Distinguished Alumni

The College of Arts & Sciences recognizes alumni who bring distinction to Oklahoma State University through extraordinary achievements in their fields of discipline and have demonstrated records of distinguished service. Twenty-four individuals are chosen annually by representatives from each department of the College of Arts & Sciences to receive this prominent award.

Kimberly Hays

Kimberly K. Hays is an attorney in Tulsa, where she practices family law.  She attended Oklahoma State University, from 1986–1990, where she received her B.A. in Philosophy, in 1990. While attending OSU, Hays was an active member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, serving as Chapter President in 1989-1990. She received the 1990 Philosophy Department-Outstanding Senior …

Kay Oltmanns Headrick

Kay Oltmanns Headrick graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in speech pathology and continued her education at the University of Oklahoma, receiving her Master’s of Science in speech language pathology. During her career, Headrick served as a clinical coordinator at a brain injury hospital, developing cilinial programming for rehabilitation …

Alisa Ben

Alisa Ben received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at Oklahoma State University. Ben got her start selling records and working as a DJ for an alternative rock station. She discovered, developed and managed the All-American Rejects, securing their first record deal that catapulted them into global superstars. She continued her work at MTV and …

Jerry Burson, Ed.D.

Dr. Jerry Burson received his Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama, from Oklahoma A&M College and went on to obtain an Master’s of Science Degree in Secondary Education, with an Ed.D. in Higher Education (Educational Psychology) also from Oklahoma State University. In his professional career, he served as the Vice President of Northern Oklahoma …

Tony Cho, Ph.D.

Dr. Tony Cho graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree. The South Korean native continued his education at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of Washington where he earned his doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance. Dr. Cho was a member of the music staff …

Barrett Cieutat

Barrett Cieutat became a member of the Cowboy family as part of getting his Master’s of Science degree in Geology in 1992. Cieutat’s professional career began as a geologist for the United States Geological Survey before joining a global environmental consultancy, Environmental Resource Management, in 1993 where he has worked for almost 25 years. Cieutat’s …

Emily Drennan

Emily Drennan graduated with degrees in economics and Spanish along with four minors and Summa Cum Laude honors. Throughout her career, Drennan has landed spots with the New York Spectacular starring the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and toured Europe and the Caribbean playing Tanya in the production of “Mamma Mia!” She has also …

Otto Duecker

Otto Duecker was born in Milwaukee but raised in the Netherlands, Turkey and Germany before his family settled in Oklahoma. Duecker earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Oklahoma State University. He went on to teach for a decade while developing his unique approach to painting the human figure in precise detail. Duecker’s early …

Bhaskar Dutta

Bhaskar Dutta is widely known for his impressive academic contributions in various realms of particle physics theory, such as dark matter, collider physics and models. Dutta’s research focuses on the origin of dark matter (DM), establishing the DM connection of particle physics models in various experiments, origin of Matter-anti-Matter asymmetry, neutrino masses and grand unified …

Margaret Ewing, Ph.D.

Margaret S. Ewing graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio and continued her education at Oklahoma State University, receiving a Master’s of Science and a Ph.D. in Zoology. Dr. Ewing returned to Oklahoma State after several out-of-state moves to become an assistant professor of zoology. Dr. Ewing has published numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts, co-authored two books and …

Bill Fournet

Bill Fournet earned his master’s degree at Oklahoma State University carrying him into his successful career. Fournet is the president and CEO of The Persimmon Group, an award-winning management consulting firm. He founded the firm in 2004, hoping to solve complex problems for organizations of all sizes including analyzing workforce trends to help understand the …

Elizabeth Hood, Ph.D.

Dr. Elizabeth Hood graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1980 with a Master’s of Science in botany and continued her education at Washington University in St. Louis obtaining her Ph.D. in plant biology. Dr. Hood has studied plant biology for over 35 years, focusing on the production of enyzmes in bringing reality the ‘biomass to …

Brian McDowell, D.O.

Brian McDowell, D.O., graduated from OSU in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. The Kingfisher, Oklahoma, native served as an off campus student association representative to the Student Government Association and worked at Edmon Low Library during his time in Stillwater. McDowell attended medical school at OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and graduated …

Fred Regnier, Ph.D.

Fred Regnier obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Oklahoma State in 1966 under George Waller following post-doctoral training at the University of Chicago and Harvard. Dr. Regnier has been a professor of chemistry at Purdue for 45 years, becoming the J.H. Law Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in 2004. He has published more than 300 peer …

John Rice, Ph.D.

