Southeastern News

Massey Lecture features retired business executive Frank Semple

Frank_M_SempleDURANT, Okla. – Retired business executive Frank M. Semple will be guest speaker at the 15th John Massey Family Lectureship, scheduled for April 4 at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The lecture is free and open to the public and will begin at 11 a.m. in the Hallie McKinney Ballroom on the Southeastern campus.

Semple is retired Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of
MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P. He is a member of the boards of directors of Marathon Petroleum Corporation and MPLX GP LLC.

Semple joined MPLX in 2015, at the time of the MPLX and MarkWest combination and retired in 2016. He began with MarkWest in 2003 as president and chief executive officer and was elected chairman of the board in 2008. Prior to joining MarkWest, Semple completed a 22-year career with The Williams Companies and WilTel Communications.

He served as the chief operating officer of WilTel Communications, senior vice president/general manager of Williams Natural Gas Company, vice president, operations and engineering for Northwest Pipeline Company, and division manager for Williams Pipeline Company.

Prior to his time at The Williams Companies, Semple served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Gurnard (SSN662), a fast attack nuclear submarine.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Naval Academy (appointed by Carl Albert) and completed the Program for ManagementDevelopment at Harvard Business School.

A native of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Semple and his parents (longtime veterinarian Dr. Bill Semple and wife Jane) moved to Durant when he was an infant. Semple was a standout athlete at Durant High School, participating in football, basketball, baseball, and tennis.

The 1970 DHS graduate was also a member of the National Honor Society and an Eagle Scout.  He has a brother, Billy, and three sisters, Jane Umsted, Susan Owens, and Sarah Brown.

Frank, a member of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and his wife, Dr. Robin Semple, have two daughters, Erin and Katie.

The Lectureship was established in 1994 by a gift from the John Massey family and was matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Endowment Fund Program.

Previous speakers at the lecture include H.E. “Gene’’ Rainbolt, George Kaiser, Edward Keller, Ambassador James R. Jones, Rep. Tom Cole, Archie Dunham, Keith Bailey, Michael Cawley, Regent Joseph Cappy, Sen. Ted Fisher, J. Clifford Hudson, Mark Stansberry, Ed Martin, and Dr. Keith Ballard.

A tireless advocate for higher education, John Massey serves as Chairman of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He is in his third nine-year term as a regent, a position appointed by the governor.

Massey is chairman of the board of First United Bank, headquartered in Durant, Oklahoma.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1960.

In 1984, Massey received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Southeastern; in 2005, the School of Business was renamed as the John Massey School of Business.

He received the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southeastern Alumni Association in 2015.

At his alma mater, Massey has established eight endowed chairs, four professorships, and four endowed scholarships.

Massey was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004.  In 2009, he was inducted into the Oklahoma City Community College Hall of Fame, and he received the prestigious Leadership Oklahoma Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Massey was presented the Outstanding Alumni Award by Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity in 2001 and was also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Durant Kiwanis Club in 2010.

Southeastern to honor three Distinguished Alumni at Homecoming

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will honor three Distinguished Alumni during homecoming festivities on September 22-23-24.

This year’s honorees are William Fahrendorf, Bill Groom, and Lee Lipscomb. They will be recognized at the Southeastern Alumni Association’s Distinguished Awards Banquet on Friday, September 23, at 5:30 p.m. in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.

In addition, all of the current and former Distinguished Alumni will be introduced in pre-game ceremonies on Saturday, September 24, as Southeastern takes on Southern Nazarene in a 2 p.m. kickoff at Paul Laird Field.

“This year’s group of honorees is truly exceptional,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage.  “They have demonstrated a high standard of excellence in their chosen fields, while serving as great ambassadors for Southeastern for many, many years. Their success also serves as an inspiration for our current students and the dreams they have.’’

William Fahrendorf 4x6William Fahrendorf serves as Executive Vice President/Chief Administration Officer of First United Bank.  In this role, he oversees the planning and directing of the bank’s staff and service functions; develops and oversees staff and service policies, objectives and initiatives; and monitors operational performances.

