Southeastern News

George Kaiser Family Foundation director visits Southeastern

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Ken Levit, fourth from left, and Southeastern president Sean Burrage visit with the President’s Leadership Class on Monday.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University students learned about leadership in the non-profit sector Monday when Ken Levit, executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, visited the Durant campus.

Levit spoke to the President’s Leadership Class as a special guest of Southeastern president Sean Burrage. Following the lecture, students joined President Burrage and his guest in the University café for a Q&Asession.

Founded in 1999, the George Kaiser Family Foundation is a charitable organization based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is a supporting organization of the Tulsa Community Foundation, dedicated to providing equal opportunity for young children in its community through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services, and civic enhancement.

In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation presented a generous gift to Southeastern to establish the Kaiser-Southeastern OklahomaState University Pre-Medical Studies Scholarship. This is a three-phase scholarship program designed to encourage and support top students at Southeastern to pursue careers in the field of community medicine at the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine.

In addition, the Foundation supports the Durant Boys and Girls Club.

“We certainly appreciate Ken taking time out of his busy schedule to come to Durant and interact with our students,’’ Burrage said. “Southeastern also appreciates the support of the Kaiser Family Foundation in establishing the pre-med studies scholarship. Looking at the big picture, we recognize the fact that the Foundation is truly making a difference in providing Oklahomans with opportunities for a brighter future.’’

Prior to taking on the leadership role at the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Levit  served as President of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa (2001 -2006). From early 1998 through 2000, he was Special Counsel to George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Levit practiced corporate law at the firm of Crowe and Dunlevy in Tulsa from 1995 to 1998.

He earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1994 and received his undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1987

Top 10 Freshman Awards presented

Gathering at Wednesday’s awards ceremony were Luana Antuono, Taylor Barrick, Austin Gilliam, Alissa  Benson, Samantha Faudree, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, Baylee Linn Holbert, Kelsi Winchester, Ally Elizabeth Shafer, Morgan Spurlock, Student Government Association Chief Justice Sarah Roberts, Vice President for Academic Affairs Doug McMillan, and Associate Dean for Academic Services Tim Boatmun. Not pictured, Matt Maxwell.

Gathering at Wednesday’s awards ceremony were Luana Antuono, Taylor Barrick, Austin Gilliam, Alissa Benson, Samantha Faudree, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, Baylee Linn Holbert, Kelsi Winchester, Ally Elizabeth Shafer, Morgan Spurlock, Student Government Association Chief Justice Sarah Roberts, Vice President for Academic Affairs Doug McMillan, and Associate Dean for Academic Services Tim Boatmun. Not pictured, Matt Maxwell.

DURANT, Okla. – The Office of Freshman Programs at Southeastern Oklahoma State University hosted the 2015 Top Ten Freshman Awards ceremony Wednesday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

The student honorees were selected by a committee consisting of representatives from faculty, student government and University administration.

The Top Ten Freshmen have a collective 3.85 grade-point average and are involved in numerous activities across campus.

The Top Ten Freshmen, listed alphabetically:

Luana Antuono is a math education major from Ardmore, Oklahoma. An active member of the President’s Leadership Class, she was elected Student Government Association Senator and represented Southeastern at the Council on Student Affairs Leadership Conference and the Oklahoma Student Government Association convention.

She is a member of the Sparks Dance Team, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Alumni Legacy Leaders. She was a member of the Southeastern Chorale and serves as the Panhellenic officer for her sorority, a True Blue Ambassador, math tutor for the Learning Center, and dance teacher for the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival after-school program.

Taylor Barrick is a biology major from Duncan, Oklahoma. She became vice-president of New Member Education for Sigma, Sigma, Sigma, served on the sorority’s executive board and was selected to represent Southeastern at the sorority’s national conference in Chicago.

She was a member of the 2014-15 President’s Leadership Class, is a member of the Alumni Legacy Leaders and participates in Baptist Collegiate Ministries. As a Savage Storm leader, she assists with Camp SE, acts as a mentor throughout the school year, and participates in new student leadership conferences.

         Alissa Benson, is an Occupational Safety and Health major from Edmond, Oklahoma. As an active member of the Southeastern Honors Program, she was selected to serve as the featured speaker during Honors Recruitment Day and also presented an academic paper at the Native American Symposium.

A two-year starter on the Southeastern volleyball team and Great American Conference Player of the Week honoree, she was named a floor captain during matches. She has volunteered for  Families Feeding Families, the Durant Area Boys and Girls Club, Durant elementary schools, and has assisted with youth volleyball camps.

