated power transmission employees, we came to OSU-OKC.” The first class of OGE Energy scholars hit the campuses of OSU-OKC and OSUIT in fall 2012. “Our mission is to train students for employment and educate them for leadership,” Shirley says. “We are thrilled to continue to expand our partnership with OG&E and provide them with outstanding employees.”

Jesse Langston, OG&E vice president retail energy, tours the OSU-OKC Engineering Technology Center, where students are trained for careers in the energy field.

Being one of the first in his family to graduate college, he says the expectations have changed a generation later. Langston tells his three children and two grandchildren, “Education is just the price of entry, whether it’s an associates or a bachelor’s degree. You have to have the ticket.” E v e ly n S c h a e f e r B o l l e n b ac h


secure the of

future Homecoming

OSU is nationally recognized as having

“America’s Greatest Homecoming Celebration.” Its future is in the hands of OSU faithful like you. This year’s Homecoming events impacted more than 100,000 alumni and fans in Stillwater and online. Without your support for the Homecoming endowment, these connections will be lost.

For information about securing the future of Homecoming call 800.622.4678 or visit orangeconnection.org/give. 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 orangeconnection.org


The OSU Alumni Association’s 80 chapters, watch clubs and affinity groups are strengthening their connections to OSU this fall with the Chapter Membership Challenge. During the challenge, OSU alumni and friends who purchase annual or life memberships can designate $5 of their membership to support their local chapter, watch club or affinity group. The Alumni Association’s goal is to increase support for chapters, watch clubs and affinity groups with new memberships. When this issue went to print in November, more than 100 members had taken up the challenge by designating chapters with their new memberships. “The Alumni Association has been supported primarily by its members since our founding in 1897,” says OSU Alumni Association President Larry Shell. “Our programs and services impact every Cowboy — past, present and future. Membership is crucial to continuing our mission of serving the university and its alumni, students and supporters. “This membership challenge is designed to showcase the passion of our alumni and friends, and provide them an opportunity to not only directly support the university but also the OSU spirit in their local area.” OSU alumni chapters and watch clubs provide a visible OSU presence in cities and towns from coast to coast, hosting a variety of events from family friendly tailgates to wine tastings and networking dinners. Anyone loyal to OSU can be connected to the university and fellow Cowboy fans through participation in their local chapter, no matter the distance from Stillwater.


Winter 20 12

Affinity groups — such as the band and ROTC alumni chapters, black alumni and American Indian alumni — also serve a vital role in the Alumni Association by uniting individuals whose commonality extends beyond their affinity for OSU. “Every OSU graduate and fan should be a member of the OSU Alumni Association,” says OSU President Burns Hargis, a life member. “Membership shows your commitment to OSU and your desire to be connected and engaged.” Members and chapters can track the progress of the challenge at orangeconnection.org/chapterchallenge, where the number of new memberships purchased for each chapter is being updated on a weekly basis. K risten M c C onnaughe y

Ta k e U p t h e C ha l l e n g e Renew your membership or become a life member to support your chapter, watch club or affinity group before the challenge ends Dec. 31. Scan this QR code to purchase a membership right from your mobile device. You can also join online at orangeconnection.org/join or by phone at 405-744-5368.

Upcoming Events Join an OSU Alumni Chapter near you to celebrate OSU and connect with Cowboys in your area. For the most current event listing, visit orangeconnection.org/chapters or scan the QR code.

Key West, Fla., watch club leader J.B. Hunt with Clarence Hunt enjoy the game at an Oct. 13 watch party.

