Southeastern News

“Storm Ready’’ program offers safety tips for severe weather

Rick Smith of the National Weather Service makes a graphic point about the dangers of lightning during Wednesday’s Storm Ready presentation at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Rick Smith of the National Weather Service makes a graphic point about the dangers of lightning during Wednesday’s Storm Ready presentation at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s “Storm Ready” presentation Wednesday afternoon was both informative and enlightening.

Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norman, delivered a powerpoint presentation that featured graphics of actual tornadoes and their aftermath.

Smith said tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms and the best protection is simply —  Get In! Get Down! Cover Up!

“It’s not a matter of if we will have tornadoes in Oklahoma, it’s when,’’ Smith said.  “They are most common from March to June, but can occur any day of the year. I tell people that tornado season is from January 1 to December 31.’’

Approximately 50 people watched and listened as Smith urged everyone to take cover when thunder, lightning or hail are present. He said it is never wise to try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle.

A storm shelter or safe room is the best bet if available. Otherwise, he advised to  seek shelter on the lowest floor of a building, in a closet or room without windows or outside walls. Use layers for protection, including helmets of any kind, blankets, comforters, sleeping bags, etc.

Smith said the best advice is to have a plan in place in case of bad weather. Know in advance what you will do and how you will do it. Be prepared with battery-powered weather radios, first aid kits and sturdy clothing.

Also providing information during the two-hour program, held in Southeastern’s newly-renovated Ballroom, were James Dalton, director of the Durant/Bryan  County Emergency Management Office,  and Stacy Ballew, Southeastern chief of police.

The audience included University staff and students as well as community members.

This program was part of the ongoing Southeastern Organization Leadership Development (SOLD) series at the University.

Southeastern hosts first Invitational Band Clinic on March 2

DURANT, Okla. – The Department of Music at Southeastern Oklahoma State University is pleased to present the first Southeastern Invitational Band Clinic. The event will be held on Saturday, March 2, on the campus of Southeastern.   This new initiative invites select exemplary band programs from schools throughout the region to participate in a day of workshops and rehearsals with Southeastern faculty and internationally renowned guest artists. The clinic concludes on Saturday night with a Finale Concert featuring the invited ensembles and the Southeastern Symphonic Winds, the premier instrumental concert ensemble of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The featured guest artist for this year’s clinic is Dr. John P. Lynch, Professor of Music and Director of Bands at The University of Georgia. In his capacity, Lynch administers and oversees all aspects of a band program of more than 600 students in ensembles that include the Sudler Trophy-winning Redcoat Marching Band, various athletic pep bands, six concert ensembles, and various jazz bands and ensembles. He serves as music director of the acclaimed UGA Wind Ensemble, which includes among its accolades several internationally-released recordings and invitations to perform at major national and international conferences of some of the most important music organizations in the world.


“Dr. Lynch is one of the most sought-after conductors and music educators in the world today,” said Dr. Jacob Wallace, Southeastern’s Director of Bands. “His impeccable musicianship has brought him around the world as a guest conductor and his talents as a teacher and musical leader have brought acclaim to the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia. We are extremely  fortunate to have him on campus — in part due to the generosity of Southeastern’s Cultural Scholarship and Lectureship Fund — and I am confident that he will have a profound influence on our guest ensembles and student musicians.”


This year’s clinic features two guest high school bands, each with significant accolades of their own. The Durant High School Concert Band, under the direction of Chris Gregg,  is a 2013 Oklahoma Music Educators Association Honor Band (an honor bestowed this year to only four high school ensembles), and the Sherman High School Wind Ensemble,  under the direction of Ryan Jenkins,  was a class 4A finalist with a top 10 finish in the Texas UIL State Contest last year. Each of the groups will spend two hours in a clinic with Lynch working on music for their upcoming concerts. Those clinics, which are free and open to the public, will take place from noon until 4:30 p.m. in Montgomery Auditorium.


The finale concert, which begins at 6 p.m.  in Montgomery Auditorium, will feature both high school groups as well as The Southeastern Symphonic Winds. Lynch will be featured as a guest conductor with The Southeastern Symphonic Winds on Gustav Holst’s Moorside March and Jess Turner’s Through the Looking Glass. The concert will also feature Southeastern’s newest music faculty member — Dr. Tristan Eggener — as the tuba soloist on Edward Gregson’s Tuba Concerto. The concert will close with H. Owen Reed’s remarkable Latin symphony La Fiesta Mexicana , which will feature several Southeastern faculty members in prominent roles.


