USAO commencement honors 49 graduates

An overhead image of college graduates in their full regalia (photo by Faustin Tuyambaze)

USAO commencement honors 49 graduates


The University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma held fall commencement on Dec. 1, awarding 49 students with bachelor’s degrees.

Commencement, the university wide graduation ceremony, is held at the end of the fall trimester to celebrate that term’s graduates. Filled with pageantry, the ceremony included an address from USAO President John Feaver.

“Presiding over commencement is always a tremendous honor,” said Feaver. “Walking across this stage is no mean feat, and I hope every graduate feels a sense of accomplishment for their academic achievement. Our interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum integrates knowledge and ideas from many disciplines, ensuring that our students are equipped for the 21st century job market. As these graduates prepare for the next chapter of their lives, we wish them nothing but the best for the future."

Nationally ranked for quality and value, USAO has served as the state’s only public liberal arts college for over a century and remains committed to providing a broad and accessible undergraduate education.

The university issued 30 Bachelor of Science degrees, 14 Bachelor of Arts degrees and 5 Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees during the Dec. 1 ceremony.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

Leo T. Corbett

Chad Michael Eggar, Magna Cum Laude

Karis Marie Jones, Cum Laude

Dani Gayle Lewis, Cum Laude

Jordan Bryan Reed


Bachelor of Arts

Melanie Anne Bilyeu

Rodney Leon Burges, Cum Laude

Angileania Juanita Ruby Ferguson

Ford William Filson

Amelia Anne Harrison

Sawyer Arline James

Melanie Edna Kodaseet

Lauren Rae Morris

Alana Michelle Pack

Elizabeth ReiAnn Peek

Russell Thomas Pool

Tereshia A. Powell

Savio V. Solomon

Sierra Elise Stone


Bachelor of Science

Abby L. Bredy

Madison Paige Brewer, Magna Cum Laude

Craig Douglass Caffrey

Rhonda Lynn Canfield

Allison Brooke Collins

Stephanie Marie Couser

Brittany Michelle Dewey

Tijana Duskov

Jesika Nicolle Forgue

Rebecca Leigh Hilburn

Katie Dawn Hinch

Mary Helen Howell

Brenda Brooklyn Johnson, Summa Cum Laude

Dustin Allen Leeds

Abigail Vaden Leonard

Madison Ann Leonhart

David Lian

Macy Brooklyn McDonald

Elizabeth Bailee McGowen, Magna Cum Laude

Charli Chae Mellot

Bethanie Morgan Poe

Heather Rose Reed

Stephanie Marie Reid

Samantha Josephine Ribaudo

Elizabeth Dawn Ruth

Hayden Barry Sloane

Neil Colton Steinle

Tyrone Eugene Turner Jr.

Danielle Dawn Warren

Olga Janette Zuniga


Honored by the USAO Faculty Association with Outstanding Graduate Awards were:

  • Chad Michael Eggar for the Division of Arts and Humanities.
  • Jesika Nicolle Forgue for the Division of Science and Physical Education.
  • Rebecca Leigh Hilburn for the Division of Social Sciences and Business.
  • Brenda Brooklyn Johnson for the Division of Education and Speech Language Pathology.


Distinguished Graduate Award

Chris Collins, president of the USAO Alumni Association, presented this fall’s Distinguished Graduate Award to Chad Eggar.

Eggar, a native of Edmond, graduated Magna Cum Laude with Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in oil painting. He plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts with the intention of working in higher education as a professor of painting.

“Chad has proven himself to be an exemplary student beyond just his chosen major,” said Jacquelyn Knapp, professor of art. “His commitment to bettering the college experience for every USAO student can be seen in service he has done here, including serving as an officer in numerous student organizations, organizing study workshops, and in his role as a peer academic mentor.”

“I knew that USAO’s art department was the best in the state,” said Eggar. “I only toured the university one time, but I knew almost immediately after stepping foot on campus that I wanted to go here—it felt like home. The education I received here has provided me with a surplus of practical knowledge while leading me on a path of self-discovery.”

In his time at USAO, Eggar has served on the Festival of Arts and Ideas committee, as the president of Hypatia Honor Society, president of the Art Club, founder and president of the Cooking Club, both historian and secretary of the PRISM Equality Club, among others. He is a recipient of the prestigious President’s Leadership Council Scholarship as well as the Mark Walter Howery Memorial Scholarship. Eggar was also named this term’s Outstanding Graduate in the Division of Arts and Humanities.

In his role as a peer academic mentor in USAO’s Student Success Center, Eggar tutored students, met with underclassmen to aid in the teaching of a liberal arts seminar, and organized study workshops designed to engage and prepare students for upcoming exams.

Since 1981, the USAO Alumni Association has honored a very select group of graduates with the prestigious Distinguished Graduate Award. A committee of alumni and faculty determine the award recipients at the end of each fall and spring semester.