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Outstanding graduates honored during Eastern’s 2019 Commencement Ceremony

5/6/2019

WILBURTON, OK (May 6, 2019) – Eastern Oklahoma State College recognized six Outstanding Graduates during the college’s Commencement Ceremony on May 3 in Wilburton. One graduate from each of the six college divisions is selected each year for the honor.

The 2019 Outstanding Graduates include Rhett Pursley of Locust Grove, OK, Agriculture Division; Ethan Prince of Indianola, OK, Behavioral and Social Science Division; Jennifer Tighe of McAlester, OK, Business Division; Dale Shackleford of Slaughterville, OK, Language, Humanities and Education Division; Ariannah Smith of Idabel, Nursing Division; and Christopher Herb of Moore, OK, Science and Mathematics Division.


Rhett Pursley graduated in the top ten percent of his class with an associate degree in agriculture education and an overall 4.0 grade point average. He is a Regents Academic Scholar, the top scholarship awarded to an Eastern student, and was also named the Outstanding Animal Science Student for 2018-19. During his time at Eastern, Pursley was an active member of the Aggie Club, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Honors Program and the Agriculture Ambassador Leadership Program. He was an integral part of the Livestock Judging Team. In addition to helping win numerous team awards, Pursley was named the Second High Individual at the National Western Contest in Denver, CO. He was also a member of the Agriculture Knowledge Bowl Team, Livestock Management Team, and the Horse Judging Team, which recently placed second at a national competition in Murray, KY. Rhett is the son of Brent and Laura Pursley of Locust Gove. He plans to attend Oklahoma State University this fall where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a pre-veterinarian option. Division Dean Eddie Woods presented the award.


Ethan Prince graduated in the top ten percent of his class with an associate degree in history and political science. A 2017 graduate of Indianola High School, Prince was awarded multiple scholarships to attend Eastern at the McAlester Campus. He maintained a 4.0 grade point average and was named to the President’s Honor Roll all four semesters. Ethan is the son of Frank and Jana Weeks. He will attend Southeastern Oklahoma State University and pursue a bachelor’s degree in social studies education with plans to teach high school history. Division Dean Dr. Carter Mattson presented the award.


Jennifer Tighe graduated in the top ten percent of her class with an associate degree in business administration and an overall 3.924 grade point average. At Eastern, she has been an active member of the Business Club, where she served as reporter. She is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Tighe has also completed several hours of community service during her time at Eastern, volunteering at Schulter Public Schools and 831 Missions in McAlester. Jennifer is the daughter of John and Christie Heaslet of McAlester and is married to Robert Tighe Jr. She plans to attend East Central University in the fall and pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Division Dean Brenda Strange presented the award.


Dale Shackleford graduated in the top 10 percent of his class while earning three associate degrees in music, mass communication and general studies. He has earned a 3.94 overall grade point average. He is a Presidential and Sapphire Scholar and a member of the Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa honor society. During his time at Eastern, Shackleford has been active in the Eastern Expressions, Band, Choir, Eastern Student Government Association, Photo Club, Eastern Statesman, Mountaineer Radio and Student Support Services. Dale is the son of Keith and Mary Shackleford of Slaughterville. He plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University in the fall and pursue a bachelor’s degree in audio production with a minor in songwriting. He is one of 30 transfer students accepted into the university’s honors program. Division Dean Dr. Carter Mattson presented the award.


Ariannah Smith graduated with an associate of applied science degree in nursing and an overall 3.5 grade point average. Following her graduation from Haworth High School, Smith completed Eastern courses at Southeastern University’s McCurtain County Campus. She then transferred to Wilburton to complete the nursing program. While at Eastern, she served as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the National Student Nurses’ Association. She was also named to the Dean’s Honor Roll and was selected to participate in the McAlester Regional Health Center’s nurse externship program. Ariannah is the daughter of Kelli and the late Claude Smith of Idabel, OK. She has accepted a position with the University of Oklahoma Medical Center and also plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northeastern State University. Division Director Gina Bullock presented the award.


Christopher Herb graduated in the top 10 percent of his class with an associate degree in mathematics and a 3.9 overall grade point average. At Eastern, Herb has played baseball for the Mountaineers and was selected to the NJCAA All-Academic First Team and earned Region II Player of the Week honors during his freshman year. He is the recipient of the Sapphire Scholarship and the Charles Tourney Foundation Scholarship. Herb has been named to both the President’s Honor Roll and the Dean’s Honor Roll, while also serving as an officer of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Christopher is the son of Brian and Kristin Herb of Moore, OK. He will continue his baseball career at Kansas State University in the fall while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Division Dean Dr. Patrica Bolin Ratliff presented the award.

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