Southeastern to honor three Distinguished Alumni

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will honor three Distinguished Alumni during Homecoming activities Oct. 24-25.

The Distinguished Awards Banquet will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, in the Visual & Performing Arts Center.

This year’s honorees are Dr. Jesse Arnold, Josephine Wildcat Bigler, and Dr. David Whitlock.

Jesse ArnoldDr. Jesse Arnold (‘60) is a Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech University. He served as department head for the Department of Statistics at Virginia Tech from

1973-1982, with his career spanning 34 years at the university.

The Wichita Falls, Texas, native earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics at Southeastern. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mathematical statistics from Florida State University.

Arnold is an Elected Member of the International Statistical Institute and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA). He is Past President of the International Biometric Society, Eastern North American Region, and Past Chair of the ASA Section on Statistical Education.

Arnold has published numerous technical papers in leading statistical journals and directed the research of 14 Ph.D. students at Virginia Tech. He is co-author of a widely used statistics textbook for engineers and computer scientists. In 1984, the Department of Statistics established the annually-awarded Jesse C. Arnold Graduate Student Teaching Award.

BiglerJosephine Wildcat Bigler (’45) is a full blood Euchee Indian, enrolled with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and the first in her family to earn a college degree. She may be the first Euchee woman to earn a four-year degree.

Born near Sapulpa, Oklahoma, Bigler taught elementary school in Sapulpa and special education in Wisconsin.

Bigler  served as a Special Education teacher when it was a relatively new field. A Euchee linguist and true expert on the language, she and three other elders are co-writing the first Dictionary of Euchee.

Euchee is a language isolate with no other language in the world similar or related.

Her ability to recall older forms no longer actively used, plus explaining how women’s speech varies from men’s speech, makes her extremely vital in the effort to save the language.

Bigler was elected Chairwoman of the Milwaukee Indian Health Board and served as a representative to the Milwaukee Southeastern Malpractice Compensation Committee.

In addition to earning her education degree at Southeastern, she received special education training at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh.

WhitlockMug_Sept10[1]Dr. David Whitlock (’84, ’85) has served as Oklahoma Baptist University’s 15th president since 2008.

The Purcell, Oklahoma, native earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s in business administration at Southeastern. He earned his Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Oklahoma in 1995.

Whitlock began his professional career at Southeastern, where he taught for 14 years. He joined the Southeastern faculty in 1985 as an instructor of business, was promoted to assistant professor in 1991 and associate professor in 1996. While at Southeastern, he directed the university’s Small Business Institute from 1990-97, working with small business development in the Durant area.

He was named chair of the University’s business information management program in 1995, and served in that role until moving to Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.

AT SBU, Whitlock served in various capacities, including associate provost, dean of the college of business and computer science, as a professor of business, dean of SBU’s adult and off-campus programs, and assistant to the president.

In addition to his academic work, Whitlock has served in a bi-vocational role as co-pastor of Wellspring Baptist Fellowship in Bolivar. He previously served as bi-vocational pastor of Silo Baptist Church and Hendrix Baptist Church. He was licensed to preach by the First Baptist Church of Durant in 1993.