Dr. John Rice obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mathematics from Oklahoma State University. He received a PH.D. in Mathematics from Cal Tech and was a professor of Mathematics and Computer Sciences at Purdue University for 50 years. Dr. Rice is founder of the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software and is on several other …

Geoffrey Simpson

Geoffrey Thomas Simpson graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and his Masters of Business Administration. Simpson is the CEO and founder of Spiked Mace Software, SkaFlash and Moxie Software. His most successful product is Diner Connection, allowing hundreds and thousands of people to know when their table is …

Michael Sloniker

Lieutenant Colonel Mike Sloniker received his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State and obtained his master’s degree at Webster University. Sloniker served 23 years in the Army with two tours to Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with “V”/24 awards and the Presidential Unit Citation for his service. Following his military career, …

William Talley

Colonel William H. Talley was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program to active duty at Oklahoma A&M College in 1955. Lieutenant Talley completed undergraduate pilot training and was awarded his pilot wings at Webb Air Force Base in Texas. He completed advanced fighter training and reconnaissance school and was assigned to the 29th, 20th …

Jane Thomas

Jane Thomas earned her bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State in 1975 and began her career in Oklahoma City, teaching communication skills to newly blind adults. She then completed her master’s degree in social work and began her career at the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, where she remained for 38 years. In 1986, she began …

Neil Van Dalsem

Neil Van Dalsem graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1991, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English literature. He then graduated from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 1994. Since then, Van Dalsem has worked as an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is the President of his law firm, Taylor, Ryan, Minton & Van Dalsem, …

Vance Winningham

Vance Winningham graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order at Westminster College and OSU. He received his Juris Doctor degree from OU’s College of Law. Winningham served three years each in the Oklahoma National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. He …

SHARRON MILLER

Sharron Miller grew up in Perry, Oklahoma, where at the age of thirteen she decided to become a filmmaker. She began writing and directing short films as a teenager. After graduating from OSU with a degree in Theater in 1971 she moved to Los Angeles where she worked first a script supervisor and then as …

ROBERT EASTERLING, Ph.D.

Rob Easterling graduated from OSU with a Ph.D. in statistics in 1967 and joined the statistical group at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, N.M. He was at Sandia from 1967 until 2001 except for one semester as Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin (1974), a two-year assignment as Statistical Advisor with the Nuclear Regulatory …

JIM TROXEL

Jim was born and raised in Oklahoma City, and earned his B.S. in Sociology from OSU in 1968. While at OSU he served as President of the Sociology Students Association and led freshman orientation for A&S students. Following graduation Jim moved to Chicago and became a facilitation and training expert in the fields of citizen …

BARBARA BONNER, Ph.D.

Barbara L. Bonner, Ph.D., a Clinical Child Psychologist, is a Professor of Pediatrics and the CMRI/Jean Gumerson Endowed Chair in Clinical Psychology, Director of the Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (CCAN), and Associate Director of the Child Study Center (CSC) at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She graduated from OSU in 1984 …

ERIC EISSENSTAT

Eric S. Eissenstat is Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Risk Officer & Secretary of Continental Resources, Inc. Prior to joining Continental Resources, he served as a Director with Fellers, Snider, Blankenship, Bailey & Tippens in Oklahoma City. Mr. Eissenstat is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, is listed in Best Lawyers in …

CYNTHIA JORDY

Cynthia Wyman Jordy, a first-generation university graduate, is Environmental Manager of the Phillips 66 Sweeny, Texas Refinery. She earned a M.S. in Botany in 1988 under Dr. James K. McPherson and Dr. George R. Waller and a B.S. in Botany and Ecology in 1986.  Cindy and her colleagues are working successfully to continually and sustainably …

MICHAEL RYDIN

B.A. Philosophy ’74, B.S. Math ’75 Michael Rydin graduated from OSU in 1974 with a B.A. in Philosophy & again in 1975 with a B.S. in Math. Mike started his career as a software developer in Tulsa & then later in Houston. In 1981 he wrote the estimating software for a construction company where he …

LOWELL KYLE

A Pine Bluff, Arkansas native, Lowell received a B.S. degree in Language Arts from OSU in 1969. While a student at OSU, Lowell was a member of OSU’s Army ROTC program, the OSU Marching Band and a charter member of Zeta Theta chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. After graduating from OSU, Lowell served two …

JOHN WHITNEY, Ph.D.