Fahrendorf’s banking career began in 1971, over 45 years ago, with Durant Bank and Trust Company, a one-location operation with $23 million inassets.  First United is now a $3.2 billion financial institution serving 30-plus communities in Oklahoma and Texas.

While working at Durant Bank and Trust and carrying a full college course load, Fahrendorf also served his country as a Staff Sergeant and Drill Instructorwith the 95th Division of the United States Army Reserve.  He is a 1976 graduate of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Known for his quiet, low-key manner, Fahrendorf is also recognized for his local and state leadership in service to the governance of the Oklahoma Public Education System.  He wasappointed to the Durant School Board to serve the remainder of a term in 1989 and remained on the board until 2000.  He was also elected to the Oklahoma State School Board Association and served from 1994 until 2000.  In 1998, he served as the association’s President.

Along with his success in business and stewardship of Oklahoma’s public schools, Fahrendorf’s contributions to Southeastern Oklahoma State University are also significant.

He served on the Southeastern Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2010, and as chairman from 1997 until his retirement in 2010.  During his tenure, the assets of the Foundation more than quadrupled.

Fahrendorf, and his wife Pam, a retired Chair of Computer Science at SOSU, reside in Durant and have three daughters and four grandchildren. His family has established a fully-fundedendowed scholarship.

groom[3]Bill Groom has enjoyed a long career as a successful television and film designer.

Groom graduated from Southeastern in 1972 with a double major in art and theatre. He earned a Master’s in Fine Arts degree in Theater Design from Tulane University in 1974.

He was the recipient of a record four consecutive Emmys for his work on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.’’ Other recent TV credits include HBO’s “Vinyl,’’ and “When We Rise,” an ABC TV 7-part series about the history of the LGBTQ movement that will air next year.

Among Groom’s other credits is a 7-year stint as the art director of the popular TV comedy show, “Saturday Night Live’’ on NBC.

Since leaving SNL in 1984, he has worked on hundreds of TV shows and scores of movies,  including “Milk,” “Eat, Pray, Love,” “A League Of Their Own” and “Preacher’s Wife.”

Prior to his career in television and film design, Groom taught in the Theater Department of State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Groom, originally from California, Missouri,  is married to the Rev. Dr. Jane Ann Looney Groom, also a Southeastern graduate. Their two sons both work in the entertainment industry. Brooklyn, New York, and a tiny hamlet in the Catskills are home to the Grooms.

Lipscomb-4x6Lee Lipscomb enjoyed a successful 42-year career with Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack in Los Angeles, a law firm he co-founded in 1974. He retired in 2014.

Lipscomb graduated from Durant High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Southeastern in 1961.

Four decades as a litigator in California found Lipscomb and his company in the thick of many interesting cases. In the early years, the firm primarily defended aviation insurance companies, but his ties to Lloyds of London Underwriters led to high profile cases involving entertainment law and motion picture litigation.

Lipscomb  handled the Lloyds’ claims of MGM arising from the death of actress Natalie Wood and was successful in forcing MGM to finish her last, nearly completed film, “Brainstorm.” He also worked on the case of Bette Davis, when the movie star walked off the set of her last film, “Wicked Stepmother.”

Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack is also well-known known as lead counsel in the Hinckley and Kettleman, California, water contamination cases against Pacific Gas & Electric Company.  This resulted in approximately $700 million recovered for 1,500 clients and is commonly referred to as the “Erin Brockovich” case.

During his summers in high school and college, Lipscomb  worked as a firefighter with the U.S Forest Service. This included a five-year stint as a parachute firefighter. He completed his military service with the U.S. Army Reserve in 1968.

After his firefighting career, Lipscomb obtained his Commercial, Multi-Engine instrument and instructor pilot ratings. He then started an independent aircraft insurance claims adjusting company and later incorporated Aero Loss Adjustors, Inc., which he operated for four years while attending the Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles.

Lipscomb enjoys retirement life with his family — wife Robin, two sons, a stepdaughter and two grandchildren. The Lipscombs currently reside in Jackson, Wyoming.

Southeastern graduate Jon Hazell named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Jon Hazell 5x7

DURANT, Okla. – Jon Hazell, a science teacher at Durant High School, was named Oklahoma’s 2017 Teacher of the Year at a ceremony Tuesday at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.

