Board of Directors
Benjamin Blackstar | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2018
Benjamin Blackstar is a proud Native American from the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and a Comanche descendant. He is from Anadarko, OK and works as a High School Art Teacher for the Riverside Indian School. Benjamin has stated it is his goal to serve the future generations of his people; as a graduate from Riverside himself, he believes he is doing so. After working one year at USAO as the Creative Services Coordinator in the Marketing and Communications Department, he was given the opportunity to be a part of Riverside's amazing faculty. Benjamin has 4 children, Daniel, Benjamin Jr., Brooke, and Aja, and a wife of eleven years, Amanda Blackstar, who is also an alumnus from USAO's Psychology program.
When he is not at work serving the youth, celebrating dance with the Kiowa Gourd Clan, or spending time with his family, he is painting or drawing, which can be seen in the Pauper's Gallery in Davis Hall and in businesses both locally and nationwide. During his years at USAO, Benjamin was given the award of Artist of the Year at the 84th Annual American Indian Exposition for a portrait painting of his daughter Brooke.
James Greenlee | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2009
James Greenlee is an Illustrator and Graphic Designer living in the Tulsa Metro area. A classically trained fine artist, Greenlee’s art incorporates elements of his day-to-day life and pop culture influences.
His work ranges from acrylics, watercolors, inks, oils, digital illustration and has been showcased by OVAC in 2008, Tulsa United Way in 2020, and most recently TYPROS in 2021, where he shares an art installation at the Tulsa International airport.
Charlie Largent | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2000
Charlie Largent graduated in 2000 from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Arts in History and is a lifelong resident of the Chickasha area. Mr. Largent began his career in fire protection and emergency management as volunteer fire fighter for the Grady County Fire Service. After obtaining his degree, he worked for OSDMHS and Love County EMS. In 2011 he accepted the position of Fire Chief for the City of Blanchard. He continues to serve the residents of McClain and Grady counties in this position and also serves as the City’s Emergency Management Director. Charlie has a long history of public service through a previous appointment to the Grady County Fire Board. He has also volunteered as a member of the McClain County Board of Health since 2019.
Charlie has spent the last 26 year serving the citizens of Grady and McClain counties with willingness to assist any community, group, or individual. Charlie resides in Blanchard with his wife Shannon and daughter Sydney.
April Lawrence | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2013
April Lawrence graduated from USAO in 2013, double majoring in Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Bachelor of Art in Economics. After completing her degrees, April was hired to work as an Admissions Counselor in the Admissions & Recruitment Office. Today, she is the Director of Admissions & Enrollment. While helping the University increase in student population, April has created processes that help not only students, but also the staff. In April's spare time, she is either reading or playing with her dog 'Birdie'. She is also a volunteer with Friends Fur Change which is a dog rescue in Chickasha. While April makes a difference in her community, and at the University, she impacts those around her for the better.
LaRonda McCarther | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2000
LaRonda McCarther is a Chickasha native and a graduate from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma. LaRonda graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Economics in 2000. She has been a passionate real estate agent since 2007 and has recently acquired her broker’s license. With her husband, Shawn McCarther they own and manage their personal investment properties. LaRonda enjoys being part of the boards of the Grady County Health Department and Arvest Bank for Southwest Oklahoma.
She loves to spend time with her family which includes her two adult sons Shawn II and Jalen. LaRonda truly loves and is a supporter of the Chickasha community.
Whitney Palesano | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2010
Whitney Palesano graduated from USAO in 2010, receiving her degree in Psychology. Whitney is a proud lifetime Chickasha resident and USAO alumni. As the Membership Director of the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce, Whitney can assist in making positive connections and providing insight between the Chickasha community and the Alumni board. Whitney strives to continuously grow and learn how to better serve her community. When asked about her goals for the board, Whitney replied "I would like to engage with prior classmates and alumni and keep them updated on the successes and changes happening at USAO. I would also like to encourage them to be a vocal and financial advocate for their alma mater." - Whitney Palesano
Jennifer Shepard | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2006
Jennifer Shepard, Norman native and NHS Tiger, graduated with a BA in Physical Education from the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma. While there she was on the first school-sponsored women’s soccer team. From this experience she earned recognition as an All-Regional player her freshmen year. After teaching for 7 years, she earned her Master’s in Education from East Central University, and she most recently received a Certificate in Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Jennifer has enjoyed working with children as a physical education teacher, a school counselor and coach. In addition to working as a health adjunct at UCO, Mid-America and SWCU, she opened a private practice, “Specialized Coaching & Consulting“ during the pandemic encouraging a focus on health & wellness transformation. Jennifer is one of the only certified POINTE instructors in the Midwest who practices Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.
When not working towards growing her own practice, she volunteers her time with the local soccer club. Jennifer currently lives in her hometown with her wonderful daughter, two dogs, two cats and a fish.
Michelle Skinner | University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma, 2006
Michelle Skinner graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in music with a minor in art and completed a master's degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. She currently works at the Chickasha Public Library, where her favorite things are reference, genealogy, document preservation and digitization, and writing a book about the library's history.
She also maintains a piano studio, plays piano and organ at First Presbyterian Church in Chickasha, works as a freelance artist, and performs as a flutist and as an aspiring cellist. She tends to be curious and fascinated by everything, and she loves all things creative and intellectual.
Ron Sullivan | Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts, 1975
Ron Sullivan, class of '75. Majored in Theater. From: McAlester, OK, now lives in Duncan, OK. Married to Sherry Lynn Lacy-Sullivan, class of '72. Retired from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (28 years). Served on the boards for Pittsburg County March of Dimes, Relay for Life, Ryan's Run Against Child Abuse, McAlester Spaghetti Run, and Pittsburg County Youth Health Symposium. Taught high school English at Indianola, Oklahoma for 8 years as well as coaching baseball for 4 years.
Served 2 years as an Educational Coordinator for Eastern Oklahoma State College's GEAR-UP Grant assisting students in preparing for college. Taught high school English, Creative Writing, and Speech and Drama at Duncan High School four years before retirement.
Nominate a Board Member:
Deadline for submissions is July 1, 2023
Providing value to fellow alumni of the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma doesn't have to end on graduation day. In fact, the opportunity to give back to your alma mater is one click away.
We are seeking names of alumni who are interested in serving on the USAO Alumni Association Board of Directors.
The alumni board serves as the official representative of the entire alumni community and works on initiatives that help fulfill the mission of the USAO Alumni Association.
As you consider potential candidates (or if you would like to self-nominate) please keep in mind that alumni board members are required to attend four board meetings per calendar year on the USAO campus (Zoom meetings until further notice). For alumni who wish to serve but live out of state please don’t let geography deter you! We strive to achieve a balanced and broad representation of the alumni community on our board and are looking for representation from various backgrounds, degree programs, regions and industries.
USAO Alumni Association board meetings traditionally occur on a Saturday in January, May, August, and during Homecoming the first weekend of November. All directors serve a three-year term. No board member may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms without a resting period of one year. This restriction shall further apply to the office of President, excluding board service as immediate Past President.
Submissions do not guarantee a position on the USAOAA Board of Directors.
All names will be sent to the Nominating Committee for further consideration.
However, there is much work to do and a place for all alumni who want to volunteer in service to the USAOAA. We will work with you to find the perfect fit.
If you have questions, you can email USAOAA executive director Dawn Reitan-Brockman at email@example.com or contact the Alumni & Community Relations office via email or call (405) 574-1290.
The links below are provided in PDF: