Recent University of Oklahoma alumna Heather Hansen has been named a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar, the first OU student to win this prestigious and highly competitive award. Recipients demonstrated outstanding records of achievement in academics, service, leadership and community involvement.
The foundation selected 30 individuals from among 678 nominations nationwide to receive graduate scholarships of up to $50,000 per year for up to six years of study. Last year, awards for the first year of graduate study averaged $36,000.
Hansen, the daughter of Anita and Thomas Hansen of Springfield, Mo., graduated with distinction from OU in 2007 with a double major in international studies and psychology and a minor in Spanish. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in international affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York City.
Hansen’s career goal is to work with development and aid organizations on the design, implementation and evaluation processes pertaining to displaced persons and refugees. She is interested in a career with such organizations as the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps or the U.S. Agency for International Development. Next month, Hansen will complete two years in Jordan with the Peace Corps, where she teaches English as a foreign language and organizes several health initiatives.
– From University of Oklahoma public affairs
The Oklahoma City Thunder is having a competition for Thunder Teacher of the Year starting today. People can go to the Thunder’s Web site through April 8 to decide who should win the honor. Forty Oklahoma City teachers were selected throughout the season as American Fidelity Teachers of the Game and one of those people will be the Thunder Teacher of the Year.
The winner will be announced during the last home game of the season on April 10.
- Staff Writer Dawn Marks
As part of its continuing Centennial Celebration, Cameron University plans to present contemporary rock band Augustana and alternative rock band SafetySuit in concert on April 18 at Cameron Stadium. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.
Augustana is best known for the Billboard chart-topping album “All the Stars and Boulevards” and the hit single “Boston.” The group has toured with Maroon 5, OneRepublic, and Counting Crows. Their latest album, “Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt,” has spawned hit singles “Sweet and Low” and “I Still Ain’t Over You.”
The free concert is open to the public, but tickets are required. Free tickets are available on the Lawton campus at the Office of Community Relations, Room 150 in the Administration Building, Campus OneStop in the Shepler Center, the Student Activities Building, and at the main office of CU-Duncan. Tickets can be obtained off-campus in Lawton at Adventure Travel’s locations in Central Mall and at Fort Sill.
T.K. Bhattacharya of Cameron University is the first professor to be awarded the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching specifically for teaching at a regional university of community college. The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has scheduled its 23rd annual Academic Awards Banquet for May 16 in Norman.
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence presents Medals for Excellence annually to outstanding
Each honoree will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a glass “Roots and Wings” sculpture.
A former business executive, Dr. Bhattacharya decided at age 40 to quit his career as a marketing manager to begin teaching. Through his pioneering courses in Portfolio Management I and II, students manage real money bond and stock portfolios funded by a $1 million line of credit from BancFirst. Profits from the bond portfolio have been used to fund the stock portfolio and other Cameron projects such as endowed lectureships. The classes culminate in a formal presentation to senior executives of the bank, stockholders and university officials.
Several metro area charities received grants on behalf of Allstate agents who do volunteer work for them. The Allstate Foundation, gave $51,000 to Oklahoma organizations for volunteer work in 2008.
Many agents from the metro area earned $500 grants for their favorite organizations. The winners and their charities are Heath Anderson of Edmond for Greyhound Pets of America’s Central Oklahoma Chapter, Monica Baker of Edmond for Autism Speaks, Chris Dykstra of Oklahoma City for Smart Start Central Oklahoma, Pat Gillespie for Oklahoma Harness Horse Association, Micha Hughs of Midwest City for Junior Hospitality Club, Jon Luecke of Edmond for Habitat for Humanity, Susan Malloy of Bethany for Must Love Dogs Rescue, Tim Missaghi for Infant Crisis Services, Roxanne Morrissey of Newcastle for the Newcastle Police Department, Cathy Polony for Oklahoma People First, Ciani Portillo for Southern Hills Elementary School, Glenda Rogers for City Care, Bobby Thompson of Edmond for the Putnam City Athletic Association Optimist Club and Nancy Vann for Distributive Education Clubs of America at Moore High School. Also, Chris Taylor, an Allstate employee with Allstate Claims operations in Oklahoma City, won a grant for volunteer work with the American Heart Association’s South Central Affiliate.
Robin Hill School District’s parent-teacher association will host a grand opening for the school’s new playground 11 a.m. Feb. 23 at the school, 4801 E Franklin Road.
Parents and students have spent the last two years raising the more than $50,000 needed to purchase and install the new equipment. The old equipment was beyond repair, according to school officials.
Robin Hill School District is located between Moore and Norman. The school has about 200 students enrolled in prekindergarten through eighth grades.
The playground’s color theme is red, white, and blue. Students will release balloons in the same colors at the grand opening.
“We are very proud of our group’s accomplishment in reaching our goals for this playground project and want to share this joy with our community,” said Betty Chagaris, PTA president.
Oklahoma City School Board members honored a group of employees recently for repairing 120 broken windows at Rancho Village Elementary School.
Vandals broke the windows during the holiday break and employees from the district’s service center came in during their time off to repair the windows so that school could return to session on time.
School administrators said had the employees not come in, the school would have been closed two more days at the end of the holiday break.
Employees recognized were Ralph Gilbert, Gregory Mumme, Don Still, Robert Walley and Clarence Woodberry.
- Staff Writer Dawn Marks
Students can now enter The National World War II Museum’s fifth annual High School Online Essay Contest and third annual Middle School Art Contest.
The contests end March 27 or when 500 entries have been received. Students can submit essays and art exploring how diversity helped the United States win World War II and how it continues to make the country strong. Winners will be announced May 1. For more information go to the For Students section of www.nationalww2museum.org/education.
- Staff Writer Dawn Marks
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence seeking nominations to recognize local education foundations.
The foundation started giving the Outstanding Program Awards in 2006 to recognize innovative programs of public school foundations in the state. Winners will receive plaques and monetary awards during the Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations in October. Entries must by postmarked by March 16. Examples of programs eligible include fundraising, public relations, arts integration, curriculum enhancement and student scholarships.
Forms and instructions are available at www.ofe.org and entries should be mailed to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, 120 N. Robinson, W,
- Staff Writer Dawn Marks
News of inauguration events Tuesday at the University of Oklahoma had been slow because school had been out for winter break. But word has arrived of a few watch parties on campus that have just been organized. Anyone wanting to check out the inauguration of President Barack Obama while visiting OU can consider:
* A watch party sponsored by Native American Studies inside Ellison Hall, 633 Elm Ave., scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.
* A free viewing of inaugural activties at Meacham Auditorium inside the Oklahoma Memorial Union, beginning at 10:30 a.m.
* Inauguration watch party in the Hall of Fame Room inside Gaylord Hall, 395 W Lindsey St., also starting at 10:30 a.m.
– By Staff Writer James S. Tyree