Key West Watch Club OSU alumni chapters and watch clubs have a bright orange future in the Sunshine State. An OSU alumna in Key West, Fla., organized a watch club for OSU alumni and fans in the area to cheer on the Cowboys this year. “Key West is a town of only about 25,000 people and not many from Oklahoma, but we’ve been pretty pleased with the attendance,” says J.B. Hunt, who took the initiative to start the watch club. “It has been really great for us.” Hunt says she became interested in starting the watch club after a friend mentioned the idea to her. “We thought there probably aren’t enough people for a chapter, but we could certainly give it a shot with a watch club and see what happens,” says Hunt, a 1978 journalism graduate. The Key West Watch Club meets at JDL’s Big Ten Pub, where an OSU flag can be spotted, and the atmosphere is exciting. “They even have a couple of private rooms, so it’s like being in your living room at home with a whole bunch of rowdy OSU fans,” Hunt says. Hunt says social media has been a great way to connect with alumni in the Key West area. “I think a year or two ago we wouldn’t have been able to do this because we didn’t have a way to communicate with all of the other OSU fans who live here,” Hunt says. “Facebook has been the way to do that, and the Alumni Association has been really incredibly supportive. I think that’s why we’ve been able to get everything started.” Like many OSU graduates, Hunt says she misses several things about Stillwater, and she enjoys staying connected with OSU through the watch parties. “Being in school and being in Stillwater was a great time for learning about myself, and I made a lot of very good friends,” Hunt says. “In college, you have a lot of opportunities to make a lot of deep connections, and I did.” Other chapters and watch clubs established in Florida include Orlando, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. Alumni in Fort Myers and Miami are also organizing groups. Hunt says she hopes the Key West Watch Club will continue to grow through next year’s football season. “I think for now our goal is to build awareness about the club,” Hunt says. “We’re just going to build it a little at a time.”

Dec. 1

OSU @ Baylor (FB) North Texas Chapter Bus Trip

OSU @ Virginia Tech (MBB) Southeast Virginia Chapter Bus Trip

Dec. 14–15  Fall Commencement OSU-Stillwater Dec. 16 Grapple at the Garden (WR) NYC Chapter Dec. 20 Happy Hour Houston Chapter Dec. 24–Jan. 1  University Holiday OSU-Stillwater Jan. 12


Feb. 15 OSU Alumni Hall of Fame Feb. 16 Feb. 16

Vintage O-State Tulsa Chapter OU @ OSU (MBB)

Feb. 21 Happy Hour, Board Meeting NYC Chapter Feb. 22 Brighter Orange North Texas Chapter Mar. 8-11 Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship North Texas Chapter Mar. 13-16  Big 12 Men’s Basketball Championship Kansas City Chapter Mar. 14 Happy Hour NYC Chapter Mar. 18–22  Spring Break OSU-Stillwater April 7

OSU Day at the Fort Worth Zoo North Texas Chapter

April 8

Honors Banquet Pittsburg County Chapter

April 18 Cultural Dinner NYC Chapter May 3–4 Spring Commencement OSU-Stillwater

K risten M c C onnaughe y

For more about the Key West OSU Watch Club, visit facebook.com/osuaakeywest or email keywest@orangeconnection.org.


Cowboy Corral. Grandparent University. OrangeBytes. Car Decal. Scholar hips. Homecoming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chap ers. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs Legacy Program. Alumni Awards. Cowboys for Higher Education. Cowboy Corral. Grandparent University. OrangeBytes. Affinity Groups. Car Decal Scholarships. Homecoming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring Chapters. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumni Awards. Cowboys for Higher Education Cowboy Corral. Grandparent University. OrangeBytes. Affinity Groups Car Decal. Scholarships. Homecoming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savingsthe Connection. STATE Magazine. Ca Serving members is central to everything OSU Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumni Awards. Cowboys for Highe Alumni Association does from producing awardEducation. Cowboy Corral. Grandparent University. OrangeBytes. Affinity winning programming opportunitiesHomecoming. for all ages Groups. Car Decal. Scholarships. Student Recruitment. Of icial OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Mag including Homecoming to providing innovative azine. Watchto Clubs. Legacy Alumni Awards. Cowboy waysCar for Tag. our members connect to OSU,Program. the or Higher Education. Cowboy Corral. Grandparent University. Orange Alumni Association and Car eachDecal. other. Scholarships. Homecoming. Student Re Bytes. Affinity Groups. cruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Connection STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumni Awards Cowboys for Higher Education. Your membership in the Car Decal. Scholarships. Homecoming. Stu dent Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Con OSU Alumni Association nection. STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumn Awards. Cowboys for Higherprovides: Education. Car Decal. Scholarships. Home coming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Pro engaging events across theMagazine. country, gram. Alumni Awards. Cowboys for Higher Education. Car Decal. Scholar hips. Homecoming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chap university support through programs and services, ers. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs Legacy Program. Alumni Awards. Cowboys for Higher Education. Car De variety of ways to connect to the OSU family cal.aScholarships. Homecoming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Clas Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Magazine. Car Tag and exclusive member-only benefits Alumni and savings . Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Awards. Cowboys for Higher Edu cation. Car Decal. Scholarships. Homecoming. Student Recruitment. Offi cial OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Connection. STATE Mag azine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumni Awards. Cowboy Learn more about your membership at orangeconnection.org. or Higher Education. Car Decal. Scholarships. Homecoming. Student Re Not a member? Join OSU today Class at orangeconnection.org/join. cruitment. Official Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Connection STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumni Awards 201 ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Cowboys for Higher Education. Car Decal. Scholarships. Homecoming. Stu Stillwater, OK 74078-7043 TEL 405.744.5368 • FAX 405.744.6722 dent Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange Savings Con orangeconnection.org orangeconnection.mobi nection. STATE Magazine. Car Tag. Watch Clubs. Legacy Program. Alumn Awards. Cowboys for Higher Education. Car Decal. Scholarships. Home coming. Student Recruitment. Official OSU Class Ring. Chapters. Orange

