Southeastern News

Lesa Smaligo to speak at Fall Commencement on December 15


DURANT, Okla. – Lobbyist/consultant Lesa Smaligo will be the speaker at Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Fall Commencement on Saturday, December 15.

Two ceremonies (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) will be held in Bloomer Sullivan Arena.

Smaligo is a Southeastern graduate, receiving her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1990. She was active on campus as a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority and the Southeastern Business Club. Following graduation, she worked in High School and College Relations at Southeastern as a recruiter and scholarship coordinator,

served as assistant coach of the Southeastern cheerleaders, and was assistant director of the Miss Southeastern Scholarship pageant.

Smaligo is currently a member of the Southeastern Alumni Association board of directors.

In the summer of 2006, she founded The Smaligo Group, an Oklahoma based LLC specializing in lobbying and consulting.  She is currently Principal of the Smaligo Group.

After working in the private sector for two years, Smaligo served as Executive Assistant to the President of the University Center at Tulsa and worked for the next five years helping the Center become a full branch campus of Oklahoma State University.

In 2000, Smaligo took a position as Legislative and Fiscal Analyst for the State Regents for Higher Education.  During her tenure there, Smaligo was involved in the drafting and passage of the Tuition Deregulation bill, the Endowed Chairs bill and the OU/OSU Optional Retirement bill.

Switching to a contract lobbyist role on behalf of multiple clients in 2004, she successfully lobbied for the passage of HB 2660 – the Tobacco Tax bill.  In addition to contract lobbying, Smaligo also spent three years serving as Executive Director for CARE – Coalition of Advocates for Responsible Eldercare, Inc., a not-for-profit organization which is committed to excellence in long term healthcare.  In that role, she successfully lobbied for an additional $20.4 million in funding for nursing homes across the state.

In 2007, Smaligo was appointed by Governor Brad Henry to serve on the Oklahoma Campus Life and Safety and Security (CLASS) Task Force representing the independent and private colleges in the State of Oklahoma.

During the 2012 legislative session, she successfully lobbied for the passage of the Uniform Equipment Dealers bill, which has now become the model legislation for many other states.

The schedule for Saturday, December 15, will be two ceremonies in Bloomer Sullivan Arena, as follows:

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.      School of Arts & Sciences

Master of Technology

Master of Music Education

Master of Science (Native American Leadership)

John Massey School of Business

Master of Business Administration

Master of Science (Aerospace Administration and Logistics)

Master of Science (Safety)


2:00 – 3:00 p.m.          School of Education & Behavioral Sciences

Master of Arts (Clinical Mental Health Counseling)

Master of Early Intervention and Child Development

Master of Education

Master of Science (Sports Studies and Athletic Administration)


Candle Lighting ceremony, Tree Lighting set for Dec. 3




DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University presents the 98th annual Candle Lighting on Monday, December 3,, at 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery Auditorium.

This event, one of the oldest campus traditions, is open to the public.

Preceding that event will be Santa Claus and entertainment, from 6-6:30 p.m. in front of the Magnolia House, and the lighting of the campus Christmas tree, at 6:35 p.m. on the front lawn of campus. These events are also open to the community.

The Candle Lighting concert is anchored by the Southeastern Symphonic Chorus, who are  joined this year by the SHARE Children’s Chorus, Durant Middle School Appawse, Dr. Alicia Wallace, soprano, graduate tenor Darius Thomas, student


instrumentalists, and Dr. Catalin Dima on the piano.


The Symphonic Chorus is a college-community ensemble consisting of students, faculty, staff, and members of the Durant community.

This year’s program will feature works about Mary from a variety of creators: historical masters like Mozart and living American composers.

In keeping with tradition, the Cardinal Key Society will light the candles at the start of the program and banners from past years will hang in Montgomery Auditorium. Audience members can join in the carol sing-along, which will feature a few surprises and perhaps start some new traditions.

Candle Lighting is conducted by Dr. Joshua Nannestad, Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education.

