Southeastern News

Gold & Blue Scholarship Gala scheduled for April 1

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Gold and Blue Scholarship and Auction Gala will be held April 1.

The Gala is scheduled for the Visual and Performing Arts Center and hosted by the Southeastern Alumni Association. It’s an evening of cocktails, live and silent auctions, hors d’ouvres and dancing.

The event is the primary fundraiser for student scholarships. Last year’s Gala drew a record-setting crowd of more than 200 guests and raised more than $82,000 to be awarded to Southeastern students.

Alumni Director Stephanie Davison said, “This is a major fundraiser for the association. Thanks to the guests and sponsors of the Gala, the Alumni Association can award scholarships, which is one of the reasons the association exists.

“We do our best to bring high quality, desirable items to the live and silent auctions and provide a full evening of entertainment, including food and dancing to live music by the Decades band.’’

Attire for the Gala can be anything from blue jeans to as dress-up as anybody desires.

Numerous businesses and Southeastern alumni support the Gold and Blue Gala each year by donating unique and valuable items for the auctions.

The Gala and silent auction will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the live auction beginning at 8 p.m.

Individual tickets for the Gala are $75 and table sponsorships (for eight) are available for $1,000. Tickets may be purchased at the Welcome Center or at  http://www.se.edu/alumni/gold-and-blue-gala/

 

 

 

 

Southeastern’s Speech and Debate team competes in OU event

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Speech and Debate Association’s impressive streak of speech/debate competitors reaching the finals came to an end recently at the University of Oklahoma’s Sweetheart Swing Speech and Debate Tournament in Norman.

The forensics tournament featured an open National Parliamentary Debate and InternationalPublic Debate Association tournament as well as two self-contained American Forensics Association National Individual Events tournament.

Connor Judd and Jacob Morrison of Southeastern Oklahoma State University reached the quarterfinals in the open Parliamentary Debate competition. Judd and Morrison ran their combined season’s record to 24-5 in both novice and open Parli competition rounds.

SSDA will next compete at the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Forensics Association’s State Tournament in Oklahoma City in March.

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

Seay-Fietz Family Endowed Scholarship established

Attending the scholarship announcement were Frank Fietz, Donna Seay, Greg Seay, Mackenzie Brink, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage.

Attending the scholarship announcement were Frank Fietz, Donna Seay, Greg Seay, Mackenzie Brink, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage.

DURANT, Okla. – The Seay-Fietz Family Scholarship has been established as an endowed scholarship at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The scholarship was endowed with a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Greg Seay and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fietz.

The Seay-Fietz Family Scholarship is provided for graduates of Ryan High School in Jefferson County, Oklahoma. Both Mr. Seay and Mr. Fietz are Ryan graduates.

The first recipient of the Seay-Fietz Family Scholarship is Mackenzie Jordan Brink, a 2016 graduate of Ryan High School. She has declared a major in Occupational Safety and Health.

Greg and Donna Seay are long-time Durant residents. Greg is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and was a Big 8 champion high jumper. Donna received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin  and earned her master’s degree in Education from Southeastern.

She taught in the Durant school district for 22 years. The Seays own Medical Center Pharmacy and Advanced Care Medical Equipment in Durant and also haveseveral other business interests. The Seays have been strong supporters of Southeastern Oklahoma State University for many years.

Mr. Fietz was honored by Southeastern in 2015 as a  Distinguished Alumnus. He earned a degree in business from Southeastern in 1957. His very successful career was highlighted by his time as CEO of  the Bealls Department Stores division and as president of Christian International Business Network.

Mr. and Mrs. Fietz retired to Durant in 2005. Mrs. Fietz passed away in late 2016. Mr. Fietz remains a strong supporter of Southeastern as evidenced by this scholarship.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Seay-Fietz Family Scholarship should contact Mark Webb, Director of Development, at 580-745-2361 or mwebb@se.edu.

