Southeastern to celebrate Founders’ Day on March 6

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate its rich and storied history with a Founders’ Day event on March 6. The program, starting at 3 p.m., will feature speakers in Montgomery Auditorium and the presentation of the winners of the peach cook-off. Following the program, attendees may sample the peach entries in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union Loft. Musical entertainment will also be provided.

Speech and Debate group competes at state event in OKC

Back row, left to right, are Dayton Thibodeaux, Jacobi Crowley, and Jonathan Lucas; Front row, Gwendolyn Harper, Anthony Hill, Ally Shafer.

Back row, left to right, are Dayton Thibodeaux, Jacobi Crowley, and Jonathan Lucas; Front row, Gwendolyn Harper, Anthony Hill, Ally Shafer.

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Speech and Debate Association (SSDA) stormed into Oklahoma City for the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Forensics Association (OIFA) State Tournament on Feb. 20-21.

Competitors Jacobi Crowley, senior, Gwendolyn Harper, senior, Anthony Hill, junior, Dayton Thibodeaux, sophomore, Jonathan Lucas, freshman, and Ally Shafer, freshman, matched oratory skills with the best and most talented speech and debaters from

the state of Oklahoma in the individual events of Impromptu Speaking, Duo Interpretation, Poetry, Duo Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, and Parliamentary Debate.

Communication majors Thibodeaux and Shafer placed sixth and fourth, respectively, in Poetry and Informative Speaking. In addition, Thibodeaux and sociology major Harper took third place in Duo Interpretation. This was Shafer’s second finals placement of the season. Thibodeaux was competing in his first tournament since joining the team this semester.

Cameron University, East Central University, Kansas City (Kansas) Community College, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City University, Texas Tech, Tulsa Community College, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Oklahoma, and West Texas A&M University were among the 60 competitors in 11 Individual Preparation and Limited Preparation events and Parliamentary and Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

The National Parliamentary Debate Association sponsored-debate rounds took place on Feb. 20 and the American Forensic Association sponsored Lincoln-Douglas Debate and National Forensic Association sponsored National Individual Events tournament began Feb. 21. All event winners, along with individual speaker awards, top competitors in the state of Oklahoma and the overall sweepstakes winner were announced on Saturday evening during the tournament awards ceremony.

Dr. Randy Clark, assistant professor of communication studies and speech and debate advisor, said, “The team has been working and preparing very hard to make an impressive showing at this season’s state tournament. Although not all of our competitors placed, we are very happy for those who did. We’ll continue to keep working hard, preparing the Southeastern way so that every member of our team is vying for a finals top three finish.”

The Parli debate team of Crowley and Lucas ranked 19th and 20th of the 30 debate competitors, and although Crowley and Lucas did not reach the quarterfinals, Clark was nonetheless proud of what the team was able to accomplish.

“I’m very proud of the team and their showing, ‘’ he said. “They gained a remarkable amount of experience this weekend and a tremendous amount of respect from other competitors and other coaches.’’

SSDA’s final competitive tournament of the season will be March 13-15 at the JV and Novice Nationals Debate Tournament at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Grad student receives national scholarship

Rachel CallicoatDURANT, Okla. – Rachel Callicoat, a Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduate student, was recently awarded a $5,000 national scholarship by the National Board for Certified Counselors Foundation (NBCCF).

Callicoat is a student in the CACREP-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master of Arts program and a Southeastern graduate.
Each year, the NBCCF awards five scholarships to students currently living in a rural area who commit to providing mental health services in a rural community for at least two years after graduation.

Only students enrolled in a CACREP-accredited counseling master’s program are eligible to apply for the NBCCF scholarships. Callicoat is the first recipient from Southeastern and the first NBCCF rural scholarship recipient in the state of Oklahoma.

Southeastern hosts RUSO board meeting

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage, standing, makes a presentation Friday morning at the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) Board of Regents meeting.  The February board meeting was held on the campus of Southeastern in the Hallie McKinney Ballroom. The nine-member RUSO board governs six regional universities in Oklahoma.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage, standing, makes a presentation Friday morning at the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) Board of Regents meeting. The February board meeting was held on the campus of Southeastern in the Hallie McKinney Ballroom. The nine-member RUSO board governs six regional universities in Oklahoma.

