february 12, 2003

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SSC Holds Official Opening of Marie Austin Drive

Marie Austin
Oklahoma Senator Harry Coates visits with Jimmie and Marie Austin after a luncheon recognizing Marie Austin and the opening of “Marie Austin Drive” on the Seminole State College campus.

Governor Frank Keating, government officials and community members gathered in the Seminole State College Enoch Kelly Haney Center recently for a luncheon recognizing Marie Austin and the opening of “Marie Austin Drive” on the SSC campus.

Seminole State College President Dr. James W. Utterback addressed the crowd about Jimmie and Marie Austin’s contribution to the college.

“The Austins’ legacy of benevolence in this community is unparalleled. They have provided assistance not only to the college, but also to churches, clubs, the chamber, the city and to untold individuals who were in need. We salute and thank them for their love of Seminole and Seminole State College.”

This past year, Mr. Austin worked with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to secure $115,000 to build the road to increase safety on the campus. The new road begins north of the David L. Boren Library parking lot and run southwest to join the main campus with the Roesler Residential Learning Center and the Enoch Kelly Haney Center.

“Prior to the construction of Marie Austin Drive, SSC students and campus visitors would have to access two major highways to get to the west side of campus,” Utterback said. “Thanks to the Austins’ dedication to the college, the drive will not only enhance the appearance of the college and allow for future growth, but it will also help alleviate major safety concerns on campus.”

During his speech, Gov. Keating echoed Utterback’s remarks.

“I have known the Austins for a long time,” he said. “They have always given generously of their time and support. It is because of people like them that we are able to accomplish so much, not only in the city of Seminole, but also across the state.”

Over the years, the Austins have supported the college and the SSC Educational Foundation by being a sponsor of the annual alumni recognition banquet, providing financial support for fundraisers and activities and establishing a full-tuition, books and fees scholarship for a SSC student whose family members work in the Seminole area oil industry.

In addition, Marie Austin has served as a trustee for Oklahoma Baptist University, where she received an honorary degree. Last spring, Seminole State College honored the Austins as inaugural recipients of the “Founder’s Award,” for their continued benevolence to SSC.

Among those attending the luncheon from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) were Director Gary Ridley, Chief Engineer Bruce Taylor, Division III Chief Engineer Paul Rachel, Division III Transportation Specialist III Marvin Patterson and Secretary of Transportation Special Counsel Mitch Surrett. Members of the community present included board members and advisory board members of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce.

Also in attendance were members of the SSC Educational Foundation Executive Committee, Administrative Council, Academic Division Chairs and the presidents of the SSC Faculty Senate, Professional Staff Association, Classified Staff Association and Student Government Association.

Story Contact: Lana Reynolds, 405.382.9218