Ada — The recipients of East Central University’s Distinguished Awards for 2013 will be honored on Friday, May 10, during the ECU Foundation’s Honors and Recognition Banquet at 6:30 p.m.
Recipients are R. Alan Marcum, Distinguished Alumnus; Joe Steven Stokes, Distinguished Alumnus (posthumous award); The Ramadan Family, Distinguished Family; Dr. Elizabeth C. Schmelling, Distinguished Former Faculty (posthumous award); Margaret ‘Peggy’ Nims, Distinguished Former Faculty; Monica L. Neal, Distinguished Service; and the Chickasaw Nation, Distinguished Philanthropist.
Distinguished Alumnus R. Alan Marcum has served as executive vice president of administration at Devon Energy since 2008. He is responsible for office administration, information technology, project management and records management.
Marcum is one of eight members of the company’s executive committee and has been involved in Devon Energy’s massive growth from a $200 million company in 1995 to the largest company in the state of Oklahoma with an enterprise value of $28 billion.
Devon, located in Oklahoma City, currently employs more than 5,000 employees located across North America. Marcum was also a part of the team that oversaw construction of the Devon Energy Tower, the company’s new headquarters. He helped ensure that the project was completed on time, within budget and that the facility included appropriate amenities to improve the company’s efficiency.
A 1990 graduate of ECU with concentrations in accounting and finance, Marcum was a four-year starter on the Tiger football team and received all-conference honors his junior and senior seasons, as well as an honorable mention All-American award as a senior. He also competed on ECU’s track team.
In 2009, Marcum received the Joe Milam Award, named in honor of the former football coach and educator in Oklahoma. The award is given annually at ECU to a former football player who not only excelled on the gridiron but in his chosen profession or career.
Marcum joined Devon in 1995 where he held the position of vice president and controller.
Prior to joining Devon, he was employed by KPMG Peat Marwick (now KPMG LLP) as a senior auditor. Marcum is a certified public accountant and is a member of the Oklahoma State Society of Certified Public Accountants.
A native of Pauls Valley, he is committed to enhancing the community and served on numerous boards and committees. He is on the East Central University Foundation Board of Trustees, Purcell Board of Education, Oklahoma River Boathouse Foundation and the Petroleum Club.
Marcum also serves on the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s board and is on the organization’s fundraising cabinet. He also serves on the Allied Arts fundraising cabinet and MAPS 3 subcommittee. He is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma City and has served on the YMCA’s board of directors.
Last summer, he served as a mentor to high school students in ECU’s Oklahoma Business Week Camp.
Marcum’s wife is Jana, a 1988 ECU graduate. They have two children. Their daughter is Taylor, a graduate of Oklahoma State University, who is currently pursuing her doctorate in physical therapy. Their son, Hunter, is studying business at the University of Central Oklahoma and is a member of the baseball team.
Distinguished Alumnus Joe Steven Stokes (posthumous) was a longtime advocate for the state’s disabled before his death at the age of 62 on Jan. 10, 2013. He was director of the state Office of Disability Concerns and was appointed to that position in 1989 by then-Gov. Henry Bellmon.
Stokes was disabled in 1967 at the age of 17 when he suffered a spinal cord injury in a diving accident. He graduated from ECU in 1973 and was hired as a counselor at ECU for its special services program. He also went on to earn a master’s degree in 1974.
He worked for the State Education Department in 1980 and remained there until he was appointed to head the Office of Disability Concerns. He worked under five governors - Henry Bellmon, David Walters, Frank Keating, Brad Henry and Mary Fallin.
As director of the agency, Stokes worked with lawmakers to help with legislation intended to assist Oklahomans with disabilities, as well as their families and friends.
Stokes served as delegate to the White House Conference on the Handicapped in 1975 and was named Handicapped Citizen of the Year in Oklahoma in 1985.
In 2007, Stokes received the George B. Lewis Award, named after the former chairman of the Oklahoma City Mayor’s Committee on Disability Concerns, for his work in helping Oklahomans with disabilities. Stokes was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Department of Rehabilitation Services in April.
The Distinguished Family Award goes to the Ramadan family, which has been instrumental in various capacities in encouraging and influencing students who are interested in research and the medical profession.
Dr. Tawfik Ramadan and his wife, Siham, along with their children have provided many opportunities in the advancement of higher learning and research at ECU. The first Dr. Raniyah Ramadan Symposium was held this past January to honor the legacy of their daughter. A scholarship was also established in Raniyah’s name for an ECU student interested in the research and medical field.
Raniyah was a promising research scientist from Ada who passed away in 2011 at the age of 34.
The Ramadan Family has also provided a $250,000 gift to go toward a state-of-the-art research facility and program for undergraduate students. The facility, which will be located in the lower level of the ECU Education Building, will promote research-based learning and better prepare ECU students in all disciplines for their careers, including those studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Dr. Tawfik Ramadan provides campus health services for ECU students. Siham and three of their daughters are ECU graduates.
The Distinguished Former Faculty Award (posthumous) will go to Dr. Elizabeth Schmelling, who came to ECU in 1975 as the lead instructor for the Nursing Department’s courses in community health and mental health nursing, with 15 years of public health nursing in Massachusetts, California and New York. She rose through the ranks to become a full professor, and in 1983, was appointed Chair of ECU’s Department of Nursing.
Schmelling brought to her chairmanship of the nursing department the belief that ECU could have a baccalaureate nursing program that would equal any other baccalaureate program in the nation. By the time she retired in 2002, Schmelling and the rest of the nursing faculty had accomplished this goal.
Her work on creating a first-rate program began with first-rate faculty and first-rate facilities. Schmelling worked hard to find ways to make it possible for many of her faculty to complete doctoral degrees - finding grant funds, adjusting schedules, and anything else she could think of to help them through. She also led her faculty in getting grants to supplement state funds to build first-class nursing labs on campus to give ECU students the preparation and confidence they needed to go out to off-campus clinical facilities.
Schmelling and the ECU administration shared the recognition that the need for bachelors-prepared nurses throughout Southeastern Oklahoma was an opportunity to expand the nursing program beyond the ECU campus. Her work and leadership, along with that of several other ECU nursing faculty and administrators, led to the creation of ECU Nursing Program in Durant and Ardmore.
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She was a long-time program evaluator/site visitor for the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission, the primary accrediting agency for nursing education in the U.S. and was a member and chair of the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing.
Schmelliing had a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Cornell University, a master’s degree in community mental health nursing from the University of California at San Francisco, and Ph.D. in nursing from Texas Woman’s University.
Donations from Schmelling’s family and friends in the community support the Frances W. and Elizabeth Schmelling Nursing Scholarship for ECU nursing students.
After retiring from ECU in 2002, she died in 2003. She was married to Dr. Stephen Schmelling. They had two sons, Frederick, of Dallas, Texas, and Daniel of Arlington, Virginia.
Another Distinguished Former Faculty Award will be presented to Margaret ‘Peggy’ Nims, who began teaching at ECU in 1963. During her 27-year tenure in the English Department, she became a charter member of Alpha Chi National Honor Society and later co-sponsored it with Dr. John Densford. She was one of the first four faculty members to receive a Teaching Excellence Award.
Nims was president of the Oklahoma Council on the Hearing Impaired and taught composition to hearing-impaired students. She taught in the Upward Bound Program for three summers. She also served as president of the ECU Alumni Association for a year and was later active on several committees of that organization.
Nims graduated from Ardmore High School as valedictorian in 1942 and married her high school sweetheart, Fred W. ‘Bill’ Nims, Jr., and they were happily married for 68 years. She received a bachelor’s of arts degree in Education in English from ECU in 1963 and her master of teaching degree in 1964. She did post-graduate work at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City University and the University of Oklahoma.
She did her student teaching at Ada High School and was hired the next semester to teach everything except English. A faculty member had died unexpectedly and she was required to teach his subjects in speech, drama, sociology, psychology, problems of American democracy and government. She then taught English Composition at Ada High School for the next three years.
After she retired in 1993, she devoted her time to family, her husband, Bill, her son, Bill III, and her daughter, Marilyn. Her son passed away in 2001 and her husband in 2011. Her daughter currently lives next door to her.
The Distinguished Service Award will go to Monica Neal, who has served as senior vice president for Corporate Services for People’s Electric Cooperative since 2006. Prior to that, she was vice
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president for Corporate Services and director of public relations.
In her current role, she provides general supervision and overall direction for the organizational components of the Corporate Services Division, including public relations, government affairs, community and business development and human resources for the cooperative.
Neal has served three terms as chairman of the board for ECU’s Alumni Association and is currently an active board member. She is a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class XVI and currently serves on their board and as their program committee chair.
She is also chairman of the board for the Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation and is a member of the board of directors of the National Resources Foundation and the Valley View Regional Hospital Foundation.
Neal serves as chair of the Legislative Committee for the Ada Area Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Executive Committee for Oklahoma Business Week and Pontotoc County Career Discovery Day. She is a member of the Lion’s Club of Ada.
Neal grew up in Ada and graduated from ECU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a marketing concentration in 1992, receiving the Distinguished Graduate Award from the School of Business that same year.
Her husband Rob is an attorney in Ada. She has two sons, Riley and Conner Keith, and two step-daughters, Taylor Booth and Maci Neal.
The Distinguished Philanthropist Award will be presented to the Chickasaw Nation as Gov. Bill Anoatubby is accepting on its behalf.
The Chickasaw Nation has been a vital partner with ECU, particularly with the current construction of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center and sponsorship of the new football turf at Norris Field.
Anoatubby has served as Governor of the Chickasaw Nation since 1987. Prior to that, he served as the first lieutenant governor from 1979-1987. He has been active in tribal government since 1975. His previous positions included director of tribal health services, director of finance, special assistant to the governor and controller.
Today, the Chickasaw Nation employs nearly 12,000 people. Funding for tribal operations has grown exponentially and tribal assets have grown 20 fold. Anoatubby has been committed to meeting the needs and desires of Chickasaw people by providing health care services, opportunities for employment and career advancement, heritage preservation, cultural preservation and growth, and the chance for every Chickasaw to obtain a higher education.
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Prior to his involvement with the Chickasaw Nation, Anoatubby managed office operations of American Plating Company and the chief accountant of Little Giant Corporation.
He received his associate’s degree in business from Murray State College in 1970 and a bachelor’s of science degree in accounting from ECU in 1972.
Anoatubby and his wife Janice have two sons, Brian and Chris, and five grandchildren, Brendan, Eryn, Chloe, Sydney and Preslea.
Also being honored that evening will be the following Centennial Endowments: Gary and Linda Ainsworth Russian Travel Endowment, Millsap Endowment for Health Professions, Ruth Walker Landrum Sculpture Endowment, Judy Crabtree Memorial Psychology Endowment, Virgil Taylor Vocational Rehabilitation Memorial Endowment, Ross Share Endowment, Citizens Bank Business Endowment, Dr. Gerald Williamson Endowment, Once a Tiger Always a Tiger Endowment, Linda Murray Flute Endowment and Dr. James Harris Endowment.