Southeastern participates in historic transportation partnership

Southeastern students Chelsea Givings and Ashley Bissell depart the Storm Route on the Southeastern campus.

DURANT, Okla. — It has been more than eight decades since the governors of Texas and Oklahoma sent troops to the border in the great Red River Bridge Controversy of 1931. On Monday, September 17, the states will meet again at the Red River to launch an historic agreement — the first time two states have joined forces to create an integrated public transportation route across state lines establishing the Red River Route.

A unique partnership of governments, community organizations, and employment representatives is the driving force behind getting students, employees and citizens to and from Texas and Oklahoma on public transportation. Championed by TAPS Public Transit CEO and Executive Director Brad Underwood, the Red River Route connects Texas and Oklahoma with shuttle bus service.

“The Red River Route allows residents of Texoma on both sides of the border to use scheduled, easy to access, affordable public transportation,” said Underwood. “TAPS shuttle buses already help students get to class with our successful routes for Grayson College and Austin College. In August, we added the Storm Route moving students to and from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.”

The Red River Route begins at the TAPS Park-N-Ride in Sherman, stops in Denison, crosses the Texas border and stops at the Choctaw Resort Transportation Center where riders connect with shuttles operated by Oklahoma’s SORTS Public Transit. Riders pay $1.00 for each north or southbound trip, or can purchase a monthly pass at a significant discount.

For information visit or call (800) 256-0911.

Musical Arts series begins Sept. 18 with outdoor concert

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Musical Arts Series begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 18, with Mariachi Espuelas de Plata in concert on the lawn of Morrison Hall.

In case of rain, the concert will be held in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.

All concerts are free and the community is invited. Season sponsors include Southeastern, Cherokee Telephone Company, Oklahoma Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, Red River Arts Council, Donna Massey Fund for Music Education, and private donors.

There will be Mexican food for sale and wonderful music performed by the regionally acclaimed group from Dallas.

The ensemble has played for countless events around the Metroplex and in the north Texas/southern Oklahoma region. In addition, the members volunteer their talent and time to help area schools through providing clinics for their Mariachi bands.

Mariachi Espuelas de Plata will perform at Washington Irving Elementary School that afternoon.

Southeastern’s second MAS event is scheduled three days later when The United States Navy Band “Country Current” performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Montgomery Auditorium.

“Country Current” is the U.S. Navy’s premier country/bluegrass ensemble and is nationally renowned for its versatility and eye-popping musicianship, performing a blend of modern country music and cutting-edge bluegrass. “Country Current” has been delighting fans for nearly 40 years with a fun-filled and family-friendly stage show.

The musicians come from diverse backgrounds with extensive high-profile recording and touring experience in music scenes such as Nashville, Tenn., New York City and New Orleans.

In the tradition of country music, each member is a skilled performer on multiple instruments. The band utilizes banjo, acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, upright bass, dobro, pedal steel guitar and drums.

Parents Day set for September 15

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate Parents, Friends and Family Day Saturday, September 15, when the Savage Storm football team hosts Southern Arkansas University.

Southeastern’s Office of Student Life is sponsoring the event from 3-6 p.m. at Tailgate Alley as fans get fired up for the first home football game of the season. Kickoff is 6 o’clock at Paul Laird Field.

Coach Ray Richards’ team scored early and late to defeat Texas A&M University-Commerce in the road opener on Sept. 1.

Students are encouraged to bring Parents, Friends and Family to the campus to celebrate the 2012 football home opener.

Students and families should sign up at Those signing up will receive a free meal, enjoy the game, live music and entertainment.

The Office of Student Life is sponsoring a photo booth for families to enjoy.

Distinguished Former Faculty to be honored at Homecoming

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Alumni Association will honor three individuals with the Distinguished Former Faculty award during Homecoming 2012.