Saturday busy day for high school/middle school students on Southeastern campus

As part of Honors Day competition, Southeastern faculty members visited with prospective students and their parents about various academic programs.

As part of Honors Day competition, Southeastern faculty members visited with prospective students and their parents about various academic programs.

DURANT, Okla. – Saturday was a busy day at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

An estimated 1,000-plus middle school and high school students from Oklahoma and north Texas were on the Southeastern campus for a variety of events.

More than 100 high school seniors participated in “Scholarship Competition Day’’ at the University. This is a process in which students seek admission and scholarships in the Honors Program or President’s Leadership Class at Southeastern. The studentsparticipate in interviews and attend informational sessions. Parents are also invited to attend the sessions and participate in campus tours.

Faculty members from Southeastern’s academic departments were also available to provide information about their programs.

Also on Saturday, Southeastern hosted the Oklahoma Science Olympiad

 

Invitational Tournament for the second consecutive year.

 

Some 350 middle and high school students from  public and private schools across Oklahoma and north Texas competed on 2-4 person teams in one or more of 46 events that included most areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Southeastern faculty and staff from the Department of Aviation Sciences, Biological Science, Chemistry, Computer and Physical Sciences volunteered to design events, write and grade exams and provide support to make this event happen.

In addition, 20 Southeastern student volunteers signed up to help with the competition.

Another 500-800 students competed in the District Vocal Solo Ensemble Festival hosted by Southeastern.

To cap the day off, the Southeastern Savage Storm baseball and basketball teams played home games Saturday afternoon.

More than 350 middle school and high school students from Oklahoma and Texas competed in the Science Olympiad.

More than 350 middle school and high school students from Oklahoma and Texas competed in the Science Olympiad.

Southeastern hosted the Oklahoma Science Olympiad Saturday, which featured 46 events.

Southeastern hosted the Oklahoma Science Olympiad Saturday, which featured 46 events.

Dr. Wayne Jones, chair of Occupational Safety and Health, provides information to a prospective student.

Dr. Wayne Jones, chair of Occupational Safety and Health, provides information to a prospective student.

“Children of the Civil Rights’’ documentary aired in Student Union

JuliaClifford, director of the documentary, sets the stage for the showing of the film.

JuliaClifford, director of the documentary, sets the stage for the showing of the film.

Special guests Joyce Henderson, Bill Clifford and Joyce Jackson participate in a discussion following the film’s showing.

Special guests Joyce Henderson, Bill Clifford and Joyce Jackson participate in a discussion following the film’s showing.

DURANT, Okla. – More than 100 students, faculty and staff  from Southeastern Oklahoma State University attended a special screening of  “Children of the Civil Rights,’’ a documentary based on the Oklahoma City restaurant sit-ins in 1958-64.  The film was shown Thursday in the Glen D.  Johnson  Student Union.

Also in attendance were the film’s director – Julia Clifford, a Southeastern graduate (’92) and Ardmore native – along with three individuals who were involved in the sit-ins, Joyce Jackson, Joyce Henderson and Bill Clifford, the director’s father.

 

Following the 60-minute film, a question-and-answer session was held.

Promotional materials state the following about the documentary:

“For six years, a group of kids went into restaurants and asked for service. It never got violent; it never really made national news; but together, they turned around every restaurant except onebefore the 1964 Civil Rights Act.’’

This event was sponsored by the Southeastern Student Support Services and the Office for Student Life.

Twenty-one schools scheduled to participate in Science Olympiadhosted by Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will host the Oklahoma Science Olympiad Invitational Tournament Saturday, February 18.

More than 200 middle and high school students from 21 public and private schools across Oklahoma and north Texas will compete in 2-4 person teams in one or more of 46 events that include most areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Oklahoma has been involved in Science Olympiad for 16 years. The competition is similar to academic track meets, consisting of 23 team events in each division. Middle school is Division B and high school is Division C.

