Twenty-seven business and higher education partnerships throughout the state were recently recognized as innovative collaborations that further the education of Oklahoma’s workforce.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award is designed to highlight successful partnerships between higher education institutions and businesses and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants.
Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses; internships that enable current students to work at the partnering businesses; faculty externships with the partnering businesses; and/or enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.
“Our colleges and universities are working side by side with leaders in the private, public and nonprofit sectors,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “These collaborations between business and industry and our state system institutions ensure that we continue building the skilled workforce needed for Oklahoma to be globally competitive.”
The partnerships recognized for 2018 are:
Cameron University and Affinitee Graphics
The partnership between Cameron University and Affinitee Graphics began when company owners Matt and Katrina Thompson first opened their business out of their home in Apache, Okla., in 2013. Affinitee Graphics is the major producer of T-shirts and apparel for departments and student organizations across CU’s campus. In 2017, the company donated wall wraps for the alumni relations office and athletics department and donated a gift bundle for a door prize in support of the CU Alumni Association Teacher Appreciation Dinner. Recently, Matt was a guest speaker for CU’s Succeed Workshop Series and spoke about what employers expect when conducting an interview with candidates. The Thompsons, both CU graduates, routinely employ CU graduates and work to ensure others may accomplish their dreams. Katrina is a graduate of CU’s graphic design program, while Matt, who manages the business side, has a communications background. In 2017, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognized the Thompsons by honoring them with Oklahoma’s Small Business Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Carl Albert State College and The Community State Bank
The Community State Bank (TCSB) is a long-standing supporter of Carl Albert State College and is dedicated to its success. TCSB has helped with CASC’s residential housing expansions, donated to the CASC Foundation, participated in the Adopt-A-Scholar Program and the Gold Dust Gala, plus assisted with campus events, including Harvest Carnival, Vike Hike, and Senior Day. TCSB’s chairman of the board of directors, Bob Reed, and his wife, Deanna, are two of CASC’s greatest benefactors and supporters. Deanna serves as a TCSB board member, Larry Spradley is president and CEO of TCSB and vice chair of the TCSB board, and the Reed children, Robert Reed and Robin Marquez, are TCSB advisory board members. Spradley has been a CASC Development Foundation trustee since 1990. Deanna has served as a CASC regent since 1999 and serves as a regent representative on the CASC Development Foundation. The Deanna J. Reed Science and Math Building was completed and dedicated at CASC in 2012, and Deanna was inducted into the CASC Hall of Fame in 2014. The Reeds’ support of CASC is a family tradition. Bob’s mother, Jeanne Reed, served as the CASC Foundation secretary and was inducted into the CASC Hall of Fame in 1993. CASC president Jay Falkner stated, “We are who we are because of the Reed family and TCSB. We are eternally grateful to the Reed family and their unwavering support of CASC.”
Connors State College and Saint Francis Health System
In April 2017, existing hospitals and affiliated clinics in Muskogee became a part of the Saint Francis Health System. Early in the transition, Anthony Young, administrator of the newly named Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee, expressed an interest to Dr. Ron Ramming, Connors State College president, in a joint effort to expand the number of registered nurses in the Muskogee area and positively impact the state’s acute nursing shortage. A $500,000 commitment was made over five years by Saint Francis for the addition of two new faculty and student scholarships in the CSC nursing program. Scholarship recipients will have a work requirement at Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee post-graduation, which is designed to keep nursing graduates in the local community. The expansion of faculty will allow for additional students to be admitted into the nursing program, which in turn promises to lead to an increase in highly qualified graduates. Saint Francis Health Systems, led by President and CEO Jake Henry Jr., has a long history of providing support to local and regional educational institutions. In addition to the grant, Saint Francis Muskogee also serves as a site for clinical training for CSC nursing students.
