Southeastern News

Southeastern to honor Dr. James O. Young family with Benefactor Award

YoungDURANT, Okla. –  Southeastern Oklahoma State University will celebrate Homecoming 2017 on October 5-7.

One notable change in the schedule this year is the traditional Saturday Homecoming parade is being moved to Thursday night, October 5, at 6:30 in downtown Durant.  That evening’s event will kick off the Homecoming festivities; following the parade there will be food trucks and a live band at Market Square presented by Durant Main Street for all Southeastern alumni and friends and the Durant community.

Traditional homecoming activities include the 31st annual Whang Bang Golf Tournament on Friday, October 6, at Chickasaw Pointe.  Registration opens at 8 a.m. and a shotgun start is scheduled for 9 a.m.

The Distinguished Awards Banquet recognizing Distinguished Alumni, Former Faculty and the Benefactor honoree is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Visual and Performing Arts Center. This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are Joy Culbreath, Director of Education Special Projects for The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Charles McCall, Sr., owner of AmeriState Bank, an Oklahoma Banking corporation, and the AtokaState Bancorporation; and Mark Hughes, civil war historian/author.

This year’s Distinguished Former Faculty award honoree is Dr. Jerry Polson.

The Benefactor Award will be presented to Dr. James O. Young and family. This award is presented to individuals, businesses or foundations that support the University through generous financial contributions.

Dr. Young has endowed three scholarships:

—   James O. Young Music Scholarship

—    Lucille Norman Koontz Endowed Scholarship in Vocal Performance

—   William O. Young Endowed Scholarship in Aviation

He has also contributed to the Ruth Cherokee Young Endowed Scholarship (Art), which was established by his father.

Young’s generosity garnered headlines around the state earlier this year when he gave $50,000 to help save the Oklahoma State Science Fair, which had been a victim of funding cuts.

Dr. Young, a retired dentist, is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cherokee Communications. He is a graduate of Southeastern (1967), earning a Bachelor of Science (Education), while majoring in Natural Science.  Young’s wife, Virginia (1966), is also a graduate of Southeastern, earning her degree in Elementary Education. Both are also Durant High graduates.

The Youngs have three children – daughters Amy Young and Jenny Sanchez and son Thomas.

Young’s parents, William and Ruth Young, founded Cherokee Telephone Company in 1959 and the family moved to Durant from Lone Grove. His father, Bill, graduated from the Southeastern aviation program, although his education was interrupted by World War II, where he served in the Navy.

Prior to pursuing a career in dentistry, Young  taught chemistry, physics and biology at Cleveland (Okla.) High School for one year.

Young earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor University College of Dentistry in 1972 and set up practice in Ardmore. He retired in 1993.

Southeastern’s Savage Storm will kick off at 2 p.m. against Southwestern Oklahoma State University in the Homecoming football game.

For a complete schedule of events, visit