Southeastern hosts Texoma College Fair


DURANT, Okla. – Some 25 colleges and universities participated in the Texoma College Fair Wednesday in the Bloomer Sullivan Gymnasium. Assisting high school students in this photo are biological sciences professor Dr. Ning Wu and Christiana Kyles of the Gear Up program. Southeastern served as host of the event.

University closed Nov. 19-23 for Thanksgiving


DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will be closed the week of Nov. 19-23 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

All classes will resume and offices will re-open on Monday, Nov. 26.

Southeastern hosting STEM Visitation Day on Dec. 1 for high school students


DURANT, Okla. – High school students interested in pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are invited to attend a STEM Visitation Day at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

This free event is scheduled for Saturday, December 1, on Southeastern’s Durant campus. Parents are also invited to attend.

Below is the day’s schedule of activities, to be held in the General Classroom Building:

  • 8 a.m. Registration and Scavenger Hunt
  • 9 a.m.     Welcome
  • 9:30-11:30 a.m.     Breakout Sessions (Student’s Choice)
    • Computer Science and Computer Information Systems
    • Chemistry
    • Field Biology – Fisheries & Wildlife, Botany, Zoology
    • Mathematics
    • Pre-Professional – Medical Sciences, Pre-Engineering, NursingAdmissions, Financial Aid/Scholarships, Residence Life, Student Life
  • 11:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.     Free Pizza!
    • (Southeastern  professors and students will enjoy small group discussions during lunch)
  • 12:30-2 p.m.     Campus Tour, ending in the student’s favorite department with professors

To register, go to


Chorale concert scheduled for Nov. 15


DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Chorale, in photo above, the premier choral ensemble for Southeastern Oklahoma State University, will be featured in concert on Thursday, November 15, at the First Christian Church in Durant (301 North Third Avenue). The Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Stacy Weger, will present Wonder – A Child’s Joy.    The concert stems from a yearning to return to the discovery and simplicity of childhood. This concert repertoire includes texts of nursery rhymes, lullabies, nonsense songs, as well as poets’ reflections of youth.  The Chorale will be assisted by collaborative pianist Kate Stubbs. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

University updates fire safety systems in residence halls


DURANT, Okla. – Fire alarm systems are currently being updated in three residence halls (Chickasaw Hall, Choctaw Hall, and Shearer Hall) at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The new fire alarm systems will provide added fire detection sensitivity, while also reducing false alarms caused by environmental factors such as humidity and dust. Additionally, the systems include a versatile voice audio system that allows a command station to target building announcements to specific parts of the building, and a fault reduction redundancy that preserves the fire alarm system’s circuitry in the event of power surges, lightning strikes, and other scenarios.

Southeastern Speech & Debate advances to semifinals in Fort Worth

Representing Southeastern at the tournament were Emily Wheeler, Reagan Benson, Jacob Morrison, Hannah Nunley, Jillian Parsons, and MacKenzie Trammell.

Representing Southeastern at the tournament were Emily Wheeler, Reagan Benson, Jacob Morrison, Hannah Nunley, Jillian Parsons, and MacKenzie Trammell.


DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Speech and Debate Association reached the semifinals in Parliamentary Debate at Texas Christian University’s Cowtown Classic Swing Speech and Debate Tournament, October 26-28 in Fort Worth.

The forensics tournament featured varsity National Parliamentary Debate, International Public Debate Association, and all 11 American Forensics Association National Individual Events.

Representing Southeastern were Jacob Morrison, junior political science major; Hannah Nunley, freshman political science major; MacKenzie Trammell, freshman chemistry major; Reagan Benson, freshman aviation major; Jillian Parson, freshman aviation major; and Emily Wheeler, freshman chemistry major.

Seventeen colleges and universities competed.