Samantha Faudree is a business administration major from Coalgate, Oklahoma. She is a Presidential Scholar with the Honors Program. She has served as reporter, secretary and treasurer for the Honors Advisory Council, helping manage all fundraisers for the organization.

She was selected to attend the National Collegiate Honors Council conference and will co-present at the conference’s diversity forum. She has led Honors students in homecoming events, Springfest and New Student Move-In Day. She has volunteered with Toys for Tots, food drives and Trivia Night at the library. She is also involved in the Visual Arts and Ceramics organization.

         Austin Gilliam is an Occupational Safety and Health major from Greenville, Texas. As a member of the 2014-15 President’s Leadership Class, he was able to complete more than 50 hours of community service at locations such as the Durant Area Boys and Girls Club, Families Feeding Families and St. Catherine’s Food Bank.

He also participated in the March Against Domestic Violence and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. He is a member of the CAT 5 Vocal Jazz Ensemble, University Singers, Symphonic Choir and the Southeastern Chorale. A member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and Baptist Collegiate Ministries, he was chosen to be a Savage Storm Leader, Alumni Legacy Leader and is part of the Savage Storm Bolt mascot team.

Baylee Linn Holbert is a nursing major from Davis, Oklahoma. A member of the 2014-15 President’s Leadership Class, she completed more than 40 hours of community service at Families Feeding Families, Oak Ridge Nursing Home, the Durant Area Boys and Girls Club and Southeastern’s Safe Trick-or-Treat.

Due to her research through the department of biology, she had the opportunity to present at Oklahoma Research Day and at Southeastern BrainStorm. An Alumni Legacy Leader, she has served a reading and writer for the Learning Center and as a teaching assistant for the biology department.

         Matt Maxwell is a chemistry/biology major from Durant, Oklahoma. In his first semester, he served as an Oklahoma-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Research Scholar. Since receiving this scholarship, he has participated in the National Science Foundation summer research as an intern, worked on a cancer research internship and finished third for student poster presentation at the OK-LSAMP Annual Statewide Research Symposium.

He is an officer in the Southeastern Pre-Med Club and the Native American Student Association. He is also actively involved with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society Chapter and the American Chemical Society.

       Ally Elizabeth Shafer is a pre-veterinary medicine major from Madill, Oklahoma. She is an active member of Sigma Sigma Sigma and current chairman of the philanthropy committee. She also serves on the community service committee.

She is captain of the Southeastern Speech and Debate Association and has attended numerous competitions for informative and impromptu speaking. She earned a lead role in Southeastern’s production of Emotional Creatures and was the only freshman to speak at the annual rhetoric banquet. She participated in Greek Week, Welcome Week and Extravaganza Week, is involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries and currently serves as treasurer of Southeastern’s chapter of Pi Kappa Delta.

Morgan Spurlock is a double major in psychology and communication from Antlers, Oklahoma. She was named an O.J. Harvey Scholar and a Regional University Baccalaureate Scholar. Active in the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, she has volunteered at Families Feeding Families and the Durant Area Boys and Girls Club.

She is treasurer of the Pre-Law Society and has assisted in hosting Constitution Day. An Alumni Legacy Leader, she has helped with tailgating, Welcome Week and Southeastern homecoming events. She is active with the Native American Student Association and was recently selected as Miss Indian SOSU. She has also been elected to the Student Government Association, elected vice-president of Panhellenic Council and selected to serve on the Oklahoma State Attorney General’s Student Advisory Council.

Kelsi Winchester is a Special Education major from Marietta, Oklahoma. While a member of the 2014-15 President’s Leadership Class, she completed more than 50 hours of community service and participated in planning Parents’ Day.

During her second semester, she was one of 20 students selected as a Savage Storm Leader and led three Camp SE groups of incoming freshmen. She is involved with Alumni Legacy Leaders and assisted with tailgating and homecoming. She is an active member of the Southeastern Friends of the Green Dot, a group that educates fellow students about domestic violence. She also serves as a math tutor for the Learning Center and teaches a developmental math course.

Southeastern president sees bright future; Stafford named Vice President of University Advancement

DURANT, Okla. – After being on the job for just over a year now, Southeastern Oklahoma State University president Sean Burrage has had the opportunity to evaluate the overall operations of the school. And although he likes what he sees, he is realistic about the challenges facing higher education today.

