Southeastern News

Speech and Debate students compete in OKC


 Representing Southeastern at the event at Oklahoma City University were, front row, left to right, Hannah Nunley, Hannah Barnett, Jordan Nelson, Haleigh Harper, and Emily Dahl. Back row, Avery Kahl, Jacob Morrison, Avery Roach, and Dr. Randy Clark.

Representing Southeastern at the event at Oklahoma City University were, front row, left to right, Hannah Nunley, Hannah Barnett, Jordan Nelson, Haleigh Harper, and Emily Dahl. Back row, Avery Kahl, Jacob Morrison, Avery Roach, and Dr. Randy Clark.

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Speech and Debate Association competed at the Christmas Classic Speech and Debate Tournament, November 30 — December 2, at Oklahoma City University.

The forensics tournament featured varsity National Parliamentary Debate, junior and varsity 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; Hannah Barnett, freshman communication major; Emily Dahl, freshman communication major; Haleigh Harper, freshman mathematics education major; Avery Kahl, freshman aviation major; and Austin Roach, freshman computer science major.

Other schools competing were Carl Albert State College, Kansas State University, Kansas Wesleyan University, Northeastern State University, Oklahoma City University, Oral Roberts University, Sterling College, Texas Christian University, Texas Southern University, Tulsa Community College, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas at Dallas, Wayland Baptist University, and West Texas A & M University.

Barnett, from Hugo, Oklahoma, reached the quarterfinals in Public Debate in her first tournament as a member of the team. She lost a split decision to the eventual tournament champion from Oral Roberts University.

Kahl, from Sherman, Texas, took first place in his second Impromptu round of the tournament, and narrowly missed the breakout rounds.

The Parli team of Kahl and Harper, from Durant, in their first tournament as part of Dr. Randy Clark’s Business and Professional Speaking Honors course, went one and four in their preliminary rounds.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment for this duo, especially since they were competing in the open division and neither of them have any formal debate experience, aside from the education and practice stemming from our class,” said Dr. Clark.

The team of Morrison, from Durant, and Nunley, from El Campo, Texas,  finished the preliminary rounds three and two and missed the quarterfinals based on speaker points. In two Parli tournaments this year, the team of Morrison and Nunley is eight and two in preliminary rounds.

SSDA’s next forensics tournament will be the Sweetheart Swing at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, February 8-10, 2019.

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.

Southeastern, community celebrate holiday season with events

Scenes from Candle Lighting Monday night in Montgomery Auditorium.

Scenes from Candle Lighting Monday night in Montgomery Auditorium.


DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the community celebrated the holiday season Monday night with Tree Lighting on the front lawn of campus, followed by the 98th Candle Lighting ceremony in Montgomery Auditorium. Earlier in the day, an open house was held in the Magnolia House on campus. The last day of fall classes at the University is December 14, followed by Commencement on December 15.


Scenes from Candle Lighting Monday night in Montgomery Auditorium.

Scenes from Candle Lighting Monday night in Montgomery Auditorium.

Scenes from Candle Lighting Monday night in Montgomery Auditorium.

Scenes from Candle Lighting Monday night in Montgomery Auditorium.

Southeastern professor renews National Teacher Certification


DURANT, Okla. – Dr. Susan Morrison of Southeastern Oklahoma State University recently renewed her National Board Teacher Certification.

Morrison is a professor and coordinator of Elementary Education, and has been at the University since 2004. A former public school classroom teacher, she holds an Ed.D. from Texas A&M Commerce, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southeastern.

National Board Certification is a public assurance that teachers have met the profession’s highest standards for accomplished practice. It also signifies that teachers are up to date on the knowledge and best practice in their certificate area.

To renew the certification, educators must submit a profile of professional growth demonstrating how their practice continues to align with the core


propositions in their particular area. In addition, as part of the renewal process, Morrison did classroom teaching in Kim Stafford’s kindergarten class at Washington Irving Elementary School in Durant.

Morrison first earned the certification in 1999.

This is her 30th year in the classroom. Prior to joining the Southeastern faculty, Morrison taught in elementary schools in McKinney, Texas, and Durant, for 16 years.

“The title that gives me the greatest joy is that of ‘teacher,’ ‘’ she said. “National Board certification/renewal is, in my opinion, the best professional development opportunity in which a teacher can engage. Renewal helped me stay connected and current and gave me the opportunity to practice and apply the skills that I teach my university pre-service teachers to use.’’


The certification is through the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

National Board Certification was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

More than 118,000 teachers across the United States have achieved Board certification.

Local educator-SE grad authors children’s book

Beth Bean reads to a class of students in Durant.

DURANT, Okla. – Two Southeastern Oklahoma State University graduates have teamed up to write and illustrate a children’s book.

The author is Beth Bean, a Broken Bow native who graduated from Southeastern in 2006 with an Elementary Education degree and later a master’s in Educational Administration. She has been in public education for 13 years, and currently serves as Director of Elementary Education for Durant Public Schools.

The illustrator — Jeremy Lytle of Atoka  – earned a biology degree at Southeastern in 2016.

Titled The Stinky Thinky Tale, the book follows the story of Petunia Skunk, who has a hopelessly out of control tail.  Through the help of Mrs. Whooo, her loveable, intelligent classroom teacher, Petunia Skunk learns about her brain and how she does possess the ability to take control of her tail.  The book is the first in the Brain Buddy Adventures series.

“Social/emotional learning is a huge buzzword right now in the child development field, but many educators and parents do not have resources to introduce best practices in the classroom or at home,’’ Bean said. “It is the goal of this series to help bridge the gap between academic research and real life application.’’

Bean hopes that through the magic of a book, children will internalize the social/emotional learning tenets of self-awareness and self-management and that the book will become a tool for teachers in the classroom and parents at home.

“It was really important in the design of the book to make the text and illustrations accessible and engaging to students and adults,’’ she said. “The book also offers, through its website —  — a free teaching guide to educators or parents to give ideas for extension activities after reading the book.’’

The Stinky Thinky Tale is available on Amazon in a paperback print edition.

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.