All of the events in association with the Southeastern Invitational Band Clinic are free and open to the public. The primary location for the workshops and concerts is Montgomery Auditorium. For more information concerning this event, please contact Dr. Jacob Wallace at (580) 745-2084 or For accommodations due to a disability, please contact the Department of Music at (580) 745-2088.

SE Forecast on Campus Beautification scheduled for Feb. 26

DURANT, Okla. – The second annual SE Forecast: A Forum on Campus Beautification  will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, February 26, in the Fine Arts Recital Hall at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA), the event will focus on campus beautification with input from the Southeastern Alumni Board, SGA, all resident students, Campus Sustainability Committee, Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Southeastern Staff Association (SSA) members, and the Administrative Council.

The SE Forecast: A Forum on Campus Beautification is open to the public.

The planning council has selected the following individuals to serve as panelists at the Forum on Campus Beautification:

— Demetra Wilkerson, SGA president, will serve as the moderator

— Dr. Larry Minks, Southeastern president

—  Scott Fairbairn, Southeastern’s landscape architect

—  Janie Umsted, representative of the Alumni Association’s Beautification Committee

—  Joseph Badan, Chair of the SGA Safety and Beautification Committee

— Dr. Tim Patton, Faculty Chair of the University Sustainability Committee

—  Jason Hicks, SSA president

Fairbairn will have a power-point presentation of the work he has done and the future plans for continued campus improvement. These are targeted projects that have helped address specific needs with drainage, ADA accessibility, pedestrian flow and general access to buildings and spaces. This work has established a campus standard for stone, brick and other elements that will be used on other projects identified to fit this concept.

Southeastern to host “Storm Ready’’ weather presentation with National Weather Service, Bryan County Emergency Management

DURANT, Okla. – With the potential of stormy spring weather just around the corner, Southeastern Oklahoma State University is teaming up with the National Weather Service and Durant/Bryan County Emergency Management Office for an informational presentation.

The “Storm Ready’’ presentation is scheduled for Wednesday, February 20, from 2-4 p.m. in the Southeastern Ballroom. The University community, area school officials, and the general public are encouraged to attend.

Presenters include Rick Smith, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Norman, Oklahoma, and James Dalton, director of the Durant/Bryan  County Emergency Management office.

Among the topics to be covered are outdoor emergency warning devices, shelters, cloud and storm recognition, and storm safety tips. Videos of actual tornadoes will also be shown. A question-and-answer session will conclude the program.

Based in the Norman NWS office, Smith leads a team of forecasters who help train severe storm spotters throughout the office’s 56-county area of responsibility. He also works closely with the media, emergency managers and other state, county and local government officials to ensure that communities in central and western Oklahoma and western north Texas are ready when hazardous weather threatens.    Smith began his National Weather Service career as a student volunteer/student trainee at the Memphis office. Upon graduation, he  became a meteorologist intern, and in 1997 was selected as a forecaster at the NWS office in Tulsa.

In 1999, Smith was chosen to fill the newly-developed performance and evaluation meteorologist position at Southern Region Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2002, he moved to Norman to serve in his current position.

Dalton, a Bryan County native, has served in his current position in emergency management since 2006.  A graduate of the Northeastern State University Certified Emergency Manager Program, he is a Certified Oklahoma Emergency Manager, member of the Oklahoma Disaster Task Force, and member of the Oklahoma Disaster Task Force Planning Committee for Disaster Sheltering.


He also holds an associate’s degree in Applied Science — Respiratory Therapy from Rose State College.

Dalton  served as the original Chairman/Administrator of the Bryan County Ambulance Authority in 1981, which established the current Bryan County Emergency Medical Service. He has assisted the Durant Police Department since 1993 in various capacities, currently as a Crisis Negotiator for the SRT (Special Response Team).
Among the disasters he has worked are the Murrah Bombing in Oklahoma City and the Tushka, Oklahoma, tornado in 2011.
This program is part of the ongoing Southeastern Organization Leadership Development (SOLD) series at the University.

Four department chairs named at Southeastern

DURANT, Okla. – Four faculty members have recently been named department chairs at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The group includes Dr. Kitty Campbell, Department of Management & Marketing in the John Massey School of Business; Dr. Vivian Guarnera, Department of Educational Instruction & Leadership, School of Education & Behavioral  Sciences; Dr. G. Stevenson Smith, Department of Accounting and Finance, John Massey School of Business; and Dr. Chunmei Yoe, interim chair in the Department of Social Sciences, School  of Arts & Sciences.

