Southeastern News

Heritage, Benefactor Awards to be presented at Homecoming

Heritage, Benefactor Awards to be presented at Homecoming

Press Release Date: 9-29-2011

O.J. Harvey, left, and Harvey Foundation board member Jerry Felknor.

O.J. Harvey, left, and Harvey Foundation board member Jerry Felknor.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will present the Heritage and Benefactor Awards as part of Homecoming 2011.

The Heritage Award, which honors individuals who have impacted the history of Southeastern in some unique way, will be presented posthumously to Kate Galt Zaneis. Her great-nephew, Michael McCarty, will accept the award. His wife, RuAnna, will also be in attendance.

The Benefactor Award will be presented to the O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Educational Foundation. This award is presented to individuals, businesses or foundations that support the University through financial means.

Both awards will be presented at the Distinguished Alumni/Former Faculty awards banquet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.

Kate Galt Zaneis served as the ninth president of Southeastern State Teachers College in 1935-37. She is recognized as the first female president of a public college or university in the nation.

Zaneis initiated and aggressively supported a well-organized recruitment effort to increase enrollment and help the general public identify with Southeastern.

She encouraged organizations, both social and scholastic, to become active on campus. Zaneis also secured Public Works Administration funding to beautify the campus grounds and renovate buildings.

Kate Zaneis

Kate Zaneis

As President, Zaneis also made an all-out effort to urge alumni and residents of Durant and Bryan County to visit the campus and help celebrate the days set aside for special events.

Zaneis inspired the community of Durant and Southeastern State Teachers College to go beyond the possible and reach for the impossible.

The O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Educational Foundation has provided $123,500 for scholarships since the fall of 2007, with awards going to 14 Native American students.

In August of 2011, the Harvey Foundation gave $105,000 to create a scholarship endowment with the Southeastern Foundation, Inc.

Dr. Harvey and his wife, Mary Christine, who passed away in 2003, grew up with limited financial resources. Early in life, both recognized that education was clearly the means through which an individual might gain options and degrees of freedom in adapting to life.

The Harveys graduated from the University of Oklahoma. He received his Ph.D. in social psychology in 1954, and she received her bachelor’s degree in history and political science. Both were successful educators. He spent 37 years in psychology, and her career covered 31 years of teaching sixth grade.

Among the more important reasons the Harvey Foundation scholarships are committed to Choctaw students at Southeastern is the highly cooperative working relationship between the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the University, the large number of Native American students attending Southeastern, and the fact that Southeastern is a national leader in graduating Native American students.