Southeastern designated as “excellent campus’’ by Certified Health Oklahoma Program

DURANT, Okla. – The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program has recently designated Southeastern Oklahoma State University at the excellent level as a campus.

Certified Healthy recipients are recognized for promoting health and wellness where Oklahomans live, work, and play. The Program includes the following categories: campuses, businesses, communities, congregations, early childhood programs, restaurants, and schools.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program began in 2003 as a collaborative initiative with four founding partners – the Oklahoma Turning Point Council, the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals, the Oklahoma State Chamber and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University has applied to the program for the past three years – since the campus became tobacco-free – and has progressed from Basic to Merit and now has reached the Excellent level.

Southeastern’s steady advancement in the program has been made possible with the addition of services/policies/ programs.

“It is our intention to continually add to the campus environment to promote the American College Health Association’s Standards for Health Promotion in Higher Education,” said April Lehrling, Director of Student Wellness Services.

Southeastern president selected to serve on Governor’s Education Advisory Panel

newPresident Sean BurrageDURANT, Okla. – Governor Mary Fallin today announced the formation of the Governor’s Education Advisory Committee.

Committee members include representatives of K-12 schools, Career Technology centers, and colleges and universities.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage is one of seven higher education officials selected to serve on the committee. A total of four college presidents were appointed.

“I look forward to working with all of the distinguished committee members,’’ Burrage said. “The committee is certainly a cross-section of individuals with great knowledge to share. It’s exciting to know that we will be working cooperatively for the betterment of our students and to strengthen the workforce and economy in Oklahoma.’’

The committee will advise the governor on education policy and aid in the development and implementation of the governor’s “Oklahoma Works” initiative. The new initiative, announced in Fallin’s State of the State Address, seeks to develop local partnerships between the public and private sector to ensure students have access to the education and training they need to find good paying jobs after graduation. More information about the initiative can be found at

“Nothing is more important to Oklahoma’s future than boosting educational attainment and ensuring our students get the education they need to succeed in the workforce,” said Fallin. “Supporting that effort will take input from a wide variety of educators. We want to make sure that K-12 schools, CareerTech and Higher Education all have a seat at the table as we work to improve educational outcomes.”

Members on the Governor’s Education Advisory Committee

Common Education

Stacey Butterfield, Jenks superintendent
Anne Caine, Stillwater superintendent
Tom Deighan, Lawton superintendent
Derald Glover, Fort Gibson superintendent
Terry Grissom, Asher superintendent
Cliff Johnson, Latta superintendent
Sean McDaniel, Mustang superintendent
Rob Neu, Oklahoma City superintendent
Clark Ogilvie, Owasso superintendent
Jeff Pritchard, Seminole superintendent
Don Raleigh, Pryor superintendent
Roydon Tilley, Chisholm superintendent

Career Tech  

Jane Bowen, Moore-Norman superintendent
Lindel Fields, Tri County Tech Center superintendent
Tom Friedemann, Francis Tuttle superintendent
Max Thomas, Chisholm Trail Technology Center superintendent
Tom Thomas, Great Plains Technology Center superintendent
Phil Waul, Central Tech superintendent

Higher Education     

Don Betz, University of Central Oklahoma president
Sean Burrage, Southeastern Oklahoma State University president
Cheryl Evans, Northern Oklahoma College president
Bo Hannaford, Northwestern dean of College of Professional Studies
Deborah Landry, Northeastern Oklahoma State University dean of education
Joy McDaniel, Murray State College president
Bill Path, OSU Institute of Technology president

Official summons to President’s Office results in happy ending for Southeastern students

Luke Godsey and Sheridan Shewbirt are all smiles after visiting with James Dry, left, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage.

Luke Godsey and Sheridan Shewbirt are all smiles after visiting with James Dry, left, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage.

DURANT, Okla. – Most college students don’t exactly look forward to being summoned to the President’s Office. It no doubt brings back childhood memories of being sent to the Principal’s Office.