We Are


For Life

C l a s s n o t e s

’50s Betty Jean Brannan, M.S. ’55 home ec, Ed.D. ’61, was inducted into the University of Kentucky School of Human Environmental Sciences Hall of Fame in October 2011. She is the former dean of home economics at Kentucky. Betty is retired and lives in Chickasha, Okla. Thalia C. “Liz” Oliphant, ’57 journ, was selected to lead the Press Club of Dallas, a nonprofit group dedicated to promoting the profession of journalism and related fields.

’60s A.D. Davis Jr., ’61 ind arts ed, is the recipient of the Black Alumni Society’s 2012 TrailBlazer award. He was honored along with Alonzo Poindexter. They were the first African-Americans to receive military commissions from OSU ROTC. Davis completed his career in the U.S. Air Force as a colonel in 1985. Thomas Loafmann, DVM ’63, and wife Fredda-Lois LeCrone Loafmann, ’63 elem ed, spent September touring China. They showed their OSU spirit as they visited the Great Wall. Alonzo Poindexter, ’63 ed, is a recipient of the Black Alumni Society’s 2012 TrailBlazer award. Alonzo was honored along with A.D. Davis Jr. They were the first African-Americans to receive military commission from OSU ROTC. Poindexter completed his career in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1983.

Gary Price, ’66 Engl, and his wife, Rosie, ’66 soc, attended the Kansas City Chapter’s summer picnic and were delighted when Pistol Pete found their car with the OSU license plate. Tobie Titsworth, ’67 ag ed, and his wife, Jeanne, ’67 bus, attended the retirement ceremony of Jeanne’s nephew, Air Force Master Sgt. Don Barnes, in Great Falls, Mont. They placed their OSU car decal on several interesting vehicles at the Malmstrom Air Force Base Museum. Tobie Titsworth has all but one sticker in his collection. LeRoy Fore, ’68 acctg, had a great time with family and friends at Homecoming 2012.

’70s Greg Slavonic, ’71 journ and broad, is happy to announce the release of his second “leadership” book, Profiles in Patriotic Leadership. Greg is a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam, the first Gulf War and Iraq. Richard E. McCullough, ’74 ag, ’78 bus admin, has writ ten Peaceful Valley, a Portrait of a Prairie Town and the Legacy of Small Town America, Volume I. The book is a result of fou r yea r s of painstaking research and writing, covering the cultural, political, economic and religious roots of smalltown America in the first 50 years of the 20th century as portrayed through the true story of a small southwest Oklahoma community, McCullough’s hometown of Tipton.

Valeria Littlecreek, ’75 psych ed, M.S. ’81 student personnel and guidance, received the OSU American Indian Distinguished Alumni Award in September. Va l e r i a b e c a m e director of Indian education for the Oklahoma Department of Education and has worked in education for more than three decades.

Joyce G. Taylor, ’76 bus pub admin, welcomed her newest grandchild, Grace Elizabeth Taylor, on May 30, 2012. Grace is the daughter of Kevin D. Taylor, ’07 bio syst eng, and Taurean (Coon) Taylor, M.S. ’06 pol sci. Kevin recently attained the rank of captain as a navigator in the U.S. Air Force. Uncle Jason Taylor, ’07 an sci, is also excited about the new addition to the family.