A portion of the events is rotated each year to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. By combining events from all disciplines, Science Olympiad encourages a wide cross-section of students to get involved. Emphasis is placed on active, hands-on group participation.

Southeastern  faculty and staff from the Department of Aviation Sciences, Biological Science, Chemistry, Computer and Physical Sciences have volunteered to design events, write and grade exams and provide support to make this competition happen. In addition, more than 20 Southeastern student volunteers are signed up to help with the competition.

Local teachers and administrators interested in learning about the Science Olympiad are encouraged to visit and watch the competition. For more information about the Science Olympiad event, contact Dr. Tim Smith at tsmith@se.edu.

 

Family presents contribution to Brady Rudolf Memorial Scholarship

The Rudolf family recently presented a check for $14,500 to the Brady Joe Rudolf Memorial Scholarship Fund at Southeastern. Front row, left to right, Jennifer Rudolf, Nate Rudolf and Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Back, left to right, Nathalia Flowers, Ty Rudolf, Braden Rudolf, Dustin Rudolf and Clent Horner.

The Rudolf family recently presented a check for $14,500 to the Brady Joe Rudolf Memorial Scholarship Fund at Southeastern. Front row, left to right, Jennifer Rudolf, Nate Rudolf and Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Back, left to right, Nathalia Flowers, Ty Rudolf, Braden Rudolf, Dustin Rudolf and Clent Horner.

DURANT, Okla. – A contribution of  $14,500 was presented Monday to the Brady Joe Rudolf Memorial Scholarship, which was established through the Southeastern Foundation in 2009.

Brady Rudolf, a 1993 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, died in a helicopter crash during his second deployment to Iraq. The Durant High School graduate served as a pharmacist for the Veterans Administration before his military duty.

On Monday, Brady’s family presented the check to Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Attending the presentation were Brady’s widow, Jennifer; his mother Nathalia Flowers; his brother Dustin; his sons,  Nate, Ty, and  Braden; and family friend Clent Horner, who assists with the Brady Rudolf Memorial Golf Tournament.

The scholarship seeks to assist students in reaching their educational goals. Those wishing to contribute to the scholarship may send donations to the Southeastern Foundation at 425 W. University Boulevard.

The  fundraiser golf tournament is scheduled for Saturday, April 8, at Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course. For more information, go to www.bradyrudolf.com. Players and sponsors may register and pay through the website. Use the dropdown to select individual or team registration and pay by credit card.

Team registration is $240 and individual registration is $65. Sponsorship opportunities are available on the website.

“Children of the Civil Rights’’ documentary to be shown on campus Feb. 9

DURANT, Okla. – The campus community will soon have the opportunity to view and discuss “Children of the Civil Rights,’’ a documentary based on the Oklahoma City restaurant sit-ins in 1958-64.

The film will be shown on Thursday, February 9, at 11 a.m. in room 213 of the Glen D. Johnson StudentUnion at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

As a bonus, the film’s director – Julia Clifford, a Southeastern graduate (’92) and Ardmore native – will be present to answer questions, along with participants of the sit-ins, who will share their personal experiences.

Promotional materials state the following about the documentary:

“For six years, a group of kids went into restaurants and asked for service. It never got violent; it never really made national news; but together, they turned around every restaurant except onebefore the 1964 Civil Rights Act.’’

This event is sponsored by the Southeastern Student Support Services and the Office for Student Life. There is no admission charge.

 

Southeastern places third in TCU Speech and Debate tournament

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Speech and Debate Association  (SSDA) earned third place in Overall Sweepstakes at Texas Christian University’s Cowtown Classic Swing Speech and Debate Tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.

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

RepresentingSoutheastern Oklahoma State University were Charles Jackson, junior communication and theatre double major; Connor Judd, freshman business and communication double major; and Jacob Morrison, freshman political science major.