East Central University and Oklahoma Heritage Bank
The beneficial partnership between East Central University and Oklahoma Heritage Bank has led to cultural enrichment opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members. Dr. R. Darryl Fisher, a distinguished alumnus of ECU, is chairman of the board of directors of OHB. Fisher established a lectureship at ECU that provides an opportunity for high school seniors and college freshmen to present their poetry and prose at the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival. Most recently, the bank provided the opportunity for the campus and community to hear and see two priceless, museum-quality violins from Cremona, Italy – the Lenora Jackson Stradivarius (1714) and the Sloan Guarnerius del Gesu (1742). Fisher arranged for Dr. William Sloan and Professor Judy Sloan of Los Angeles to present a multifaceted program at ECU to demonstrate the enduring superiority of these priceless violins. OHB also supports ECU students through internships and employment, and many of the bank’s employees are ECU alumni.
Eastern Oklahoma State College and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers
Eastern Oklahoma State College and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers (OKSBDC) have developed a unique partnership with local entities in an effort to help Oklahomans start and grow businesses. The Four County Small Business Consortium is made up of private and public partners in Latimer, Haskell, Pittsburg and Le Flore counties. The partners provide the funding to support the salary of a dedicated OKSBD business advisor for small businesses in the area. EOSC coordinates the consortium and provides an office for the business adviser on campus. The partnership with OKSBDC is unique to Oklahoma because it utilizes private dollars to support the group’s economic development efforts. Organizations in the consortium include EOSC, the city of Stigler, Stigler Chamber of Commerce, Stigler Community Development Authority, Stigler Industrial Authority, the city of Wilburton, Kiamichi Electric Cooperative Inc., Public Service Company of Oklahoma and Kiamichi Technology Centers. Advisers work directly with entrepreneurs and business owners, at no cost, to help start or expand their businesses. Services include financial analysis, capital sources, industry research, international trade, market research, digital marketing and social media, management support, emergency preparedness, business survival planning, economic impact analysis, economic gardening, and geographic information systems.
Langston University and ImageNet Consulting
ImageNet Consulting has been a staunch supporter of Langston University and the LU Foundation for 10 years. The company is greatly diversified in its support of the university and the foundation through its financial contributions to scholarships, women’s initiatives, career services and athletics. It has served as the presenting sponsor of the President’s Scholarship Gala and annually donates items in support of the silent auction. ImageNet Consulting contributes to several funds that provide annual scholarships to students attending LU. It participates in the university’s career fairs and has offered employment opportunities to LU students. The company has also supported LU athletics and the foundation’s Women in Leadership annual luncheon. This luncheon raises funds to support the Young Women’s Empowerment Institute, a mentoring program for first-time, full-time freshman women that helps them succeed both personally and professionally. ImageNet Consulting maintains a print shop on campus throughout the year. By supporting these initiatives, ImageNet Consulting helps LU prepare the next-generation workforce who will lead our communities in economic prosperity.
Murray State College and the Family Health Center of Southern Oklahoma Inc.
The Family Health Center of Southern Oklahoma Inc. (FHCSO) has partnered with Murray State College since 2004. FHCSO provides low-income, underinsured and uninsured target populations with access to medical, dental and behavioral health services. FHCSO operates through clinic locations in Tishomingo, Coalgate and Atoka. The new FHCSO facility in Tishomingo was made possible in part with the help of MSC. The college provided land for a facility, and FHCSO provides students with primary health care, laboratory, X-ray and in-house pharmacy services at highly discounted rates. FHCSO is also involved in several community coalitions, such as the Diabetic Coalition, alongside MSC, which hosts an annual diabetes conference on campus. FHCSO sponsors college athletic programs, offers vaccinations required for occupational training, participates in job fairs and supports MSC’s annual Rock-the-Block party to welcome new students into the community. FHCSO has employed many MSC students and graduates over the years, and this healthy partnership improves the quality of life for members of both the campus community and residents throughout southern Oklahoma.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and Grand River Dam Authority
What began as a conversation between Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College agriculture faculty and Grand River Dam Authority staff in 2013 has grown into a successful private-public partnership, which aims to increase educational and research opportunities for students, revitalize livestock-grazing and pecan-producing properties in the Neosho River Bottom, and create a revenue stream for NEO’s renowned agriculture department. Through the partnership, GRDA has leased nearly 3,000 acres in Ottawa County to NEO. Five subleases have been established to maximize profitability of production agriculture in the area and more efficiently utilize available natural resources. As the sublessor, NEO retains the right to a varying percentage of the profits generated by production activities. Annual revenue from the project is projected to increase from less than $1,000 in 2016 to more than $50,000 in 2018. The NEO agriculture department has aligned existing agricultural curriculum with newfound opportunities for outdoor learning. It has also initiated an undergraduate research project that centers on wheat production, evaluated water quality and watershed management at GRDA’s Ecosystems and Education Center, explored pecan production and processing, and evaluated natural stands of timber.