Sheridan Shewbirt and her fiancé Luke Godsey were definitely feeling that way Friday morning when they were asked to report to the office of Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage.

Sheridan, a junior from Collinsville, Texas, was relaxing at her residence Friday after an early morning class, when she received a phone call requesting her presence in the Administration Building. Meanwhile, Luke, who is a senior from Collinsville, was in a Communication class taking notes from assistant professor Randy Clark. Just as the class ended at 10:50, he, too, was notified that he needed to go to the President’s Conference Room, immediately.

There, waiting anxiously by herself was Sheridan, wondering what in the world was going on.

“Before Luke walked in, I had texted him and told him that I had been told to go to the President’s Office,’’ Sheridan said. “He texted back and said, ‘ What did you do?’ And I texted back, ‘Well, I don’t know. ‘ ‘’

About that time, Luke arrived in the conference room and Sheridan was “really nervous and shaking. I just couldn’t piece together what was going on, and I thought something was really wrong.’’

Shortly thereafter, President Burrage burst into the room and in a serious tone, said, “hey guys, there’s someone here who wants to ask you some questions.’’ With that, the room went quiet.

Entering the room next was James Dry, and the mood turned from somber to lighthearted relief.

“I felt 100 times better when I saw James’ face,’’ Sheridan admitted.

It seems that James and his wife Carie had met Sheridan and Luke by chance recently when seated next to them at a local restaurant. A friendly and casual conversation ensued between the two couples, with James and Carie noting that they were proud Southeastern graduates. Without their knowledge, James picked up the dinner check for Sheridan and Luke.

“When we first sat down at the restaurant, we noticed that one of them had on a Southeastern sweatshirt and we just struck up a conversation,’’ James said. “It was obvious that they were really good kids. They were proud of the fact that they are going to graduate from Southeastern, and you could just tell that they are great representatives of our University.’’

Ironically, just a week later, the two couples bumped into one another at another restaurant, with this time Sheridan and Luke picking up the check.

James and Carie were so impressed with the young couple that James decided to contact President Burrage and do something special; hence, the Friday morning summons to the Office of the President.

The happy ending to all of this Friday resulted in James (Guest Services Director at Choctaw Casino Resort) presenting the couple four front row tickets to see country singer Easton Corbin in concert at Choctaw. Included with the gift was a handwritten note with an inspirational quote by John Wooden.

“We just want to thank James and Carie for their kind generosity,’’ Sheridan said afterwards, breathing a deep sigh of relief. “It is so heartwarming to know that there are people like this in our community. It is really special.’’

To top it all off, President Burrage thanked Sheridan and Luke for being such wonderful student representatives of Southeastern in the community.

Improvements scheduled for exterior of Russell Building

Construction is set to begin on Russell Plaza.

Construction is set to begin on Russell Plaza.

DURANT, Okla. – Physical Plant director Eddie Harbin and his crew are putting into action a plan for safety and appearance that will give the exterior of the Russell Building a new look at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

“We’re looking at new steps for the south entrance to the Russell Building, featuring handrails which will make it easier for visitors,’’ Harbin said. “Everything is being done with the safety of our students and visitors in mind. We will address seating areas, lighting and landscaping that will include irrigation. Our target date for completion is April.”

Work will begin this week.

The Russell Building, which houses the John Massey School of Business, is located on the northeast corner of the campus loop. When completed, the area will be known as the “Russell Plaza.’’

This work is a continuation of similar improvements completed on the north side of the Morrison Building and the pedestrian corridor between the Russell Building and Fine Arts Building.

Southeastern’s Grounds/Landscaping Department  will also soon be into spring planting.

In addition, the condition of sidewalks across campus is being addressed. Some sidewalks have been targeted for replacement and that work is scheduled to begin this summer, according to Harbin.

Precision Concrete Cutting of Oklahoma will be on campus during spring break (March 16-20) to repair sidewalks by using its patented technology that brings trip hazard sidewalks into ADA compliance.  The use of this technology will repair more than 500 locations across campus for 70-90% less than the cost of sidewalk replacement.

Dr. Martin Bressler named John Massey Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship

Bressler 2012DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Martin Bressler was recently appointed as the first John Massey Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Bressler joined the faculty in the John Massey School of Business at Southeastern in 2010 and was named University Professor of the Year in 2013.   He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Worcester State University, a Master of Business Administration degree from Anna Maria College, a Certificate of Advanced Study from Suffolk University, and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Sarasota.

“Based on his superb teaching, scholarship and service, Dr. Bressler is one of our premier professors at Southeastern,’’ said Dr. Lucretia Scoufos, Executive Dean for Academic Affairs. “His extraordinary leadership, vast experience, and adept collegiality, along with his successful performance as coordinator of our AACSB Accreditation Maintenance, have earned him immense respect and admiration from his colleagues and administrators alike. ‘’

Prior to entering the field of higher education, Bressler was employed by the Sears, Roebuck and Company Merchandise Group, where he held several management positions. He left the company to teach at Thomas College, where he was promoted to Professor of Marketing and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Bressler then taught at Houston Baptist University as Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship and served as a department chair.

Bressler served as a Fulbright Scholar to Germany and as Resource Panel Expert to the 1995 White House Conference on Small Business. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the “Small Business Advocate of the Year’’ and “Small Business Media Advocate of the Year’’ by the U.S. Small Business Administration. He also served as faculty advisor to Students in Free Enterprise and was named a Sam Walton Fellow in 2008.

John Massey is chairman of the board of First United Bank and Trust, headquartered in Durant, Oklahoma.

A tireless advocate for higher education, Massey serves as Vice Chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He is in his third nine-year term as a regent, a position appointed by the governor.

Massey earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1960

In 1984, Massey received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southeastern; in 2005, the School of Business was renamed as the John Massey School of Business.

At his alma mater, Massey has established nine endowed chairs and four professorships.


Black Student Association plans events for February

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern’s Black Student Association (BSA) will present a host of student-facilitated programs and events in celebration of “A Century of Black Life, History, and Culture,” the 2015 Black History theme.

The BSA will sponsor a program or event each Wednesday in February:

Wednesday, February 4, 7 p.m. —  There will be a showing of the acclaimed film, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union, room 213. Directed and produced by Lee Daniels and written by Danny Strong, Lee Daniels’ The Butler was released in 2013.

The film is an American historical drama loosely based on the real life of Eugene Allan. It stars Forest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, an African American who witnesses notable events of the 20th century during his 34-year tenure serving as a White House butler.

Refreshments will be provided and, following the film, a short group discussion will cover themes addressed in the film.

Wednesday, February 11, 7 p.m. – A Discussion Panel with faculty, student and community-member panelists will cover the topic of “What is Black History?” in Student Union, Room 213.

The discussion topic coincides with the national Black History Month theme, which has been provided by the organization, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History for the past 100 years.

For more information about the ASALH, visit the website at

Wednesday, February 18, 7 p.m. – Everyone is invited to participate in “POETRY SLAM” in the Magnolia Eatery inside the Student Union. Faculty, staff and students will perform original or published works of poetry, slam poetry or spoken word poetry in  a cool, relaxed atmosphere.

Pre-sign-ups will be Monday and Tuesday, February 16-17 from noon until 2 p.m. in the Student Union next to the cafeteria.

Performers will also be able to sign-up on the day of the event from 30 minutes prior to start time. For more information or to sign-up, contact treasurer Raven Moore at

Wednesday, February 25, 7 p.m. – The BSA invites everyone to join them for a Historical Storytelling and Period Reenactment of the people of Brooklyn (Lovejoy), Illinois – the oldest African American community in the United States – in Student Union, room 213.

Students and community members will tell stories and read eyewitness accounts of the residents of Lovejoy regarding their life and the hardships of sustaining a predominately African American community.

All events are free and open to all Southeastern faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the community.

For more information about this year’s programs or events or to learn more about the Southeastern Black Student Association, contact Social Chair Nayla Sloan at