John G. Whitney graduated from St. Mary’s High School in Ponca City, Okla. in 1957. He began his university studies at Northern Oklahoma College, where he obtained a Junior College Certificate in general science. He moved on to OSU, earning a B.S. in bacteriology and establishing a relationship with professor Ed Grula, who would be …

VICTORIA KNOLL

Victoria D. Knoll, M.D., was born to Dorothy (Gross) and Terry Knoll of Hays,  Kansas. She graduated with a B.S. in mathematics in 1993.  While attending OSU, activities and awards included Top Ten Freshman, Top Ten Senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, Phi Mu Epsilon, Who’s Who, Student Centennial Council, OSU Foundation telemarketer, …

LARRY SOLOMON

Larry Solomon graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1983 with a BS degree in Journalism-Public Relations. At OSU, he cut his teeth in journalism as editor of The Daily O’Collegian. His first job after leaving OSU was as public relations director for the Oklahoma Bankers Association. Today, Larry is senior vice president of corporate communications …

MICHAEL STEELMAN

Dr. G. Michael Steelman was raised in Haskell, Okla. He attended OSU from 1965-69, graduating with a B.S. in Zoology. After completing medical school at OU and post-graduate clinical training, he joined a general practice clinic in Holdenville, Okla. In 1979 he relocated to Oklahoma City and became interested in treatment of eating disorders and …

JON GLASS

Jon Glass is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cinco Oil & Gas, LLC, a privately held exploration and production company located in Dallas, Texas. The son of a farmer, Jon grew up with five brothers and sisters in Iowa, where he learned the value of perseverance and hard work. Paying his own way …

JERRY OVERTON, Ph.D.

Jerry Overton grew up on a ranch in southwest Oklahoma and graduated from Walters High School in 1965. He attended Cameron Junior College, Oklahoma State University (B.S. and M.S. in Geography) and the University of Oklahoma (Ph.D. in Geography) then again attended OSU to acquire a second M.S. in Geology with an emphasis in Hydrogeology. …

SANDRA HOFER

Sandra Hofer is the President & owner of Aero Instrument Service, an aircraft instruments & equipment company, in Tuggen, Switzerland. Aero Instrument Service is a recognized member of the Aircraft Electronics Association, & has been since 1992. Sandra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Language in 1976 from OSU.

MATTHEW SIVILS, Ph.D.

Matthew Wynn Sivils graduated from OSU with a M.A. in English in 2002 & a Ph.D. in English in 2006. He is a Professor & Associate Chair in the English department at Iowa State University where he teaches a variety of courses on American literature & the environmental humanities. In addition to authoring numerous scholarly …

VINIT VERMA

Vinit received a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Oklahoma State University ‘87, and a B.S. (Physics, Chemistry, Math) from the University of Delhi ‘84.  He has published research in the field of Temporal Databases, and 3D Printing applications.  Vinit has Silicon Valley consulting experience with HP, Sun Microsystems and networking & insurance …

LONNIE HUFF

Lon Huff, C.R.C., C.D.M.S., is the President and founder of LDH Consultants, Inc., a private rehabilitation company specializing in vocational issues for disabled individuals and is a sought-after expert in litigation issues. In 1984, Mr. Huff founded LDH Consultants, Inc., after serving as Director of Rehabilitation Services for the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court. He received …

ROBERT PURCELL

Dr. Robert H. Purcell is an outstanding scientist with a lifetime of achievement in the health field including positions as Chief of Chief, Hepatitis Viruses Section (retired), Laboratory of Infectious Diseases (LID), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Purcell is currently a “Special Volunteer” in the LID, …

STEPHANIE CLARK

Stephanie grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and always wanted to be an “artist.” Her dad wanted her to major in business but Graphic Design at OSU it was! Her career started as a graphic designer for a screen-printing operation in Norman. Shortly thereafter, she accepted a similar position at Harold’s, an upscale …

SHELDON DETRICK

Sheldon “Shel” Detrick graduated from OSU in 1959 with a B.S. in aerospace. He worked for his father-in-law at Hughes, Jones and Russel then formed the construction company Accent Homes of Tulsa, Inc.  Two years later, he became sales manager of Moskowitz Realtors in Tulsa and in 1969 started Detrick Realtors, which became the second-largest …

Lt. Col. William “Bill” Schwertfeger

Lt. Col. William R. Schwerfeger was commissioned as a second lieutenant from the OSU ROTC program in 1967. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in November 2013. Throughout his distinguished military career, he has served as an overseas fighter pilot, during which he became a prisoner of war for 407 days …

Carl Kerfoot

Carl Kerfoot graduated from OSU in 1949 with a bachelor’s in chemisty and a minor in mathematics. He came to Oklahoma A&M because it allowed him more freedom to conduct lab experiments with a variety of equpiment. AFter college, he served in the Army during the Korean War. Kerfoot was hired as one of the …

Sarah Hoyt

Sarah Hoyt graduated from OSU in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in theatre, speech and English. She retired in 2006 after 34 years of dedication to theatre education throughout the country. After graduating from OSU, she moved to Fort Collins, Colo., and taught speech, drama and English at Arvada High School while …

Leroy Folks

Leroy Folks enrolled at Oklahoma A&M after his service in the Korean War. At Oklahoma A&M he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics with an emphasis on statistics. Folks worked at Texas Instruments for several years until he returned to OSU as an associate professor with the mathematics department. He served as chair …

Terry Cline Ph.D.