“All of us (in higher education) are seeking ways to offset decreases in state funding, while maintaining quality and affordability,’’ Burrage said. “We’re looking to increase our private fundraising, enhance our grants and partnership efforts, and grow our enrollment. As for academics, we have to continue to be flexible and innovative by developing programs that meet the changing needs of our students and the job market.  For example, over the past year, we have added the Master of Science In Native American Leadership, which has 91 students currently enrolled.  And other successful new programs have been developed in recent years in Aviation Sciences, Occupational Safety & Health, Business and Education. ‘’

Burrage added that ultimately, the most rewarding part of his job is seeing students walk across the stage to formally receive their degrees.

“At our spring commencement this year, 41 percent of the graduates were first-generation college graduates (first in their family to earn a college degree).  I think that makes a powerful statement as to the impact Southeastern is having on lives, and I’m proud to be a small part of that.

“I am very excited about the future of this University,’’ Burrage continued.  “The potential for growth is unlimited. We’re in a people business, and Southeastern is very fortunate to have dedicated faculty and staff members who work hard every day to ensure our students have every opportunity to be successful. As we move forward, we are making a few organizational and personnel changes that I believe will serve to strengthen our overall performance.’’

Kyle Stafford

Kyle Stafford

Among the changes recently announced is the appointment of Kyle Stafford as Vice President of University Advancement.

Stafford’s responsibilities will include oversight of alumni relations, development, special events, marketing, career management, continuing education and admissions/recruitment.  He also serves as an ex-officio member of the Southeastern Foundation.

Stafford has 16 years of experience with the University, and began his higher education career in the office of admissions and recruitment. He later took the position of Dean of Enrollment Management; since 2008, he has served as Executive Director of University Advancement.

A lifelong Oklahoman, Stafford graduated from Madill High School and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southeastern.  Stafford holds teaching certificates in math and physical education and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in higher education leadership.

He was a member of the inaugural class of Leadership Durant and is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXIII.  He has completed the Summer Institute in Educational Fundraising at Dartmouth and the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard.

Stafford and his wife, Kim, a teacher at Westward Elementary School in Colbert, are the parents of two daughters. Their oldest daughter, Miranda, graduated from Southeastern in May, and Emma attends Colbert Junior High.

Alan Burton

Alan Burton

President Burrage also announced that Alan Burton will serve as Special Assistant to the President/Director of University Communications. In his expanded role, Burton will act as an advisor, while assisting the President in media relations, crisis communications, and in advancing University priorities.

He has 30 years of experience in communications/public relations in Texas and Oklahoma.

Burton joined Southeastern in 1999 as Assistant Director of Public Information and has served the past 12 years as Director of Public Information/University Communications. He is a member of the Communicators Council of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and has completed extensive crisis communications training through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.

From 1988-99, he was Public Information Officer/Community Relations Officer for the Sherman  (Texas) Independent School District. Burton is also a former Sherman Democrat sports editor.

His writing has earned awards from the Associated Press, the Texas School Public Relations Association, and the Oklahoma College Public Relations Association. Burton has authored five Texana-related books on such topics as sports, music and celebrities.

A Sherman native, he is a graduate of Grayson College and Texas Tech University.

He and his wife, Michelle, a counselor at Sherman High School, are the parents of a daughter, Katelin, who is a graduate student at Sam Houston State University.

Liz McCraw

Liz McCraw

Also serving in a new role as Dean of Student Life is Liz Cobb McCraw.  Her specific duties include coordinating Title IV compliance and the President’s Leadership Class. Also under her oversight are Financial Aid, Registrar, International Student Services, Housing and Residence Life, Student Activities and Cheerleaders-Mascot.

A 25-year employee of the University, McCraw previously served as Dean of Students and Dean of Enrollment Management. In those roles, she developed, coordinated and administered programs of comprehensive student services, including Student Life, Residence Life, Admissions and Recruitment, Financial Aid, Academic Advising and Outreach Center, the Native American Center for Student Success, Student Conduct, Freshman Program, Registrar, Veteran’s Services and the International Student Services Office.

She has also been the primary advisor for the President’s Leadership Class.

In addition, McCraw contributed to the design and planning of the Glen D. Johnson Student Union and Shearer Hall and Suites.

She has participated in the Institute for Educational Management and Institution for Management and Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is a graduate of the Educator’s Leadership Academy for Administrators.

Originally from Ardmore, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Southeastern.

McCraw and her husband, Dr. Shannon McCraw, a Communication professor at Southeastern, have a daughter, Catie, a freshman at Durant High School.

Top 10 Freshman Award presented

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Office of Freshman Programs hosted the Top Ten Freshman Awards ceremony Wednesday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

The outstanding freshmen were selected by a committee consisting of representatives from faculty, student government and University administration.

The group has a collective 3.73 grade-point average and is involved in numerous activities that benefit the entire campus.