Northeastern State University and Grand River Dam Authority
Northeastern State University’s Gregg Wadley College of Science and Health Professions has partnered with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to provide opportunities for faculty and students to do significant research related to the Illinois River while helping improve local water quality. The partnership helps fund student scholarships and provides for in-class projects and independent research. Research topics include water quality, animal movement and bacteria comparisons. A research laboratory on the Tahlequah campus is designated for projects supported by the partnership and will be used by NSU students, faculty and GRDA technicians. The long-term data collected from research projects will offer water quality predictability. GRDA was created in 1935 to be a conservation and reclamation agent for the waters of the Grand River. Its merger with the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission in July 2016 also gives the agency responsibility for the Illinois River watershed. Caring for these water resources in northeast Oklahoma is a key objective of GRDA’s overall mission as a state agency. Locating the GRDA-NSU scenic rivers and watershed research laboratory at NSU facilitates interaction among students, scientists and water resource professionals. GRDA funds, equipment and other resources ensure students and faculty are successful in their research endeavors, generating invaluable data.
Northern Oklahoma College and Diemer Construction Company LLC
For more than 10 years, Northern Oklahoma College and Diemer Construction Company LLC have enjoyed a partnership centered on higher education and economic development. Since 2008, the company has provided endowed student scholarship support totaling more than $65,000 in contributions to the NOC Foundation. In 2017, the Carol Diemer Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to provide female students majoring in business or agriculture, business scholarship assistance at NOC Tonkawa. Bob Diemer and the late Carol Diemer founded their business on the principles of honesty, integrity and dedication to the local community. Diemer Construction, with more than 40 employees, continues to serve area businesses and citizens by providing quality dirt work, transportation and farming services. Not only has Diemer Construction provided significant economic growth to the Tonkawa area through the formation and expansion of the family’s businesses over the years, but the company also quietly donates time and money to many local organizations. The family is focused on building a legacy of local giving that benefits the infrastructure, education and services for all area citizens through its Diemer Family Foundation.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University and AllianceHealth Woodward and AllianceHealth Ponca City
Northwestern Oklahoma State University is proud of its business partnerships with two of northern Oklahoma’s premier health care facilities, AllianceHealth Woodward and AllianceHealth Ponca City. AllianceHealth’s statewide network of eight hospitals offers Oklahoma access to shared clinical expertise, coordination of care and additional improved access to specialty care locally. AllianceHealth Woodward and AllianceHealth Ponca City have long supported NWOSU’s division of nursing. They provide funding that allows for NWOSU to place full-time nursing faculty at its branch campus in Woodward and at the University Center of Ponca City. In addition to supporting faculty positions, both entities provide clinical opportunities for the nursing students. The health care facilities give valuable expertise to the division’s mission by providing representatives to serve on advisory boards. This continuing partnership between NWOSU and the AllianceHeath facilities in Woodward and Ponca City is improving health care in northern and northwestern Oklahoma through expanded opportunities to educate and prepare qualified nurses to serve the medical needs of its residents.