Ardmore, Okla., native Terry Cline, Ph.D., earned both his master’s and doctorate in clincial psychology from OSU. He is completing his tenure as the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, which he began in June 2009. In February 2011, Gov. Mary Fallin appointed him to serve concurrently as the Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary of Health and Human Services. …

Julia Brown

Julia T. Brown, Esq., graduated from OSU in 1972 with a bachelor’s in political science. She is a licensed attorny through the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She has worked at all levels of government in Oklahoma, California and Washington D.C. as well as in corporate law. She served as an assistant district attorney …

Bahaeddin Jassemnejad, Ph.D.

Bahaedden “Baha” Jassemnejad graduated from OSU in 1986 with his doctorate in (solid state) physics. He is a Level VI electronics engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration through CNI Aviation. He worked for 27 years with the University of Central Oklahoma where he served as both professor and department chair. While at UCO, he helped …

John Kempf

John Frederick “Fred” Kempf Jr. graduated from OSU in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1976. He began practicing law in Oklahoma City in 1977, where he still practices today. He is director and shareholder with the law firm …

Barry Epperley

Dr. Barry Epperley received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education from OSU. He received his doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California – Los Angeles. He recently retired as the artistic director and conductor of the Signature Symphony and Chorale in Tulsa, a position he held for 35 years. He …

Alonzo Poindexter

Alonzo J. Poindexter graduated from OSU with an Army ROTC commission in January 1963. He was involved in the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, inducted into the Scabbard and Blade, and selected to enroll in private flight training his senior year. In 1983, he retired from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel and began an entrepreneurial …

Mary Jane Wooten

Mary Jane O’Connor Wooten graduated from OSU in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology. She attended M.D. Anderson School of Medical Technology, eventually becoming a certified specialist in blood banking. Wooten has worked at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., for more than 39 years. She has also worked for the American Red …

Alfred Litchenburg

Alfred Litchenburg received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from OSU. He is the vice-chairman of American Fidelity Corp. and president of the Life/Health Group. He is also chairman and CEO of American Public Life Insurance Company and American Fidelity International Ltd. (Bermuda). For the past 40 years, he has served in various capacities …

Steven Karr, Ph. D.

Steven Karr received his doctorate in western American history with an emphasis on Native American history from OSU in 2001. In May 2014, he was named President of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Before returning to Oklahoma, he was a founding director for the Briscoe Western Art Museum in San …

Mike Gaskins

Mike Gaskins graduated from OSU in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in geology. He is the West Africa Operations Manager for ExxonMobile in addition to being the vice president of several of its affiliates in Africa. With more than 30 years of industry experience, Gaskins has also been involved with ExxonMobil’s U.S. offshore and …

David Waits

David Waits graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Science in Economics (’86) and a Master of Science in Geography (’88). He later earned a doctorate in Land Management from Texas Tech University. He resides in Stillwater and serves as president of the OSU Research Foundation and is chairman of the board of SST Software, …

Randy Couture

Randy Couture is now as the “The Natural” in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) circles and a “jack-of-all-trades” as a writer, broadcaster and actor in the TV and film industries. Randy is also an OSU Cowboy, having graduated from OSU in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in German. As OSU, he is more well known as …

Jill Moore

Jill Dimond Moore graduated from OSU in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science in speech pathology. She received her master’s in speech pathology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Cetner and her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Since 2001, Moore has been working at Integris Southwest Medical Center …

Timothy Carver

Tim Carver graduated from OSU in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in computer science. He is a vice president and business resiliency consultant for Bank of Oklahoma’s Business Continuity Office. After spending 10 years in software development for the oil and gas industry, Carver made the move to Bank of Oklahoma where he supports …

Dilin Liu, Ph.D.

Dilin Liu received his Ph.D. in English from OSU in 1992. He is a professor and coordinator of the Applied Linguistics/TESOL program int he English department at the University of Alabama. Prior to Alabama, Liu served as professor and director of the TESOL program at Oklahoma City University. He has more than 50 publications, including …

Susan Barber

Susan Barber received her master’s degree in botany from OSU in 1975. She went on to receive her doctorate in botany from the University of Oklahoma. She is married to Dr. David Nagle, Professor Emeritus at OU. Barber worked for Oklahoma City University for 32 years, retiring from the provost position on July 1, 2015. …

Paul Corrigan

Paul Corrigan graduated from OSU with a Bachelor of Fine Art in graphic design in 1991. As the design director at the Barkley Advertising Agency in Kansas City, Mo., he works on behalf of the agency’s clients with a variety of teams to create more genuine brand interactions. While at OSU, Corrigan was chosen to …