“The role of the department chair is vital to the educational enterprise, “ said Dr. Douglas McMillan, vice president for academic affairs. “I have the utmost confidence in each of the new chairs and look forward to working with them. ‘’

Scheduling, curriculum review, program review, budget management, and advocacy for their department are among the duties of the chairs.

Kitty Campbell Campbell joined the Southeastern faculty in 1997. She earned her doctorate at Texas A&M – Commerce and her bachelor’s  and master’s degrees at Texas A&M  (College Station) and Southeastern.

Vivian Guanera Guarnera received her doctorate and master’s degrees at the University of Florida and her bachelor’s at Oklahoma State. She also has been a faculty member since 1997.

Smith-2 Smith, a member of the Southeastern faculty since 2006, earned his doctorate at the University of Arkansas. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Ball State University and Michigan State University.

Chunmei Yoe Yoe earned her doctorate and master’s at Duke University and her bachelor’s at the Beijing Foreign Language Institute.  She joined the Southeastern faculty in 1997.

Southeastern to host Native American Students In Higher Education Conference

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University will host the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education (ONASHE) Conference February 22-23.

The goal of the conference is to provide opportunities for Native American students and professionals from various institutions across the state of Oklahoma to continue to develop and strengthen their leadership skills by interacting with current tribal leaders, participating in workshops relevant to contemporary student and leadership issues, and creating powerful networks promoting higher education for Native American students.

The theme for the 2013 ONASHE conference is “The Roots of Our Generation Perpetuating Unification.”

“The conference provides an excellent opportunity to Oklahoma Native American college students to explore potential careers while connecting those careers and their education to cultural interests,” said Chris Wesberry, director of the Southeastern Native American Center for Student Success.

Following is the schedule of events:

Friday, February 22

2 p.m. – Registration in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union

3 p.m. – Parade of Flags: Tribal Nations and Institutions will bring their own flag, pole and base. Traditional dress will be worn and student representatives will post the flags. Boy Scouts Pack 618 will post U.S. and State flags: Lord’s Prayer, Choctaw Nation Royalty

3:30 p.m. –Welcome (GDJ Student Union auditorium): Southeastern president Larry Minks will present the welcome; Keynote speaker will be Gary Batton, Assistant Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

4:15 p.m. – Icebreakers

4:45 p.m. – Roundtable Discussions

6:30 p.m. – Dinner

7:30 p.m. – Choctaw Social Dance

Saturday, February 23

9 a.m. – Opening Session (GDJ Student Union auditorium): Keynote speaker will be Rev. Jay Mule, minister and educator

10 a.m. – Workshops, Session I

11 a.m. – Workshops, Session II

Noon – Lunch: Keynote speaker will be Quinton Roman Nose, Native American educator

1 p.m. – Workshops, Session III

2 p.m. – Awards Ceremony: Keynote speaker will be Cherrah Giles, Secretary of the Department of Community & Human Services, Muscogee Creek Nation

3 p.m. — Stickball

Professor, students offer assistance in tree identification

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University has announced a community service project that will run through the first semester.

Dr. Stanley Rice, professor of biological sciences, will conduct a tree-identification program that will be of benefit to the entire community. Rice earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois (1987) and joined the Southeastern faculty in 1998.

Rice said, “The Department of Biological Sciences is announcing a student project to benefit homeowners in the Durant community. Anyone with unidentified trees on their property is asked to contact us at or 580-745-2688.

“Students in my Systematic Botany course will help with identification. The students will bring specimens so we may verify that their identification was indeed correct.”

The project should be completed by April 25.

Southeastern celebrates initiatives, ribbon cutting of Center for Student Success

Oklahoma Chancellor Glen D. Johnson makes a point during Thursday’s program. Also on the program were, left to right, Regent Terry Matlock, Regent John Massey, Southeastern president Larry Minks, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gregory Pyle.

Oklahoma Chancellor Glen D. Johnson makes a point during Thursday’s program. Also on the program were, left to right, Regent Terry Matlock, Regent John Massey, Southeastern president Larry Minks, Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Chief Gregory Pyle.

DURANT, Okla. – Dignitaries from throughout Oklahoma joined Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, regents, and tribal leaders Thursday for the “Celebration of Student Success Through Partnerships’’ event at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

The celebration highlighted Oklahoma’s “Complete College America’’ (CCA) initiative with examples of successful programs and partnerships in place at Southeastern and around the state.


Activities began at 3 p.m. with a reception in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union loft while the program started at  3:30 p.m. in the atrium of the union.

