Choctaw Nation Endows OSU Scholarships Through $350,000 Branding Success Gift
Pictured with President Hargis, from left to right are, Joy Culbreath, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma executive director of education; scholarship recipient Chelsea Porter, business junior; Shauna Williams, Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program’s donor and scholarship specialist; Gregory E. Pyle, chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; Jo McDaniel, Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program director; scholarship recipient Morgan Two Crow, pre-law junior; and scholarship recipient Brittany Snapp, graduate student. The Choctaw Nation recently made a donation, the largest from a Native American tribe in university history.
Branding Success: The Campaign for Oklahoma State University has attracted record support to the university, including establishing more than 850 new scholarships. Now the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Scholarship Advisement Program (SAP) is partnering with OSU to provide even more opportunities for students.
The Choctaw Nation SAP recently donated $350,000 to endow scholarships and graduate fellowships at Oklahoma State University. After a boost from the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match, the gift will have a total impact of $1.05 million in endowed funds, allowing more students to afford a quality education. The first SAP scholarships will be awarded this fall.
“OSU is proud to be a national leader in Native American graduates,” said Burns Hargis, president of OSU. “Thanks to this generous gift from the Choctaw Nation, we will now be able to do even more to help today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.”
Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory Pyle says the partnership with OSU and the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match has given the Choctaw Nation an opportunity to provide more higher-education opportunities. Pyle says the endowment will offer current and future scholars a chance to follow their dreams.
In addition to higher education, the Choctaw Nation supports local charities, churches, nonprofit organizations and public-safety agencies. The Choctaw Nation SAP works with high-school and college students to provide college preparation and retention services.
“The Choctaw Nation has always been a very giving tribe,” says Shauna Williams, Choctaw Nation SAP scholarship development specialist. “We have so many students attending OSU that we wanted to do more.”
SAP’s gift is split into the Anne Jones Slocum Main Scholarship and the Choctaw Nation Business and Leadership Fellowship. The undergraduate scholarship honors Main, a Choctaw Nation member and OSU alumna. The business and leadership fellowship will provide continuing aid to graduate students.
“There is a lot of money for freshmen to get them to the school, but as the students get older, they face more challenges,” Williams says. “We wanted to provide them with additional support in their later college years.”
The gift presents a chance for students to further their education, fulfilling the university’s mission as a land-grant institution and adding to the Branding Success campaign.
“The gift from the Choctaw Nation provides great opportunities,” says Jason Kirksey, OSU’s associate vice president for institutional diversity. “As the leading institution in the country for Native American graduates, OSU is dedicated to supporting anyone who dreams of achieving a degree.”
The Choctaw Nation and OSU have an established relationship through services for Native American students, including the Native American Student Association, which works to promote Native American heritage through events; Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, the nation’s first historically American Indian sorority; and Ketchum House, which is used to promote Native American culture among all students.
“There are a lot of benefits to this gift, but among them, it brings cultural awareness and engages students,” Kirksey says. “The gift will further diversity on campus and help retain those students who possess skills and qualities to become leaders.”
SAP believes this gift will positively influence its next generation.“These students are the future leaders of our tribe,” Williams says.
Kirksey feels this gift strengthens the tie between the Choctaw Nation and OSU, and will create a lasting legacy for the tribe, the university and the students.
“This is all a part of our commitment to excellence and our ability to produce that level of excellence,” Kirksey says. “OSU is excited and honored to receive this gift that will benefit OSU students now and in the future.”