Colleges and universities competing were Texas Christian University, Texas State University, West Texas A&M University, Ranger College, the University of Minnesota, Oklahoma City University, Tulsa Community College and the University of Oklahoma.

Judd and Morrison, both from Durant, reached the quarterfinals in the Parliamentary Debate competition. The team of Judd and Morrison amassed a 4-1 record through thepreliminary rounds earning them a seed in the quarterfinals. Eventually, however, the duo would lose in a split decision to the eventual tournament champions from TCU.

Judd and Morrison both  received individual top speaker awards. Morrison ranked fourth, while Judd earned the top speaker award. To date,  the team is a combined 20-3 in novice and varsity Parli competition rounds.

Judd also competed in Dramatic Interpretation and earned a fifth place finish. Morrison competed in both extemporaneous speaking and impromptu speaking and earned a fourth place finish in extemporaneous speaking.

Morrison’s fourth-place finish qualifies him in the event in both the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament that will be held March 31 through April 3 at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill, and the National Forensics Association National Championship Tournament, April 15-17, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Jackson, from Fort Worth, Texas, reached the finals in the AFA-IE of Prose and Program Oral Interpretation (POI) and earned two second-place trophies.

With these results, Jackson has qualified for both the AFA-NIET and the NFA-NCT.

SSDA’s next forensics tournament will be the Sweetheart Swing at the University of Oklahoma, February 10-12.

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

 

 

Rabon, Durrill of Five Americans fame remain active in music, writing

The Five Americans returned to Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2003 to perform at the Arts Gala concert. Left to right are John Durrill, Norman Ezell, Kevin Lathan, Mike Rabon, and Jim Grant

The Five Americans returned to Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 2003 to perform at the Arts Gala concert. Left to right are John Durrill, Norman Ezell, Kevin Lathan, Mike Rabon, and Jim Grant


DURANT, Okla. –
The packed audience in the Visual & Performing Arts Center eagerly awaited the return to the stage of a band that had captured stardom in the late 1960s. A rock band whose very roots began on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The date was March 15, 2003, and the occasion was the Southeastern Arts Gala, an annual event held to raise scholarship funds.

As students at Southeastern State College in the early 1960s – Mike Rabon, John Durrill, Norman Ezell, Jim Grant, and Johnny Coble  –

began playing cover songs at area clubs and frat parties as “The Mutineers.’’

Seeking fame and fortune, the group headed to Dallas with a new drummer (Durant teenager Jimmy Wrightreplacing Coble), landed a manager, a record contract, and a new name: The Five Americans.

And the rest is history.

While touring extensively and appearing on various national TV shows, the group released such memorable hit singles as “Western Union,’’ (dit, da dit, da dit) ) still heard today on oldies radio and a top 5 hit on the Billboard charts in 1967; “I See The Light,’’ which reached #26 on the charts in 1966; and “Sound of Love’’ and “Zip Code, ’’ both of which climbed to #36 in ’67.

Two other singles – “Evol-Not-Love’’ and “7:30 Guided Tour’’ — also appeared on the Billboard Top 100 chart.

The group released four albums from 1966-68: “I See The Light,’’ “Western Union,’’ “Progressions,’’ and “Now and Then.’’

Management issues and other factors led to The Five Americans calling it quits in 1969, with various members producing solo work, or in some cases, joining other groups.

Back back to March 2003.

The Five Americans took the stage that night for the first time at Southeastern since a 1966 concert inMontgomery Auditorium.

The original band members – minus Jimmy Wright, who, due to a previous commitment, was replaced that evening by Hugo High School student Kevin Lathan – thrilled the crowd with their hits, old blues and rock covers, and even some new compositions.  After the show, the band and crowd gathered at the old Durant Country Club for an impromptu performance.

So now, 14 years later, what are the members of The Five Americans doing?

The Five Americans, circa 1967: John Durrill, Jimmy Wright, Jim Grant, Mike Rabon, and Norman Ezell.