’80s Steven Huckaby, ’81 mech eng, is excited about his promotion to chairman and CEO of Meritage Midstream Services II LLC.

Scott Lewis, ’81 chem eng, had fun tailgating with OSU friends during the Cowboy football season. James Hackworth, DVM ’82, is happy he attended the annual Center for Veterinary Health Sciences conference for veterinarians and technicians in September. Kevin Williams, ’84 fin, was listed in the September issue of the Washington SmartCEO magazine as a top certified public accountant in the Washington, D.C., region for 2012. He is the owner and founder of Williams Financial Services Corp., headquartered in Bowie, Md. This is the second consecutive year that he has been listed. Todd Townsend, ’86 journ and mktg, is excited about his new position as chief marketing officer for LRI Holdings Inc., the parent company of Logan’s Roadhouse Inc. He was the chief marketing officer for Sonic Drive In, where his team delivered same-store sales growth for three consecutive fiscal years.

Keep Us Posted We want to hear about your promotions, new family members, retirement activities, honors and other news, and help you share your information with the OSU family. Classnotes may be submitted online at orangeconnection.org, on the Alumni Association Facebook page at facebook.com/okstatealumni or on your web-enabled cellphone at orangeconnection.mobi. Classnotes are printed in STATE magazine, OrangeBytes and online as a benefit for Alumni Association members.



Carl Guthrie, DVM ’88, was promoted to director of technical consultants for the beef business unit at Elanco. Carl relocated to the Elanco headquarters in Greenfield, Ind., where he will lead a team of 13. Matt Ketchum, ’89 const mgmt tech, shows his love for OSU with the Alaska l i cen se pl ate he received as a bir thday present from his wife and kids. Matt says there aren’t many Cowboys in Alaska, but he does get a lot of “Go Pokes!” around Anchorage.

’00s Lori McCormick, ’01 ar t, is excited about her new position as art director for Consuro Managed Technology, a Texas IT firm. She will work from the new Dallas office, where she will be providing creative direction on a broad range of design, advertising and multimedia efforts.

Mark Michaels, ’03 mktg, is an airline pilot for U.S. Airways Express and wanted to show his school spirit at work. He put his decal on his suitcase while in Washington, D.C.


WINTER 20 12

Gayle Shriver

Where to attend college was never a question for Gayle Shriver. The answer was always Oklahoma State University. “I am the youngest of six kids, and four of my siblings had graduated from OSU,” Shriver says. “We were very much an OSU family.” At OSU, the Midwest City native lived in Drummond Hall for three years and enjoyed the atmosphere on campus and mingling with friends at the Student Union. “College for me was really about all of the things I learned outside of the classroom and all of the friendships I made,” Shriver says. “To this day, I have many of the same friends I had back then.” Shriver graduated from OSU with a public relations degree in 1982. Four years later, she moved to Oregon, where her parents settled after retirement. “It gave me a great sense of adventure to go somewhere new and see what life is like,” Shriver says. “I’ve been here ever since.” Although she is more than 1,000 miles away from Orange Country, Shriver’s love for OSU has not waned. “When you’re far away, you realize all the things you miss about a place,” Shriver says. “Some of the same things that make you decide you want to move are the things you end up missing.” To stay connected to OSU, Shriver became involved in the Portland OSU Alumni Chapter. She became the chapter’s leader about three years ago, after chapter founder Tristen Threlkeld relocated. “To me, the whole reason why people do this is because it’s a love for Oklahoma and Oklahoma State,” Shriver says. “I was happy to pick it up and keep it going.” Shriver, who has been a claims supervisor at Liberty Mutual Insurance for 18 years, says she is always on the lookout for OSU and Eskimo Joe’s shirts — they’re a chance to take a stroll down memory lane.

