Southeastern News

Sights and Sounds of the Holiday season at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University celebrated the holiday season Monday with a variety of events, including a community and faculty-staff  open house, visit from Santa Claus, music, and the the traditional Candlelighting ceremony in Montgomery Auditorium.





Southeastern partners to mentor kids in OJA program

Southeastern football player Shane Dixon is participating in the mentoring program.

Southeastern football player Shane Dixon is participating in the mentoring program.

DURANT, Okla. – Mentoring comes in many forms, but all with the same goal — investing in someone and doing all that is possible to ensure they reach their maximum potential. While most people can recall a mentor in their past who has encouraged them to keep going, work harder or simply to believe in themselves, not all take the time to give back by mentoring others.

Through a partnership with Southeastern Oklahoma State University, youth who are involved with the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs (OJA) in Bryan County will be paired with student athletes serving as mentors for a semester. The program

launched October 31 and already includes four mentors and five kids.

The OJA provides intake, supervision, probation, custody, parole and reintegration services to at-risk youth in the State of Oklahoma.

Kheri Smith is a Juvenile Justice Specialist in Bryan County and she is a tireless advocate for guiding youth through the continuum of care with OJA. She sees mentorship as a catalyst for positive change.

“The program will provide encouragement and support for at-risk youth in the community by offering positive role models,” said Smith. “I hope our kids will be inspired to finish school, pursue postsecondary education and start thinking about their future.”

Kids will gain insight and perspective from mentors who are close in age but whose experience in working toward their vision and achieving their goals offers examples for a path forward.

“The mentoring program is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever participated in,” said Shane Dixon, a Southeastern football player participating in the program. “Everyone involved goes above and beyond for these kids, and I enjoy seeing them grow. I hope I can impact these kids’ lives as much as they have mine.”


Southeastern football coach Bo Atterberry has championed the idea from the beginning, and sees it as beneficial for everyone involved. “We stress to our student athletes the importance of being a role model in the community,’’ said Atterberry. “They need to understand that they can make a positive difference in a young person’s life. This program is a great example of a win-win partnership – our student athletes also benefit from this type of one-on-one interaction.’’


The partnership provides an opportunity for bringing together members of the community in support of something greater than themselves. It generates an investment of time and energy that produces real and immediate benefits.

“Community service is a point of emphasis at the University,’’ said Southeastern president Sean Burrage. “Every year, when I speak to students at freshman orientation, I encourage them to get involved in activities outside the classroom, not only on campus, but in the community. I am very pleased to see our student athletes partnering with the Office of Juvenile Affairs. We think this is a program that has tremendous potential for growth in the future and are glad to be involved.’’

For more information on the mentorship program, please contact Kheri Smith at 580-924-8432 or


About Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs  

The Office of Juvenile Affairs is a state agency entrusted by the people of Oklahoma to provide professional prevention, education, and treatment services as well as secure facilities for juveniles in order to promote public safety and reduce juvenile delinquency.

Alpha Chi inducts new members

The Alpha Chi inductees were recognized at a recent ceremony.

The Alpha Chi inductees were recognized at a recent ceremony.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Theta Chapter of the Alpha Chi national honor society has inducted 55 students into lifetime membership.

An induction ceremony was held recently in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.

Alpha Chi was founded in 1922 and has more than 400,000 members from more than 300 college and university chapters in 45 states and Puerto Rico.

Members of Alpha Chi, identified and elected by the faculty of their schools as ranking in the top 10 percent of juniors and seniors, represent the best

undergraduate scholarship in all academic fields at their institutions.

Following are this year’s inductees, with permanent hometown (Oklahoma, unless otherwise noted):

Michael Baker (Sherman, Texas), Taylor Barrick (Duncan), Alissa Benson (Edmond), Rebecca Braden (Sherman, Texas), Nadiya Bradley (Kingston), Reid Buchanan (Silo), Stephanie Canaday (Denison, Texas), Dylan Candelora (Reno, Texas), Erika Costain (Fort Worth, Texas), Emilie Cox (Wister), Chance Curry (Ravenna, Texas), Cannon Davis (Moore), Kameron Dunn (Calera).

Elizabeth Fentem (Kingston), Gabrielle Ford (Durant), Alexis Gabbart (Caddo), Austin Gilliam (Greenville, Texas), Brooke Hockersmith (Overbrook), Paige Hutchings (Hendrix), Michael Kellner (Tishomingo), Jayson King (Aledo, Texas), Timothy Knight (Sherman, Texas) Philip Leake (Durant), Elijah Marshall (Durant), Maria Martinez (Venezuela), Brandon McNeely (Cleburne, Texas).