Southeastern president Sean Burrage offered congratulatory remarks to the group during the ceremony.

The honorees include:

         Jessica Baker, business management major, Van Alstyne, Texas. She is a member of the volleyball team and a leader in Southeastern’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

April Clinton, Music Education, Durant. She is a member of the Spirit of Southeastern Marching Band and Southeastern Symphonic Winds.

Mitchell Emberson, occupational safety and health, Taft, California. As a 2013 member of the President’s Leadership 
Class, he assisted with tailgating activities, homecoming events and also volunteered with Families Feeding Families.

Chance Eubanks, music-vocal performance, Cleburne, Texas. He is the bass section leader in the Southeastern Chorale, member of the CAT 5 vocal jazz ensemble and symphonic choir.

         Sierra Janway, psychology, Heavener. As a member of the President’s Leadership Class, she was able to complete 50 hours of community service and volunteer for numerous activities on campus.

Bobby Long, fisheries and wildlife, Langley. He is a member of the Honors Program and served as a group leader for prospective Honors Program students.  His writings were selected for publication in the Honors Essay Compilation.

Shayla McDonnell, communication, Duncan. A member of the President’s Leadership Class, she was selected by her peers to serve as president of Southeastern’s International Association of Business Communicators.

Adeline Patterson, English/history, Durant. She was a member of the Honors Advisory Council and a team member on both the Honors Advisory Council’s Homecoming sweeps team, and Honors Day.

         Alexandra Ray, Elementary Education, Blanchard. Through the President’s Leadership Class, she worked with the Boys and Girls Clubs, Midnight Madness, Parents’ Day and assisted with SE Live.

Kayla Stiltner, biology, Hartshorne. While a member of the cheer squad, she participated in the Homecoming week sweepstakes and pep rallies, volunteered at a Southeastern golf tournament and promoted Southeastern by visiting local elementary schools and participating in the Veterans’ Day Parade.

Participating in Wednesday’s ceremony were, front row, left to right, Kayla Stiltner, Adeline Patterson, April Clinton, Sierra Janway, Shayla McDonnell, and Chance Eubanks. Back row, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, vice president for academic affairs Doug McMillan, Student Government Association president Ben Wright, Bobby Long, Jessica Baker, Mitchell Emberson, Alexandra Ray, and associate dean of academic services Tim Boatmun.

Participating in Wednesday’s ceremony were, front row, left to right, Kayla Stiltner, Adeline Patterson, April Clinton, Sierra Janway, Shayla McDonnell, and Chance Eubanks. Back row, Southeastern president Sean Burrage, vice president for academic affairs Doug McMillan, Student Government Association president Ben Wright, Bobby Long, Jessica Baker, Mitchell Emberson, Alexandra Ray, and associate dean of academic services Tim Boatmun.

President’s Leadership Class at Southeastern

2014 PLC GradsDURANT, Okla. – These are the 2013 President’s Leadership Class students celebrating the completion of their 1st year in the program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Front Row: Kneeling – Bryan Gibson, Colton Russell, John Mason. First Row: Standing: Southeastern President Larry Minks, Baliegh Hudman, Levi Holliday, Dustin Sampson, LaRanda Johnson, Kayla Wilhite, Sieera Janway, Morgan Robberson, Dean of Enrollment Management Liz McCraw. Second Row: Caroline Joines, Alex Ray, Madelyn Schneider, Mitchell Emberson, Dalton Julian, Cody Longwell, Preston Barkley.Not Pictured:  Sara Huffman, Kayla Wilhite.

Students, professor present at National Indian Education conference

Baleigh Hudman and Michael Noah made presentations at the National Indian Education Association Conference.

Baleigh Hudman and Michael Noah made presentations at the National Indian Education Association Conference.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University students Michael Noah and Baleigh Hudman joined Dr. Shannon McCraw, associate professor of communication, in presenting a workshop at the 44th annual National Indian Education Association Conference.

The conference was held Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The workshop was entitled “Preparing Highly Competent Native American Communicators: The Cooperative Argumentation Project.” It explored ways of introducing the study of argument through narratives or telling stories.

McCraw said, “It is exciting to work with students as talented as Michael and Baleigh. Both of these students exhibit the best qualities of highly engaged students at Southeastern.”

Noah is a sophomore communication major from Battiest, and Hudman is a freshman from Howe, Texas, who is undecided on a major.

“Learning how to build arguments is an important life skill,” said Hudman. “Too many people view argument as negative, though. Stories can lead to productive dialogue. This can lead to better understanding and better decision-making.”

Noah said, “It was truly gratifying to hear other Native Americans across Indian Country, especially elders, tell us we did a wonderful job on our speeches. I was proud of what we accomplished.”