“My son laughs at me because if I see anybody who has on any type of OSU or Eskimo Joe’s shirt, I have to say something,” Shriver says. “He says I have a knack for meeting an Okie everywhere I go. “There is definitely a connection between all of us. You pass somebody who has on one of those shirts, and you do the pistols sign. All of a sudden, you’re best friends.” Besides cheering on the Cowboys during football season, Shriver says the Portland chapter has participated in a wine tasting and supported the Cowgirl soccer team when it played the University of Portland in 2010. Shriver says the chapter has plans for expansion that include a full board and more opportunities to network. “We’ve got all different ages in our group,” Shriver says. “We look for anything to continue our connection to Oklahoma State. When we’re together watching a game or talking about OSU, it’s like we’re Okies again.” K risten M c C onnaughe y

PHOTO / provided

Cathy Kindt, ’03 athl train, and Alan Kindt, ’03 HRAD, introduced the newest Cowboy to the family. Averee Collier Kindt was born July 16, 2012. Averee was 6 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 20 inches. He can’t wait for his first Cowboy football game.

Chapter Leader Profile:

For more information about the Portland OSU Alumni Chapter, visit facebook.com/osuaaportland or email Shriver at portland@orangeconnection.org.

Sara Furr, ’04 HRAD, and Kile Furr, ’04 ag ed, welcomed their first child, Karsten Palmer, on J u n e 15, 20 12. Karsten weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

Shannon (Palmer) Cooley, ’06 bus, and Dustin Cooley welcomed their first child, Abigail Grace Cooley, on April 9, 2012. Abigail weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and measured 20 inches. Sarah (Stewart) Maldonado, ’06 journ, graduated from OCU School of Law in May 2009. S a r a h wo r ks a s executive director of the Senior Law Resource Center in Oklahoma City.

Heather Meyer-Walke, ’07 journ and broad, and Eric Walke, ’08 soc, welcomed their first child on July 6, 2012. Future Cowgirl Emerson Evan Walke weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 22 inches. Miles Smith, MBA ’08, has released his book, Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership. In the book, Miles says that servant leadership is uncomfortable, humbling, self-denying, painful

and counterintuitive. Miles and his wife, Carolyn, live in Green Bay, Wis., with their three children. Jackie Lynne Haub Tilkens, ’08 phys ed, M.S. ’10 ed tech, married Gary Tilkens on June 23, 2012. Gary is a Jay hawk who i s l ea r n i n g to l ove orange. The couple moved to Odenton, Md. Gary is in the Air Force. Jonathan Fountain, ’09 mgmt, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. During the eight-week program, he completed a variety of training, including classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. Tanya C. Franke-Dvorak, Ph.D. ’09 ag ed, is excited her husband, Joe S. Dvorak, ’05 bio sys eng, M.S. ’07, completed his doctorate in biological and agricultural engineering at Kansas State University in August 2012. Joe began his new position as an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky in July 2012. Tanya also began an appointment on the faculty at the University of Kentucky in the community and leadership development department. Kristin Gentry, ’09 art, was one of this year’s recipients of the Native American 40 Under 40 awards. She is a visual artist at the University of New Mexico Cancer, Research and Treatment Center. She is also a registered artist of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, where she holds her tribal membership.

In Memory

Lauren Titsworth Wolf, ’09 ind eng, was selected as the Edwin E. Vineyard, ’49 sec ed, M.S. American Indian Sci- ’51 ed, Ed.D. ’55 higher ed, president e n c e a n d E n g i - of Northern Oklahoma College from neering Society’s 1965 to 1990, died Oct. 3, 2012, at his Most Promising Engi- Enid, Okla., home after an illness of neer. She will repre- more than a year. He was 86. 
Vinesent her tribe, Choctaw of Oklahoma, yard served two years in the U.S. Navy and Oklahoma State University at during World War II, then enrolled various events throughout the next at Eastern Oklahoma State in 1946. year. She is a tool design engineer Three years later, he graduated from for the 787 Dreamliner at the Boeing Oklahoma A&M. Before starting at Co. in Charleston, S.C. NOC, Vineyard had been a professor and director of graduate studies for OSU’s College of Education since 1961. He was among the first group inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Canaan Crane, Ph.D. ’10 human Education Hall of Fame in 1994 and env sci, has been received numerous other honors named the director during his career. 
 of Oklahoma Baptist University’s newly Jack Dillian Bales, ’50 ani sci, died approved marriage on June 23, 2012. Bales, 84, of Emporia, and family therapy Kan., resided at the graduate program. Holiday Resort Care He is an assistant Center. Bales was a professor of psychology at OBU and member of the U.S. has been a licensed marital and family Navy during World therapist since 2002. War II. His professional career started Tara O’Connell, ’10 soc, married as a cattle buyer for Thomas O’Connell Armour & Co. in Kansas City, Mo. He on Cinco de Mayo later settled in Emporia. He was in 2012. The couple the cattle business for 49 years. went to OSU at the same time but never Carroll Max Roach, ’58 ag, died met there. Tara and on July 31, 2012, in suburban Denver. Thomas celebrated Roach grew up in Guymon, Okla., their honeymoon in before attending OSU, where he was St. Lucia and wore orange the entire involved in the Sigma Nu fraternity. trip. He served as a regional manager of Owens Corning Fiberglass and Tamco Roofing Co. in the Denver area.


