Southeastern News

Gov. Anoatubby to speak at Native American graduation event on May 9

DURANT, Okla. – Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation will be the guest speaker at the Native American Graduation Ceremony & Reception at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall on the Southeastern campus. The Native American Institute is the sponsor of the event, which is open to the public.

Also scheduled to be on the program are Southeastern president Sean Burrage, Native American Institute director Lauren Rowland, and School of Choctaw Language instructor Chantelle Standefer.

Bill Anoatubby has served as Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987 and has been active in tribal government since 1975. His previous positions include director of tribal health services, director of finance, special assistant to the governor, controller, and he was the tribe’s first lieutenant governor.

In his first term, Gov. Anoatubby established goals of economic development and self-sufficiency for the Chickasaw Nation and its people. Today, the Chickasaw Nation is well on its way to achieving those goals.

The Chickasaw Nation operates more than 100 diversified businesses and invests much of its revenue into funding more than 200 programs and services. These programs cover education, health care, youth, aging, housing and more, all of which directly benefit Chickasaw families, Oklahomans and their communities.

Under Gov. Anoatubby’s direction, the Chickasaw Nation places a strong emphasis on preserving and sharing its heritage, history, language and culture. This commitment can be seen in the various artistically and culturally-centered programs, language services, and the world-renowned Chickasaw Cultural Center.

Gov. Anoatubby has received dozens of awards, including being named a 2016 Creative Oklahoma Creativity Ambassador, he has been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame. In addition, he has been named the minority advocate of the year from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Dr. Bruce King named interim executive director of Native American Institute

Bruce King-1DURANT, Okla. – Effective March 1, 2016, Dr. Bruce King will serve as interim executive director of the Native American Institute at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.  This will be in addition to his current duties as dean of Southeastern’s McCurtain County campus.

Chris Wesberry, who was named executive director of the Native American Institutelast summer, recently accepted a position with the Chickasaw Nation.

Wesberry joined Southeastern in 2005 and was instrumental in the development and success of the Native American Leadership degree and other innovative programs.


King joined Southeastern in 1998 and has been the McCurtain dean since 2011. Prior to this appointment, he served as associate dean, academic coordinator, andadvisor.

He earned two degrees from East Central University (B.A. in English and M.Ed. in secondary education). King  completed his doctorate at Texas A&M University-Commerce (Ed.D.) in supervision, curriculum and instruction in higher education.

He also attended the University of Oklahoma for post-graduate studies in Native Studies, literacy and rhetoric.

His areas of interest include school leadership, student retention issues, and teacher education training, especially in minority teacher recruitment.

King is a member of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and also teaches in the Native American Leadership master’s degree program at Southeastern.

Chickasaw Student Leadership Academy held on Southeastern campus

Danny Wells, administrator of the Chickasaw Nation Division of Education, addresses students at the Academy Thursday afternoon.

Danny Wells, administrator of the Chickasaw Nation Division of Education, addresses students at the Academy Thursday afternoon.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Native American Center for Student Success, in partnership with the Chickasaw Nation, recently hosted the third-annual Chickasaw Student Leadership Academy (CSLA).

Eighteen Chickasaw high school students from 11 different schools stayed in University residence halls and attended classes during the day.

Highlights of the two-week event included visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library and spending a day at Six Flags Over Texas.

Participating high schools were Ada, Allen, Ardmore, Byng, Choctaw, Davis, Latta, Pauls Valley, Plainview, Roff and Stonewall.

Students attending the CSLA learned advanced leadership skills, rhetoric, research and writing, and using technology to improve communication skills. They also studied the Chickasaw language, culturally related crafts and participated in Native American games.

Students also attended classes to prepare for the ACT.

“This is a significant partnership between the Chickasaw Nation and Southeastern,’’ said Chris Wesberry, Director of the Native American Center for Student Success. “The Academy provides valuable opportunities for Chickasaw students that not only prepare them for college, but to be leaders in their local communities.”

Native American graduation event held at Southeastern

Native  American graduates were honored at a ceremony recently.

Native American graduates were honored at a ceremony recently.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University hosted the 10th annual Native American Graduation recently in the Fine Arts Recital Hall. The 2014-2015 Southeastern graduating class consists of 227 Native American students from Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Comanche, Citizen Band of the Potawatomie, Creek Nation, Kiowa, Osage, Ponca, Seminole, and Miami tribes.