Morrison, from Durant, and Nunley,  from El Campo, Texas,  reached the semifinals in the Parliamentary Debate competition. The team of Morrison and Nunley amassed a 5-0 record through the preliminary rounds, earning them a third seed in the semifinals. However, the duo would lose in a split decision to the eventual tournament champions from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Morrison also competed in both Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking, earning a respectable fifth place finish in Extemporaneous Speaking. Nunley, who also competed in Extemporaneous and Impromptu Speaking, finished the competition with a well-earned eighth place finish in Extemp.

Benson, from Paris, Texas, and who was competing in her first forensics competition as a member of Dr. Randy Clark’s Business and Professional Speaking class, finished the tournament ranked 21st out of 49 competitors in Extemporaneous Speaking.

“The team fared very well for our first tournament away from home,’’ Clark said. “It’s what I’ve come to expect from Morrison, but Nunley was also exceptional in her first tournament. She has a bright future. I’m especially proud of the competitors from the B&P Honors course who have been working very hard all semester in an effort to prepare themselves for the grind of a tournament weekend. It is remarkable and a testament to the talented students of Southeastern how Reagan — who has no experience — performed at the tournament.’’

SSDA’s next forensics tournament will be the Christmas Classic at Oklahoma City University in Oklahoma City, November 30-December 2.

To learn more about Southeastern’s intercollegiate forensics program and SSDA’s tournament schedule, visit the Department of Art, Communication and Theatre website at or contact Speech and Debate Advisor Dr. Randy Clark at ext. 2556.

Top 10 Freshmen recognized at Southeastern


The Top 10 Freshmen are, front row, left to right, Rylee Dunlap, Ieysha Cheney, KateLeigh AlycAnn Wright, Bailey Elizabeth Sykora, and Ashlee Carr. Back row, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, Dillan Browne, Morgan Blake, Spencer Cole Patton, Rachel Storey, Elexis Watson, and Dr. Marlin Blankenship, director of the academic advising and outreach center.

The Top 10 Freshmen are, front row, left to right, Rylee Dunlap, Ieysha Cheney, KateLeigh AlycAnn Wright, Bailey Elizabeth Sykora, and Ashlee Carr. Back row, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, Dillan Browne, Morgan Blake, Spencer Cole Patton, Rachel Storey, Elexis Watson, and Dr. Marlin Blankenship, director of the academic advising and outreach center.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University recognized the 2017-18 Top Ten Freshmen during a ceremony Friday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union Auditorium.

The honorees were recognized for academic achievement and campus/community involvement.

The 2017-18 Top 10 Freshmen are:

  • Morgan Blake, double major in Biology and Fisheries and Wildlife, from Smithville, Oklahoma
  • Dillan  Browne, Finance, Wilburton
  • Ashlee Carr, Advertising and Public Relations, Carter
  • Ieysha Cheney, Communications and Public Relations, Broken Bow
  • Rylee Dunlap, double major in Psychology and Biology, Atoka
  • Spencer Cole Patton, Advertising and Public Relations, Durant
  • Rachel Storey, Fisheries and Wildlife, Brunswick, Georgia
  • Bailey Elizabeth Sykora, Nursing, Marietta
  • Elexis Watson, Biology, Muskogee
  • KateLeigh AlycAnn Wright, double major in English and Strategic Communications, Haworth

Occupational Safety & Health hosts Career Fair

The Occupational Safety & Health Department recently hosted a career fair.

The Occupational Safety & Health Department recently hosted a career fair.


DURANT, Okla. – The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) at Southeastern Oklahoma State University recently hosted its annual semester Career Fair. Eight companies participated in an effort to scout out potential interns and new hires.

Those in attendance included Texas Instruments, Brandt Construction, Cadence McShane, Dal-Tile, Granite Construction, Hensel Phelps Construction,  McCarthy Construction, and Northstar Builders Group.

This departmental career fair was implemented two semesters ago in response to the high demand by companies for OSH students to fill positions and

internships. Other companies that have recently been on campus doing informational sessions and interviews include Amazon and Barnard Construction.