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Eastern to honor alumni and others during annual Homecoming Awards Dinner Nov. 11

11/1/2016

WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 1, 2016) – Eastern Oklahoma State College’s Homecoming Awards Dinner is set for Friday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. in the Tourtellotte Student Center Ballroom. The annual event honors alumni, a former faculty member and those that have impacted the college’s history.

Leland Walker of Panola will be inducted as the 33rd member of the EOSC Alumni Association Hall of Fame. This award is presented annually to an Eastern alumnus who through extraordinary achievement and service at the local, state, or national levels has brought honor and distinction to both themselves and the institution. Prior to his retirement in 2014, Walker spent 38 years dedicating his life to inspiring young people in agriculture education. He taught at both the high school and college level, and says his greatest passion is mentorship of students. More than 70 current agriculture instructors in Oklahoma were taught under Walker’s leadership. His students are involved in conservation, extension, farming, ranching, forestry, landscaping and more.

A 1974 Eastern graduate, Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in agronomy from Texas A&M-Commerce. He began his teaching career at Moss High School and Roff High School before returning to Eastern in 1984 to serve as the plant and soil science instructor. He taught and served as the dean of the Agriculture Division until 2012 when he returned to his roots and taught agriculture education at Wilburton High School. During his time at Eastern, Walker coached nine national champion soil judging teams and one national champion crops judging team. Eastern students also voted him Teacher of the Year 13 times during his career and in 2010 he was recognized as the first recipient of the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2015, Walker received Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin’s inaugural Outstanding Public Service in Agriculture Award and a year later he was one of only three Oklahomans to be named a Farm Credit Top 100 Fresh Perspective Honoree.

The Outstanding Young Alumnus Award will be presented to Dr. Dustin Hulsey. A 2003 Eastern graduate, Hulsey owns a veterinary practice in Red Oak. A Wilburton High School graduate, he also earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources in 2005 and a doctorate of veterinary medicine in 2008 from Oklahoma State University. Upon graduation, Hulsey practiced veterinary medicine in three states before opening his own practice. He worked for Equine Medical Associates in Lexington, Kentucky, 666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas and an animal hospital in Pawnee, Oklahoma. In 2010, Hulsey opened his own veterinary practice in Red Oak and grew the operation from a mobile practice to a 4,000-square-foot facility with modern equipment including digital radiography, hematology capabilities and ultrasound viewing and technology. Hulsey also serves as the veterinarian and veterinary consultant for the national Oklahoma Forage-Based Meat Goat Buck Test sponsored by Eastern and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.

Estella Bennett Mask of McAlester will receive the Distinguished Former Faculty Award, which honors those who exhibited exemplary service in teaching at Eastern. Mask taught a total of 33 years in higher education with 31 of those at Eastern. An Eastern alumna, Mask also earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s degree in administrative studies from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She began her career in 1975 as an instructor and coordinator for the Adult and Continuing Education program at Eastern. After two years, she became an extension instructor teaching business and psychology courses at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She returned to Eastern in 1978 and taught various business courses in entrepreneurship, management and marketing. She also served as a sponsor for the Phi Beta Lambda business club and coached many students who placed in the top five nationally in their competitions. While at Eastern, she served as the chair of the Management Department and retired in 2007 as the chair of the Business Administration Department. During her career, she was named Oklahoma's Outstanding Business Educator in 1992, listed in the World Who's Who of Women, named an Outstanding Young Woman of America, earned a National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Award, and more.

Eastern’s former student organization Angel Flight will be recognized with the Heritage Award, presented annually to an individual, group or organization that played a significant role in shaping and molding the history of Eastern. Angel Flight served as a student drill team and service organization with members selected on the basis of marching ability, poise, personality, scholarship and a desire to promote Eastern. The organization performed at marching competitions, parades and other college events. The members also helped in planning various activities, served as ushers at the college plays and Candlelighting services, assisted with the flag-raising ceremonies and provided halftime entertainment at home basketball games.

Tickets for the event are $30 each and can be purchased by calling the Office of Institutional Advancement at 918-465-1759.

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