Oklahoma City Community College and American Honda Motor Company
American Honda Motor Company and Oklahoma City Community College have partnered together to train Honda/Acura technicians. In 2017, OCCC launched its inaugural Honda Professional Automotive Career Training (PACT) class with 12 students. As the existing workforce continues to age, there is a growing skills gap for automotive technicians who can service today’s technology-laden automobiles. The PACT program serves as a pipeline to ensure dealerships have access to an educated talent pool. The Honda PACT program is a two-year degree that will train and certify technicians to work on Honda/Acura vehicles in dealerships across Oklahoma. In addition to studying the rigorous academic curriculum, students are employed at various dealerships throughout their plan of study. On-the-job training works in conjunction with the academic degree path to help students apply what they are learning in the classroom and acclimate students to the dynamic and fast-paced demands of a dealership. With the tremendous amount of support from local Honda/Acura dealers and American Honda Motor Co., OCCC will produce quality technicians with the skills to troubleshoot and repair the technologically advanced Honda/Acura automobiles of today and tomorrow.
Oklahoma Panhandle State University and Anchor D Bank
A historic partner with Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Anchor D Bank, formerly The First National Bank of Texhoma, was established Feb. 22, 1906. OPSU’s Aggie Athletics will soon see facility upgrades at both the football stadium and the basketball arena thanks to the largest single gift in Aggie Athletic history, courtesy of Anchor D Bank. Anchor D is a closely held, family-owned bank with quality service as the focus of the organization. The name reflects an area ranch founded in 1878 with headquarters in Texhoma, Goodwell and Guymon matching the modern locations of the bank offices. The partnership will allow OPSU to modernize the football stadium, creating a multi-use athletic facility for both football and soccer, which opens the door to add a soccer program at OPSU. It also allows for the facility to be shared with Goodwell High School, offering students at all levels the opportunity to play in a modern facility. Both the stadium and the arena are expected to see scoreboard upgrades. “The Freeman family has been a blessing to this university for many years, and we are honored to put their name on the stadium and arena,” said OPSU president Dr. Tim Faltyn.
Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) and 1907 Meat Co.
Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC) strives to help develop successful value-added enterprises as a part of its mission to Oklahoma’s value-added agricultural products and processing industry. One successful FAPC program that assists entrepreneurs taking business concepts to reality is Basic Training: A Guide to Starting Your Own Food Business. Representatives from 1907 Meat Co. attended Basic Training in June 2015. In October 2016, the startup company opened a butcher shop and deli in downtown Stillwater, employing 16 people. They feature artisan cuts of meat and other foods sourced from Oklahoma farms and ranches. Prior to the shop’s opening, FAPC assisted 1907 Meat Co. with harvesting and processing of locally sourced livestock under the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection to meet the demands of a major wholesale account they had achieved in their company’s infancy. FAPC also has provided space and equipment in its pilot plant to facilitate the company’s future processing and staff training needs. Additionally, FAPC has provided assistance of the company’s application for a grant of inspection from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, permitting them to market products processed at the new facility through major wholesale accounts. This award will help offset equipment maintenance and repair costs.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and OG&E
Over the past several years, OG&E has provided tremendous support to a number and variety of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology programs and initiatives. Such activities include Career Encounters, which provides high school seniors, CareerTech students and adult learners with hands-on opportunities to learn about OSUIT and its academic programs and workforce sectors, and Senior Day, which introduces more than 1,200 students each year to possible career opportunities. OG&E has provided funding for An Afternoon With Pete, a financial literacy course and scholarship workshop. The utility also funded Women in Technology, an event geared toward promoting careers in science, technology, engineering and math to ninth- through 12th-grade girls. OG&E has assisted with the recruitment of minority students and in promoting college access through scholarships. OG&E has also supported OSUIT through numerous in-kind donations to include trucks and transformers for the institution’s construction technologies and high-voltage lineman programs. A number of OG&E employees serve on OSUIT advisory committees, and the company hires OSUIT graduates each year.