An awards banquet will formally honor Dr. Walter Britt, Dr. Elbert Hill and Dr. Pat Robbins (’60) at 5:30 p.m. Friday, September 28, in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Walter Britt

Britt joined the faculty at Southeastern in 1976 as Assistant Professor of Music. He retired as Professor/Chair of the Music Department after a career that spanned 25 years.

His initial duties at Southeastern included conducting the University Chorale and the Chorvettes, teaching vocal education methods, conducting, and applied voice lessons.

He also conducted the Chamber Singers and taught courses in the sacred music program. He initiated the Choral Union program, which included singers from the community for summer concerts and larger choral works when the choir joined local church choirs and, on occasion, the choirs at Austin College.

Britt participated in a cultural exchange program with China where he worked with choirs in Nanning and Guangzhou.

An active member of MENC, ACDA and OMEA, he also served as Southeastern representative for OCDA for several years, during which time he wrote columns for state publication.

He was a charter member and served as secretary/treasurer of the Oklahoma Association of Music Schools and as president of the Oklahoma Coalition of Music Education. He served as judge for vocal music contests throughout Oklahoma and adjoining states.

Britt was granted tenure in 1985, served as chair of the Department of Music at Southeastern for 13 years, and was instrumental in gaining accreditation of the department by the National Association of Schools of Music.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and began his teaching career at Pierce Junior High in Tampa, Florida. He returned to FSU on a federal fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in music education, which he completed in 1968.

Britt was on the FSU faculty from 1969 until joining the University of Texas in 1973 for a three-year residency. He received his D.M.A. in Choral Literature and Conducting, directed the Texas Troubadours, and assisted with the Choral Union.

He earned his doctorate from the University of Texas in 1977.

Britt and wife Pat (’83) reside in Durant. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Dr. Elbert Hill

Hill became a member of the Southeastern faculty as an Instructor of English in 1966. After almost 40 years of service, he retired as a Professor of English in 2006.

Hill was granted tenure at Southeastern in 1976 and was a specialist in children’s and young adult literature until his retirement.

He is the author of numerous papers about literature for children and adolescents and about Native American literature.

In the summer of 1983, he attended the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Institute, Children’s Literature at the University of Connecticut and in 1987 the NEH, Great Traditions in American Indian Thought at the University of California in Berkeley.

He served on numerous Southeastern committees, including Library, Curriculum, Graduate Faculty Colloquium, Faculty Senate and Native American Symposium Planning.

Hill chaired the Library and Graduate Faculty Colloquium committees and was coordinator of the state-wide Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program from 1976 until his retirement.

He held professional memberships in the National Council of Teachers of English, the College English Association and the South Central College English Association, for which he served as president one year, and as Chair of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Section (1982) and the Children’s Literature Section (1987).

Hill initiated and taught courses in Existential Philosophy, Ethics, Native American Literature, Advanced Children’s Literature and three Southern Women (literature).

He was a contributing writer for several publications, including “Children’s Novels and the Movies” and has also been a guest lecturer at Texas Woman’s University in Denton.

Hill earned his bachelor’s degree from Carson-Newman (Tenn.) and his master’s degree from Memphis State University in 1966.

He was on leave from Southeastern in 1969-72 to continue his studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

He was awarded his Ph.D. in English (Folklore, Children’s Literature) from the University of Nebraska in 1973.

Hill and wife Marion, also a retired educator and now a mystery writer, live in Durant.

Dr. Pat Robbins

Robbins joined the Southeastern faculty in 1976 as a Program Developer in the Department of Grants and Contracts.

She graduated from Clayton, Oklahoma, High School and entered Southeastern in the summer of 1953. She also married Gene Robbins (’54) in 1953 when they were students at Southeastern.

She was named Instructor of Business Education and Secretarial Administration in 1977 and earned her doctorate in 1978 from North Texas State (now the University of North Texas) in Denton. She became an associate professor in 1981, was named professor and granted tenure in 1985.

Robbins was promoted to Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, Professor/Chair of the Business Education Department in 1986. One year later, she served as professor in the departments of Business Administration and Business Education.