Rebecca (Taylor) Singer, ’10 acctg, followed her dad and brother by graduating from OSU. She also married an OSU graduate, Kurtis Singer, ’08 mgmt., on campus. Rebecca can’t wait for her son to continue the OSU tradition. Paula Smithheisler Snelson, ’11 ag econ, and Steve Snelson, ’11 plant and soil sci, married on April 14, 2012.

Mary Carolyn Wheeler Schuh, ’58 sec ed, died on Aug. 25, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. Schuh grew up in Kansas and attended Kansas State University, but finished her bachelor’s at OSU, while her husband, Jim, completed his doctorate. In 1964, the couple moved to Tucson, where they raised five children. She spent time as the editor of the Pima College newspaper. After becoming involved in politics, Schuh helped co-found the Pima Association of Taxpayers, a nonprofit group dedicated to watching how ta x dollars were spent.


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The Ranch will redefine everything you ever thought you knew about retirement. Featuring elegantly appointed cottage and apartment homes, superior amenities and numerous social events, The Ranch will encourage an active, fulfilling and independent lifestyle. Our vision celebrates the beauty of Oklahoma ranchland, its people, passion and heritage. Join our 180+ Pioneer Club Members! We are currently taking fully refundable deposits for priority reservations through the Pioneer Club. For more information call 405-743-2990 or 866-463-6726.

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photos Courtesy of OSU Special Collections

OSU President Angelo C. Scott with students and faculty at Oklahoma A&M. Inset: Angelo C. Scott

The New Education

Navigating politics, presidents and publishing at Oklahoma A&M By Dav i d C. Pe t e r s , OSU L i b r a ry

Oklahoma A&M President Angelo C. Scott could sense major changes were coming to the institution he had skillfully led for more than eight years. In the eight years before Scott’s leadership, the school had four presidents. During his tenure at the Stillwater campus, Scott provided the college’s first administrative stability. Scott was an influential Republican; his brother, also a Republican, was a U.S. senator from Kansas. During the era of Republican U.S. presidents William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, Scott’s political affiliation had provided him some security in the college’s top office. Beginning in 1896, those presidents had appointed Republicans to Oklahoma’s territorial

offices and positions of leadership. In turn, those officers filled other jobs with members of their own party. That would change with the special territorial elections of 1907, which coincided with Oklahoma statehood. While patronage continued, after statehood it was in the hands of the Democrats, who swept into power in the new executive and legislative branches of state government. Convinced he would be unable to retain his position, Scott submitted his resignation to the Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture. To his surprise, it accepted his proposal for a lengthy six-month transition period. On Jan. 21, 1908, the board approved John Henry Connell as the next Oklahoma A&M president, starting July 1, 1908.

Connell had not considered himself a likely hire for the job, having never served in an academic administrative position. He was, however, a close friend of William Murray, a fellow Texan and future Oklahoma governor, who had a significant role in drafting the state constitution. Connell and Murray, better known as “Alfalfa Bill,” had met as teachers in Texas. Beginning in 1907, Murray would serve as the first speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Connell was born on July 9, 1867, in Macon, Miss., and graduated from Mississippi State College in 1888. He had been a classmate of Alexander Magruder, one of the four original Oklahoma A&M faculty members. Connell taught (continues)