A graduate of Durant High School, Hazell has taught anatomy, biology and environmental science for 33 years in the Durant Independent School District. In addition to teaching, he is the pastor at Community Christian Church in Durant.

He holds a bachelor ‘s (’82) and master’s degree (’88) from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
In a release from the Oklahoma State Department of Education, Hazell said, “my purpose as a teacher is not so much to motivate my students as it is to create an environment where they motivate themselves.’’

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who made the announcement at the Centennial Building at the fairgrounds, said Hazell’s commitment to education is evident in the contributions he has made to his community.

“Jon has a true servant’s heart, giving back to his neighbors and teaching his students to do the same,” Hofmeister said. “From sponsoring food, clothing and toy drives to raising money for a student stricken with leukemia, Jon is a gifted, inspiring speaker who will be a tremendous ambassador for the profession. In Durant, he is near the border of Texas, where a teacher could earn more, but his commitment is to the schoolchildren of Oklahoma.”

Hazell said he was inspired to teach by his father, Don Hazell, who taught biological sciences at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for 32 years.
“I grew up with constant reminders and affirmation of the respect afforded to the teaching profession. That created a spark in me,” the new Oklahoma Teacher of the Year said. “It showed the influence a teacher could have not only on students, but also on all the people those students influenced.”

“This is a great honor for Durant and the entire community,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “Mr. Hazell is representative of the quality of educators working throughout southeastern Oklahoma. We are proud that he is a graduate of our University and has so many ties to our institution.’’

Hazell helps inmates learn to read and complete their GEDs as part of his five-county prison ministry. Sponsor of the Student Council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes at his school, he is also the ropes course lead facilitator at Crosspoint Camp on Lake Texoma. The course is designed to enhance student cooperation and teamwork.

Hazell will remain in his classroom for the rest of the school year. Starting July 1, 2017, he will assume full-time Teacher of the Year duties, which include speaking engagements and serving as Oklahoma’s teacher ambassador, encouraging others to enter or remain in the profession. Sheehan will continue to tour the state until July in addition to his classroom duties. Hazell will accompany Sheehan to select speaking engagements.

A panel of 28 educators, comprised of members of the business community, legislators and nonprofit partners, selected the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year after extensive interviews with the 12 finalists, themselves district Teachers of Year from across the state.

Southeastern sophomore lends voice to historical presidential visit

Elissa Hamil sings the national anthem prior to President Obama’s speech. (Photo courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)

Elissa Hamil sings the national anthem prior to President Obama’s speech.
(Photo courtesy of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma)

DURANT, Okla. –Elissa Hamil doesn’t follow the start-at-the-bottom-and-work-your-way-up format.

The 19-year-old Southeastern Oklahoma State University sophomore was selected to sing the national anthem when president Barack Obama spoke at Durant High School on July 15. The President was in Durant to announce the establishment of ConnectHome, a new initiative with communities, the private sector, and federal government working to expand high speed broadband to more families across the country. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Southeastern, and Durant Public Schools will be among the groups partnering on the project.

Hamil, who is Choctaw, was asked to send a video to the White House and she was chosen through a competitive process. While she sang at home, her father used his cellphone to tape it.

She says she wasn’t nervous at the Presidential event, even though it was the first time she had performed the Star-Spangled Banner, at least publicly. Elissa learned the words to the anthem in kindergarten and has been in a choir since the sixth grade.

“I wouldn’t sing it in high school,” Elissa said. “There was too much pressure, singing in front of your peers.”

Peers, no – President of the United States – no problem.

Hamil said she was a little nervous while behind the stage, but everything went well when it was her turn in the spotlight.

“I learned that prayer goes a long way,” Hamil said. “When I went out to sing, I just sort of blacked out. I believe God took over and helped me through the


She didn’t see the president prior to singing, since she was behind the stage and he went from a helicopter to the stage.

Hamil was an honors graduate at Durant High, where she was an All-District singer for four years.

She is now a member of Southeastern’s University Singers.

The biology major plans to become an optometrist and her studies require most of her time. She received the Southeastern Alumni Scholarship and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Higher Education Scholarship.