Tribal representatives from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation, along with University faculty and staff, were present for the event. Dr. Bryon Clark, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Dean, welcomed the guest speaker, James Parrish.

Parrish, Executive Director of Education for the Choctaw Nation and a graduate of Southeastern, reminded graduating students of their unique purpose with three important words — “you are special.” Parrish acknowledged the important role of the supporting staff from tribal programs and the Native American Center for Student Success at Southeastern for their assistance in helping the students achieve their academic goals.

Amy Gantt, Higher Education Program Manager for the Chickasaw Nation and graduate of Southeastern, presented graduation stoles to Chickasaw students who completed their degree program with a 3.5 or higher grade point average.

The Choctaw Nation Higher Education Program attended the ceremony and gifted Choctaw students with their own book of Choctaw Hymns. Debbie Vietta, Scholarship Officer with CNHEP, said “as part of the Choctaw Nation Higher Education Program, we were happy to support tribal members at the Native American Graduation Ceremony.”

The Native American Center for Student Success on campus at Southeastern supports students with scholarships, grants and tribal resources. The retention services contribute to Southeastern being ranked 6th nationally for graduating Native American students with bachelor degrees.

“The ceremony and reception is most important for the graduates to feel celebrated for their academic success, ” said Chris Wesberry, director of the Native American Center for Student Success. “We are proud of their accomplishments and enjoy recognizing each student’s achievement.”

Open House held for Native American Collection & Commons at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – An open house for the new Native American Collection & Commons in the Henry G. Bennett Memorial Library was held Tuesday at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The Collection houses historical government documents, pre-statehood and early statehood maps, Indian Territory newspapers and much more. Display items are from The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation. Funding for the Commons and Collection was made possible by the Title III, NASNTI Connect2Complete grant and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

NA Library PanoNA Library-2

Native American Symposium to focus on preservation of history, culture

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will host the 10th Native American Symposium on Nov. 14-15.  The theme of this year’s symposium is “Native Ground: Protecting and Preserving History, Culture, and Customs.’’


The keynote speaker will be Dr. Brad Lieb from the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of History and Culture. He also serves as president of the Mississippi Association of Professional Archaeologists.

The banquet is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 14 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ballroom on the Southeastern campus.

A number of interesting sessions will be held on art, film, history, politics, music, and recreation.  For a complete schedule of symposium events, go to

Southeastern hosts Chickasaw Leadership Academy

Amy Gantt, recruitment and retention coordinator for the Chickasaw Nation Education Services Department, offers instruction at a Chickasaw Language class. It was one of many events at the Chickasaw Summer Leadership Academy at Southeastern.

Amy Gantt, recruitment and retention coordinator for the Chickasaw Nation Education Services Department, offers instruction at a Chickasaw Language class. It was one of many events at the Chickasaw Summer Leadership Academy at Southeastern.

DURANT, Okla. — The Chickasaw Summer Leadership Academy was held on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University July 7-18.

The academy was sponsored by the Chickasaw Nation in coordination with the Native American Center for Student Success. Fourteen  Chickasaw students participated in the two-week event. The purpose of the academy was to provide a college-like experience to the students.

Those experiences included living in Shearer Hall, attending classes, eating meals in the university cafeteria, and completing various assignments and tasks.  Additionally, the students participated in cultural and recreational activities.

A highlight for the students was learning how to make traditional style woven baskets and learning the history of stickball with some hands-on experiences.        Each student attending the academy was presented an iPad to assist them with note taking, web surfing, and photography of events.

“This was a truly remarkable academy for the students,’’ said Chris Wesberry, director of the Native American Center for Student Success  at Southeastern. “Not only did they get the college experience at Southeastern, but they also participated in cultural activities and went to some fun places and met some special people.  State Representative Lisa Johnson-Billy and Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon met with the group during an outing at the Chickasaw Nation in Ada.”

Southeastern hosts Celebration of Student Success event, ribbon-cutting on January 24

DURANT, Okla. – Dignitaries from throughout Oklahoma are expected to be in attendance at Southeastern Oklahoma State University Jan. 24 for “The Celebration of Student Success Through Partnerships’’ event.