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photo Courtesy of OSU Special Collections

in Kentucky and Texas before being named director of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station near the campus of Texas A&M. He became active in a number of rural agricultural associations, including the Farmers’ Institute, and in 1903 was named the editor of the Farm and Ranch Magazine. This allowed him to expand his professional contacts, especially those at land-grant colleges throughout the South and Midwest. Murray, while drafting the new Oklahoma Constitution, requested Connell’s advice on common education legislation being addressed by the convention. Murray wanted strong support for agricultural education and backed the establishment of six regional agricultural and mechanical secondary schools working in cooperation with the land-grant college in Stillwater. Murray’s recommendation that the new state school of agriculture in Helena be named for Connell was approved in 1907. Connell was 40 years old when he arrived on campus in spring 1908, months before his official duties would begin. While Scott continued as the college’s president through June, Connell toured the state, giving presentations to farm and rural associations. Scott mentored the new president and managed the college campus while Connell established his working relationships with public officials. Scott recommended Connell be invited to present the spring commencement address and used the event to officially introduce Connell to the campus and community. Connell spoke on the importance of an intelligent labor force and the necessity of universal education. Stepping down after nine years, Scott would turn out to be the longest tenured president in the institution’s first four decades. After fall classes began, Connell left the Stillwater campus for a tour of land-grant colleges in six Midwestern states from Kansas to Michigan. Utilizing his experience as a former editor of agricultural publications, Connell began a review of campus publications. He appointed William Johnston, brother of future Oklahoma Gov. Henry S. Johnston, as head of the English department and hired journalist Edward J. Westbrook as the superintendent of printing.

John Henry Connell When Connell arrived on campus in spring 1908, the student members of the Philomathean Literary Society were publishing a monthly literary magazine, Orange and Black. Their first issue was printed in April 1908. It was filled with poems, articles about campus developments and essays. Johnston recommended the publication be converted to a weekly newspaper supported by advertising and subscriptions. The transition from literary magazine to broadsheet newspaper would take several years. Orange and Black didn’t appear as a weekly until September 1912. Editorials in 1909 supported producing a college yearbook. The final Orange and Black issue in spring 1909 was called Brown and Blue, after the class colors for that year’s seniors. The issue served as a precursor for the college’s first yearbook, Red Skin, available for distribution in spring 1910. The annual provided the first comprehensive reviews for each school year, highlighting college personnel, facilities, social and service organizations, military units, athletic teams and other activities, and featured student photographic portraits for most class members. President Connell’s primary objective during his first review of publications was to identify ways to promote the college by reaching new audiences throughout Oklahoma. In 1910, Oklahoma had

1.6 million people, with nearly 81 percent living in rural areas. The Orange and Black newspaper and Red Skin were internal publications designed for the campus community. Connell supported creating two additional publications to be produced and printed on the A&M campus. The New Education was first published on Dec. 15, 1909, and The Progressive Agriculturist began its run in September 1912. The publications provided extension opportunities for sharing information gleaned from the college’s Agricultural Experiment Station circulars and bulletins to a wider audience. The New Education, generally four pages long, was published twice a month. Stories focused on agricultural education in the state and featured reports from many of the college academic departments. Connell was editor-in-chief, and the associate editors were department heads. The New Education quickly reached a circulation of 50,000, before growing to more than 120,000 subscribers in Oklahoma within a few years. Part of The New Education’s popularity can be explained in relation to a program created by the Oklahoma Board of Agriculture in 1910 and supported by Connell and the college. To complement the six A&M secondary schools identified in the Oklahoma Constitution, the board created a junior agricultural program, the Boys’ and Girls’ Agricultural Clubs. These were established in counties and communities across the state. W.D. Bentley, considered by some as the father of extension work in the state, helped form a student group at Tishomingo in 1909 that would become the first club when the state program became recognized the following year. Today, this agricultural organization is known as Oklahoma 4-H. The New Education was the official newspaper for the Boys’ and Girls’ Agricultural Clubs, and thousands of members received copies. The Agricultural Society on campus published The Progressive Agriculturist as a monthly magazine. Its mission was to address the needs of farmers and stockmen in the state. Seniors in the four-year agricultural program edited the publication with assistance from faculty members