Elissa credits her parents – Kevin and Jamie — family and friends for supporting her throughout her DHS career and now her Southeastern career.

Lt. Gov. Lamb guest speaker at Tri-County event

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb offers remarks to the crowd Tuesday night.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb offers remarks to the crowd Tuesday night.

DURANT, Okla. – The Tri-County Honors Program, co-sponsored by First United Bank and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, was held Tuesday in the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the Durant campus.

The event opened with a reception, followed by the honors award ceremony.

Lt. Governor Todd Lamb was the guest speaker.

Greg Massey, Chief Executive Officer of First United Bank, and Southeastern Vice President for Academic Affairs Douglas McMillan offered remarks.

Dean of Enrollment Management Liz McCraw introduced school administrators, who then introduced the honorees from their respective schools.

Assisting in the awards presentation were First United Bank Presidents and Officers Bert Davison, Durant (President); Kathy Fuller, Hugo (Assistant Vice President); Debby Boyd, Calera (Vice President); Chris Earthman, Colbert (President); Rick Lane, Madill (President); and Justin Behrens, Bokchito (Vice President).

Following is a list of students honored by school:

This group of students from Durant High School was honored at the Tri-County event.

This group of students from Durant High School was honored at the Tri-County event.

Achille – Madison Stanglin, Paige Hutchings, Makala Womack, Tyler Gibby.

Bennington – Crystal Tate, Erica Noland.

Boswell – Tanner Manous, Brittany Wells, Tracy Lee Brown, Brenna Poe.

Caddo – Virgle Mincher, Shelby Dellinger, Aaron Purkins, Tobi Miller.

Calera – Rachel Childers, Connor Hamilton, Riggin Rogers.

Colbert – Payton Whitehead, Maddison Poteet, Ethan Williams, Samantha Richardson.

Durant  — Sierra Downs, Will Engle, Brittany Farmer, Gabrielle Ford, Emily Franzeo, Kristen Gooch, Kaley Green, Elissa Hamil, Matthew Harris, Darren Jernigan, Rheagan Jones, Gabriel Louis, Caroline Loyd, Sydni McKaughan, Shalleigh Powell, Zachary Taylor, Brittany Trent, Katlyn Wigington, Jared Woods, Landry Wright.

Fort Towson – Alyssa Chandler, Charles Tillman, William Sossamon, Tiara Good.

Hugo – Kelli Stacy, Victoria Wyatt, Colton Coffey, Amaney Jackson, Michaela Ellis.

Hugo Kiamichi Technology Center – Shannon Bivins, Dimehlia Adamson, Macy Maxwell.

Durant Kiamichi Technology Center – Brett Massey, Jonathan Harper, Matthew Scott, Katelynn Todd.

Kingston – Dalton Williams, Benjamin Whipkey.

Madill – Megan Mockerman, Joshua NeeSmith, Marshall Scott, Brenna Green.

Rock Creek – Brittany Anderson, Dakota Holloway, Trevor Iams, Krislan Winnett.

Silo – Jordan Carter, Baylee Rogers, Kayti Townsend, Casey Love, Hannah Bourne, Ashlee Impson, Leonard Sandler, Katlyn Halley.

Soper – Paige Grammar, Chance Scott, Eduardo Rubio, Samantha Wolfenbarger.

Victory Life Academy – Amber Bruce, Kevin Covington, Seth Bennett, Marella Smith.

Winners announced in Curriculum Contest


Students competed in a number of events Thursday at the 101st Curriculum Contest at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University hosted the 101st edition of the Oklahoma Inter-High School Curriculum Contest on Thursday.

Dr. James Britton, Professor in the Chemistry, Computer and Physical Sciences Department, served as director of the event.

The contest involved more than 1,600 students from 68 area high schools, who participated in 41 contests with trophies and medals presented to winning schools and individuals.

Exams covered numerous subjects, including art, accounting, speech, journalism, literature, drama, modern languages, mathematics, science, English, social science, music, and computers.

