Q&A - June 23, 2017

In my six years as president of OSU Institute of Technology, I have learned that the university’s loudest cheerleaders and biggest champions are our graduates. Time and time again, I hear stories from our alumni about how this campus and their instructors changed their lives for the better and set them up for success along their career paths. That is why celebrating our alumni every year at the Alumni Homecoming & Hall of Fame Reception is one of my favorite nights of the year.

Q: How was this year’s Alumni Homecoming Reception?

Held last Saturday, this annual event not only serves as an opportunity for our alumni to come back to campus but also honors those select alumni chosen to be inducted into the OSUIT Alumni Hall of Fame.

This was the fourth year for our Hall of Fame celebration that honors two types of alumni. Three were chosen as Rising Stars, those alumni who have demonstrated significant or outstanding accomplishments within their first 10 years of graduation, and five were recognized as Distinguished Alumni, those who are established in their professions and whose career accomplishments have been outstanding.

Our Distinguished Alumni included Charley Been, who graduated in 1977 from the School of Diesel & Heavy Equipment and now works as shop foreman at MHC Kenworth in Tulsa; Scott Johnson, who graduated in 2000 from the School of Engineering Technologies and is now director of healthcare solutions for York Electronic Systems, Inc. in Broken Arrow; Mike Rampey, a 1974 graduate from the School of Construction Technologies who now owns Broken Arrow-based Air Assurance Company; Bob Smith, who graduated in 1973 from the School of Automotive Technologies and owns Bob Smith Coachworks in Gainesville, Texas; and Mark Wyatt, a 1982 graduate of the School of Visual Communications who now owns Agency Creative in Dallas.

All five expressed sincere gratitude to those from OSUIT who helped them on their first day on campus all the way through graduation. Several of their former instructors, some now retired, came to show their support of these alumni on such a proud occasion.

The same was true of our Rising Stars, which included Brandon Harn, who graduated from the School of Visual Communications in 2008 and is associate creative director of publishing for Ackerman McQueen in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dylan Ingram, a 2014 graduate of the School of Construction Technologies who now works as a field engineer for Sherwood Construction Co., Inc. in Tulsa; and Kyndl Rowland, who graduated from the School of Visual Communications in 2014 and is now creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi X in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Some told stories of pursing another degree before finding the right fit at OSUIT, while others talked about never feeling like they belonged at school until they stepped foot on this campus. Many held back tears as they tried to articulate what OSUIT has meant to them. It was a chance for them to look back on where their careers started and how this small institution in Okmulgee gave them so much.

Thank you for your timely questions. They are always welcome at osuit-president@okstate.edu.