Eastern alumni and supporters recognized during annual Homecoming event


WILBURTON, OK (Nov. 17, 2014) – Eastern Oklahoma State College recently recognized outstanding alumni, a former faculty member and a national organization at the college’s annual Homecoming Awards Dinner in Wilburton.

Edward Stokes, a 1972 graduate of Eastern, became the 31st member of the EOSC Alumni Hall of Fame. Stokes, of Houston, Texas, is a marine project manager at ConocoPhillips, Inc. where he has worked since 1976. During the event, Stokes said his experience at Eastern helped unlock his potential and was the catalyst for his success.

“I found out that my mediocre high school grades and my not-so-high ACT score were not a true reflection of my intelligence, nor my capability. Gaining self confidence in college enabled me to become focused and achieve things well beyond what I thought I would ever do,” Stokes said. “My experience at Eastern Oklahoma State initiated the process of unlocking my potential – a potential that I didn’t even know existed. It also turned me around from being self-conscious to having self-confidence and from a position from probably thinking I didn’t have the ability to get a degree, much less become an engineer, to graduating with honors.”

After graduating from Eastern, Stokes earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Houston Baptist University. Stokes is a co-inventor for two patents in the oil and gas industry. He also currently serves as board chairman for the Offshore Technology Conference and has authored or co-authored 15 technical papers and presented in six countries.

Justin Few of McAlester was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. A 2000 Eastern graduate, Few is the owner of Few Energy Consulting, Inc. and serves as the president of Pride in McAlester, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the McAlester community.

Few attended Eastern as a non-traditional student and said he was appreciative of the small class sizes, affordability and convenience of the McAlester campus.

“Going to a smaller community school, you are remembered. That’s the family relationship I felt at Eastern,” Few said. “I walked away from Eastern debt-free and to have a paid education was absolutely amazing.”

Don McClain of Wilburton was presented the Distinguished Former Faculty Award. McClain taught construction, welding, auto mechanics, math, history and government during his 23-year career at Eastern. During the event, he described one of his most memorable experiences at Eastern as when a tornado caused significant damage to the campus in the early 1970s.

“Windows were blown out and almost all of the buildings had some damage,” McClain said. “My class consisted of 20 or so young men and we all showed up that morning after the storm. When dark came that evening, the campus was secure. That’s the best job that I think we, as a class, did for the campus.”

The Heritage Award was presented to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in honor of the organization’s 60-year anniversary. The FCA began in 1954 when Don McClanen, the head basketball coach and athletic director at Eastern, sent 19 letters out to prominent sports figures and athletes about the idea to develop an organization that would promote the idea of bringing Christian morals and ethics into the society of sports.

Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith said McClanen put up his car for $1,000 collateral at a bank in Wilburton and traveled the nation to garner support for the organization. The FCA now employs more than 800 people and involves more than two million athletes around the world each year.

“The ministry of FCA has reached millions of young people around the world and is by far the largest ministry of its kind,” Smith said. “This is an example of how one man can make a difference.” said.

McClanen was unable to attend the award dinner. James Howell, an Eastern alumnus and one of McClanen’s former players, accepted the award on his behalf.

“It has been a pleasure to watch a dream come true,” Howell said.

Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith (far left) gathers with the 2014 EOSC Homecoming Award honorees including (left to right) Justin Few, Outstanding Young Alumnus Award; Edward Stokes, the 31st member of the EOSC Alumni Hall of Fame; former Senators and Eastern alumnus James Howell, representing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and Don McClain, the Distinguished Former Faculty Award.

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