In 1988, she became professor/chair of the Department of Business Education, a position she held until her retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1990.

She helped in the formation of the Southwest Administrative Services Association and held several offices, including president. As a program participant, she presented the results of research and was responsible for program development for the annual meeting. She served as president of Delta Kappa Gamma and the Southeastern Alumni Association.

Robbins was recognized by Governor George Nigh’s Committee on the Status of Women. She was active in the Oklahoma and National Business Education Associations. Other professional affiliations were Delta Mu Delta, Pi Omega Pi and Delta Pi Epsilon.

Pat received a master’s degree in Business Administration in 1966 from East Texas State (now Texas A&M-Commerce) and earned a master’s in guidance and counseling there in 1993.

She has also taught in the Business Administration Departments of Murray State College, Kansas State University, Louisiana State University and the University of North Texas.

After retirement from Southeastern, she agreed to help a friend by working one year with at-risk students in the Garland, Texas, school district.

That one-year commitment turned into a 15-year career, after which she retired from Texas and went to work with the Durant Public School system to implement a district-wide character-education development program and a lifeskills curriculum to provide students with the skills to avoid substance abuse.

Her third retirement worked – for now – and she spends time with her husband and family. She and Gene will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on July 2, 2013.

They have two daughters, two grandsons, and two great-grandchildren.

New True Blue Ambassadors named

The True Blue Ambassadors assist at a variety of University functions throughout the academic year.

DURANT, Okla. – Eleven outstanding Southeastern Oklahoma State University students have been chosen for the fifth class of True Blue Ambassadors.

These student leaders will represent Southeastern at high school recruitment events, provide campus tours to prospective students, and assist with Alumni Association events.

The Ambassadors will also work with Southeastern president Larry Minks to host special guests.

Three states are represented by the new True Blue Ambassadors, with four students from Oklahoma, six from Texas, and one from Arkansas.

New Oklahoma Ambassadors are Brittney Bailey, Crowder, Biology/Chemistry major; Chelsea Connel, Madill, Biology; Danielle Julian, Valliant, Psychology; and Leslie Wesberry Jr., Tishomingo, Business.

Texas Ambassadors are Whitney Bowen, Rowlett, Psychology; Kevin Holzbog, Denison, Occupational Safety and Health; Kyle Ludwick, Fort Worth, Political Science; Kailea Marshall, Howe, Occupational Safety and Health; Helen Moore, Denison, Music Education; and Darrin Wade, Houston, Technical Theatre.

Dylan Henson, Aviation-Professional Pilot major, is from Siloam Springs, Ark.

The 2012-13 True Blue Ambassadors were nominated by Southeastern faculty and staff members and participated in an application and interview process. All Ambassadors volunteer their time to serve the University. Southeastern’s Presidential Partners is providing funding for training and awards.

The new True Blue Ambassadors will join 15 returning Ambassadors.

For more information on the program, contact the Office of University Recruitment at 580-745-2060 or visit

Behavioral Sciences to host Alumni in the Classroom

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Department of Behavioral Sciences will host the second-annual “Alumni in the Classroom” during the week of Homecoming 2012.

Last year’s “Alumni in the Classroom” was a huge success with 26 alumni and 24 faculty members from the Departments of Behavioral Sciences, Educational Instruction and Leadership, Health, Physical Education and Recreation participating in the event.

In addition, administrators from Oklahoma and Texas joined in the event. Among the school districts participating were Durant, Calera, Colbert, Madill, Rock Creek, and Denison (Texas).

Returning alumni will have the opportunity to speak to or teach a variety of classes.

Director of Alumni Relations Stephanie Davison said, “This is a wonderful way for our alumni to connect with our students and an opportunity for them to share real-life career stories while interacting with them.”

Alumni interested in participating in this year’s program should contact Dana Clure in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at 580-745-2256 to sign up.

Homecoming is scheduled for the week of September 24-29.