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City and JPMorgan Chase Foundation
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City has enjoyed a relationship with JPMorgan Chase Foundation for several years, through support for equipment and the creation of the JPMorgan Chase Foundation Scholarship Program. Focused on science, technology, engineering and math education and helping working adult learners advance their careers through degree completion, this program has assisted talented individuals with limited resources to complete a certificate or associate degree in electronic engineering technology (EET). The scholarship removed a financial barrier for these students, which, in turn, has strengthened their commitment to their education and career advancement. Since all 34 credit hours required for the EET certificate are embedded within the 61 credit hour Associate in Applied Science degree, many of these students are pursuing the certificate and degree simultaneously. The students receiving the scholarship are employed by several organizations, including Tinker Air Force Base, OGE Energy Corp., the Federal Aviation Administration, Tri-State Industrial Group and Sterling Electric Inc.
Redlands Community College and God’s Helping Hands Mission
God’s Helping Hands Mission, located near the Canadian County Jail, was founded in 2000 by Delores and Tomas Alvarado. Its mission is to provide assistance to recently released inmates and to others in need in the low-income area of El Reno. Redlands Community College’s Dr. Louise Rickman and her students served as the initial contributors to the mission 17 years ago and continued to collect food and clothing donations for several years. Currently, the RCC nursing department is active in gathering donations for the mission, and in early 2017, they began providing much-needed health assessments and care. Students visit the mission twice a month to conduct health assessments and to educate the clients on basic health care. This community partnership supports RCC’s service-learning initiative by allowing students to serve an organization that relies heavily on volunteers. This provides nursing students hands-on experience working with at-risk individuals. The knowledge nursing students gain also enhances their education and understanding of the theories they learn in the classroom. This mutually beneficial partnership provides manpower and resources needed by the mission and allows RCC students to become invested in serving their community and, specifically, an underserved population.
Rogers State University and She Brews Coffee House
Rogers State University is honored to partner with She Brews Coffee House. She Brews is a local restaurant that employs women with troubled pasts, including incarceration, to help them re-enter society. RSU has created opportunities for successful program participants to enroll in college as part of their ongoing transition to become productive community members. She Brews serves as the job training program for a local nonprofit (His House Outreach Ministries) focused on reducing recidivism and assisting at-risk women to become skilled employees in the regional workforce. The organization also helps women gain successful employment, obtain drivers licenses, practice healthy lifestyles and reunite with their children. RSU works with She Brews to connect women with college programs, scholarships and other support that provides life-changing educational access. Five women from the program have attended RSU, including a student who earned her associate degree in community counseling and is working toward her bachelor’s degree while employed by the Grand Lake Mental Health Center. RSU faculty, staff and students regularly volunteer with She Brews. The RSU partnership provides program assistance, mentorship, operational support and more.
Rose State College and Moog
The noteworthy partnership between Rose State College and Moog is driven by a common passion to foster and promote higher education and unrivaled service to the aerospace and aviation community. Moog’s founder invented what became the enabling technology for Fly-by-Wire flight control systems used in today’s modern aircraft. Moog has been a noteworthy supporter and champion of a number of RSC initiatives. One example of its dedication is the development and delivery of the Rose State Additive Manufacturing Educational Program. This is a three-module experiential learning opportunity designed for select personnel at the Air Force Sustainment Center headquartered at Tinker Air Force Base. Moog also donated an industrial 3D metal printer to RSC. This exciting collaboration provides both institutions with strategic statewide educational and entrepreneurial leverage into the additive manufacturing market. This partnership clearly accelerates STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) engagement, stimulates economic growth, and plants the seeds of additive manufacturing that will drive Oklahoma into the new industrial revolution.