The Five Americans, circa 1967: John Durrill, Jimmy Wright, Jim Grant, Mike Rabon, and Norman Ezell.

Mike Rabon, guitarist–lead singer–songwriter, is a retired public school educator living in Hugo, Oklahoma. Over the past few years, he has authored a handful of books, including “High Strung,’’ a memoir about his days with The Five Americans. He has also been active in various music projects over the years. His wife, Carla, a Southeastern graduate, still teaches.

Rabon was born in Port Arthur, Texas, but as an infant, moved with his family to Oklahoma.  After The Five Americans broke up, he formed Michael Rabon and Choctaw (with Wright on drums). He also returned to Southeastern, earned a bachelor’s degree in Speech Education and a master’s in public school administration, and followed in the footsteps of his parents, both educators.

“Two things stand out about that night,’’ Rabon said recently in recalling the Arts Gala event. “To see all my old friends from high school and college and the Hugo area was very special. And it was also enjoyable to sing with the president (then Southeastern president Glen D. Johnson, now chancellor, who joined the band for a rendition of “Hey Baby.’’) That was a lot of fun.’’

John Durrill, keyboardist and prolific songwriter, was born in Houston, Texas, but was raised in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  For a time at Southeastern, he and his wife and children lived in the old wooden barracks known as Vet Village. He graduated with an English degree (music minor) from Southeastern, and taught high school English  for one year in Talihina, Oklahoma.

After The Five Americans, Durrill moved to California and played and toured with The Ventures for a while. He has written more than 2,000 songs for 75 artists, including FrankSinatra, Merle Haggard (“Misery and Gin’’) and Cher (“Dark Lady.’’)

Today, Durrill remains very active in the music business and resides in Westlake Village, California.  His current projects include occasional duty with The Ventures, writing for the group Chicago, movie work, and other art and music-related work.

“We loved playing live,’’ Durrill said in a recent telephone visit about The Five Americans’ heyday. “What really made it work for us was we weren’t really big planners. We didn’t know what we were doing, but when we turned those amps on, we knew exactly what we wanted to do.’’

The talent and chemistry of all five band members contributed to the group’s overall success, and Durrill pointed to drummer Jimmy Wright as a catalyst.

“The way Jimmy played – he was the real backbone of our sound. He was a real driving force for us. As far as the concert (2003 Arts Gala), it was déjà vu. We had all gone different directions, but everything came full circle.’’

 

Sadly, the three other band members are deceased.

Bass guitarist Jim Grant passed away in Dallas in 2004; Norman Ezell, rhythm guitarist and songwriter, died in California in 2010; and drummer Jimmy Wright passed away in Denison, Texas, in 2012.

Grant, a Hugo native, was a talented artist who used his creativity to produce logos, posters, and other products for public relations clients in the Dallas area.

As an active and popular student at Southeastern, Grant was President of his Sophomore Class; Delta Zeta Man; President of Sigma Tau Gamma; member of Student Senate, Blue Key, and President’s Club; and elected Friendliest Boy.  (Grant, Rabon, Ezell and Johnny Coble were all members of Sigma Tau Gamma).

Ezell was born in Alabama, but spent his childhood in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He transferred from theUniversity of New Mexico to Southeastern on a football scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in Education (Social Studies).

Like Durrill, Ezell ventured to California after the breakup of the band. He founded two churches, “Gloryland Ministries,’’ and produced a number of gospel albums.  In addition, Ezell taught special education in Taft and Stockton, California.  And like Rabon, he penned a book about his Five American days, titled, “Road Runner. ‘’

Ezell was a longtime resident of Lodi, California.

Wright was a native of Wyoming, but grew up in Durant. After life in the band, he teamed with Rabon’s new group to record an album, and then established several ministries in Oklahoma. Wright  also utilized his  talents as a media director, videographer, and lighting director while working and traveling with various ministries, both nationally and internationally.