Courtney Miles (Oklahoma City), Jesse Palacios II (Wylie, Texas), Abby Percell (Bennington), Russell Pritchett (Denison, Texas), Kameron Raper (Hugo), Katheren Rawls (Tuskahoma), Alexandra Ray (Blanchard), Destiny Riddle (Muskogee), Alix Robinson (Piedmont), Allison Robinson (Durant), Alyssa Robinson (Durant), Riggin Rogers (Calera), Jacob Shiver (Neptune Beach, Florida), Stephen Shropshire (McAlester).

Stormie Siron (Atoka), Matthew Slaten (Calera), Macy Smith (Finley), Reid St.  John (Mesquite, Texas), James Sutton (Durant), Crystal Tate (Boswell), Meagan Tharpe (Durant), Russell Tolbert (Pottsboro, Texas), Bernie Underwood (Savanna), Jacqueline Washer (Durant), Katherine Webb (Denison, Texas), Payton Whitehead (Colbert), Cara Worsham (Healdton), Alexis Wright (Ardmore), Heather Wyrick (Atoka).

Three Occupational Safety & Health students receive scholarships

DURANT, Okla. – Three students from Southeastern Oklahoma State University have received the Raymond L. Critchfield Scholarship – Evan Fincher, Sierra Downs, and Ryan Lester.

Fincher is a senior from Fort Smith, Arkansas; Downs is a senior from Durant; and Lester is a junior from Ringling.

The scholarships are presented annually by TEXO: The Construction Association,  to undergraduate students pursuing a degree in the field of Occupational Safety and Health or Industrial Hygiene.

Critchfield was a dedicated safety professional who impacted the construction industry through his passion and love of people, family and friends.

Dr. Chris Bradshaw, chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Department at Southeastern, presents the Critchfield Scholarship to Ryan Lester of Ringling.

Dr. Chris Bradshaw, chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Department at Southeastern, presents the Critchfield Scholarship to Ryan Lester of Ringling.

Dr. Chris Bradshaw, chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Department at Southeastern, presents the Critchfield Scholarship to Sierra Downs of Durant.

Dr. Chris Bradshaw, chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Department at Southeastern, presents the Critchfield Scholarship to Sierra Downs of Durant.

Dr. Chris Bradshaw, chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Department at Southeastern, presents the Critchfield Scholarship to Evan Fincher of Fort Smith.

Dr. Chris Bradshaw, chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Department at Southeastern, presents the Critchfield Scholarship to Evan Fincher of Fort Smith.

Traditional Candlelighting event set for Dec. 4 at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will host a number of holiday events on Monday, December 4.

Santa Claus and entertainment will be featured from 6-6:30 p.m. on the Magnolia House front lawn. Highlights will include a performance by the Chorvettes Stageworks Company, an appearance by Santa, and the reading of the Christmas Story by Dell McLain.

The Christmas Tree lighting is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on the front lawn of campus with the Southeastern Brass Ensemble performing.

The traditional Candlelighting ceremony is set for 7:30 p.m. in Montgomery Auditorium.

The Southeastern Symphonic Chorus, consisting of students, faculty, staff and members of the Durant community, anchors the concert. The Chorus will perform an advent cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach with text by Martin Luther.

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Come, O Savior of the Nations) features the chorus, chamber orchestra and baritone soloist Dr. Jeremy Blackwood, director of voice and opera at Southeastern.

The performers will also present Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, featuring Dr. Jourdan Laine Howell, a new voice instructor at Southeastern, and music majors Grace Haynes, Haley Moore and Allyson Thomas as soloists. The guests for the chamber orchestra are supported by a grant from the Cultural and Scholastic Lectureship Fund.

Many traditional elements of the concert will continue: the lighting of candles by members of the Cardinal Key Honor Society, a prelude sung by the SHARE Children’s Chorus conducted by Dr. Jeri Walker,  and a Christmas carol singalong, giving the audience a chance to sing sacred and secular favorites with the chorus.

The Symphonic Chorus is a college/community partnership, providing a crucial aspect in the education of Southeastern music majors, a chance to participate in campus events for students of all majors, and a musical experience for members of the community.

The Chorus is conducted by Dr. Joshua Nannestad, Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education, and accompanied by Dr. Stephanie Emberley, instructor of piano.

Southeastern observes Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 22-23-24

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will be closed Nov. 22-23-24 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Classes will resume on Monday, Nov. 27.

Chorale to perform on Nov. 16

DURANT, Okla. – The Southeastern Chorale, the premier choral ensemble at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, will be featured in concert on Thursday, Nov. 16, in the Recital Hall of the Fine Arts building.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Stacy Weger, will present Rising Tide:  Songs of Judgment and Hope.    The concert repertoire stems from reflections of Noah and the Flood with parallels drawn to the peril of climate change. This concert includes world music and features Randall Thompson’s Peaceable Kingdom and Ivor Davies’ Prayers from the Ark.