Seminole State College and Seminole Public Schools
Seminole State College and Seminole Public Schools have worked cooperatively for decades, and this partnership has helped improve the economic climate of Seminole. In July 2015, the Seminole Public School superintendent contacted SSC in search of a temporary new home for the high school after it was forced to vacate its old building. The SSC Educational Foundation offered to lease the school its vacant Dan Boren Business Development Center. Working together, the college, city and public school remodeled the 25,000-square-foot building. In three short weeks, the entire facility was updated to include 24 classrooms, faculty offices and a lounge area. Additionally, the parking lots were refurbished, exterior lighting was updated, and computer access was enhanced. The building exterior was also repainted in the school colors of green and white. Later, science labs were added to the rear of the building, as well as walkways to connect the labs to the main building. Through cooperative efforts, SSC has worked with Seminole schools to better serve students. SSC facilities have been open to hosting band concerts, prom events, academic banquets, testing events, athletic competitions and graduation ceremonies. Also, through cooperative efforts, hundreds of high school students are able to get a head start on their college careers by taking concurrent classes at SSC.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University and BrucePac
BrucePac, a newcomer to Durant, has already made it a point to partner with Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s communication and athletic departments. BrucePac produces and supplies cooked meat products. It is headquartered in Woodburn, Ore., but has a production facility in Durant. Although the company has been in Durant for only a couple of years, it has been very supportive of the community and the university. In 2017, BrucePac’s Durant location donated a refrigerated truck to Southeastern to use at various events throughout the year, such as homecoming and the Presidential Golf Classic. The vehicle was also used by the athletic department to store ice for post-practice therapy for student athletes. In addition to donating the truck, BrucePac has added the university and Southeastern athletics logos to its vehicle. BrucePac is working with the communications department at Southeastern to develop a student internship program that will assist with developing training videos for the company’s human resources department.
Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Pioneer Cellular
Pioneer Cellular has been a long-standing community supporter to Southwestern Oklahoma State University through local blood drives, food drives and school programs. Since 1991, Pioneer has awarded more than $916,927 in scholarships to students in its service area. Pioneer sponsors President’s Leadership classes at SWOSU and other universities. This fall, Pioneer invested in a new retail location in historic Towne Centre on Route 66 in downtown Weatherford. Recently, employees of Pioneer donated 1,190 pounds of food to the Weatherford Food and Resource Center. In keeping with Pioneer’s message, “We Are Oklahoma,” employees donated nonperishable food items to the Weatherford Food and Resource Center at the company’s annual employee meeting. In 2014, Pioneer partnered with SWOSU and the city of Weatherford, to construct the new state-of-the-art Pioneer Cellular Event Center. The 93,000-square-foot facility hosts concerts, banquets, conferences, meetings, athletic tournaments, athletic camps and other events. These events brought an estimated 84,180 fans to Weatherford, which meant nearly $8.5 million in business from 2014 through 2016. This impact is an example of how public/private partnerships shape the economic strength and future of our communities. Events at venues like the Pioneer Cellular Event Center not only promote SWOSU’s interests but also enrich the community and the state.
Tulsa Community College and Arvest Bank
In 2016, Arvest Bank President and CEO Kirk Hays and Tulsa Community College began working together to increase student success and employee retention. Nationally, one-third of all new hires in the banking industry quit their jobs after six months, and 78 percent of business leaders rank employee retention as an important or urgent issue. In this unique partnership, TCC and Arvest have built a model named 20/20 to encourage entry-level bank employees to attend college, finish college and move into higher-level positions within Arvest. The program leverages TCC’s participation as part of the national Guided Pathways initiative to give Arvest employees a side-by-side view of both their degree path with TCC and their career path with Arvest. The program encourages new employees to take at least 20 credit hours with TCC each year using a combination of Arvest-funded tuition benefits and financial aid while working a minimum of 20 hours per week for Arvest. The pilot stage for this program lasted six months. Since then, Arvest has implemented the program throughout the Tulsa area for all new entry-level employees who desire to pursue a business-oriented degree. The long-term goal is to introduce this program to Arvest employees in Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri, the other states in which the bank operates.