Both students are members of The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, active with the Native American Student Association, and members of the President’s Leadership Class.

Presenting to 70 people from across the United States, Noah and Hudman introduced the audience to narrative structure and explained how to build a story as a form of argument.

“Michael did an exceptional job introducing the audience to the idea of argument as a story,” McCraw said.

McCraw partners with the Native American Center for Student Success on a public speaking initiative designed to build critical thinking and presentation skills.

Students from the program will present speeches at 3 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union auditorium as part of Native November activities at Southeastern.

Southeastern recognizes Top 10 Freshmen

Southeastern recognizes Top 10 Freshmen

Press Release Date: 11-2-2011

Dr. Daniel Weigel

Southeastern president Larry Minks, back row, left, and Tim Boatmun, Associate Dean of Academic Services, back row, far right, congratulate the Top 10 Freshmen recipients. Back Row, Domanick Anton Hubbard, Dustin Curry, Allen Fritts, Kalleigh Whitley, and Caden Martin. Front Row, Haley Brooke Ellison, Sheridan Hill, Shacole Smith, Kasidy Kinkade, and Helen Moore.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University recognized the Top Ten Freshmen with an awards ceremony and reception Tuesday.

Southeastern had more than 670 new freshmen last year and this group represents the top 1.5 percent of that class. The students are selected by representatives from faculty, staff and student government. They are chosen based on academic performance, campus involvement, and leadership during their freshman year.

Associate Dean of Academic Services Tim Boatmun said, “This is the 10th year of the program. The Top Ten Freshmen Awards were created to nurture, encourage and reward excellence in the first-year experience.”

The recipients of the Top Ten Freshmen Award from the 2010-11 class are Dustin Curry, Haley Brooke Ellison, Allen Fritts, Sheridan Hill, Domanick Anton Hubbard, Kasidy Kinkade, Caden Martin, Helen Moore, Shacole Smith and Kalleigh Whitley.

Curry, from London, Ark., is pursuing a double major in Acting/Directing and Theatre Management. He was a member of the Honors Program and placed second in the Honors Essay contest. He is a member of the Alpha Psi Omega Honor Society and in May 2011 received the Rose Award for Outstanding Freshman in Theatre at Southeastern.

Ellison, from Broken Bow, Okla., is a Health and Physical Education major and a member of Southeastern’s cross country team. She is also a member of the 2010 President’s Leadership Class and was actively involved in several targeted-recruiting events.

Fritts is from Miliani, Hawaii, and is majoring in Medical Sciences. He won the Freshman Chemist of the Year Award. A member of the Honors Program, he serves as a chemistry tutor and is actively involved in the Residence Hall Association.

Hill is a psychology major from Ardmore, Okla. As a member of the Sparks Dance Team, she has performed at various sporting events and other activities to promote Southeastern. She was named Best Actress for her performance as Harriet in the theatre production of Emma.

Hubbard is a Musical Theatre major from Gainesville, Texas. He is a choreographer and member of the Sparks Dance Company and Chorvettes StageWorks Company. A member of Alpha Psi Omega, he is actively involved with numerous campus activities and was selected as a Savage Storm Leader.

Kinkade is a Nursing major from Bonham, Texas. She was an active member of the 2010 President’s Leadership Class and was elected to the Student Government Association, where she is the Financial Director and serves on numerous committees. A True Blue Ambassador, she is also involved with the Harvard Leadership Program.

Martin is from Aztec, New Mexico, and a double major in Political Science and Occupational Safety and Health. He was in the President’s Leadership Class and is a True Blue Ambassador, attending Leadership Training and conducting campus tours for prospective students. He is currently vice president of Tau Kappa Epsilon.

Moore, of Denison, Texas, is a Music Education major. She was selected as a section leader and Advisory Council member for the Spirit of Southeastern Marching Band. She has been principal French horn in both the marching band and Southeastern Symphonic Winds. She is a contributing member of Eta Nu Chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the National Honorary Band Fraternity, and a member of the Southeastern Jazz Ensemble.

Smith is a Management major from Durant. She was a member of the President’s Leadership Class and is a volunteer for numerous campus activities. A Savage Storm leader, she was elected as Senator to the Student Government Association, where she serves on several committees. She earned a departmental scholarship in the John Massey School of Business.

Whitley is a Spanish Education major from Durant and is actively involved with the Student Government Association. She served on various committees with SGA and was involved in two separate trips assisting families in Peru through the Baptist Collegiate Ministries. She has been chosen to participate in the Harvard Leadership Program.