When the schedule is finalized, it will be posted on the web page at

Southeastern’s Morgan Pierce named Brad Henry International Scholar

Morgan Pierce

DURANT, Okla. – Come next January, Morgan Pierce won’t be in Oklahoma anymore. Or Kansas, for that matter.

Instead, the Southeastern Oklahoma State University junior will be studying at Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, UK as a Brad Henry International Scholar.

“It’s exciting — I’ve always wanted to study abroad,” Pierce said. “I want to see more of the world and I’d love to take an American history class from a British perspective.”

Pierce, a 2010 graduate of Durant High School, mentioned that to date, her most distant trips have been to Kansas to visit relatives and to Galveston, Texas. This will also be her first airplane flight.

As part of the Henry International Scholar program, Pierce will join other students from Oklahoma for a six-month study at Swansea, and then return to Southeastern to complete her studies. At Southeastern, she has been a member of the Student Government Association, the Honors Program, the University’s Professional Development Program, and also worked on campus.

“I’m a double major in History and English Literature,” Pierce said. “I haven’t decided for sure what I want to do career-wise, but I definitely want to attend graduate school and study maybe history or law.”

While abroad, she wants to see Paris and visit the French countryside.

The Brad Henry International Study Program was established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education in June 2008. The State Regents provide a $10,000 stipend for students selected to participate.

Pierce is the daughter of Shawn and Wendy Pierce of Durant.

She is the fourth student from Southeastern selected for the prestigious program. In previous years, the following students from Southeastern were selected: Brea Jones McMillan, Echo Adcock Smith, and Matt Heggy.

Southeastern Symphonic Choir welcomes new members

DURANT, Okla. – Hosted by the Department of Music, Southeastern Oklahoma State University once again invites the community to join us in preparing for the annual Candlelighting ceremony and concert.

Rehearsals for the Symphonic Choir take place on Mondays from 6-8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Building Room 116. The Symphonic Choir will meet for the first time on August 27. All wishing to participate should attend this rehearsal — no audition is required.

The Candlelighting festivities will take place on Monday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. The Candlelighting event is the oldest tradition at Southeastern, with this year marking the 91st presentation of the holiday favorite. Featuring the Southeastern Symphonic Choir, under the direction of Dr. Stacy Weger, this event offers community members, university students, and faculty and staff the opportunity to come together to begin the celebration of the season.

This year the concert will feature Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” as well as other traditional works. Candlelighting is supported by the Southeastern Cultural and Scholastic Lectureship Fund and the Department of Music. If you would like more information, please call the Department of Music at 580-745-2088.

Children’s Chorus begins auditions

DURANT, Okla. – The SHARE Children’s Chorus, sponsored by the Southeastern Hub for Arts Resources in Education, has scheduled auditions for 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays for all interested singers in grades 3-8.

The auditions will be held in the Fine Arts building and will continue through Sept. 25. The SHARE Children’s Chorus was formed last fall and has enjoyed a year of singing and learning about music.

Artistic Director and director of the choir is Dr. Jeri Walker, an experienced musical educator who creates interesting, educational and fun sessions.

Thechorus meets from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays during the school year and performs at least once a semester.

Walker said, “The intent is to develop a top-quality choir that will represent the Texoma region around the states of Oklahoma and Texas and beyond. In addition, the singers will be developing personal attributes such as concentration, responsibility, attention to detail, desire for excellence and social skills.

“SHARE is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing all children in the Texoma region with excellent arts experiences to enrich their lives and the life of the community.”

The Children’s Choir is not limited to those who have musical experience or are deemed “talented.” There is a place for all students interested in participating and all students are encouraged to sing and learn in the SHARE Children’s Chorus.

For more information, contact Walker at 580-745-2385 or

Southeastern welcomes new Grayson president

Dr. Jeremy McMillen, right, the new president of Grayson College, receives a welcome Monday from Dr. Larry Minks, president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Officials from the two schools met in Durant to discuss the ongoing partnerships that are in place between Grayson and Southeastern.