Graduate school shows impressive growth with new online programs in Business, Education

DURANT, Okla. – Earlier this fall, Southeastern Oklahoma State University reported an increase of  6% in enrollment over last fall.

Southeastern’s official fall 2017 enrollment is 3,956 students and

represents the largest overall enrollment at the University since 2012.  In addition, Southeastern experienced an increase of 3.2% in student credit hours this fall, a critical component in the state funding formula.

The enrollment increase included gains in a number of categories, including new freshmen, Bryan County freshmen, Texas freshmen, and transfer students.

But the most significant growth came in the graduate school with the recent introduction of online programs in business and education to complement popular degrees in such areas as aviation sciences, Native American Leadership, and occupational safety & health, to name just a few.

According to Dr. Tim Boatmun, Dean of the Graduate School/E-Programming and Academic Support, enrollment in the Graduate School is 64% higher than last fall, while the Master of Business Administration saw an increase of 134% (408 students this fall compared to 174 last fall).

The University has also revamped its Master of Education programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Special Education, School Counseling, and Educational Leadership  this fall. All programs are now 100% online.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage, who is in his fourth year at the University, said that online degree programs are greatly impacting colleges and universities across the nation, particularly at the graduate level.

“In today’s world of higher education, there is great demand for online learning opportunities,’’ he said. “The higher education model is changing, and our faculty members deserve a great deal of credit for adapting to this change. We expect this trend (in online delivery) to continue as we explore the possibility of offering additional academic programs online.’’

To that end, in January, 2018, the Master of Science in Sports Administration will begin being offered 100% online.

In addition to the convenience of online delivery, there is flexibility in scheduling as students have multiple start dates to enter the program throughout the year.  This is important to the large number of students who are balancing family and work responsibilities with classes.

For more information visit  or

Southeastern student earns top speaker, Lincoln-Douglas honor at Sooner Showdown

DURANT, Okla. – Jacob Morrison of Southeastern Oklahoma State University was the top overall speaker and also took first place in the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the Sooner Showdown Speech and Debate Tournament.

The event was held Nov. 3-5 at the University of Oklahoma.

Competing for the Southeastern Speech and Debate team (SSDA) were Jacob Gooch, a sophomore from Durant; Christopher Rhodes, junior from Sulphur Springs, Texas; and Morrison, sophomore from Durant.

Twenty-six schools and independents competed at the tournament: . Arkansas     State University, Arkansas Tech University, Butler Community College, California State University-Long Beach, Central Texas College, Drury State College, East Central University, Glendale Community College at Arizona, Houston Baptist University, Kansas Wesleyan University,  Northeastern State University, Oral Roberts University, Southern Methodist University, Sterling College, Texas Christian University, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tulsa Community College, University of Arkansas at Monticello, University of Central Arkansas, Valdosta State University, Wayland Baptist University, West Texas A&M University, and Whitworth University. Events ranged from International Public Debate Association, National Parliamentary Debate Association, and the National Forensic Association’s Lincoln-Douglas Debate to all 11 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament.

SSDA next competes Friday through Sunday, December 1-3, at the Cameron Christmas Classic Tournament at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma.

For more information about SSDA activities or to learn more about becoming a member of the speech and debate team, contact advisor Dr. Randy Clark (580) 745-2556 or

SE Live open house scheduled for November 15

DURANT, Okla. Southeastern Oklahoma State University will host SE Live on Wednesday, November 15.

SE Live is an open house event on Southeastern’s Durant campus that is targeted toward high school juniors, seniors, and their parents. Students are requested to register by Nov. 13 at

Prospective Southeastern students will have the opportunity to tour the campus, experience University traditions, learn about academic majors, receive information on admissions, scholarships and financial aid, and meet faculty, staff and current students.

Registration will be from 8-9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Glen D. Johnson  Student Union, followed by the  opening session in Montgomery Auditorium at 9 a.m.

During this time, there will be performances by the True Blue Ambassadors, school mascot ‘Bolt,’ Southeastern band, cheerleaders and the Sparks dance team.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage will also offer remarks during the opening session. There will be a number of breakout sessions throughout the morning and  students can choose to attend those they prefer.

There will also be sessions for parents.

Lunch will be provided on the front lawn at noon, weather permitting. Inclement weather will move the lunch to the ballroom. Academic departments and student life organizations will be set up during this time so students may visit and learn what is offered in their major interests.

The event will conclude at 1 p.m., unless students would like to go on a campus tour or meet with other departments.

Interim director of admissions and recruitment Jeremy Rowland said, “This is a great opportunity for students to get an idea of what college life is all about and more specifically what Southeastern has to offer. I’ve heard many students say that their experience at SE Live was what confirmed their decision to attend Southeastern.

“We typically have more than 500 prospective students and well over 100 faculty, staff and Southeastern students volunteering to make the day a success.”