USAO Grads Charged to Look Back with Pride, Forward Creatively
CHICKASHA -- One leader urged the graduates to look back at a hundred years of college history during this centennial year, while another challenged them to look forward with an eagerness to keep learning.
More than 1,600 people attended Friday night's commencement in two ceremonies at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, the first graduation ceremony during its 100th year.
Honoring 133 graduates, the commencement address was presented jointly by USAO President John Feaver and Academic Vice President Sanders Huguenin.
For his part, Huguenin challenged students to keep learning throughout life and to avoid the " intellectual pitfalls" created by age-old assumptions or by seeing history only through modern lenses.
" How many senses do you have?" Huguenin asked. " Five, you might say, or six, if you count 'intuition' as a sense. In the west, we've settled on the consensus that there are five or maybe only six senses."
But that's shortsighted, he argued.
" Besides the five you know -- sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste -- what about balance," Huguenin asked, " a sense that has its own sensory organ, the inner ear? What about passage of time or your ability to perceive temperature, known as 'thermoception?' What about internal wellbeing, argued by many to be a literal sense, or pain, hunger, fatigue? If you own a Camero, you understand that people actually perceive acceleration. Aren't each of these real senses?"
The real question is, Huguenin said, " How is it that you people have been to college, yet you are blissfully unaware of half your senses?"
Huguenin encouraged students to keep learning eagerly because knowledge often is based on long-held assumptions that get overturned. The number of senses -- five -- was arbitrarily set by the Greeks 2500 years ago and remains mostly unchallenged.
" Why are photographs rectangular?" he asked, as an example. That was the shape of Renaissance paintings, and photography followed until modern artists began to break that mold.
Political definitions evolve every generation, he said. " Prior to the New Deal, the democrats were primarily the free trade party and the republicans were pro-tariff." Similarly, it seems odd today that " the northeast was a republican stronghold in the early 20th century and the south was solidly democratic."
He urged the graduates to " become intellectual innovators. I hope the education you've received will position you to look at new ideas, new technologies, new challenges and, seeing them from fresh perspectives, you'll be among the first to adapt and not the last."
With an eye on the centennial celebrations ahead, USAO President John Feaver reflected first on the college's birth 100 years ago this year.
" On May 16, 1908, the State Legislature approved Senate Bill No. 249 creating the Oklahoma Industrial Institute and College for Girls," Feaver said, " the first college created by Oklahoma's first legislature. After a protracted competition between several communities over where to locate the newly created college for women, the legislature decided to place it in Chickasha."
From its founding, the college's mission has been liberal arts, he said.
" In one of the college's earliest statements of purpose," Feaver continued, " it reads that the school established by Oklahoma exclusively for the purpose of educating women was to have a scope broad enough to meet and answer well the educational needs of all her daughters -- offering training so liberal and comprehensive, so modern and practical, as to satisfy the demands of our young women, whatever their ambition.
" Now, a century later, not much has changed really in terms of the school's heart and soul," Feaver said, " never its essential DNA or defined character as a liberal arts college. It became co-education in 1965, but its mission remained the same. Because of this, it remains, besides the University of Oklahoma, the oldest original mission of any college in Oklahoma."
He invited the audience to attend USAO's Founders Day events on May 16, 2008.
The college's early success is mirrored today by its national reputation for quality and value, Feaver said. " There is a great deal going on. There's lots of construction. My campus is all torn up, and I'm loving every shovel of it. I'm loving every sound of it. The college is today in a most favored position."
For the ceremony, USAO administrators found a new solution to an overcrowding issue that has plagued commencement events for years: the 850-seat auditorium cannot hold the regular 1,500+ crowd, even with a backup overflow venue in Davis Hall. Although plans for a 3,000-seat arena have been developed as part of the campus 25-year master plan, construction may be years away.
Last fall, administrators conferred with students and faculty, then created a ticket system that ensured at least nine tickets each for graduating seniors. This spring, the ticket system was continued, with two ceremonies on Friday night. One event began at 6 p.m., followed by a second ceremony at 8 p.m. The auditorium was full for both events, while others watched on the USAO Channel at home.
Paulette Pogue, president of the USAO Alumni Association, presented the Alumni Association's Distinguished Graduate award to Kingfisher senior Kati Wint.