The winning schools, by division, are listed below:

Division 1

1.    Kiowa Public Schools

2.    Coleman High School

3.    Smithville High School

Division 2

1.    Latta High School

2.    Rock Creek High School

3.    Silo Public Schools

Division 3

1.    Plainview High School

2.    Dickson High School

3.    Lone Grove High School

Division 4

1.    Durant High School

2.    McAlester High School

3.    Ardmore High School


Winners announced at Curriculum Contest

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University hosted the 100th-annual Curriculum Contest Thursday.

Exams covered numerous subjects, including mathematics, science, English, foreign languages, fine arts and computers. The winning schools, by division, are listed below:

The computer lab was the site of several contests Thursday.

The computer lab was the site of several contests Thursday.

Students participate in the art competition Thursday at the Curriculum Contest.

Students participate in the art competition Thursday at the Curriculum Contest.








Division 1

  1. Kiowa High School
  2. Smithville High School
  3. Coleman High School

Division 2

  1. Latta High School
  2. Calera High School
  3. Haworth High School

Division 3

  1. Plainview High School
  2. Dickson High School
  3. Lone Grove High School

Division 4

  1. Durant High School
  2. Broken Bow High School
  3. Ardmore High School

Southeastern Symphonic Winds presents “Wind Band Classics” on Sept. 27

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Symphonic Winds – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s premier instrumental ensemble – opens its 2012-2013 concert season with a program entitled “Wind Band Classics” on Thursday, September 27. The performance begins at 6 p.m. on the front lawn of the university.

The program is an audience-friendly pops style concert in the vein of outdoor concerts performed by the Sousa Band near the turn of the 20th century, and is presented in association with Southeastern’s Homecoming festivities, which run September 27-29.

“This concert is a potpourri of musical styles and influences,” said Director of Bands Dr. Jacob Wallace. “We’ll hear famous transcriptions, classic works for band, and – of course – several marches.”

The program will also welcome Chris Gregg – Director of Bands at Durant High School and a Southeastern alumnus – as a guest conductor.

“Mr. Gregg is an outstanding representative of the quality musical education that we offer at Southeastern,” Wallace said. “He has continued and expanded upon a real tradition of excellence in the Durant High School music program, and has always been an avid supporter of the music program here at Southeastern. We are truly fortunate to count him among our many talented and supportive alums.”

Works on the program include John Williams’ Summon the Heroes, Aaron Copland’s An Outdoor Overture, Howard Hanson’s Chorale and Alleluia, Vincent Persichetti’s Pageant, John Philip Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever, and Carmen Dragon’s famous arrangement of Samuel Ward’s America the Beautiful.

The Southeastern Symphonic Winds is a performing ensemble consisting of Southeastern students and is open to qualified students in all disciplines pending competitive audition.

Admission to the concert is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Department of Music at 580-745-2088 or Wallace at 580-745-2084.

James Young Music Scholarship established

The James O. Young Music Scholarship was commemorated Thursday with an endowment ceremony at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Young is a 1967 graduate of Southeastern, where he was a member of the band. From left: Southeastern president Larry Minks, James Young, Zhakery Bradford, and Kyle Stafford, Executive Director of University Advancement. Bradford is a 2011 graduate of Durant High School and a freshman member of the Southeastern band. He is the first recipient of the James O. Young Music Scholarship.

DURANT, Okla. – The James O. Young Music 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 on the Southeastern campus.

This is established as an educational scholarship for students participating in Southeastern bands and specifically playing the euphonium. Students must have a minimum 2.5 grade-point average to qualify for the scholarship.

James Oliver Young is a Durant High School graduate who earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern in 1967 and his Doctor of Dental surgery degree from Baylor University in 1972.

His inspiration for endowing this scholarship is the gift of music he discovered while playing in the bands at Durant High and Southeastern. It has given him joy throughout his life and he wishes to share that joy with others.

Young married Virginia Koontz on May 27, 1967, and .they have three children, Amy, Jenny, and Thomas.

He established a private dental practice in Ardmore after graduation from Baylor and continued it until 1993, when he joined the Cherokee Telephone Company headquartered in Calera, Oklahoma.

Young was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma in 2001 and was assigned to St. Philip’s Parish in Ardmore, where he established the Ardmore Soup Kitchen and entered the teaching and preaching rotation at St. Philip’s Church.