Southeastern News

Speaker of the House Charles McCall congratulates Tri-County honorees

Area high school seniors, their families, and educators gathered Tuesday night at the Tri-County Honors Program, sponsored by First United Bank and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Area high school seniors, their families, and educators gathered Tuesday night at the Tri-County Honors Program, sponsored by First United Bank and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Speaker of the House Charles McCall offers inspiring words to the students, their families, and educators at Tuesday’s Tri-County Honors Program. Also on the program were Southeastern president Sean Burrage, left, and First United Bank CEO Greg Massey, right.

Speaker of the House Charles McCall offers inspiring words to the students, their families, and educators at Tuesday’s Tri-County Honors Program. Also on the program were Southeastern president Sean Burrage, left, and First United Bank CEO Greg Massey, right.

DURANT, Okla. – The Honorable Charles McCall, Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, was the keynote speaker Tuesday night at the Tri-County Honors Program.

First United Bank is Corporate sponsor and Southeastern Oklahoma State University is the Education sponsor for the annual event, which honors area high school students and is held in the Visual & Performing Arts Center.



Speaker McCall was elected to that position on January 3, 2017, and represents House District 22. He was first elected to the House in 2012, and has served as the chairman of the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee on Revenue and Taxation.

Prior to running for the House of Representatives, he served as Mayor of Atoka from 2005 to 2012.


The Speaker earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Oklahoma and completed the banking program at the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado. He currently serves as the CEO and Board Chairman of AmeriState Bank in Atoka.

First United CEO Greg Massey presided over the event, with Southeastern president Sean Burrage offering welcoming remarks. Awards were presented by Speaker McCall, Massey, Burrage, the bank presidents, and Southeastern vice president for university advancement Dr. Kyle Stafford.

Eighty-six students from 17 area schools were represented at the 2017 Tri-County Honors Program.

The following students, listed by school, were honored for their scholastic and leadership skills:

Achille High School: Raychel Alexander, Sergio Vazquez, Ryan Hudgins, Zane Westbrook, McKayla Dunegan.

Bennington High School: Kindal Stricklen, Nicole McWilliams, Haily Tom, William Smith, Maria Martinez, Alyssa Mathews.

Boswell High School: D’yani Shores, Madealyn Morphis, Caleb Hitchcock, Virginia Beddo.

Caddo High School: Chaney Freese, Charlotte Brantley, Clayton Holbrook, Allison Adair.

Calera High School: Chase Hamilton, Cooper Hamilton, Caleb Judkins, Madison Partain,  Makayla Thomas, Haley Childers.

Colbert High School: Ronnie Rickman, Jared Tucker.

Durant High School: Spencer Patton, Elena Mendoza, Micah Abrams, Matthew Anderson, Emari Benito, Rebekah Corson, Taylor Cox, Adyson Gabbart, Blake Harper, Makenna Jones, Maci McCoy, Chloe McKinney, Jonathan Metts, Brody Morgan, Morgan O’Hern, Alexis Prado, Jakob Smith, Nikki Smith, Rainbow Spindle, Kevin Tran, Jatelyn Wallace.

Fort Towson High School: Jacob Good, Veronica Chamberlain, Tristen Beard, Elizabeth Whitlow.

Hugo High School: Gary Newberry, Alexis Bills, Anthony Bennett, India Gage.

Durant Kiamichi Technology Center: Sergio Vazquez, Isabel Briceno, Nicolas Posekany, Charlie Gould, Joshua Gonzalez, Maria Martinez.

Hugo Kiamichi Technology Center: Summer Moffitt

Kingston High School: Clayton Dewayne Taylor, Grace Madelyn Werth.

Madill High School: Joseph Tuck, Will Shelby, Hayden Holder, Roxy Avilia.

Rock Creek High School: Kaycee Williams, Jesse Durham, Cole Eschete, Aubree Goodwin.

Silo High School: Peyton Cobb, Jake Hamilton, Crissy Odom, Braden Allen, Adyson Barber.

Soper High School: Madelynn Dancer, Alexa Pettyjohn, Cage Record, Kaylee Dennis.

Victory Life Academy: Larra Lankford, Tristan Perkins, Ben Grody, Tara Dollar.

