The Dr. Irene Mitchell Scholarship was established by Dr. Ellen Taliferro in honor of Mitchell who taught history and English at OCW in 1962. The scholarship is for students who have high educational goals and who maintain a 3.0 GPA.
“The small town of Healdton, Oklahoma was blessed in the 1950s with a dedicated, hard-working high school faculty who believed in the can-do spirit and the abilities of their students,” Taliferro said. “Among these, Irene Mitchell stood out. The excellent teacher never stopped learning. She demonstrated this by pursing her own graduate school studies to earn her Ph.D. while tending to her high school flock. After earning her Ed.D. at the University of Oklahoma, she joined the OCW faculty where she became an assistant professor of history and English.
“Mrs. Mitchell did attempt to discourage one of her students who insisted on not finishing high school to pursue an early college path to OCW. Mrs. Mitchell was concerned that the student, who was doing well until then, might not be able to succeed if she didn’t finish high school. When she was unable to successfully discourage that student, she made a promise. And that’s how Dr. Mitchell surprised that same student years later at the graduation ceremony for the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. She made a promise that she would be there and she was,” Taliferro said.
Mitchell passed away in 1994. She was 87 years-old. Mitchell graduated from Perry High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. She had various writings published from 1955 to 1976. She spent years studying history and genealogy.
She served on the Literacy Council and taught English to students from 32 foreign countries. After her retirement in 1977, she instituted workshops to study and preserve Native American heritage.
Mitchell was a member of the First Christian Church in Chickasha. She was the first woman elder and served on the church board. She was an active member of the American Association of University Women, Grady County Democratic Women’s Club, Delta Kappa Gamma, UCO Alumni Association, Oklahoma Historical Society, served on the Board of the League of Women Voters and led the Great Decisions Discussions Group. She was a member of the Chickasha Library Board and the Human Rights Commission. Back to Gallery