Joining Chancellor Johnson on the program were Southeastern president Larry Minks, 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 was held for the Center for Student Success building, located in the old Campus bookstore/Magnolia Room. This one-stop facility includes the Academic Advising and Outreach Center, the Native American Center for Student Success, the Learning Center, the Writing Center, and the Office of Freshman Programs.

At the beginning of the CCA initiative, state colleges and universities annually awarded 30,500 degrees. CCA’s goal is to increase that number 67 percent so that by 2023 Oklahoma colleges and universities will annually award 50,900 college degrees. During the 2011-12 academic year, state colleges and universities awarded 33,499 degrees/certificates.

Major initiatives toward this goal are already under way, including working with K-12 by focusing on college readiness, transforming remediation, expanding collaboration with CareerTech, enhancing adult degree completion efforts, and tracking and rewarding improvements in degree completion.

Due to Oklahoma’s high level of collaboration, policy framework and long-term commitment to completion goal, CCA has designated Oklahoma as its national model for degree completion.

Established in 2009, CCA is a national nonprofit organization working to significantly increase the number of Americans with a college degree. The organization focuses on state policy change and building consensus among state leaders, higher education and the national education policy community.

Dignitaries gather for the ribbon cutting at the Center for Student Success Thursday afternoon.

Dignitaries gather for the ribbon cutting at the Center for Student Success Thursday afternoon.

Alumni Gold and Blue Gala scheduled for February 9

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s Gold and Blue Scholarship Gala and Auction will be held February 9.

The event, Denim and Diamonds, is sponsored by the Southeastern Alumni Association and will be held in the Visual and Performing Arts Center.

Show time is 7 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit student scholarships. Last year’s Gala raised $24,000 for the scholarship fund.

“The donated auction items for 2013 are exceptional,” said Mary Frank, chair of the Gala Committee, “and if you enjoy dancing, food, fun and friends, then this is your evening. The Gala is a party with a purpose.”

Tickets are priced at $50 per person for a full evening of casino games, live and silent auctions, dancing and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Live music will be provided by the Big Daddy Band of Dallas.

Denim casual is the dress of the evening.

“Everyone is invited to come out for an evening that will feature lots of fun and also raise money for student scholarships to Southeastern,” said Rob Piearcy, president of the Southeastern Alumni Association.

To purchase tickets, go online at or visit the Welcome Center on the southeast corner of N. 5th Avenue and University Blvd. in Durant. For additional information, call 580-745-2288.

Students rank Academic Advising and Instructional Effectiveness high in importance and satisfaction

DURANT, Okla. – Academic Advising and Instructional Effectiveness ranked highest in importance and among the highest in satisfaction among students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, according to a recent survey.

The Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) was administered to 447 Southeastern students in the spring and fall of 2012. The SSI is one means that measures student satisfaction and priorities among various categories.

“I think it speaks highly of our students when they recognize the importance of advising and instruction to their overall success at the University,’’ said Dr. Jerry Polson, assistant vice president for academic outreach and research and dean of graduate studies. Polson has also served as a faculty member for 44 years.

“The Noel-Levitz data seems to indicate that Southeastern’s students are quite pleased with the quality of instruction they are receiving at the University,’’ Polson added. “This satisfaction is probably due to a number of factors, including a highly trained faculty, small class sizes, and the personal attention provided students by their instructors.”

The survey indicated that students believed that the content of the courses within their majors is valuable, and that the instruction is excellent in their major fields/most of their classes. These results from SSI would seem to be in line with the University’s mission of providing “an environment of academic excellence.’’

Students were also pleased with the assistance they received from academic advising. They noted that their academic advisor is approachable, knowledgeable about their major, and concerned about their success as an individual.

“At Southeastern, we realize how important academic advising is to our students and take great pride in the advising services provided,’’ said Tim Boatmun, associate dean of academic services. “Students consistently say they want individualized attention from a faculty member or professional staff. Academic advising is the primary activity in which students receive one-on-one attention from a professional attempting to help them reach their goals.’’

Overall results from the survey indicate that students at Southeastern are satisfied that the University is meeting and in many cases, exceeding their expectations.  In fact, student satisfaction is higher at Southeastern when compared to results nationally at other four-year institutions.

Southeastern students also reported higher satisfaction than the national average in such areas as Safety & Security, Recruitment and Financial Aid, Campus Support Services, Campus Climate, Student Centeredness, Service Excellence, Concern for the Individual, and Campus Life.