Eastern alumnus Tom Colbert inducted into the OACC Hall of Fame


WILBURTON, OK (Oct. 11, 2013) – Eastern Oklahoma State College alumnus Tom Colbert was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges (OACC) Hall of Fame at the association’s annual conference in Midwest City. Colbert, a 1970 Eastern graduate, is the Chief Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

“The important thing about a community college is that it’s a family,” Colbert told the crowd of faculty, staff and administrators from the state’s two-year college system. “So many of our youth today do not have families at home. They don’t have dreams or hope. You are on the front lines and you are making a difference. Please keep up the good work.”

During the ceremony, Colbert pointed to his years at Eastern as a powerful influence on his life. He spoke specifically about the guidance provided by his former track and field coach Glen Stone, who attended the ceremony with his wife, Joyce.

“I was fortunate to have Glen Stone come into my life. He was my second father, away from home,” Colbert said. “Not only did he give me direction, he taught me about motivation, discipline and caring for someone other than yourself. I would not be standing here today if it weren’t for this man.”

Dr. Stephen E. Smith said that as president of Colbert’s alma mater, it was an honor and privilege to induct him into the OACC Hall of Fame.

“Today Chief Justice Colbert leads the highest court in Oklahoma and has the distinct honor of being the first African-American member of that distinguished court. But his journey began through one of our state two-year institutions,” Smith said. “Not only does Tom have a stellar résumé, he’s a man of great integrity and he has an immense passion for law and doing the right thing. As a product of our two-year college system and for his impressive accomplishments, he is a worthy addition to the OACC Hall of Fame.”

Other 2013 OACC Hall of Fame inductees include musician Edgar Cruz, Dr. Jo Lynn Digranes, executive vice president at Connors State College, and the late Dr. Edwin Vineyard Sr. Vineyard, who was born in Alikchi in southeastern Oklahoma, graduated from Wilburton and attended Eastern from 1946-1947. He retired as president of Northern Oklahoma College in 1990 after 25 years of service.

Governor Mary Fallin and Dr. Glen D. Johnson, Chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education, were also speakers at the event.

The OACC is made up of 14 community colleges that serve the needs of more than 100,000 Oklahoma students each year. The OACC supports Oklahoma’s community colleges by providing professional development opportunities, advocacy and connections with key stakeholders to improve higher education in the state.

Chief Justice Tom Colbert (second from left) was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges (OACC) Hall of Fame. Gov. Mary Fallin, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Chancellor Dr. Glen D. Johnson and Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith were also speakers at the ceremony.

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