Southeastern Oklahoma State was well-represented Tuesday night as the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society inducted 11 individuals into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame for 2022.
Among that group were Kate Galt Zaneis, late president of Southeastern State Teachers College, and Buddy Spencer, businessman and SE Distinguished Alumnus. Spencer received a special merit award.
The 28th annual induction ceremony was held at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
Current Southeastern president Thomas Newsom accepted the award for the late Zaneis and her family.
In 1935, Zaneis was appointed as the ninth president of Southeastern — the first female to head a state college or university in the nation.
Although Zaneis only served as president from May 1935 to July 1937, she accomplished a great deal, including overseeing a 33 percent increase in enrollment, obtaining Public Works Administration funding for facilities, equipment, and athletic field improvements, increasing funding for student work programs, and in 1937, securing an appearance by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for a speech on campus and overnight stay at the President’s home.
Buddy Spencer graduated from Southeastern in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. While attending Southeastern, he played basketball for the legendary coach Bloomer Sullivan for four years and served as the President of the Student Body. Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Marine Corps.
Spencer returned from military service to enter the automobile business, first working for Chevrolet and then as an automobile dealer.
Spencer’s wife Doris is also a Southeastern graduate. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus at Southeastern in 1982, and has received similar honors at Carl Albert State College.
Also attending the event was Chancellor Emeritus and former SE president Glen D. Johnson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.
Other Hall of Fame inductees this year were Larry Duffy, vice president for development and alumni affairs at Western Oklahoma State College; V. Burns Hargis, president emeritus of Oklahoma State University; Cindy Hess, senior vice president and chief academic officer at Tulsa Community College; Mary Margaret Holt, dean of the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts at the University of Oklahoma; George W. McLaurin, late professor at Langston University; Gloria Pollard, human resources department, OU; William Ray, dean emeritus of the graduate college at OU-Tulsa; Randa Shehab, associate dean at the Gallogly College of Engineering at OU; and Gene Rainbolt, businessman, higher education philanthropist and civic leader (special merit award).
Among those attending the Hall of Fame event were, seated, honoree Buddy Spencer and Doris Spencer, and standing, Melinda Johnson, Southeastern president Thomas Newsom, Carl Albert State College president Jay Falkner, and Chancellor Emeritus Glen D. Johnson.