Dr. Martha Shackleford Scholarship

The Martha Shackleford Scholarship is presented to a junior or senior in the field of biological sciences. Criteria considered includes grades, attitude and originality.

Dr. Shackleford served on the faculty of the Oklahoma College for Women and the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts from 1927-1971. She served as a professor of biology and chairman of the Science Department.

Among the subjects she taught were zoology, comparative anatomy, general bacteriology, birds, animal behavior, birds, animal behavior, ecology, insects, genetics, evolution embryology, economic zoology, principles of geography, economic geography and meteorology.

Dr. Shackleford held degrees from the College of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington; the University of Washington in Seattle, and the University of Illinois in Urbana. Prior to coming to OCW, she taught high school in Sumas and Arlington, Washington.

She quietly worked for the disabled and under-privileged. She helped countless students through college. For many she paid fees, bought books, paid for babysitters and helped in other ways so that they could find their way to a better life.

Phyllis Hillery, one of her students and a 1949 OCW graduate, remembered that Dr. Shackleford “did not consider herself handicapped nor disabled, but we all knew her limitations.” An addition to the Stevens Alumni House at USAO is named in her honor. The room provides an entrance and restroom for visitors with disabilities. “We felt this was a very fitting memorial to our beloved teacher.”

Dr. Shackleford was honored twice by senior students when they named her Teacher of the Year. She held the love and respect of the vast majority of her students throughout her 44 years of service to the college. During her later years of teaching, she taught the sons and daughters of her students.

In addition to her students, she held the respect of her colleagues and friends in both her profession and outside. She was honored by the Women in Communications as an annual recipient of their Outstanding Woman in Oklahoma award. Upon her retirement, she was honored with a science symposium presented by USAO students and faculty from the Science Department.

She published several articles in Ecology, American Midland Naturalist and Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Science. For several summers, she worked at the Puget Sound Marine Biology Station, the Chesapeake Biology Station and the University of Oklahoma Biology Station.

“She was a fine biology teacher and person. I was a laboratory assistant with her for two years and learned and enjoyed every minute of it. She made those ‘pickled frogs’ literally come alive in her lectures,” said Lee Ellen Harris Points, a former student of Shackleford’s.

In 1982, the Dr. Martha Shackleford Scholarship was established by alumni. She passed away on September 7, 1982 at 84 years of age.

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