The lives of many current and future students were changed as the result of the college’s fifth
annual Sapphire Ball on April 5, 2014. Approximately $12,000 was raised for student
scholarships at the event, which also honored alumni, outstanding
employees and community supporters.
Eastern established the Sapphire Ball in 2010 to raise funds for student scholarships, as well as honor the college's alumni, faculty, staff and community supporters. Proceeds from the Sapphire Ball help students in need afford a high quality education.
Past Sapphire Ball Honorees
Distinguished Alumni Award Nomination Form
2014 Sapphire Ball Honorees
Anita Caldwell Jackson, Distinguished Alumnus Award
A lifelong resident of the McAlester area, Anita Caldwell Jackson is a leading advocate for the arts in her community. She is a 1971 graduate of Eastern Oklahoma State College and a retired art teacher and counselor at Kiowa Public Schools.
Jackson is currently a featured artist and co-founder of the SOFA Art Gallery in McAlester. She is known for her Native American art that features acrylics, pencil and mixed media using calico cloth and acrylic paint. Last year, 16 works of Jackson’s Native American art was donated to Eastern by Mike and Nancy McGowan, also of McAlester. The art is displayed throughout the first floor of the Library building in Wilburton.
In November, Jackson was honored with a Community Service Award by Gov. Mary Fallin at the 38th Annual Governor’s Arts Awards at the state capitol. The award recognizes individuals for significant contributions to the arts in specific Oklahoma communities in the areas of leadership and volunteerism. In 2011, Jackson helped initiate and design a project to paint an 80 foot-wide mural in downtown McAlester that celebrates the heritage of the community.
John Redman, Distinguished Alumnus Award
John Redman took an unusual path to earning his degree from Eastern Oklahoma State College. Upon graduating from Antlers High School, Redman attended El Reno Junior College (now Redlands Community College) on a basketball scholarship. Following graduation, he transferred to Oklahoma State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry. In 1986, Redman began his long-time career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It was during his early years at the USDA that he recognized the need to broaden his formal education. Those efforts resulted in an associate of science degree in agriculture from Eastern in 1987, an associate degree in agricultural business from Carl Albert State College in 1989 and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from OSU in 1990.
Redman currently serves as an enterprise community specialist for USDA Rural Development, managing a variety of community, business, water and sewer programs in southeast Oklahoma. He is committed to serving his community and is a graduate of three leadership training programs, including Leadership Durant, Leadership Southeast and Leadership Oklahoma. He also serves as a board member for the Eastern Alumni Association.
BP America Production Company, Community Spirit Award
BP America Production Company has been a loyal supporter of Eastern Oklahoma State College and the Wilburton community.
The BP facility in Wilburton opened in 2007 and houses about 90 employees.
BP is one of the world’s leading international oil and gas companies. BP is a leading producer of oil and gas and provides enough energy annually to light nearly the entire country for a year. Employing approximately 20,000 people in all 50 states, BP supports more than 260,000 jobs total through all of its business activities.
BP America has provided more than $35,500 in scholarship funding to Eastern students during the past three years. The scholarships are available to qualifying students residing in BP’s operating counties of Latimer, Leflore, Haskell, Pittsburg or Sequoyah.
Local leaders in the Wilburton office believe education is important to any rural area. They see the value in their investment and are happy to support local students.
Accepting the award on behalf of BP was Carl Dupuy, site manager for the Arkoma Operations Center.
Margaret Sorrell, President's Excellence in Teaching Award
Margaret Sorrell grew up on the campus of Eastern Oklahoma State College. As a child, she accompanied her parents to various campus events and activities as they taught and coached at the college. Later, she attended Eastern and played basketball for the Lady Mountaineers. In two years, she helped the team earn a 46-14 record and finish in the NJCAA Final Four in 1981 and as the NJCAA Runner-Up in 1982. She graduated from Eastern in 1982 as the Outstanding Graduate for the Division of Science and Mathematics.
Sorrell earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oklahoma and her master’s degree in college teaching from Northeastern State University. She returned to Eastern in 1986 to complete her teaching internship and was hired later that year as an adjunct instructor in mathematics. After teaching high school mathematics in Wilburton, Ft. Worth and Hartshorne, Sorrell became a full-time instructor of computer science at Eastern in 1994. Three years later, she moved to the Department of Mathematics and then became Dean of the Division of Science and Mathematics in 2007.
Sorrell has been selected “Teacher of the Year” by Eastern students twice in her career. She is in her 28th year of teaching and says she has loved every minute of it.
Trish McBeath, J.C. Hunt Award
Although relatively new to Eastern, Trish McBeath is a longtime resident of southeast Oklahoma. As a graduate of Quinton High School, McBeath understands the unique challenges and needs of students in rural Oklahoma. She joined Eastern in 2011 as the director of communications and marketing, where she oversees the college’s creative services, publications, advertising, news releases, photography, radio station, website and social media.
McBeath earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and broadcasting and a master’s degree in mass communication from Oklahoma State University. She has worked in both the public and private sector, with 10 years of experience in higher education.
Prior to working at Eastern, she served as a communications specialist at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa. Earlier in her career, she was a marketing project manager for TRC Nutritional Labs in Tulsa and a new media production coordinator for Ackerman McQueen, an advertising agency in Oklahoma City.
McBeath serves on the executive board for two statewide organizations, Communicators Council and the Oklahoma College Public Relations Association. She is also an active member of the EOSC Staff Council, Wilburton Lions Club and Quinton United Methodist Church.