This event will highlight “Oklahoma’s Complete College America’’ initiative with examples of successful programs and partnerships in place at Southeastern.  A reception will be held at 3 p.m. in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union loft. The program will begin at 3:30  p.m. in the atrium of the  Student Union.

Scheduled to be on the program with Southeastern president Larry Minks are Oklahoma Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, State Regent John Massey, Regional University System of Oklahoma Regent and Chair Terry Matlock, Chief Gregory Pyle of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation.

Following this event, a ribbon-cutting for the Center for Student Success building, located in the old Campus bookstore, will be held at approximately 4 p.m.

Caley Wesberry attends Red Earth events

Caley Wesberry is shown at the Grand Entry of Red Earth Dance Competition.

DURANT, Okla. – Caley Wesberry, the 2011-12 Miss Indian Southeastern Oklahoma State University, participated in the 2012 Red Earth events last month in Oklahoma City.

She represented the University in the Grand Entry and the Red Earth Parade.

The Red Earth Festival Parade opened the festivities and the streets of Oklahoma’s capitol city were filled with Tribal spirit as Native American bands, floats, honor guards, dignitaries and tribal princesses participated in one of America’s most unique parades.

The 26th annual Red Earth Festival joined forces with the Myriad Botanical Gardens, deadCENTER Film Festival and the Jim Thorpe Native American Games to present a weekend of art, film and sports.

Representatives of more than 100 tribes, in full tribal regalia, participated in the parade. The Red Earth Art Market and the first Grand Entry of dance competitors were featured in the Cox Convention Center Arena.

Wesberry is a senior majoring in chemistry and biology. She will graduate next May.

A member of the Chickasaw Nation with lineage of both Chickasaw and Choctaw, she was named Miss Indian Southeastern in September 2011 and represents the Native American Student Association at events throughout the year.

John and Patricia Cobb Leadership Scholarship established

The John G. Cobb and Patricia J. Cobb Leadership Scholarship was commemorated Thursday with an endowment ceremony at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Front row from left: Southeastern president Larry Minks, Joan Minks, Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham, Patricia Cobb, and granddaughter Catie McCraw. Back row from left: John Cobb, Stephen Greetham, Liz McCraw, Dr. Shannon McCraw, and Kyle Stafford, Executive Director of University Advancement.

DURANT, Okla. – The John G. Cobb and Patricia J. Cobb Leadership Scholarship has been established through the Southeastern Foundation to benefit students attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The endowment ceremony was held Thursday in the Welcome Center at the University. The Cobb family has chosen to honor Mr. and Mrs. Cobb with the endowment of a leadership scholarship to recognize campus leaders for their commitment to the University in and out of the classroom.

The first in his family to attend college, John Cobb graduated from Southeastern in 1954 with a degree in Business Education and English. He earned his master’s in Education in 1956. He also attended the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) English Institute at Southeastern. Cobb received his Administrative Certificate from the University of Oklahoma.

At Southeastern, Cobb was a campus leader in Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity, president of Pi Omega Pi Business Education Fraternity, and a member of Kappa Delti Pi Education Honor Society. He served as a teacher and elementary principal and retired from Ardmore City Schools after 40 years.

Today, Cobb works with Adult Career Development at the Southern Oklahoma Technology Center. He served two tours in the U.S. Army and is proud to be an active citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.

Patricia Cobb received her bachelor’s degree in English from the Oklahoma College for Women and her master’s in Education from the University of Oklahoma. She also attended the NDEA English Institute at Southeastern.

She taught language arts in elementary through high school and developed and taught the first Elementary Gifted and Talented program for Ardmore schools. She retired after 30 years in Ardmore schools.

Mr. and Mrs. Cobb have continued to be active with Southeastern over the past 25 years, attending many campus events. John Cobb is a lifetime member of the Southeastern Alumni Association.

Daughters Liz Cobb McCraw (1986, 1989) and Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham (1992) graduated from Southeastern, as did son-in-law Dr. Shannon McCraw (1993). Liz is the Dean of Enrollment Management and served as Dean of Students.

Shannon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art, Communication and Theatre at Southeastern. Dr. Cobb-Greetham is Administrator of History and Culture for the Chickasaw Nation and oversees the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Her husband, Stephen Greetham, is chief Legal Counsel for the Chickasaw Nation.

The Cobbs have one grandchild, Catie McCraw, daughter of Dean Liz and Dr. Shannon McCraw.