As a speech-language pathology student, Wint has more than 30 hours of clinical experience. She is this year's president of the USAO Student Association and a member of Hypatia, USAO's 80-year-old honor society. A multiple-semester honor roll student, Wint also is the recipient of this year's Outstanding Graduate Award for the education and speech pathology division.
" I'm here to present the distinguished graduate award," Pogue said. " Let me quote from two of her professors: 'She is, in short, the type of student whom professors dream of having in their program. I wish that I could clone her.' Another said, 'Kati embodies the traits and interests that define a person educated in the liberal arts.'"
Upon graduation, Wint ends her year as president of the USAO Student Association. She has been a member of nearly a dozen campus activities and was named Homecoming Queen last fall. Throughout her college years, she volunteered in nursing homes and worked as an elementary tutor in local schools.
After graduation, Wint plans to attend graduate school and continue her studies in communication sciences and disorders.
Faculty selected outstanding graduates from each of the university's other academic divisions. Chelsea Dawn Huddleston of Chickasha was named outstanding graduate in the Division of Business and Social Sciences. Two students were chosen for the Division of Arts and Humanities: Susanna Talley Hayworth of Anadarko for music and Amy Anne Widener of Chickasha for art. Brady K. Crane of Chickasha received the honor in the Division of Sciences and Physical Education.
The ceremony began with the traditional " Pomp and Circumstance" processional, performed by Dr. Stephen Weber, associate professor of music. During the 6 p.m. event, the USAO Vocal Jazz Ensemble sang an acappella version of " In My Life" by the Beatles, led by Dr. Ken Bohannon, associate professor of music. In the 8 p.m. ceremony, Distinguished Graduate recipient Kati Wint sang " Hold On" by Lucy Simon from " The Secret Garden," accompanied by Dr. Jan Hanson, professor of music.
Joining Feaver and Huguenin on the stage were Pogue, USAO Regents Molly Tolbert and Patti Rogstad, Dr. Ingrid Shafer, professor of philosophy and religion, Dr. Eloy Chavez, dean and director of students and student services, and members of the USAO faculty.
Bohannon led graduates and guests in singing " The College Hymn," accompanied by Weber. Hanson served as conductor for the traditional hymn.
Dr. Dan Hanson, professor of music, performed the recessional, " A Whole New World," by Alan Menken and Tim Rice from the Disney movie, " Aladdin." Members of Alpha Lambda Delta honor society served as ushers for the event.
A webcast version of the commencement will be available for viewing online at www.usao.edu/news. Copies of the ceremony are available on DVD for $15 in the USAO Media and Community Relations office or by phone at (405) 574-1318.
Feaver issued 99 bachelor of science degrees, 29 bachelor of arts degrees and five bachelor of fine arts degrees. One student is unlisted.
Receiving bachelor of science degrees were:
Alex: Bobbie Marie Gambill
Anadarko: Kevin Phillip Cheadle Sr., Donna Marie Jay, Alex Matthew Rodriguez
Apache: Carie Alison McKeown
Beaver: Bobby Joe Arnold (summa cum laude)
Blanchard: Kyle David Dake (cum laude), Gus Allen Lovelace (cum laude)
Broken Arrow: Amanda D. Mason