Southeastern to honor three Distinguished Alumni on Oct. 4

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Alumni Association will recognize three Distinguished Alumni as a part of Homecoming 2013 festivities.
This year’s honorees are Dr. Jim Barnes, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Assistant Chief Gary Batton, and Mr. Robert “Rob’’ Wells. They will be recognized at the Distinguished Awards Banquet on Friday, October 4, 5:30 p.m., in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.
Barnes   Barnes (’64) served as the Oklahoma State Poet Laureate for 2009-10. Of Choctaw and Welsh ancestry, he grew up in Summerfield, Oklahoma. His bachelor’s degree from Southeastern was in English and theatre. He earned his master’s degree (1965) and Ph.D. (1970) from the University of Arkansas.
Barnes  was a professor of comparative literature and writer-in-residence from 1970-2003 at Truman State University (Kirksville, Missouri), where he helped establish a strong poetry series at the  University’s  Press. Barnes still serves as poetry editor there.  He also helped create the T.S. Eliot Prize, one of the premier poetry prizes in the country.
After retirement from Truman State, he was a Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing and English at Brigham Young University from 2003-06.

His On Native Ground: Memoirs and Impressions (University of Oklahoma Press), now in its second edition, won The American Book Award in 1998. Among his many volumes of poetry, The Sawdust War garnered the Oklahoma Book Award in 1983.
His community service involves membership in many organizations, including the Associated Writing Programs, the National Association for Ethnic Studies, PEN American Center, and PEN Center USA West. He has sat on several National Endowment for the Arts committees.
garybattonfinal[2]Batton (’89) has served in a number of capacities with The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma since 1987. In 2007, he was named Assistant Chief under Chief Gregory Pyle.

In his 26 years with the Choctaw Nation, Batton  has continuously looked for ways to improve and expand services and has been an integral part of the Tribe’s growth and success. Numerous Choctaw Nation programs and services have been created and enhanced under his leadership, including the Diabetes Wellness Center, the Youth Advisory Board, Veterans’ Advocacy, and Choctaw University.

He helps support Chief Pyle’s initiatives of health, education and jobs by expanding and increasing the profitability of current businesses and adding new businesses. Overall, businesses have shown a 69% increase in profitability since his appointment in 2007 and Tribal services continue to grow and evolve.

In addition, Batton has represented the Choctaw Nation on numerous boards and committees, including the National Budget Committee for Indian Health Service, the National Health Service Corps National Advisory Council, and the Tribal Technical Advisory Committee for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He currently serves on the Thunderbird Youth Academy Foundation Board, the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Advocates, the Choctaw Nation Chahta Foundation Board, and the Southeastern Oklahoma State University Foundation Board.
He received his bachelor’s degree in management from Southeastern with minors in computer science and accounting.
Wells  Wells (’71) is CEO of TAG Aviation Holding SA, located in Geneva, Switzerland, and is responsible for TAG’s six operating companies. TAG Aviation provides aircraft management, charter services, base level maintenance operations and other services for business aviation worldwide. The company also owns TAG Farnborough Airport in Europe and subsidiary companies in Hong Kong, Bahrain, Spain, and the UK. TAG’s business jet fleet currently numbers nearly 150 aircraft based on all continents, and of the company’s 1,100 employees, nearly 350 are professional pilots.

He joined TAG Aviation USA in 1999 as Base Manager at its Seattle, Washington, operation. In 2002, Wells  moved to  TAG Aviation SA as President and CEO,  responsible for the company’s European operations. He served in that role until 2007.

Wells  received his bachelor’s  degree in aviation from Southeastern and earned his master’s of business from Southern Methodist University.
A licensed pilot with more than 8,000 hours logged, he currently serves on the Board of the European Business Aviation Trade Association. He was previously Executive Vice President for Piedmont Hawthorne Holdings, Inc. (now Landmark Aviation), where he held various management positions for more than 22 years.

Southeastern graduate named Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment

Southeastern graduate named Oklahoma Secretary of the Environment

Press Release Date: 1-17-2011

DURANT, Okla. – Gary Sherrer, a 1973 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, has been named secretary of the environment by Okla. Gov. Mary Fallin.

Sherrer currently serves as assistant vice president for external relations at Oklahoma State University’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. He will remain employed by the university.

A native of Paris, Texas, Sherrer graduated from Antlers High School. He received his Education degree at Southeastern, majoring in speech with a minor in journalism.

Sherrer served as environmental secretary under former Gov. Frank Keating and was appointed the state’s first secretary of agriculture by former Gov. David Walters.

He also served in the state House of Representatives from 1981 until 1988 as a Democrat from Snow, in southeastern Oklahoma.

Sherrer, 62, also serves on the board of directors of Rural Enterprises Inc. He previously served as chief administrative officer and assistant CEO for KAMO, a power generation and transmission firm in Vinita. He is one of the founders of Tulsa-based First Trinity Life Insurance Co.

He volunteered for military service and served as a combat medic during the Vietnam War.