Courtesy of OSU Special Collections

sy Co ur te

Sp ec ia o f OSU

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affiliated with the Division of Agriculture and the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station at the college. The articles provided practical advice for a wide variety of agricultural topics, including controlling insect pests, growing higher yielding crops, selecting livestock, handling vaccinations and building structures on farms and ranches. About 25,000 farmers and ranchers were already receiving occasional Experiment Station bulletins on specific topics. The Progressive Agriculturist summarized and compiled the most requested information from bulletins and addressed situations most frequently raised by rural communities in their correspondence with the experiment station staff. Connell brought with him sweeping changes in campus personnel and policies, in addition to these publications. Support for his actions came from Murray, Gov. Charles Haskell, and the Board of Agriculture President J.P. Connors. They provided funding for the first residence halls on campus, a new auditorium, an engineering building, a power plant, a stock pavilion and a number of large barns along Farm Road. During Connell’s administration, student enrollment increased — helped

The first edition of The New Education, published in December 1909.

by statehood and improved highways and rail connections. Prospective students also began sending applications from surrounding states. There were even students from England and Russia on campus. During the 1912-13 academic year, Connell — with support from the Stillwater business community — commissioned the production of four films describing programs at the college. These were distributed around the state. Connell’s most significant accomplishments corresponded directly with his skills at promoting the college, especially in rural areas of the state. But his mentors, Murray, Haskell and Connors, also used Connell to remove “disloyal” members of the faculty and staff. In Connell’s first two years, 18 people were asked to resign or were fired. One was George Holter, a chemist who was a respected member of the faculty for almost two decades, admired and well liked by peers and students. Several students were expelled when they showed support for some of the faculty who had been removed.

Connell’s promotional activity and publications efforts consumed a great deal of the institution’s time and energy and drained its limited resources. The dramatic increase in extension activity had almost brought the research efforts of the experiment station farm to a stop, and mandatory reports to the federal government regarding funded projects were not submitted, leading to a brief loss of federal support. Turmoil and conflict arose when quarreling factions of Democrats in the Farmers’ Institute, which appointed members of the Board of Agriculture according to the state constitution, began naming separate board members. Republicans attempted to take advantage of the situation, and by 1913 three separate Oklahoma boards of agriculture claimed to be the official body. After an amendment to the constitution was approved and legal challenges resolved, a new board met on May 31, 1914, and dismissed Connell. Connell returned to Texas a casualty of the political patronage system he had been a part of for six years, but through his promotional activities had introduced Oklahomans to the land-grant college in Stillwater.

The first edition of The Progressive Agriculturist, published in September 1912. 127

crossword 1





6 7









16 17 18

19 20



23 24 25


















Read the stories, work the puzzle

38. Opened 62 years ago

14. OSU osteopathic dean 15. Bunyard’s rank


23. Luella Curtis & Leora Calkins

39. Video network launched in September

1. Old honor society

24. “Military-friendly” and “military-   ”

40. Years Burns Hargis has been OSU president

27. First Cowgirl     Hargis

41. New Florida watch club

28. School of Fire Protection and     Technology

42. College of     and Sciences

3. OSU’s first weekly newspaper 5. On Pete’s feet 7. OSU-Tulsa center 8. Could have long-lasting impact on ecosystems 9. Medical     11. Surpassed $1 million 13. Branding     16. Ree Drummond’s moniker 17. The Doel     Center 21. America’s greatest mascot 22. Husband and wife distinguished alumni


Winter 20 12

29.     and Restaurant Administration (degree program)


18. 2012 Teacher of the Year 19. OSU fall event 20. First Cowgirl’s taxi 24. Buzzes the crops 25. Chapter     Challenge 26. Boone     Stadium

2. 2013 Teacher of the Year

31. America’s Brightest    

30. Held Student Union concert in the ’50s

3. $25 million in renovations on this OSU facility in Tulsa (abbreviation)

34. Reinvent the     Fair

32. OSU cheer: Go    !

4. Herb Davis is one

36. Homecoming grand marshal

33. Land-    university. OSU is one.

6. Mary Greenberg/Marguerite     Personal Development Award

40. OSU-CHS partner

35. Native American liaison 37. OSU’s first black basketball player

10. Murray Hall once lacked this 12. Williams     Chair

35. California fire marshal

Answers online at statemagazine.okstate.edu

Profile for Oklahoma State

STATE Magazine, Winter 2012  

The official magazine of Oklahoma State University

STATE Magazine, Winter 2012  

The official magazine of Oklahoma State University

Profile for brandosu