Chickasha: Heather Nichole Allen, Dene' Nichole Bradshaw, Rebecca Kay Brown, Kimberly Nicole Cave, Michelle Joy Chapellier, Brady K. Crane (magna cum laude), Courtney Yvonne Crowder (magna cum laude), Tara Rhenea Donathan, Linsey Anne Freie, Krista Rene Gallaway, Kelly A. Gonzalez, Christopher Gene Gordon, Lauren Michelle Greenfield, Leah Kaye Greenfield, Sheila Ann Guerrero (magna cum laude), Chelsea Dawn Huddleston, Timilie DeAnne Hughes, Keosha Michelle Johnson, Tyler Wade Lewis, Matthew Brett Lively, Lawrence F. Ludwell (magna cum laude), Barry Owen McCoy, Roxane Palen McGrew, Emily Dyan Mitchell, Tabitha Diane Moon, Roberta Louise Newman, Joseph Odinde Oballa, Robert Edward Phillips, Marisela Romero, Tina Renee' Smith, Gina Michelle Starr, Kory Don Thomas, Ashley Ann Visintin, Adam H. Webb, Cody Donald Weeks, Amy Williams (summa cum laude)
Claremore: Amy Marie Renault
Cyril: Alicia Denae Bare, Lisa Louise Hinton
Davidson: Meredith Rhea Shaw (cum laude)
Dibble: Laura Christine Cantrell, Dwain Kyle Hembree
Duncan: Angela Rosa Baeza (cum laude), Rachel Morgan Lutjens, Erin Rebecca Nix, Andrea Michelle Rush
Edmond: Morgan Lee Jones
Elgin: Jennifer Lynne Blocker (cum laude)
Fletcher: Pat C. Bridges
Goldsby: Cynthia Jean Carlton
Gracemont: Kathy L. Butler
Haskell: Sheena Marie Raunikar
Kingfisher: Kati Len Wint (summa cum laude)
Lawton: Kristen Renee Arnold, Shelby Leigh Green, Jaclyn Amy Vazquez
Marlow: Ashley Renee Broyles, Misti Dawn McCalvin, Lance Cole Mott
Mustang: Jason Matthew Middleton
Oklahoma City: Daniel Myles DeSpain, Katie Mae Hewett, Ricky Lee James (summa cum laude), Tracey Michele Lesley, Teresa Jean Lewis (magna cum laude), Alicia Jeanette Lock, Roberta Ann Mackenzie, Cory Robert Milford, Keith Anthony Ooten, Lisa Renea Underwood
Oologah: Brenna Elise Bewley
Pauls Valley: Cassy Maranne Howk
Pocasset: Tisee Michelle Lewis
Rush Springs: Brandt Alan Duke
Shawnee: Cama Natasha Watts
Talala: Sarah Scotti Parker
Tulsa: Brittany Marie Schultz (summa cum laude), Laura Deann Schultz (summa cum laude)
Tuttle: Leisha Ann Nickels, Jonathan Oman
Washington: Ashley Pauline Barker
OUT OF STATE:
Flushing, N.Y.: Fleans Dervishi
Lafayette, La.: Kawitton Joseph Benoit
Levelland, Texas: Brittany Suzanne Hallett
Metairie, La.: Je'antel Joy Haynes
Richardson, Texas: Scott Michael Ylda
Rowlett, Texas: Russell Andrew Cooper
Wichita Falls, Texas: Bryan Wayne Jones
OUT OF COUNTRY:
Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada: Kelsey Alexandra MacInnes
Receiving bachelor of arts degrees were:
Ada: Travis Lane Graham
Anadarko: Susanna Talley Hayworth (cum laude)
Chickasha: Jason Anthony Davis, Christopher J. Lister, Tracy Diane Massucci, Danyele Nicole Minton (magna cum laude), Cory Robert Moon, Bryan James Nabors, Brook D'Shan Nath, Shantel Denise Parr, Jessica Leigh Townsend
Choctaw: Christopher Ryan Sommer
Duncan: Anthony Clark Morris, Bobbie Jo Simpson
Fletcher: Helen Ailene Chappell (summa cum laude)
Laverne: Mandi Rachelle Schoenhals
Marlow: Meagan Christine Peters
Maysville: Joshua Duane Vaughn (magna cum laude)
Moore: Ryan Keith Bell, Cody Daniel Stull
Mustang: Carissa Dawn Jones (summa cum laude)
Newcastle: Patricia LaDonna Schuringa (magna cum laude)
Ninnekah: Traci Lynn Allen
Oklahoma City: Joel David Atchley, Breann Renea Roberts
Tulsa: Lonnie John Iannazzo II
Tuttle: Thomas Andrew Gibson
Yukon: Jennifer Katherine Bridgforth (magna cum laude)
OUT OF STATE:
Dallas, Texas: Crystal Dawn Travis
Receiving bachelor of fine arts degrees were:
Chickasha: Amy Anne Widener (cum laude)
Lindsay: Lindsey Johanna Finch
Norman: Bonnie Marie Amspacher
Oklahoma City: Chelsea Ann McClanahan (cum laude)
Pocasset: Christopher Gerad Castor