University of Central Oklahoma and Paycom
Paycom has been a signal Oklahoma success story from the time of its founding in 1998 by University of Central Oklahoma alumnus Chad Richison. Over the last two decades, Paycom has developed into one of the nation’s premier payroll application and comprehensive human capital, technology-based service companies. Over the years, Paycom has shared its expertise with UCO in a number of ways. From professionals serving on advisory boards to academic programs, frequent guest lecturers, numerous internship opportunities and more than 330 alumni employed at Paycom, it remains an integral part of UCO student success. Richison has shared his entrepreneurial experiences as a guest lecturer to UCO’s best and brightest students who participate in the President’s Leadership Class. Richison and Paycom have engaged in extraordinary philanthropy to donate more than $14 million to UCO in support of academic and athletic programs. Paycom has also offered insight for students and faculty in the areas of accounting, customer service, information technology and leadership and has assisted the university in other ways too numerous to count.
University of Oklahoma and Envoy
Envoy, a subsidiary airline of American Airlines, is the world’s largest regional air carrier system. This company has partnered with the University of Oklahoma to offer a professional pipeline program. Under this agreement, outstanding aviation students at OU are selected as cadets on a direct path to careers as commercial airline pilots with American Airlines. The program offers financial support and tuition reimbursement. In the past two years, six OU students have been hired by Envoy through this program, and 26 more students are currently in the pipeline. In addition, Envoy is involved in OU’s aviation outreach program, including the K-12 STEM program Sooner Flight Academy. Envoy pilots routinely interact with summer camp participants to discuss aviation and careers in the industry. Envoy sends a commercial jetliner to OU’s Westheimer Airport for an open house at the beginning of each school year, and Envoy pilots interact with OU aviation students and the community at large. Envoy and American Airlines have two OU alumni who sit on the aviation department’s Industry Advisory Board. OU is grateful for this partnership and appreciates Envoy’s efforts to help the aviation department and the students it serves.
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and the Chickasha Community Foundation
The Chickasha Community Foundation (CCF) continues to invest in the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, making meaningful contributions to students while enhancing the quality of the Chickasha community. In 2017, the partnership expanded when CCF awarded the USAO Foundation a $40,000 grant to help enhance and maintain the university’s indoor pool. USAO’s indoor pool has benefitted students and the community since the university’s days as the Oklahoma College for Women. Serving as a vital part of Drover athletics, the Chickasha High School swim team and YMCA classes, the pool remains as important to the community as it was in its early years. The grant will cover operational costs of the pool for the next year and will allow USAO to replace necessary mechanical components to keep the pool functioning properly while extending its operational hours to allow greater convenience and accessibility for the community. USAO is currently working on a partnership with the community YMCA and the city of Chickasha that will provide long-term funding for the pool. CCF was born in 2011 from the generosity of the late Doris Wilk, who had arranged a gift from her estate to establish the foundation, and today, that gift has grown to more than $2.6 million.
Western Oklahoma State\
College and Holder Land and Cattle LLCWestern Oklahoma State College has a long-standing partnership with Holder Land and Cattle LLC. Holder Land and Cattle is a commercial and registered Angus cattle operation, headquartered near Olustee, Okla., with an additional operation in Socorro County, N.M. The commercial operation is a cow/calf, backgrounding and feeding operation. This consists of an embryo and artificial insemination program. Registered bulls that are produced are used in the commercial operation as well as marketed to the public. For the past several years, the company has exhibited, displayed and sold registered cattle in the National Western Livestock Show in Denver, Colo., as well as many other national Angus shows. This partnership has allowed WOSC to increase the degree options in agriculture. WOSC has added agriculture science, agriculture business, pre-veterinary animal science, and a certificate in farm and ranch management to its Associate in Science degree options. Through this partnership, WOSC’s agriculture department offers additional lab opportunities providing students with a rich experience in animal science procedures. The partnership has resulted in large cost savings to WOSC and further prepared graduates for careers in agriculture.